One of them is proving very difficult to complete and that's the major holdup to my shutting down. The post concerns KC Johnson's Duke lacrosse work and because it will be critical of significant portions of it, I want to be sure to what I say about his work is correct and therefore fair to KC at the same time I can fell certain I "got it right."
But I'm making progess and have targeted 3 PM tomorrow, Sunday, May 24 for its completion. Please keep your fingers crossed.
A few other posts will go up later today and tomorrow before 3 PM.
A couple of them are easy reposts, one or maybe two will be mostly paste-ins, and one will be a Memorial Day Tribute to our serving forces, veterans, and their families.
I hope you keep checking in.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
One of them is proving very difficult to complete and that's the major holdup to my shutting down. The post concerns KC Johnson's Duke lacrosse work and because it will be critical of significant portions of it, I want to be sure to what I say about his work is correct and therefore fair to KC at the same time I can fell certain I "got it right."
Posted by JWM at 5:10 PM
This is one of my two favorite This Made Me Smile posts.
I loved Isaac Stern for his talent as a violinist, for his many public services (frequent charity concerts and leading the effort to save Carnegie Hall from the wreckers' cranes) and for not taking himself too seriously, as the following story illustrates.
Stern was being interviewed by Bill Moyers or some other supercilious NPR-type who kept mentioning his age, 72 at the time, and asking Stern questions like: "As you look back now over your career, what do ..." and "Do you have any one concert you'd like to be remembered for?"
Stern was very patient through it all until the interviewer asked him to sum up his "legacy in a few sentences."
Stern responded with a gentle rebuke and a little fun poke at himself:
"Look, I may be 72," he said, " but I don't think my career's over. In fact, I feel like I'm just in the middle of my life and career. Of course, it would help if I knew someone who was 144."Stern died in 2000 at age 80. You can read more about him here. The site includes a link to an interview with Stern (not the one I mention here)
Posted by JWM at 5:09 PM
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Readers Note: This last series post is a repost which I first published on July 24, 2006. You'll all quickly see why I believe it's a very fitting post with which to end the series.
I thank you for your interest in the series and for all the generous and informative comments you've made.
I've especially appreciated learning that some of you became interested in Churchill as a result of this series. I hope you'll now stay with him. He's not only a great statesman to whom we owe so much. He's also a wonderful companion with whom to share life's journey.
Again, thank you, and all the best,
Today marks the four-month anniversary of the Raleigh News & Observer’s publication of the story that first identified the Duke Men’s lacrosse team as suspects in a gang-rape investigation. In its story, the N&O repeatedly told readers the woman was “the victim.” It never once used the conditional qualifier “alleged.”
The N&O’s Mar. 24 story was the first of many biased and inflammatory news stories and columns the N&O produced. They cast the accuser as a victim and framed the lacrosse team as made up of three brutal rapists and their teammates who stood by indifferently while the woman was raped, and then later refused to help police identify their rapist teammates.
Those N&O stories encouraged a rogue DA, intimidated a university to silence in the face of injustices, and created enough hysteria that otherwise reasonable people approved the felony indictments of three obviously innocent young men.
The post which follows recounts events that occurred in England more than a century ago. Those events and the events of the last four months contain some remarkable similarities, including the struggle to correct injustices.
This post is meant as a gesture of support for all the Duke lacrosse familyies who've endured so much pain and injustice since Mar. 14; and as a tribute to everyone working to right the wrongs of the Duke lacrosse hoax.
A special word of tribute goes to the members and coaches of Duke's Women’s lacrosse team who, in the face of foul criticisms, said what many now know to be true but are still afraid to say: “Innocent.”
In May 1902, the first of a series of arson fires broke out at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.
After the fifth fire, the Commandant issued an order: If the guilty were not identified within forty-eight hours, every cadet housed in barrack “C,” where the fires had occurred, would be dismissed for a term unless he could prove he wasn’t in the barrack “C”area at the time of the fire. The cadets, twenty-nine in number, included three who had already been investigated in connection with previous fires and found innocent.
The order also said that if the arsonist(s) was not identified, three aged servants in “C” barrack, all former career soldiers, would be summarily dismissed.
No one came forward. After endorsements by the Army Commander-in-Chief, Lord Frederick Roberts, and the Secretary of State for War, the order took effect: The cadets were sent down; the servants dismissed.
The order’s injustices might have gone uncorrected but for the actions of a handful of members of the House of Commons, and later, a few members of the House of Lords, including Lord Roberts himself.
The Commons members, mostly young and sitting in their first Parliament, began interviewing the cadets and servants, documenting violations of due process and publicizing the case’s many injustices.
One of the members wrote the Times of London. He told readers, “All the cadets I have seen strenuously deny any complicity with the offences.” He said the cadets' and servants’ treatment was a travesty which violated “three cardinal principles of equity:”
“that suspicion in not evidence; that accused should be heard in their own defense; and that it is for the accuser to prove his charge, not for the defendant to prove his innocence.”The member's letter drew a quick, sharp rebuke from the Reverend Frederick Westcott, headmaster of one of England’s leading public schools. Westcott told Times' readers soldiers had to learn the lessons of group punishment:
“The innocent, doubtless, suffer with the guilty; but then they always do. The world has been so arranged.”The member, in his first Parliament and representing the Oldham constituency, immediately replied to Westcott in another letter to The Times.
The member’s biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, tell us about the reply and some of what followed :
“Has it indeed?” Churchill asked in his reply on July 8.Lord Roberts did review each cadet and servant's case individually. No arsonist(s) was ever identified. Twenty-seven of the twenty-nine cadets elected to return to Sandhurst. The three servants were reinstated. The Commandant was dismissed because of "the general disorderliness" at Sandhurst.
No doubt Westcott had taken care “that the little world over which he presides is arranged on that admirable plan, but it is necessary to tell him that elsewhere the punishment of innocent people is regarded as a crime, or as a calamity to be prevented by unstinting exertion.”
So long as the “delinquencies of a schoolmaster” were within the law, Churchill added, “the House of Commons has no right to intervene, but when a Commander-in-Chief and a Secretary of State are encouraged to imitate him, it is time to take notice.”
Churchill wanted to discuss the Sandhurst punishments in the Commons. But [Prime Minister] Balfour…refused to allow time for any such debate [so] Churchill [arranged to have the matter] raised in the Lords.
During the debate there, the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Roberts, agreed that each individual case would be investigated and that no innocent cadet would lose a term of study.
It's right to end this post with Churchill’s words, a gift to us across the century:
“that suspicion in not evidence; that accused should be heard in their own defense; and that it is for the accuser to prove his charge, not for the defendant to prove his innocence.”_________________________________________________
Accounts of the Sandhurst events can be found in many, but not all, Churchill biographies. For this post, in addition to Martin Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life, I relied on Randolph S. Churchill’s Winston S. Churchill, Young Statesman:1901-1914, and Ted Morgan’s, Churchill, Young Man in a Hurry: 1874-1915
I said I'd shut down today, Thursday, May 21.
But - - -
if you know about those "GOING OUR OF BUSINESS" stores that always stay open past their closing dates - - -
well, I'm like one of them.
I'm staying open one more day to finish a few posts I promised.
If that upsets the trolls, well, good!
Many thanks to all of you who've said nice things about my work and this blog. I deeply appreciate them.
I hope you're back tomorrow.
Posted by JWM at 10:23 PM
While researching for a post concerning Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson’s Until Proven Innocent’s treatment of the Raleigh N & O’s coverage of the Duke lacrosse case, I reread today the N&O’s March 30, 2006 story "Lacrosse players lawyers' object." ( reg. req’d).
It includes the N&O’s report of events associated with the "Take Back The Night" rally the previous evening on Duke’s campus.
Reporters bylined on the story are Ben Niolet, Anne Blythe and Jane Stancill.
In their book and talks I’ve attended, Taylor and Johnson cite Niolet and Joe Neff as the most outstanding of all N&O reporters who covered the case.
But despite her very prominent role reporting the case beginning with the March 24, 2006 story the N&O says “broke” the case and continuing up to the dealine day for their book , Taylor and Johnson don’t mention Blythe.
When I called that to KC’s attention, he said he hadn’t been aware of that. He went on to add he considers Blythe an “exceptional” reporter.
Those of you who’ve followed the travesties and injustice that were essential parts of what was a frame-up case no doubt recall that by the night of the rally both the CrimeStoppers Wanted poster and the still anonymous Vigilante poster were circulating at Duke and in Durham.
The Vigilante poster contained face-photos of 43 white Duke students who played on the Men’s lacrosse team. It was widely distributed at the rally and posted on Duke buildings that night.
With the foregoing information in mind, here’s the entire portion of the N&O’s March 30 story reporting on Take Back The Night. It’s followed by a letter to the editor which appeared in the N&O on April 2, the same day the N&O published a photo of the Vigilante poster after Duke expressed concerns doing so would jeopardize
Excerpt from the N&O’s March 29, 2006 story:
Tension buildsNow the April 2, 2006 letter to the editor:
The case, which erupted last week when police took DNA from all but one member of the team, heightened tensions between the city and Duke, a private university sometimes accused of walling itself off from a community with blue-collar roots.
The incident has sparked outrage on and off campus about classism, racism and sexual violence. The woman, an N.C. Central University student and employee of an escort service hired for the party, is black; she told authorities that her attackers were white. The one member of the lacrosse team not DNA tested is black.
Frustration over Duke's response continued Wednesday.
Wednesday's Take Back the Night rally, planned months ago, drew nearly a thousand people. Students and residents walked nearly a mile from East Campus to the landmark chapel on West Campus, chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, all rape has got to go."
Ignacio Adriasola, an art history graduate student, had a sign taped to his shirt: "It isn't what Duke has, but what it lax," using the shorthand word for lacrosse.
Jean Leonard, Duke's sexual assault support services coordinator, welcomed rally participants from Duke, NCCU and Durham Technical Community College. TV trucks from national media outlets rumbled nearby.
"Tonight is about more than a great media story that the nation has great interest in," Leonard said. "Tonight is more about healing."
Malbert Smith, a Duke alumnus and a Chapel Hill resident, went to the rally because he is unhappy with the way his alma mater has handled the situation. He said he had hoped Coach Mike Pressler and athletics department officials would have taken action against players for having the party and for racial slurs that allegedly were made there.
"For us to say it's basically boorish behavior, I'm offended by that," Smith said. "I'm offended by the fact that the lacrosse team is still practicing."
The community outrage to a case that has yet to produce criminal charges bothered the [players] lawyers. …
As one of the organizers of the March 29 Take Back the Night (TBTN) march and speak-out at Duke University, I want to clarify that we did not plan, nor do we endorse, the distribution of names and pictures of members of the Duke men's lacrosse team._______________________________________
The distribution of the pictures, the targeting of the lacrosse team, and the violence implicit in the defacement of the pictures are nothing less than violations of the space that TBTN exists to create.
The event is neither a protest of the kind we've witnessed recently, a forum for accusation nor a place to target and defame. That some attendees tried to make it so is saddening and not at all in the spirit of the event.
That being said, TBTN was a resounding success. It was inspiring to see that students, administrators, faculty and community members from Durham and N.C. Central University could come together in incredible numbers for what was, on the whole, a beautiful event. I hope that, in the future, the Duke community, and the Durham community at large, can continue to unite to address these issues and offer support to survivors.
Folks, I can understand why Mike Nifong who was working to frame the students and Dick Brodhead who was his principal enabler would appreciate the kind of reporting Niolet and Blythe were bylined for on March 30.
And I can understand why Nifong and Brodhead would appreciate other stories Niolet and Blythe reported.
But for the life of me I can't understand why Taylor and Johnson could be so generous in their praise for Niolet or why KC would call Blythe an "exceptional" reporter.
And, of course, I don't understand how Taylor and KC managed to leave Blythe out of Until Proven Innocent.
What about you?
Posted by JWM at 7:41 PM
When the Speaker of the House and the person second in the presidential succession line accuses the CIA of lying to her and lying to Congress and the American people “all the time,” her charges ought to be investigated.
She should testify publicly under oath and CIA reps should do likewise.
But today the AP reports - - -
House Democrats on Thursday defeated a Republican push to investigate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claims that the CIA misled her in 2002 about whether waterboarding had been used against terrorism suspects.
The House voted 252-172 to block the measure that would have created a bipartisan congressional panel. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, sponsored the resolution.
"This is partisan politics and an attempt by the Republicans to distract from the real issue of creating jobs and making progress on health care, energy and education," said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami. …
"To have this charge out there and not have it resolved I think is damaging to our intelligence efforts, and certainly will have a chilling effect on our intelligence professionals around the world," said House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney also stepped into the debate.
In a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Cheney said Pelosi and other lawmakers had been briefed on the interrogation techniques on "numerous occasions." …
The AP’s entire story’s here.
Folks, it’s precisely because Pelosi and other leading Dems in Congress were briefed in 2002 and 2003 on the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques that they now don’t want an inquiry that will reveal what they knew and when they knew it.
If that were to happen, how could the Dems play politics with our national security over what they call “torture?”
Posted by JWM at 4:22 PM
Liestoppers Meeting is one of my first stops every day. Walter Abbott is always up before I am and has posted a blog and media roundup on matters relating to the Duke-Durham frame-up attempt and its ongoing cover-up.
A number of Duke lacrosse blog hooligans, many of them among the best citizen journalists reporting and commenting on the case, post there regularly.
I've said it before and it's worth repeating now: if you're interested in the Duke-Durham case, check in often at Liestoppers Meeting.
I also want to say "thank you" to Quasimodo and the others who've commented on a page commending my work and wishing me well. Your words mean a lot, not least because they've helped me laugh when I've gotten troll comments these past few days.
I wish everyone at Liestoppers Meeting well.
Posted by JWM at 1:49 PM
This past April McClatchy’s Raleigh News & Observer named as a Tar Heel of the Week a man with an outstanding assault charge filed by his wife. But the N&O’s puff piece saluting the recipient said nothing about the assault charge. [ Disclosure - A judge dismissed the charge a few days ago.]
Based on an N&O source, McClatchy Watch posted that the reporter working the story was told by senior editor Linda Williams to leave out any mention of the assault charge. Both the award recipient and Williams are African-Americans as it the N&O publisher Orage Quarles III who reportedly nominated the recipient.
In a phone interview, N&O exec editor John Drescher told me Williams was not the reason the story made no mention of the assault charge. He promised a follow-up story.
The N&O’s follow-up gave confusion concerning the recipient's correct address as one factor contributing to its failure to report the assault charge, but made no mention of Williams.
That omission led a sharp commenter at McClatchy Watch to observe:
The question left hanging is whether Linda Williams had any interaction with the story, specifically if she told the reporters who received a tip from [the man’s wife] about the charges not to do a follow-up, or expressed opposition to doing a follow-up, or questioned the news value of a follow-up which included the charge.
The N&O’s omission would be telling in any case, but it’s particularly telling in the case of senior editor Williams.
Williams was lead editor for the N&O’s racially inflammatory, deliberately fraudulent, and now discredited March 25, 2006 front page story the N&O said was about a night of “sexual violence” at a party hosted by Duke lacrosse players.
To charges she helped withhold news favorable to the white lacrosse players while distorting facts and publishing falsehoods that favored her fellow African-American Crystal Mangum, the false accuser, Williams has given a number of shifting explanations which now themselves have been exposed as false. ( See, for example, here and here)
On an unrelated story having to do with Republican Vice-presidential Nominee Sarah Palin, Williams fired off a memo to newsroom staff shocking in its bias and meanness even when measured against the very low standards of contemporary American journalism.
Williams soon thereafter sent a former N&O columnist and blogger what can only be called a disgusting email. She meant to attack the blogger but ended up revealing just the sort of journalist she is. ( See here, here, and here.)
Given what I’ve noted and linked to and much more about Williams I could have noted and linked to, the N&O’s silence on Williams’ reported involvement in killing mention of the assault charge in its original Tar Heel of the Week story leaves me in no doubt she did just that.
Update: McClatchy Watch suggest I make clear the following:
News & Observer reporters were told not to do any followup reporting on a man who was named "Tar Heel of the Week" last week by the N&O, despite receiving new information the man was arrested in December for assaulting his wife after the original story was published.
Thank you, McClatchy Watch.
Posted by JWM at 12:30 PM
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
(One of a series of daily posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
Readers Note: The following post, first published in December 2005, is my favorite Series posts.
At a critical time during World War II, an American military leader Churchill trusted set in motion plans to thwart something he felt the Prime Minister was planning.
It sounds ominous, but if you read on, I think you'll agree things worked out for the best.
Just before Pearl Harbor, Churchill sacked Britain's Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshall Sir John Dill. It was arranged that Dill would finish out the war in a backwater post.
Following Pearl Harbor, Churchill decided to go to Washington to develop joint American-British war plans. He knew the British would need Dill's knowledge at what would be complicated and contentious planning sessions.
So Dill was brought along with Churchill's party to give what he had, and then be shuffled off.
But it came about that he stayed on in Washington in a new position; one in which he made a vital contribution to the war effort.
Well, since the American and British chiefs of staff would jointly plan Allied strategy and allocate scarce resources; and since the joint chiefs would meet only occasionally for planning sessions; there was a need for liaison between the two nations' chiefs between meetings.
That difficult task was given to Dill.
It was agreed he could best fulfill it in Washington with direct access by cable to each of the British chiefs and right to attend the American chiefs' meetings.
Dill performed splendidly. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said no one surpassed Dill in explaining to the chiefs of each nation the ideas, needs and temperaments of the chiefs of the other nation.
But during the first months of 1944, with D-Day approaching, Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall feared both countries' chiefs would lose Dill's service because Churchill felt Dill was tipping too much in the Americans favor. Marshall thought Churchill might recall Dill.
Marshall wanted to convince Churchill that Dill was so well thought of in America that recalling him would harm Allied relations.
So Marshall hatched a scheme.
What if Harvard gave Dill an honorary degree, he asked an aide. Wouldn't that impress Churchill? The PM wouldn't want to pull such a man out of the States, would he?
The aide was dispatched to Harvard whose president said he would like to but there was so much that went into an honorary degree, he didn't see how it could be done.
The aide duly reported back to Marshall.
"Try Yale," Marshall barked.
Yale had some of the same problems with an honorary degree as Harvard. But its President, Charles Seymour, said Yale could award Dill the Charles P. Howland Prize.
And what was that?
It was awarded for outstanding contributions to international understanding.
The award ceremony, President Seymour said, would include mace, academic procession, anthems, etc.
Marshall thought that would all be just fine.
The War Department informed the press that the Chief of Staff would be taking time from his very busy schedule to travel to New Haven to attend this most important award ceremony. What's more, Secretary of War Simpson and Asst. Secretary of War Lovett were also planning to attend.
The press reported on the ceremony with what Simpson later called a big "splash." Marshall stayed long after the ceremony talking informally to the press and posing for pictures, actions not typical of the General.
Soon other colleges and universities, including The College of William and Mary and Columbia University awarded Dill honorary doctorates.
Marshall later told the aide he'd heard Churchill had said, "Dill must be doing quite a job over there."
Of course, there was no more talk of recall.
Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall: Organizer of Victory. (pgs. 336-337)
The news that Sen. Ted Kennedy’s cancer is apparently now in remission led JinC Regular Tarheel Hawkeye to comment:
Much as I dislike that old windbag and disagree heartily with his political beliefs, I wish him well in his battle with cancer.So do I and I'll bet so are all of you except maybe the trolls.
But I don’t agree with what I’m hearing from friends in Washington.
They tell me the Dems and their media flacks at TIME, Newsweek, NPR, NBC and the rest will soon be pushing a government run health plan and billing it as, among other things, a “tribute to Sen. Kennedy.”
I’m not opposed to a tribute for Kennedy but I fear Kennedy et al will do to our health care what they’ve done to the Boston Public School.
After 50 years of Kennedy and Dem government control the BPS system is now so bad that liberal academics and black and white upper middle class and wealthy parents refuse to send their children to its schools.
Instead, they each year spend tens of thousand of dollars to send their children to Boston’s private schools.
But, as I say, I don’t oppose a tribute to Kennedy.
In fact, there’s now proposed off the coast of one of Kennedy’s plush oceanfront homes a very appropriate project to bear his name.
I’m thinking about what’s now called the Cape Wind project proposed for development well off the shore and barely visible from Kennedy’s Hyannis Port home on Cape Cod.. The project’s sponsors say:
Cape Wind is proposing America’s first offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. Miles from the nearest shore, 130 wind turbines will gracefully harness the wind to produce up to 420 megawatts of clean, renewable energy. In average winds, Cape Wind will provide three quarters of the Cape and Islands electricity needsIf built, it well be the biggest wind farm ever built in North America.
The Senator opposes the project not, he insists, because it would be located in a speck of his ocean sailing grounds in Cape Cod Bay; or because on a clear day he can see just the tops of the windmills from the beach in front of his home.
He's got other reasons that I don't quite understand as they've been explained to me for about five years now.
But putting everything aside, if the project is eventually built, I think it should be named The Edward Moore Kennedy Wind Farm.
I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Kennedy.
I hope Tarheel Hawkeye agrees.
And I hope most of you do, too
Posted by JWM at 9:09 PM
I knew before I started blogging MSM news orgs did a lot of covering for their own.
But I thought it was mostly for things like the publisher getting a DUI or the news editor's kid getting busted for underage drinking. I believed they couldn't ignore or fog over big stories involving nationally known MSM personalities, especially if what happened happened in "full view."
But how wrong I was, as this July 1, 2005 post - MSM ignores anchor's remarks while bloggers report and comment - makes clear.
Once again bloggers are covering an important news story MSM news organizations are ignoring. As with Eason Jordan and Linda Foley, this story reflects poorly on one of MSM's own.
In this instance, it's NBC anchor Brian Williams' remarks equating the leaders of the American Revolution with Islamic hard-liner and alleged hostage taker, Iran's president-"elect" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
For those new to the story or wanting reference points as the story develops and Williams' apologists try to fog over what he said, the following 3 posts provide a mix of fine reporting, commentary that's thoughtful and properly outraged, and links to other bloggers contributing to the story.
At Betsy's Page, she details the story's development leading to Williams' on air remarks. She then provides some historical information Williams either doesn't know or chose to ignore. And she has a pointed question about a "source" Williams used.
Michelle Malkin, along with reporting and commentary, does her usual outstanding job linking to seemingly everyone with something to contribute to the story. Her site must be causing a lot of pain right now at NBC.
Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters has the reporting but it's his commentary that really stood out. Here's part of it:
Did Washington bomb women and children indiscriminately in order to chase the British out of North America? Did John Hancock send teenagers with bomb belts into marketplaces to kill as many people as possible to destabilize colonial society? This comparison insults the intelligence and the memory of those who fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War, which (despite what's commonly thought) mostly saw European-style, set-piece combat between uniformed forces.
Williams indulges in the same, tired moral equivalency that led Michael Moore to declare Zarqawi as the Iraqi version of the Minutemen from our war of independence. This minimizes the cruelty and inhumanity of the enemies of freedom that use civilians as their targets while trying to impose tyrannies far worse than anything George III could ever have dreamed in his most feverish illusions. It also continues the generation-long effort to rewrite American history to eliminate the idea of American exceptionalism, where all forms of government are relatively equal and democracy is simply another choice with no special moral value over monarchies or autocracies.
Shame on Brian Williams, and shame on NBC.
Posted by JWM at 5:29 PM
Before I started blogging I knew much of MSM reporting was biased and some of it outright dishonest.
We all saw the dishonesty in Sept. 2004 when Dan Rather and CBS defended their bogus 60 Minutes Texas Air National Guard story accusing President Bush of not fulfilling his TANG duties.
For almost two weeks Rather and the network insisted the anonymous source of the forged document on which they based the 60 Minutes story was "unimpeachable." But they knew all along he was Bill Burket, a long-time Democratic activist and Bush-hater who at the time was actively campaigning against the President.
As shocking as Rather and CBS's serial lying was, I treated it as what the Brits call a "one off."
But once I started blogging and had to research stories, I realized Rather and CBS's deception wasn't a "one off" but something that was often just "business as usual" in the MSM world.
One of the most shameful examples of MSM dishonesty I encountered while blogging is exposed in the post below which I published Oct 16, 2007.
When I called the N&O story in question to the attention of Melanie Sill, then the N&O's executive editor for news, she never responded.
Ted Vaden, then the N&O's public editor, first told me the story had come from the NY Times' wire (true).
When I told him the N&O was nevertheless responsible for printing it and should retract it, with the retraction including at least a link to Gen. Sanchez's speech, Vaden became angry and said the N&O wasn't in business to satisfy me.
Now to the post: On Sanchez, The N&O Deceived Us
Readers Note: Portions of this post are cut and paste from a copy of General Sanchez's speech which was all in capital letters.
Across the top of the McClatchy Company’s liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer’s October 13 front-page ran the headline:
Iraq a 'nightmare,' general saysThe N&O’s story began:
A year after his retirement, Ricardo Sanchez, who led U.S. forces during the Abu Ghraib scandal, levels a broad, biting attack
In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top commander of American forces there called the Bush administration's handling of the war "incompetent" and said the result is "a nightmare with no end in sight."There’s a lot more in the story. It all flows nicely with the opening paragraphs.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who retired in 2006 after being replaced in Iraq after the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, blamed the Bush administration for a "catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan" and denounced the current addition of American forces as a "desperate" move that would not achieve long-term stability.
The entire N&O story is here.
But nowhere in its report of Sanchez’s speech (full text here), delivered Oct. 12 at the Military Reporters and Editors luncheon in Washington, did the N&O tell readers Sanchez said to the journalists:
TOUGH REPORTING THAT RELIES UPON INTEGRITY, OBJECTIVITY AND FAIRNESS TO GIVE ACCURATE AND THOROUGH ACCOUNTS … STRENGTHEN OUR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND IN TURN OUR DEMOCRACY.About half of Sanchez speech was like that: sharp criticism of unscrupulous reporting of the Iraq War by many journalists and news organizations.
ON THE OTHER HAND, UNFORTUNATELY, I HAVE ISSUED ULTIMATUMS TO SOME OF YOU FOR UNSCRUPULOUS REPORTING THAT WAS SOLELY FOCUSED ON SUPPORTING YOUR AGENDA AND PRECONCIEVED NOTIONS OF WHAT OUR MILITARY HAD DONE.
A trustworthy newspaper would have told us that. The N&O didn't
Here’s more of what Sanchez said:
OTHER MAJOR CHALLENGES ARE YOUR WILLINGNESS TO BE MANIPULATED BY "HIGH LEVEL OFFICIALS" WHO LEAK STORIES AND BY LAWYERS WHO USE HYPERBOLE TO STRENGHTEN THEIR ARGUMENTS.Even if you’re a Democrat who worries that if America succeeds in Iraq it could be good for Republicans, don’t you think the N&O should have reported at least some of Sanchez blistering exposure of so much of MSM's Iraq War “reporting?”
YOUR UNWILLINGNESS TO ACCURATELY AND PROMINENTLY CORRECT YOUR MISTAKES AND YOUR AGENDA DRIVEN BIASES CONTRIBUTE TO THIS CORROSIVE ENVIRONMENT.
ALL OF THESE CHALLENGES COMBINED CREATE A MEDIA ENVIRONMENT THAT DOES A TREMENDOUS DISSERVICE TO AMERICA.
OVER THE COURSE OF THIS WAR TACTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT EVENTS HAVE BECOME STRATEGIC DEFEATS FOR AMERICA BECAUSE OF THE TREMENDOUS POWER AND IMPACT OF THE MEDIA AND BY EXTENSION YOU THE JOURNALIST. IN MANY CASES THE MEDIA HAS UNJUSTLY DESTROYED THE INDIVIDUAL REPUTATIONS AND CAREERS OF THOSE INVOLVED.
THE DEATH KNELL OF YOUR ETHICS HAS BEEN ENABLED BY YOUR PARENT ORGANIZATIONS WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH POLITICAL AGENDAS.Don’t you agree the Bush-hating, Moveon.org types at the N&O should have at least reported General Sanchez said some journalists’ and news organizations’ partisan politics “are destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war?”
WHAT IS CLEAR TO ME IS THAT YOU ARE PERPETUATING THE CORROSIVE PARTISAN POLITICS THAT IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY AND KILLING OUR SERVICEMEMBERS WHO ARE AT WAR.
Sometimes I ask myself whether I’m too hard on the N&O and other such MSM news organizations.
But the N&O’s deliberate deception concerning what Sanchez actually said, which deception most other MSM news organizations also engaged in, leaves me thinking I’m not too hard on the N&O and other news organizations whose actions are, as General Sanchez says, "destroying our country and killing our service members.”
I’ll send N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill and public editor Ted Vaden links to this post and invite their responses.
Both Sill and Vaden tell readers the N&O observes the very highest of ethical journalism standards and that its news reporting is fair and accurate. There are many devoted N&O readers who believe that.
You'll get a good idea of their journalism ethics and what they mean by fair and accutate if read the N&O's story here and General Sanchez's speech here.
Americans who want this country to survive and our troops to have as much protection as possible need to do things to lessen the influence of MSM and get the truth out there.
In the coming days I’ll be posting about things we can do to help make that happen.
The Sanchez story reminds of of how urgent and important that task is.
Hat tip: Mike Williams
Posted by JWM at 2:41 PM
Attorney and former Chronicle editor Ed Rickards writes frequently about Duke’s finances. Often what he says has not been confirmed by Duke or appeared in The Chronicle.
But Ed’s numbers have always stood up as have his analysis of what the numbers mean for Duke.
A few days ago Ed sent the following - - -
I have just acquired new figures about Duke's soaring legal bills.
-- these are for the 2007-2008 school year. Nothing more current will surface for at least nine months.
-- Duke does not indicate the reason for these soaring costs. But I follow Duke affairs closely, and know of no other substantial litigation other than the lacrosse cases.
-- The biggest bill comes from Jamie Gorelik and her Washington law firm, apparently performed through their Philadelphia office. We know this firm was retained to work on lacrosse matters.
So we start with the term "legal fees."
It's not known if this includes reimbursement of expenses to law firms. For example if a lawyer flies to Durham, is it covered on this line or under the line for "travel." These law firms run up substantial bills in addition to fees -- charging for every xerox and paper clip.
New legal costs figure:
2007-2008 academic year --- $17,040,989
Previously known legal costs figures:
2006-2007 --- $10,207,165
2005-2006 --- $5,879,719
2004-2005 --- $4,316,301
Note: the Prosecutor Nifong - Prostitute Mangum hoax embraced three months of the 2005-2006 school year.
Note: the leap from $10 million to $17 million is extraordinary. 70 percent. In this period, undergraduate financial aid only increased 11 percent, a Brodhead priority.
For the first time, I can report on fees paid to Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering. Their partner Jamie Goreleck was retained to review the lacrosse litigation. So far as is known, this is their only activity for Duke.
Wilmer,Cutler has leaped to the 5th largest professional contractor dealing with Duke University, with payments during the 2007-2008 academic year for professional fees of $1,966,288. This law firm charges at least $800 an hour for a partner's time. At least. Again, I do not know if this total embraces all the costs the firm runs up or just fees for lawyers.
Folks, I’ll say three things:
1) --- I don’t doubt what Ed’s reporting.
Many of you will recall Ed’s op-eds in the Durham Herald Sun and my posts here reporting information he provided which weeks and months later Duke would finally confirm.
Ed, for example, revealed Duke’s huge endowment drop at a time when President Richard Brodhead and BOT Chair Robert Steel were fobbing off the university community off with a faux back-and-forth routine reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy.
“Things are just fine and there’s no need to worry, right Ollie?”
“That's right, Stanley. And that’s because we’ve managed the endowment so wisely.”
2) --- I checked last night with two attorneys not themselves employed by Duke, or members of law firms representing Duke, or firms who’ve represented litigants in cases growing out of Duke’s scandalous response to Mangum and Nifong lies, which cases have been settled, or firms representing plaintiffs who’ve brought still unsettled suits against Duke in connection with its scandalous response to Mangum’s and Nifong’s lies.
The attorneys told me the figures Ed’s presented seem, if anything, low given all that’s transpired.
They also noted that attorneys usually bill clients such as Duke in arrears, so that Duke’s actual legal costs to date are almost certainly significantly higher than what Ed’s reporting.
There’s more I’d like to report but time is very short.
3) -- Why haven’t The Chronicle and Duke Magazine reported on the costs of defending Brodhead, Steel and the rest of the Duke Defendants?
Both publications claim to serve the Duke community.
But keeping secret the huge attorneys’ and settlement fees Duke's already run up only serves the interests of Brodhead, Steel, the other trustees, the other Duke Defendants, and many others not named as defendants in any suit but who did their part in crafting and/or enabling the most disgraceful chapter in Duke’s history since it officially repudiated racial segregation practices.
Posted by JWM at 12:58 PM
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
(One of a series of daily posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
As we move toward the end of the series this Thursday, here are parts or all of previous posts revealing Churchill's robust sense of humor which included his ability to laugh at himself.
From the introduction to Martin Gilbert's Churchill and America:
Churchill was proud of his American ancestry. During a discussion at the Truman White House in 1952, to standardize the type of rifle to be used by the two countries' armies, the following exchange took place between Churchill and the senior British officer present:Here are two more from Churchill that should have you smiling.
Field Marshall Slim: "Well, I suppose we could experiment with a bastard rifle, party American, partly British."
Churchill: "Kindly moderate your language, Field Marshall. It may be recalled that I am myself partly British, partly American."
Once during his last years in the Commons and not for the first time, he'd dozed off during a wordy Member's long, rambling speech.
Afterwards, in the Commons Smoking Room, the obviously irritated Member approached Churchill.
“Must you always fall asleep when I am speaking?”
“No, it’s entirely voluntary.”
That one’s off the top of my head.
This next one is found in Stephen Hayward’s Churchill on Leadership (Forum, 1997). As Hayward tells it:
When the Labour Party’s 1950 housing policy chose the term “accommodation unit” to denote houses and apartments, Churchill, then Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, had a field day: “I don’t know how we are going to sing our old song ‘Home Sweet Home.’The Labour government soon abandoned the use of "Accommodation Unit."
‘Accommodation Unit, Sweet Accommodation Unit, there’s no place like our Accommodation Unit.’
I hope I live long enough to see British democracy spit all this rubbish from their lips.” (p. 101)
Did you know Churchill disliked whistling? His aides did and made sure not to whistle when he was around.
But there was a London newsboy who didn’t know about Churchill’s dislike. What’s more, when he learned of it from Churchill himself, the boy didn’t care.
The incident happened one day as Churchill and his bodyguard, Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, were making the short walk from Parliament to 10 Downing Street. As Thompson tells it:
Approaching …(us) was a boy of about thirteen years of age, hands in pockets, newspapers under his arms, whistling loudly and cheerfully.
When the boy drew near, Winston hunched his shoulders, walked towards the boy and said in a stern voice: “Stop that whistling.”
The boy looked up at the Prime Minister with complete unconcern and answered: “Why should I?”
“Because I don’t like it and it’s a horrible noise,” growled Winston.
The boy moved onwards a few steps, then turned round and called out: “Well, you can shut your ears, can’t you?”
With that he walked on.
Winston was completely taken aback , and for a moment he looked furious. Then, as he crossed the road, he began to smile and quietly repeated to himself the words “You can shut your ears, can’t you?” and followed it up with a hearty chuckle.
I think Churchill chuckled because in his mind’s eye he saw something of himself in the boy.
The incident is recounted in Tom Hickman's Churchill's Bodyguard. (pgs, 116-117)
According to state education officials, nearly three-quarters of the people who took the state elementary school teacher’s licensing exam this year failed the new math section.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the results Tuesday. They say that only 27 percent of the more than 600 candidates who took the test passed. The test was administered in March of this year.
The teacher’s licensing exam tested potential teachers on their knowledge of elementary school mathematics. This included geometry, statistics, and probability.
Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester was not surprised by the results. He told the Boston Globe that these results indicate many students are not receiving an adequate math education.
Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents , said "The high failure rate puts a shining light on a deficiency in teacher-prep programs."
My guess is the teachers' union will offer the usual excuses including the test was not valid and too many teacher candidates had to work while going to school.
The union and the liberal/leftist media will also offer their usual solution: more money, right now!
Hat tip: Drudge Report
Posted by JWM at 10:19 PM
The AP’s reporting - - -
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid became the latest Democrat to stray into rhetorical trouble Tuesday, botching statements on three subjects in one news conference — including the fragile health of the chamber's most senior members.
The Nevada Democrat reported that one of them, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was absent because he was receiving a new round of treatment for his brain cancer. Asked if the cancer was in remission, Reid replied, "As far as I know, it is, yes."
Kennedy's office refused to confirm Reid's comments or make any statement in response, the public silence a classic Washington disavowal.
Reid was then asked about Sen. Robert C. Byrd, at 91 the longest-serving senator in history, who was hospitalized over the weekend for an infection. Reid reported that Byrd was to be released from the hospital Tuesday or perhaps later in the week.
"Senator Byrd is improving," responded his spokesman, Jesse Jacobs. "But his doctors, in consultation with his family, have not yet determined when he will be released."
There rest of the AP’s story’s here.
If Harry Reid’s gotten things wrong, who'll be surprised?
While we wait to find out, let’s keep for Sens. Kennedy and Byrd what the Quakers call “the good hope.”
Posted by JWM at 9:52 PM
The Hill reports - - -
Sen. Edward Kennedy’s brain cancer is in remission and he is expected back in the Senate after the Memorial Day recess to spearhead healthcare reform, according to Democratic colleagues.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he spoke with Kennedy’s wife, Vicki, in the past few days and was told the 77-year-old lawmaker is “doing fine.”
Reid said Kennedy’s cancer is in remission and added that while the lawmaker is going through another regiment of treatment, the procedure “is not unusual.”
“This is something we expected,” he said.
Kennedy, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has been mostly absent from the chamber for the past year, recovering in Florida and Massachusetts. ...
The rest of The Hill's report's here.
I hope the report is true even as I wonder why the announcement didn't come directly from the Senator's office or his wife.
Posted by JWM at 7:15 PM
A boy about 11 once told me he had "a real good teacher."
So I asked him what made her "a real good teacher:"
Well, you learn a lot in her class. And she's not mean or nothing. But if you mess, she gets you.He nailed it.
Just about all the good teachers we've known have been that way, haven't they?
Posted by JWM at 5:52 PM
On May 12, 2006 I posted with tongue in cheek Raleigh N&O editor admits mistake. Just a teeny-weeny one.
Here's most of it followed by JinC Regular AC's sharp comment popping the editor's "see how good we are" balloon.
Do you think The McClatchy Company's Raleigh N&O exec editor for news, Melanie Sill, can't admit mistakes? Think again.
Sill's posted about:
A recent goof in which we referred twice in the same paragraph to utility "polls"See that? The N&O said "polls" when it meant "poles." That's a mistake Sill won't stand for.
Sill's assured faithful N&O readers:
[W]e have stepped up training for N&O journalists to raise our skills and improve the quality of our work.Do you believe it? Confusing "polls" with "poles" is what it took to get The N&O to "raise our skills and improve?"
No, you don't believe it, do you?
Neither do I.
I think what Sill is trying to do is look like she's "responsive" while she ignores readers outraged by The N&O's biased and inflamatory "reporting" on the Duke lacrosse case.
Now AC's comment:
Wee will have to weight and sea weather or knot they Polish there behavior.
Posted by JWM at 4:15 PM
Liestoppers Meeting has a “conversation” going about the publication of retired Durham District Court judge Craig Brown's book. I hope you’ll drop in on the "conversation" here.
LM’s “conversation" remained me that Brown and attorney J. Wesley (Was) Covington, a defendant in the civil suits brought by victims of the Duke-Durham frame-up attempt, are long-time friends who each have a disgraceful professional history.
At the NC State Bar’s website you find the following summary disciplinary notice from 2000. Brown is not mentioned but he’s the judge involved who signed off on everything you’re about to read:
Following a trial in October 1999, three Durham attorneys were disciplined by the DHC for their roles in resolving a DWI case in the back hall of the Durham County Courthouse in September 1998.On May 6, 2000 the Raleigh N&O reported:
J. Wesley Covington’s law license was suspended for three years, and all but 180 days of the suspension was stayed for five years on various conditions. The law license of Ralph B. Strickland was suspended for three years, and all but 120 days of the suspension was stayed for five years on various conditions. Brian Beasley, the third defendant, was reprimanded by the DHC.
The commission found, inter alia, that Covington facilitated and participated in the disposition of the DWI case by entering a judgment of careless and reckless driving in a courthouse hallway, even though the defendant had not been charged with careless and reckless driving.
The commission also found that Covington arranged the absence of a material witness. The DHC found that Strickland agreed to entry of the judgment of careless and reckless driving in the DWI case, but that he was not present when the case was actually resolved. Finally, the commission found that Beasley assisted in entering the judgment of careless and reckless driving in the DWI case.
The state Supreme Court on Friday ordered that District Court Judge Craig Brown be censured for his handling of two drunken-driving cases.The entire N&O story’s here. (reg. req’d)
In a unanimous opinion, the justices said the evidence against Brown clearly showed that his actions in one of the cases, the back-hallway dismissal of a drunken-driving charge against Kenneth Podger, a Durham dentist, "unquestionably warrants censure," and that Brown had overstepped his authority and had engaged in misconduct.
"We will not condone his conduct," the court wrote. "It is deserving of our harshest criticism." …
Noting that Brown is the only judge to be censured in modern times, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson of Durham said: "It brings to end an ugly chapter in Durham judicial history."
The case exposed the inner workings of the Durham courthouse, revealing close ties between a powerful attorney, J. Wesley Covington, and the District Attorney's Office.
The N.C. State Bar suspended Covington's law license along with that of the assistant district attorney who helped set up the Podger deal, Ralph Strickland.
The State Bureau of Investigation is still looking into two other cases involving Brown and Covington where old drunken-driving convictions were thrown out and felony records were erased.
In the Podger case, the dentist spun out on the Durham Freeway in 1998. He registered nearly twice the legal limit on an alcohol-breath test and had two prior alcohol-related driving charges, one within seven years of the 1998 charge.
Normally Podger would have gone to jail, but instead, in a back hallway without a court clerk and key witnesses present, Brown accepted a plea to a lesser charge - careless and reckless driving - a violation of state law.
But nearly a week before the case was handled, a young lawyer, Bill Fleming, said he witnessed Brown and Covington, Podger's attorney, strike a deal to improperly reduce the DWI for a $10,000 fee.
On the advice of Orange District Attorney Carl Fox, Fleming called the SBI. He told the agency that he knew how the case would be resolved - two days before it went to court.
The Supreme Court said the evidence supported Fleming's claims and showed that Brown had an unlawful meeting with Covington. …
On Aug. 16, 2007 newswire.com reported:
Following on the heels of the recent scandal involving Durham Prosecutor Mike Nifong’s handling of the Duke Rape Case, a Durham family court judge acted today to imperil the life of an innocent eleven year old boy.The rest of the newswire story’s here.
After hearing testimony in a trial last week from a former FBI agent and a retired colonel from the Colombian DAS (FBI) that travel to Colombia would be life-threatening for Alejandro Ramirez, age eleven, Judge Craig B. Brown nonetheless ordered the boy to visit his estranged, abusive and non-supportive biological father in Colombia.
The judge announced his decision mid-way through the trial via a newspaper interview with reporter John Stevenson of the Durham Herald-Sun Newspaper. The newspaper article was published today. (bold added)
The former FBI agent, Mr. Michael Youngs of Miami, Florida, and Colonel Homero Rodriquez-Garcia of the Colombian DAS gave graphic testimony about the many dangers prevalent in Colombia. They testified that travel to Colombia would put Alejandro at grave risk of kidnapping by guerillas or others because he is from a well-known, wealthy U.S. family.
Reputable witnesses also testified that the biological father has threatened to kidnap the boy if he is forced to return to Colombia.
There is an official U.S. State Department travel advisory warning in effect for Colombia. Colombia is rife with kidnapping, narco-terrorism, guerilla warfare and general lawlessness. Malaria and other deadly tropical diseases are prevalent in much of the country. …
Also in 2007 Covington was for a second time subject to State Bar discipline but the Bar did not disbar him. You can read about the Bar’s action on this page at its site.
Those of you with an appreciation for irony should be sure to go to the top of the page where you’ll read the Bar’s announcement of Mike Nifong's disbarment.
Posted by JWM at 2:16 PM
Monday, May 18, 2009
(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston Churchill.)
Readers Note: By now many of you know I’ll be shutting down JinC this Thursday. Recent additions to my professional responsibilities and some additional ones in the offing mean I'll no longer have time to blog as I’d like.
With a view toward Thursday’s close, I’ll be doing the following. Sharing with you today a Mona Charen column; posting tomorrow on Churchill’s humor; posting Wednesday my favorite series post; and ending Thursday with what I consider the series' most important post.
I thank all of you who’ve commented here at JinC and offline for your very kind words. I appreciate them very much.
This Mona Charen column, published Jan. 3, 2000, is a fine appreciation of Churchill. It’s also a fine example of what punditry is supposed to do: provide wise opinions based on facts and sound reasoning.
Charen begins - - -
TIME MAGAZINE is wrong about the Man of the Century. Albert Einstein was the prototypical genius of our time, yes. And his personal gentleness and modesty made him the most appealing symbol in history of the towering intellect.
But by Time's criteria for Man of the Year (or decade or century), the test is not greatness alone, but rather influence on the course of history. And in this, Time has surely erred.
Walter Isaacson, Time's editor, explains the decision to choose Einstein on grounds that the 20th century will be recalled primarily for its advances in science and technology.
Certainly those advances have been dazzling. Thanks to inventions from antibiotics to electrification, the average human life span has increased by 30 years, and per capita income has increased seven-fold.
We can all chuckle, as Time does, about the "bone-headed prediction" made in 1899 by the U.S. Patent Office director Charles Duell: "Everything that can be invented has been invented."
Time is not making Duell's error, it is making a different error -- overestimating the importance of scientific discovery and underestimating the climate which makes such discovery possible.
Scientific discovery is cumulative -- new discoveries rests upon what others have already done. Many major breakthroughs, like calculus and natural selection, were made simultaneously by two or more scientists working independently. This was not the case with Einstein.
My late father, a physics professor, used to say that when Einstein first published "Special Relativity" in 1905, there were only a dozen or so humans alive who really understood it. But people rapidly assimilated the new knowledge -- because its time had come. Einstein himself gave credit for his discoveries to the giants who had preceded him.
But the wonders we enjoy, from air conditioning to the Internet, were not simply the contributions of science. They were possible only because a humane civilization existed to enable them.
The man who was most responsible for saving that civilization was Sir Winston Churchill.
Churchill was so great that it is almost impossible to overstate his contribution. Alone among major statesmen during the 1930s, he was able to transcend the mood of his time (extreme war weariness -- totally understandable in the aftermath of World War I) and recognize the threat from Nazi Germany.
If Churchill had never been born, it is possible, even likely, that Hitler would have won the Second World War and gone on to dominate most of the globe.
Needless to say, if Hitler had succeeded, there would have been no Western world -- as we understand the term -- to permit developments like the discovery of DNA, or television, or computers.
Without human rights, property rights and the rule of law, none of it would have been possible.
But Churchill also recognized and held firm against the other great threat and menace of the 20th century -- communism. His fellow warrior against Hitler, Franklin Roosevelt, totally misread the Soviet danger (as did Einstein, by the way).
Time considered Churchill, but rejected him because he wanted to hang on to Britain's empire. They gave more serious consideration to Mohandas Ghandi. How very PC.
But was Churchill wrong to resist the pell-mell rush to hand India over when the result was one of the worst massacres of the post-war world? (Some 1 million Hindus and Muslims were butchered by one another.)
Watching the slaughter that would later claim him unfold, Ghandi said, "Such a happening is unparalleled in the history of the world and it makes me hang my head in shame."
That Ghandi was considered by Time repeats the same error as choosing Einstein. It fails to account for the context of his struggle. Only a nation like Great Britain or the United States (Martin Luther King was also considered) is susceptible to the moral example of protesters like Ghandi.
Try that stuff with the Nazis or the Soviets and you could count your life in days.
Churchill is out of fashion today because he was an aristocrat, an elitist and an imperialist.
Yet without him, the humane, rights-respecting, law-abiding civilization we take for granted would have been rubble -- rubble presided over by genocidal criminals.
Time long ago dubbed the 20th "the American century," but without Churchill it would have been the tyrants' century.
Like her fellow Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd will tell she doesn’t approve of misleading the public.
With that in mind, consider the following from a May 15, 2003 Times Watch post:
Columnist Maureen Dowd dishonestly quotes President Bush to make him look wrong about the dangers posed by Al Qaeda terrorists [.]
In “Osama’s Offspring,” Dowd uses the Al Qaeda bombings in Riyadh Monday night to accuse the Bush administration of carrying an attitude of “lulling triumphalism” over Al Qaeda.
“Busy chasing off Saddam,” Dowd writes, “the president and vice president had told us that Al Qaeda was spent. ‘Al Qaeda is on the run,’ President Bush said last week. ‘That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated…They're not a problem anymore.’”
Bush said no such thing, and Dowd knows it. In fact, Dowd uses ellipses…to hide the truth. As reader Robert Cox brought to my attention, here’s what Bush actually said in Arkansas May 5:
“Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top Al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore. (Applause.) And we'll stay on the hunt. To make sure America is a secure country, the Al Qaeda terrorists have got to understand it doesn't matter how long it's going to take, they will be brought to justice.” (bold added)
Notice the third sentence of Bush’s speech: It’s clear Bush is only talking about the top Al Qaeda operatives that “are either jailed or dead” as being “not a problem anymore”--not the Al Qaeda organization itself.
Dowd dishonestly deleted that sentence and the first three words of the next one to make Bush “ say” Al Qaeda was no longer a threat. Bush’s additional assertion “it doesn’t matter how long it’s going to take, they will be brought to justice” makes it clear Bush considers the war on Al Qaeda an ongoing one.
Meanwhile, Dowd carries on a rear-guard action against the truth.
Folks, as you'd quess, there was more to come.
On May 22, just eight days after the Times published Dowd’s falsehood, blogger Brendan Nyhan at Spinsanity informed readers:
This falsehood has also been repeated in a wide array of foreign news reports and op-eds: The Straits Times of Singapore (5/15), The Irish Times (5/16), The Sydney Morning Herald (5/17) and Courier Mail (5/18) in Australia, Toronto Star in Canada (5/18), Gulf News of the United Arab Emirates (5/19), Canada's National Post (5/20) and Winnipeg Sun/Edmonton Sun (5/21) and, finally, The Irish Times again (5/21).
Critics have every right to object to Bush's statement if they believe it mischaracterizes the threat from Al Qaeda. But they also have a responsibility to accurately represent what the President actually said, rather than repeating Dowd's distorted quotation.
The New York Times - and the other outlets that have disseminated the myth - should let their readers know the full context of Bush's statement.
The rapid spread of this myth is yet another sad commentary on the state of American political journalism.
The Times has never added a correction to Dowd’s May 14, 2003 column as you can see by viewing the column at the NYT's site here.
Meanwhile, Dowd continues to excoriate President Bush and members of his administration for what Dowd says were statements misleading the public.
Dowd's an unrepentant deceiver.
Posted by JWM at 6:09 PM
I want to give you a heads-up I'll be shutting down JinC this Thursday.
My professional responsibilities have grown recently and will soon grow again.
I can't meet those responsibilities and blog. I'll have to content myself with occasional commenting at blogs and other Internet publications.
I’m going to miss blogging and the interactions with the great majority of you, particularly those I count as Regulars and “editors.”
You all have added a great deal to this blog. I’ll try in the next few days to say how and to adequately express my gratitude to you.
I won't mention anyone by name for fear of inadvertently forgetting to mention others.
I also plan a few posts in which I'll share some of the things I've learned or had reinforced by blogging.
There will also be a post giving you my current views on the Raleigh N&O Duke lacrosse coverage, a post explaining why I think the N&O has never apologized for that coverage, and a post examining KC Johnson's treatment of the N&O’s coverage as expressed in Until Proven Innocent, the book he co-authored with Stuart Taylor and KC’s posts at his Durham in Wonderland blog.
I’ve done some looking back through the JinC achieves and found posts I want to repost for one reason or another. Sometimes it's for a serious purpose and sometimes it just for fun. In one instance it will be for both.
And I hope there'll be a few other posts as time permits.
So there’ll be full posting between now and the close on Thursday.
I hope you'll visit often.
Posted by JWM at 5:34 PM
Excerpts from a WSJ editorial with my comments below the star line:
WSJ says - - -
… Massachusetts Senator John Kerry [recently] held a hearing on the future of newspapers -- and how the federal government can help. "If we take seriously this notion that the press is the fourth estate, or the fourth branch of government," Mr. Kerry said in a prepared statement, it's time we consider its importance to democracy.
Talk about a Freudian slip. Newspapers becoming the "fourth branch of government" is exactly what people most fear from any hand extended to save an independent press. (bold added)
Mr. Kerry is especially worried about the Boston Globe, which admires him greatly and was recently threatened with closure in a showdown between unions and its owner the New York Times Co.
In its most recent endorsement of Mr. Kerry last October, the Globe enthused that "The case for reelecting John Kerry would be strong under any circumstances . . .
[but] the country needs his voice more than ever." …
The entire editorial’s here.
We can all agree Kerry owes the Globe a huge debt. It’s been a faithful Kerry supporter throughout his long career.
Kerry certainly must have appreciated the Globe's friendly underreporting of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’s May 2004 press conference at which the veterans: 1) challenged Kerry to sign Form 180 which would have granted the public access to all Kerry’s Navy records; and 2) announced the forthcoming publication of a book which would document false statements Kerry had made over the year about his military service and the conduct of America's military in Vietnam.
But just because Kerry owes the Globe doesn’t mean the taxpayers should get stuck paying off the paper with some form of bailout.
Kerry should pay the Globe whatever he thinks he owes it out of his own pocket and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry’s billion+ pocketbook.
Posted by JWM at 1:54 PM
When school children plagiarize, we let them know they shouldn’t do it and tell ourselves: “They’re young; they’ll learn.”
But what are we to do when
Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen posts - - -
As you may have heard by now, the New York Times' Maureen Dowd ran into a little trouble over the weekend. A TPM Cafe blogger noticed a phrase in the Pulitzer Prize winning columnist's latest piece that sounded pretty familiar.
Here's Dowd, yesterday:
More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of
And here's TPM's Josh Marshall, in a post on Thursday:
More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of
Where Josh wrote "we were," Dowd wrote "the Bush crowd was." The other 41 words, including every comma, are exactly the same.
I'd assumed that Dowd would chalk this up to a careless error, perhaps pin it on a research assistant, explain that she meant to credit TPM, and express contrition over the mix-up.
But that's not quite what transpired.
Dowd told the Huffington Post that the quote was obviously from TPM, but said she doesn't read the blog. "I was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing who suggested I make this point, expressing it in a cogent -- and I assumed spontaneous -- way and I wanted to weave the idea into my column," Dowd said. "But, clearly, my friend must have read Josh Marshall without mentioning that to me."
That's not much of a response. The friend told Dowd an exact-word quote, including the commas, and she "weaved" it into her column? (It seems more likely to me the friend emailed Dowd the paragraph, Dowd liked it, and pasted the paragraph into her column.)
Dowd's explanation is, to put it mildly, unpersuasive. In fact, Jamison Foser asks the right question: "So how do you think Maureen Dowd would react if, say, Joe Biden ripped off a few dozen of someone else's words, then offered up an excuse this lame? Or if Al Gore did?"
Benen’s entire excellent post’s here. Some great comments follow it.
Here’s one from The Answer Is Green - - -
This reminds me of the time I had to flunk a kid because he handed in a Rudyard Kipling poem as his own and his defense was, "Oh, my friend gave that to me; I thought HE wrote it!"
It did not seem to occur to him - as it does not seem to occur to Dowd - that plagiarizing your friend's words is EXACTLY as bad as plagiarizing the published words of someone famous.
What a stain on Josh's reputation as a journalist, to be copied by a talentless hack.
My opinion - - -
For the sake of what remains of its once "gold standard" reputation and out of respect for its readers, the Times should suspend Dowd. But it probably won’t
Hat tip: cks
Posted by JWM at 12:30 PM
Excerpts from a WSJ editorial – “Panetta's Pelosi Smackdown: A truth too hot to handle”
Note especially WSJ’s stinging close:
Our guess is that Nancy Pelosi will come to regret her accusation on Thursday that CIA officials lied to her about their interrogation of terrorists.Isn’t that the truth!
It took only a day for the agency to fire back, in the form of a statement from Director Leon Panetta, a Democrat, an Obama appointee and a long-time California Congressional colleague of the House Speaker. …
Mrs. Pelosi is now caught in a humiliation of her own design that will only escalate if she insists on an interrogation "truth commission." To adapt a famous phrase, we're not sure her reputation can handle the truth.
The entire editorial’s here.
Posted by JWM at 10:46 AM