Friday, July 15, 2005

MSM interviewer: Maybe we provoke them

Following Australia's announcement that it would send another contingent of military personnel to Afghanistan, Prime Minister John Howard had this exchange with Maxine McKew.

MAXINE McKEW: Prime Minister, if as you say you can't rule out that possibility that we could have potential bombers right here in Australia, what if today's announcement, this redeployment to Afghanistan and our continued presence in Iraq is all the provocation they need?

JOHN HOWARD: Maxine, these people are opposed to what we believe in and what we stand for, far more than what we do. If you imagine that you can buy immunity from fanatics by curling yourself in a ball, apologising for the world - to the world - for who you are and what you stand for and what you believe in, not only is that morally bankrupt, but it's also ineffective. Because fanatics despise a lot of things and the things they despise most is weakness and timidity. There has been plenty of evidence through history that fanatics attack weakness and retreating people even more savagely than they do defiant people.

McKew's question is so naive that you might think Howard was responding to a student's question during a ministerial visit to Outback Intermediate School or some such place.

Alas, Maxine McKew is really a grown-up journalist. Her question was part of an interview aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. You can read it here.

As the interview ended, McKew seemed no more aware than when it started. Howard was strong, clear, and smart throughout.

Hat tip:

Thursday, July 14, 2005

London and our real enemies

London Sunday Telegraph editor Matthew d'Ancona reminds us of how some have resisted fighting this war, even claiming Bush and Blair were the "real problems."

The low point was the moment in March when the Tory whips, having forced the Government to insert an automatic expiry date into its Prevention of Terrorism Bill - the "sunset clause" - brayed that they were off to uncork the champagne. To celebrate what, I wondered at the time. Who was their real enemy? Bin Laden - or Blair?

Of course, some are still resisting. But in the aftermath of the London bombings, it's harder to resist.

This week, there were no champagne toasts in the Commons, no games or cheap shots or debating flourishes; only a collective flinch at reality's harshest smack. As the death toll clambered over 50, and the perpetrators were revealed to be British-born suicide bombers, the decadence drained from the system. The political consensus will not last, of course.

But the arguments that follow will be conducted in a new and awful context: namely, the absolute, incontrovertible knowledge, spelt out in the blood of Londoners, that this war is now being waged in our very midst. "It is a war," one Cabinet minister said to me. "People didn't believe that till last Thursday. But they do now."

d'Ancona outlines what needs to be faced by all of us as we prosecute a new kind of war. Here's the start of his outline:

This war, of course, is like nothing that has preceded it, which is why it is so tempting to call it something else: a criminal conspiracy, or a series of isolated atrocities carried out by psychopathic mavericks. And yet the analysis that the President and Prime Minister offered after 9/11 now seems more pertinent than ever.

We face three, inextricably linked threats: from Islamist fanatics, from the rogue states that harbour them, and from the deadly weapons which they seek to acquire. Only three months ago, Kamel Bourgass was jailed for 17 years for plotting to unleash ricin on London's streets. Bourgass failed. On July 7, Hasib Hussain, Shehzad Tanweer, Mohammed Sadique Khan and another man succeeded with conventional explosive. What if it had been the other way round?

Denial's not an option for sensible people, is it?

d'Ancona's column is here. I hope you read it all.

Hat tip:

Here's The News & Observer

The lead headline in today's Fayetteville Observer:

Car bomb kiiis 18 children

The lead headline in today's Charlotte Observer:

"They are killing children." Outrage, grief follow Iraq blast that kills 27 - mostly kids - as GIs give out candy, toys.

The lead headline in today's Raleigh News & Observer:

Can Canes win fans back? The NHL and players are close to settling pro sports longest labor dispute.

The N&O doesn't mention the terrorist car bombing anywhere on page 1.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Blogger Hugh Hewitt debunks MSM "reporting."

Talk radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt picked up on a MSM attempt to make the London bombings seem the result of our overthrow of Saddam. Here's part of what Hugh said:

The (Washington)Post report tries to cover for the inane "Iraq is at fault" caucus by noting that:

"Still, the profile of the suspects suggested by investigators fit long-standing warnings by security experts that the greatest potential threat to Britain could come from second-generation Muslims, born here but alienated from British society and perhaps from their own families, and inflamed by Britain's participation in the Iraq war." (This and other bolds by Hewitt)

There is no evidence offered for this astonishing assertion that the Iraq war has anything to do with the massacre. Zero! And none is needed for the true-believers in the MSM. Is this "reporting?" Or cheerleading for an alternative reality where writers feel free to ascribe to murderers their motives?

On Monday, when he was undressing Ron Reagan as the dilettante that young RR is, Christopher Hitchings scolded him:

"I thought I heard you making just before we came on the air, of attributing rationality or a motive to this, and to say that it's about anything but itself, you make a great mistake, and you end up where you ended up, saying that the cause of terrorism is fighting against it, the root cause, I mean." (emphasis added)

Until the MSM grasp this point, they are worse than useless in the GWOT.

Too bad MSM news organizations won't examine what they're doing to imflame people inclined toward sympathy with the terrorists.

Hewitt's July 13 post provides links to the Post and Reagan/Hitchings pieces.

N&O editors' nonsense and others' good sense.

Following the London bombings, the News and Observer editorialized that "deprivation and suffering ... in Palestine and Africa ... feeds terrorism."

Deprivation and suffering feeds terrorism? Nonsense!

Deprivation and suffering don't feed a desire to kill children sitting beside their grandparents or asleep in their beds.

Deprivation and suffering don't feed a desire to kill homosexuals or Christians or Hindus or Muslims.

Deprivation and suffering don't lead people to time bombs so that one explodes minutes after the other, and just as rescue workers arrive to help victims of the first bomb.

Didn't the N&O's editors ever learn about Osama and Arafat's wealth; or that Atta came from a well-to-do family and had a university degree; or that America's best known terrorist, John Walker Lindh, was raised by an upper-middle class California family proud of its liberal orientation?

What would the editors think of a claim that wealth, formal education, liberalism or some combination of the three feeds terrorism? I hope they'd dismiss it as nonsense.

I could say more but I'll spare you for now, and instead offer links to the kind of great good sense I've never found in N&O editorials.

The first link is to Mark Steyn's 7/12 column in London's Daily Telegraph. Here's part of it:

Terrorism ends when the broader culture refuses to tolerate it. There would be few if any suicide bombers in the Middle East if "martyrdom" were not glorified by imams and politicians, if pictures of local "martyrs" were not proudly displayed in West Bank grocery stores, if Muslim banks did not offer special "martyrdom" accounts to the relicts thereof, if schools did not run essay competitions on "Why I want to grow up to be a martyr."

At this point, many readers will be indignantly protesting that this is all the fault of Israeli "occupation," but how does that explain suicide bombings in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where there's not a Zionist oppressor for hundreds of miles? Islam has become the world's pre-eminent incubator of terrorism at its most depraved. Indeed, so far London has experienced only the lighter items on the bill of fare - random bombing of public transport rather than decapitation, child sacrifice and schoolhouse massacres.

The second link is to a London Times report of post-bombing British public opinion survey results on some security issues. The Times speaks of "variations," but it seems to me that British opinion is overwhelming in a one direction.

Here's a bit of the Times article. I hope you read the whole thing.

Those living the furthest away from London were the strongest supporters of tough action. While 95 per cent of Scots support security checks and baggage inspections at stations, 84 per cent in London and the South East back this measure.

Working-class respondents were stronger supporters than the middle classes of giving the police new powers. While 93 per cent of unskilled workers wanted the police to have new powers to arrest people suspected of planning terrorist acts, 79 per cent of professionals and managers did so.

Yes, there's 93 per cent here and 79 per cent there but it all adds up to the Brits, like most of us, not wanting to be killed. And they want their government to make sure their not.

Now if we could only convince some folks here that Americans feel the same way...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Is there bias at the News & Observer?

Raleigh News and Observer editors admit the paper tilts left on its editorial page.

How about its news coverage?

"No tilt or bias there," the editors claim. "Or at least hardly ever."

And what happens when an editor spots something in story selection or reporting that even hints of bias? We're assured the N&O quickly corrects the problem.

But if that's the case, why did the N&O run many stories, including a front-pager, about trips which may have violated U.S. House rules that Republican Rep. Tom DeLay took, without ever running a single story about similarly questionable trips Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi took?

Pelosi filed documents about her questionable trips with the appropriate U.S. House agency on June 30, years after she took the trips, and only after they became the subject of speculation in Washington.

The Washington Post has reported on Pelosi's trips but the N&O so far remains silent.

Why does the N&O give Republican DeLay's trips its front page treatment while giving Democrat Pelosi's trips its silent treatment?

And why was there no N&O coverage for almost two weeks of Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin's speech on the U. S. Senate floor comparing America's military serving at Guantanamo to Nazis, Stalinists, and Pol Pot's genocidalists?

The N&O only reported Durbin's remarks as part of an apology he was forced to make two weeks after his initial smear of our military. The N&O ran the story on the last page of the A section.

That from a newspaper whose circulation area includes some of our major military bases.

Is there bias at the News and Observer? The editors say no.

Sure, and I'm a 5 time Olympic gold medalist.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Washington's Times and Post: A difference

Let's compare The Washington Times' and Washington Post's July 11 covererage of The Center for Media and Public Affairs' study of the 3 major TV networks' coverage of President Bush during the first 100 days of his second term.

The Center's study is titled: "No Second Term Media Honeymoon for Bush." Its major finding: By a 2 to 1 margin, network coverage of Bush was negative.

With the lead, Bush finds no friends at networks, The Washington Times ran a 475 story that began:

President Bush just can't win with the broadcast networks.

More than two-thirds of the news stories on ABC, NBC and CBS covering the first 100 days of Mr. Bush's second term were negative, according to an analysis released today by the District-based Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA).

It's actually a slight improvement: During the first 100 days of his initial term in office, the coverage was 71 percent negative, according to a similar CMPA study conducted in 2001.

In comparison, President Clinton's first-term news coverage was 59 percent negative in 1993.

The Times provided comments by the center's director, specific examples of negative network coverage, and placed the study's findings within the context of past media Bush-bashing.

But Bush-bashing seems to be entrenched. The press "battered" the president during the 2004 election season, according to a Project for Excellence in Journalism analysis of 817 print and broadcast stories that ran in October.

Mr. Bush "suffered strikingly more negative press coverage than challenger John Kerry," the study stated. "Overall, 59 percent of Bush-dominated stories were clearly negative in nature," while "just 25 percent of Kerry stories were decidedly negative."

The Post, on the other hand, didn't run any news story. But Howard Kurtz did mention the study at the bottom of his Media Notes column. Here's all of what Kurtz said:

President Bush got better network news coverage of the first 100 days of his second term than the first time around -- but only by a hair.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs says that 33 percent of the comments about Bush on the CBS, NBC and ABC evening news were positive earlier this year, compared with 29 percent during his first 100 days. ("NBC Nightly News" was kinder and gentler this year, with 43 percent positive evaluations.) In neither period, the center says, did the president approach the positive coverage accorded Bill Clinton (43 percent) or Bush's father (63 percent).

Findings such as those of the Center for Media and Public Affairs and Project for Excellence in Journalism are extremely important.

The Washington Post should report them more fully and fairly.

There's an excellent blog, PostWatch, that reports on the sort of tilted Post coverage described here. Let's hope PostWatch can help improve the Post. Visit PostWatch regularly to see how they're doing.

Study confirms networks are anti-Bush

The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) self-describes as "a nonpartisan research and educational organization which conducts scientific studies of the news and entertainment media." It's just released a study of the 3 major TV networks' coverage of the first 100 days of President Bush's second term.

The study's title: "No Second Term Media Honeymoon for Bush." Its major finding: By a 2 to 1 margin, network coverage of Bush was negative.

While disturbing, the study's finding comes as no surprise. Nevertheless, it's important to have MSM's anti-Bush bias documented so data are there to refute people like Sen. Clinton, Bill Moyers and Paul Krugman when they whine about "vast right-wing media conspiracies."

Here's a link to CMPA's home page where you'll see a place to access the study. It's in pdf form.

Advice to the AP on false report corrections

The AP has issued the following correction:

LONDON - In a July 9 story about Prime Minister Tony Blair's comments on overcoming global terrorism, The Associated Press erroneously reported that he spoke of easing the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Blair did not specifically mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his interview with the British Broadcasting Corp.

Instead of using a weasel phrase like "Blair did not specifically mention the Isreali-Palestinian conflict," the AP should just say, "Blair never mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Associated Press made that part up and sincerely regrets having to acknowledge that."

The AP's correction's here.

Hat Tip:

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Dennis coverage up to the minute

Mudville Gazette has some of the best Dennis coverage.

Up to the minute reports, interactive graphics, information from weather stations hit by the storm: they're all at Mudville.

Just keep scrolling.