Saturday, September 24, 2005

Another threat to MSM news organizations



I'm beginning to recognize the power of photo blogging, and the challenge it poses to MSM news organizations.

Maybe you've known for a while about that challenge. But I haven't, so please listen to my story.

Tonight, Saturday, Sept. 24, I went to Michelle Malkin's blog and saw photos of today's anti-war rally in Washington, where assorted Democrats and Leftists demanded America do what the terrorist al-Zaquari's been demanding: Pull our troops out of Iraq.

The rally photos Michelle posted included one of an activist holding a sign about the Vice-president: "Convict and castrate Cheney." Another was of a group marching down an avenue holding a large banner proclaiming: "911 WAS AN INSIDE JOB." Below that was an Internet address: ""

At other blogs I found more rally photos. One showed activists holding a large sign: "THE POLICE ARE THE REAL TERRORISTS." Another in script declared: "From Baghdad to New Orleans Capitalism means Mass Murder. Socialist Revolution is the Only Answer."

At that point (it was about 9 PM Eastern time) I asked myself: How is MSM reporting all of this?

So I read The Associated Press' Internet account of the rally.

And oh, as the AP told it, the rally was all just grand, and no one carried signs and banners such as I'd just seen.

Here's the AP, a news organization every bit as objective as The New York Times and The BBC, reporting to you:

Crowds opposed to the war in Iraq surged past the White House on Saturday, shouting "Peace now" in the largest anti-war protest in the nation's capital since the U.S. invasion.

The rally stretched through the day and into the night, a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the National Mall.
In the crowd: young activists, nuns whose anti-war activism dates to Vietnam, parents mourning their children in uniform lost in Iraq, and uncountable families motivated for the first time to protest.
And what about the signs and banners, you may be asking? Didn't the AP tell us about them?

Well yes, it did, sort of. But it only mentioned two; and neither one of them have we been talking about. But that doesn't surprise you, does it?

Here's everything the AP told us about signs and banners at the rally:
"Bush Lied, Thousands Died," said one sign. "End the Occupation," said another.
That's it, folks. There was nothing else.

Now, how do you think an MSM news organization such as Raleigh's News and Observer is going to report the rally?

Do you think you'll read anything in The N&O about castrating Vice-president Cheney or that "THE POLICE ARE THE REAL TERRORISTS?"

I don't.

But when The N&O's devoted readers say tomorrow morning after church or coffee or during a cell call, "Well, I didn't see anything in The N&O about the sort of signs you're talking about," the other person is going to be able to say, "I'd like to show you these Internet sites here and here and here."

And therein lies photo blogging's challenge to MSM news organizations like The N&O still trying to hang on to a "we control information; we know what you need to know" world.

Take a look at tomorrow's N&O.

And then let's talk more about all this Monday.


Excellent Rita coverage sites

There are many places to go for excellent Rita coverage. Michelle Malkin and Glenn Reynolds' blogs are two of them.

Closer to home in North Carolina, Confederate Yankee is one of my first stops. He tells us today:

WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC has what appears to be a complete list of links to local television (including some excellent live webcasts) and newspapers in Texas and Louisiana.

So far , it is the absolute best resource I've found for covering Hurricane Rita on a local level.
And visit Raleigh's News and Observer. The paper gave extensive coverage to Katrina and I's sure it'll do the same with Rita.

Let's hope things are not as bad as predicted and do what we can to help.

Cindy's "peace activists" should say a prayer

In February 2003 the following letter to the editor appeared in The Wall Street Journal. It made sense then and does now. It's thoughtful and timely as Cindy Sheehan and the bash-America first, most and always "peace movement" crowd assembles today in Washington.


To the editor

In his Feb. 12 op-ed (The Antiwar Anti-Semites) Rabbi Michael Lerner says: “Imagine my surprise when I found out that I am banned from speaking at a peace really (in San Francisco) this Sunday.” The rally’s organizers banned Lerner, a veteran political activist, after he denounced the anti-Semitism of those on the far left who dominate the leadership of the anti-War movement.

While I admire Lerner for speaking out, I can’t imagine why he was surprised the rally organizers decided to silence him. Surely he knows that the far left, like the far right, tolerates neither dissent from its doctrines nor criticism of its leaders. The American far left would no more tolerate criticism of its anti-Semitism than the Communists and Nazis tolerated criticism of theirs.

Lerner says he will continue his antiwar activities. If one of those activities is a rally at which he speaks, I hope the rabbi will invite the participants to join him in asking God’s blessing on the protectors of their freedoms: America’s Constitutional government, its tolerant citizens, and its armed forces.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Knucklehead of the Day winners

William at Florida Masochist
is a fine blogger who does a lot of good for his community, Palm Beach, and his state.

One way William does good is with his Knucklehead of the Day award. Recipients typically include loud and the lazy bureaucrats looking for reasons to enforce dumb rules and people who carry signs that say things like, "Cindy's real great! Hillary/Cindy in '08!"

Today's Knucklehead winners
are a pair of thieves who stole a gas station employee's car. An hour later they came back to the same station, to gas it up!

Go read. And be sure to take a look around while you're at Florida Masochist.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Turning terrorists loose

Blogger John Byrnes calls our attention to a Sept. 22 London Telegraph report that includes this:

“More than a dozen prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the ‘battlefield’ to fight Americans. The terrorists, freed in the belief that "they posed a very low threat", have either been killed, captured or wounded in attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Others are thought to be still organizing attacks with the Taliban or al Qa'eda.”
John reacts to the Telegraph report with very thoughtful commentary on matters relating to enemy combatants. Here's part of what he says:
It is unlikely that this evidence will convince the left that (Guantanamo) is a necessary evil of modern life. But there is hope that it will convince anyone who merely harbored doubts. It is unfortunate, that America, the symbol of democracy worldwide, must maintain such a prison. But we must remember why.
John makes the "why" so clear even Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Nancy Polosi should understand it:
We didn't ask to be attacked on September 11, 2001. We didn't ask the Taliban to harbor al-Quaeda. We didn't tell them to wage a war of terror. We didn't force them to fight as non-state guerillas. And we certainly didn't tell the prisoners we released to pick up arms again.
Here's John's closer:
Do our liberals have any good answer to the problem? For years we've allowed murderers back on the street in America. Respect for the constitution has forced us to tolerate that. But the constitution calls on the Government to provide for self defense. It does not require us to allow foreigners to walk free while planning our destruction.
John has first hand experience with terrorists and their evil. As a NY National Guard member, he was a responder at the WTC beginning on 9/11; and he recently completed a tour of duty in Iraq.

John's post is here.

To Ralph Neas: Thanks for reminding us

Ralph Neas, president of the liberal advocacy group, People for the American Way, is not a happy guy right now. No one's worked harder than Neas to prevent the confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominees. And now things seem to be falling apart for Neas.

Just yesterday,the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, announced he would vote to confirm Judge Roberts. That threw Neas into a fit of anger:

''When John Roberts becomes chief justice and votes to erode or overturn longstanding Supreme Court precedents protecting fundamental civil rights, women's rights, privacy, religious liberty, reproductive rights, and environmental safeguards, Senator Leahy's support for Roberts will make him complicit in those rulings."
Gone now are what for Neas were the happy days when he could insist that eminently qualified nominees like Miquel Estrada and Priscilla Owen not even get a full Senate vote on their nominations. That both had received the American Bar Association's highest rating for judicial nominees, Well Qualified, was beside the point. Neas didn't want them confirmed. That's what seemed to matter

Neas' happy days were only a few years ago. What changed in the meantime?

The Senate went from Democratic to Republican control.

It's elections, not the Ralph Neas inside the beltway, that matter most. We sometimes forget or deny that. Neas' anger fit reminds us they do.

Thanks, Ralph Neas.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Kerry uses Katrina for fund-raising

Scott at Right in Raleigh gives us details concerning Sen. John Kerry's use of Katrina for campaign fund-raising.

You'd think people wouldn't do that, especially a guy who lives in 5 houses, has 3 SUVs registered in his name, travels in a private jet, and sails a 44 foot motorized yacht.

I guess it takes all kinds

Cindy Sheehan and hot dog stands

Confederate Yankee tells us about Cindy Sheehan's latest rally in New York City. As always, he has details and sharp observations.

Detail: Sheehan drew a crowd of 150.

No, I didn't drop some zeros. It was 150.

In The Big Apple you can sometimes find that size crowd at popular hot dog stands.

Read Confederate Yankee for more.

Crying for Dan Rather, CBS and others

Michelle Malkin calls attention to the "crocodile tear-shedding, lip-quivering meltdown" of former CBS News anchor Dan Rather during a speech Monday night in which, according to ABC News/Reuters, he "complained of a climate of fear running through newsrooms stronger than he has ever seen in his more than four-decade career."

A climate of fear in newsrooms? Really?

And what does Rather think ran through the minds of tens of millions Americans, including millions who had trusted him and CBS to tell them the truth, when they learned the identity of the anonymous source of the forged documents Rather and CBS used in the Texas Air National Guard story?

For more than 10 days Rather and CBS assured us their anonymous source was "unimpeachable." And they wouldn't lie. They were news professionals.

Then a year ago tomorrow, Sept. 21, the Washington Post told us the name of their "unimpeachable source" and something about him:

The man CBS News touted as the "unimpeachable source" of explosive documents about President Bush's National Guard service turns out to be a former Guard officer with a history of self-described mental problems who has denounced Bush as a liar with "demonic personality shortcomings."

Over the past three years, retired Lt. Col. Bill Burkett has given dozens of newspaper and television interviews accusing the president and his aides of destroying documents and stealing elections. In e-mail messages to an Internet chat group for Texas Democrats, he has also said that the "Bush team" sent "goons" to intimidate him at his ranch in Baird, Tex.

"They can go to hell," the retired officer, 55, wrote in a March 29 posting. "I'll continue to defend the freedom of this nation -- not the liars who have wrested its helm."
There's much more. Read the whole thing.

Rather's crying for himself, CBS, and those in the news business like them.

Pointing the way to a thinker's "gems"

At Betsy's Page she reminds us of "the gems" to be found in Thomas Sowell's Random thoughts columns. She provides examples from his Sept 20 column. My favorite was this one:

Students can graduate from even the most prestigious colleges and universities wholly unaware that there are not simply different opinions about particular issues but a whole comprehensive framework of ideas and analysis through which those issues can be seen in a way that leads to very different conclusions from the ones their professors have taught or insinuated.
Betsy got me to go to Sowell's column to see all "the gems." Here are two more I liked:
Do the people who are making so much noise about the difficulties of creating a constitution in Iraq have any awareness that it was 13 years after the Declaration of Independence before the Constitution of the United States was created?

When Ronald Reagan said that the government was spending money like a drunken sailor, he apologized to the sailors, who were after all spending their own money.
I hope you read Sowell's column and find some "gems" yourself.

President Clinton's trustworthiness

Remember when a federal judge cited President Clinton for civil contempt and fined him $90,000 for giving "intentionally false" testimony under oath?

Do you recall that the bar association in Clinton’s home state, Arkansas, investigated him further; and then recommended to its state Supreme Court his disbarment?

The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed its bar association’s recommendation, and so informed the United States Supreme Court.

Thus it was that on October 1, 2001, without dissent and for the first time in the nation’s history, the Supreme Court acted to disbar a former President.

The court’s disbarment procedure allowed for a 40-day appeal period.

Clinton assured friends and foes that he would appeal and vigorously fight his disbarment.

Of course, Clinton did neither which was just what friends and foes expected.

Now, Clinton is using Katrina and its aftermath to attack President Bush.

Do you think what Clinton’s saying now is any more trustworthy than what he’s said in the past?

I don't.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Boston Globe's good call and bad call

The Boston Globe editorial board today made a surprising good call and a disappointing bad call.

The good call:

Barring the revelation of an outrageous scandal, Judge John Roberts is about to become the next chief justice of the United States, and based on his testimony last week, he deserves to be confirmed. In the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Roberts called himself a ''modest judge" and appeared smart and even-tempered.
Roberts "deserves to be confirmed." Quite a statement from a very liberal paper owned by The New York Times Company. A hat tip to The Globe on that.

Now the bad call:
As Roberts approaches the high court, there is also a job for Congress. Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, virtually wept about the nation's divisiveness, but he and some of his colleagues have been the source of intemperate rhetoric that could weaken the independence of the judiciary. Once Roberts is confirmed, Coburn and other conservatives need to cool their rhetoric and let the chief justice do his job
So The Globe feels "conservatives need to cool their (intemperate) rhetoric."

And what about liberals? For example:

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) who said of Judge Priscilla Owen: "This is not a person to put on the bench for a lifetime appointment. This person is wacko! She's wacko!"

Harkin made his remarks shortly after the American Bar Association, by unanimous vote of its committee on federal judicial nominations, had given Owen its highest recommendation:Highly Qualified.

And there's Senator Chuck Schumer (D- NY) who said: "For years, the federal courts served as the shield protecting basic civil rights in this country. This administration wants the courts to become the sword that destroys those rights. And don't think this stops with Judge Pickering. He's just the tip of the iceberg."

Judge Charles Pickering,like Owen, received the ABA's Highly Qualified rating.

And then there's The Globe's own home state Senator, Ted Kennedy (D-Mass). Remember what Kennedy called a group of President Bush's judicial nominees, all of whom the ABA had rated Qualified or Highly Qualified? He called them "Neanderthals."

Clearly, liberals have engaged in a great deal of intemperate rhetoric concerning judges and the judiciary. For The Globe to ignore that while singling out conservatives for intemperate rhetoric is a bad call. It suggests partisan favoritism and will lead liberals to reasonably conclude they can engage in such rhetoric with no fear of criticism by The Globe.

I hope we soon see a Globe editorial reminding liberals they too need to cool their intemperate rhetoric. That would be a good call.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Rather and CBS's falsehoods remembered

A year ago today CBS was still standing by the Dan Rather/Texas Air National Guard story it had broadcast 10 days earlier on 60 Minutes II.

In defending what most people knew by then were forged documents which served as the basis of the story, Rather and CBS had repeatedly claimed their anonymous source for the documents was "unimpeachable."

Rather and CBS knew a lot about their "unimpeachable" anonymous source, Bill Burkett.

Remembering that and what we learned a few days later about Burkett helps us to realize just how honest Rather and CBS were with the public.

This from a Sept. 21 Washington Post story:

The man CBS News touted as the "unimpeachable source" of explosive documents about President Bush's National Guard service turns out to be a former Guard officer with a history of self-described mental problems who has denounced Bush as a liar with "demonic personality shortcomings."

Over the past three years, retired Lt. Col. Bill Burkett has given dozens of newspaper and television interviews accusing the president and his aides of destroying documents and stealing elections. In e-mail messages to an Internet chat group for Texas Democrats, he has also said that the "Bush team" sent "goons" to intimidate him at his ranch in Baird, Tex.

"They can go to hell," the retired officer, 55, wrote in a March 29 posting. "I'll continue to defend the freedom of this nation -- not the liars who have wrested its helm."
There's much more. Read the whole thing.

And sometimes it only takes a sentence

There were raised eyebrows in Washington this week when Judge John Roberts' opening statement at his confirmation hearings lasted less that 7 minutes.

That's understandable in a city where 10 and 15 minute "questions" from Senators aren't unusual.

But the length of Roberts' statement was fine for his purposes.

And than there's Mr. E. Housley of Edinburgh, Scotland. In a recent letter to The London Times, he needed only one sentence to effectively call to our attention the self-contradiction of a prominent British politician:

Sir, Last night I heard Ken Clarke, on BBC News, say that he does not believe in referendums but then, in the same breath, say that politicians must listen to the people.

Yours faithfully,
E. Housley
I think Judge Roberts would like Mr. Housley's letter.