Friday, November 21, 2008

The Churchill Series - Nov. 21, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

It's true Churchill had significant academic problems while a student at Harrow. Math was especially difficult for him.

But it's not true, as some people put it about, that he was an overall failure. Quite the contrary.

By age fifteen, Churchill'd already impressed his Masters and schoolmates at Harrow with his knowledge of history. He'd won a class prize for Roman History and twice won prizes for English History.

Then Churchill began to excelling in another subject. He later said he had Robert Somervell to thank for that.

Somervell was Churchill's English Master. Churchill remembered him as 'a most delightful man to whom my debt is great."

Martin Gilbert records:

Somervell's method, Churchill recalled, was to divide up a long sentence into its component clauses 'by means of black, red, blue and green inks', and teaching it almost daily as 'a kind of drill'; by this method 'I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence - which is a noble thing.'
I hope you all have a nice weekend that includes some recollections of teachers that help you.

Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 22-24)

Traveling today. Blogging resumes at

9 PM ET tonight.

Look for follow-ups on Duke Magazine's "Crime Happens," Thank you to killerleft, the AP article re: Jesse Jackson's relationship with President-elect Obama posts.

Also a post concerning the Raleigh N&O's most recent print circulation numbers which show a significant drop.



Light at the end of the Recession tunnel?

Irwin Stelzer says there is.

He explains why in a Weekley Standard article here.

It's well worth your time and a nice "balencer" to all the "gloom and doom" we're reading these days.

Hat tip:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Churchill Series - Nov. 20, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: This post from Dec. 2005 remains one of my Series favorites.


It's 1897. Twenty-three year old Lieutenant Winston S. Churchill is serving in Queen Victoria's army in India. He's been under fire often during fighting in what was then British-ruled India's Northwest frontier.

Now, off the battle lines and billeted in Bangalore, he has time to correspond with his mother.

He urges her to do all she can to improve his chances of winning a seat in Parliament at the first opportunity. Later he told a friend, "She left no stone unturned, she left no cutlet uncooked."

Lady Churchill was concerned for her son's safety. With a flippant insensitivity excused by his youth, he told her he would not die in combat because "I do not believe the Gods would create so potent a being as myself for so prosaic an ending."

In a subsequent letter, we see a more thoughtful Churchill. His biographer Martin Gilbert records:

Two of Churchill's friends had also been war correspondents on the Indian frontier. One, Lord Fincastle, had won the Victoria Cross. The other, Lieutenant R. T. Greaves, had been killed in action, "A very little luck," Churchill told his mother, "might have carried me to the highest of all prizes or have ended the game."
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 80-83)

Duke Magazine's "Crime Happens" lax case treatment

The Nov/Dec '08 issue of Duke Magazine's "Crime Happens" article deals with crime and safety issues on and around Duke's campus includes some statements which a friend very familiar with the Duke lacrosse hoax and frame-up attempt says are "very disturbing." I agree.

Excerpts from the article are in italics; my friend's comments in plain.

--- " In the spring of 2006, allegations of an off-campus rape by Duke students exploded into a racially charged, nationally followed case that has come to be known simply as lacrosse ."

There is no mention of the fact that these allegations were completely false and that the AG declared the players completely innocent . In fact the only offenses were those committed against the players by CGM, Nifong, DPD and officials from Duke.

--- from Larry Moneta in discussing how Duke deals with parents' concerns about their sons/daughters' well being -- " One of the things we tell parents during orientation is to contact us if something doesn't seem right, " ..." We ( Duke ) take elaborate precautions to mitigate risk."

As we now know, when Duke officials advised the lacrosse players not to tell their parents and not to engage lawyers, these officials exposed the players to great risk.

--- more from Moneta in speaking about crimes committed against Duke students off campus --- " ... Duke officials do follow criminal cases very closely, and work with the local law enforcement agencies and the attorney general's office to expedite prosecution when appropriate and feasible."

Ironically, in the lacrosse case it sure looked like Duke wanted the players to be tried for crimes that never happened.

--- " The two agencies ( i.e DPD and DUPD ) have a concurrent jurisdiction agreement, which means that Duke can ask Durham police for help with crimes on campus, and the Duke police can respond to crimes involving members of the Duke community who live in surrounding neighborhoods. "

It's my understanding that, by NC statute, DUPD has primary responsibility /authority for investigating crimes on campus. During the lacrosse incident Brodhead publicly stated that Duke did not have the authority to conduct such an investigation.

In summary, the biggest dangers the lacrosse players faced were from Duke ( officials and faculty ) and Durham authorities.

The entire article's here.

Folks, it's a long article but I hope you give it a look.

Your comments are welcome but won't be moderated until about 6 PM today because I'm traveling until then.

Thanks, friend.


I hope Obama reads

Mytheos Holt’s column in The Wesleyan Argus.

Excerpts - - -

. . . There has been much disagreement over whether the financial crisis was caused by under-regulation or over-regulation. This is a false dichotomy. What caused the financial crisis was politics, and not politics of either the sensible Left or the sensible Right.

Both of these groups would have seen the problems in the competing agendas which caused this crisis, and would have proposed different but equally sensible plans of action to deal with it. Perhaps neither plan would have been sufficient, but it certainly would have been better than what we got. . . .

[In] brief, President Bush’s profligate spending and my party’s unfortunate tendency to listen to lobbyists created a psychology of short-term incentives which ignored the looming long-term dangers. That settles that.

What did the Democrats do? Well, for starters, in the ’90s they blocked Republican efforts to reform the system which required banks to make loans to unreliable borrowers because of an unhealthy attitude that people had a “right” to own a home or a “right” to credit. At least, that was the rhetorical justification.

The actual justification probably also has more to do with lobbyists and political incentives.

Say what you like about Jack Abramoff, but Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) shouldn’t come out of the Countrywide Scandal smelling like roses, either.

The Democratic policy on loans created the problems with the current foreclosure market, and only helped facilitate the excessively short-sighted, short-term mentality which said that if you just bought whatever you wanted now, you could let someone else clean up the mess later.

The combination of this no-risk mentality and the governmental requirement that those who actually were risky still be allowed to gamble with other people’s money was hardly a match made in heaven.

Several things must be done about this. Speaking as a fiscal conservative (not the same thing as a fiscal Republican),

I would suggest that the first thing that needs to be done is that credit needs to be cut to make up for the previous inflationary expansions, the laws requiring banks to give bad loans must be taken off the books and the debt has to be addressed, preferably through spending cuts and increases in trade to increase capital inflow to the United States (many of the world’s wealthiest companies are U.S.-based).

In short, the rules of the game must be altered to read more like Risk than like a carnival sideshow, where everyone gets a prize.

Holt’s entire column’s here.

Message to President-elect Obama: If you don’t select Larry Summers as Treasury Secretary, you could do a lot worse than Holt.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Churchill Series - Nov. 19, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

During his long life, Churchill witnessed extraordinary changes. The gas lamp gave way to the light bulb, the horse carriage to the automobile, and the ocean liners he loved were replaced by four-engine planes and later intersontinental jets.

But not everything changed. Churchill was often harried and sometimes viciously attacked throughout his public career by egocentric and ill-informed newspaper editors.

Here's part of what his biographer, Martin Gilbert, tells us about a Feb. 14, 1932 Washington Post editorial written while Churchill was in Washington during his American lecture tour that year:

As for Churchill's call for "a working agreement between Great Britain and the United States," (the Post) was hostile.

"Not many years ago." it declared, "political and economic unity with the Yankees would have been repulsive to British statesmen."
"Now the tables are turned and Mr. Churchill is trying to flatter the United States into taking over some of Great Britain's (World War I debts)."
"What contribution has Britain to make to the cooperative bond that Mr. Churchill suggests for the two countries?"
A few years later, the Post's editorial writers began wondering whether the Royal Navy was doing enough to make sure Britain would be able to protect neutral American ships in the Atlantic in the event of a "European war".

By 1939 Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, was responsible for making sure Britain made that "contribution the cooperative bond" between our two nations.

Do you think Post editorial writers in 1939 remembered their paper's editorial of Feb. 14, 1932?
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (pgs. 140-141)

Thank you to killerleft

At this DBR forum site, killerleft commented and linked to my post: Making Duke Research a "must read."

I appreciate his doing that, especially because he said he didn’t agree with me on many other things I post.

But he recognizes the importance of matters relating to Duke University’s actions and inactions in response to Crystal Mangum’s and Mike Nifong’s lies.

Killerleft cited some of his concerns centered on student welfare.

I hope you give
his posting a look.

If you do, you’ll see his posting drew some comments.

I plan to respond in the next few days to a few of them here.

I’ll also be asking the DBR moderator how I can best let DPR forum readers know I’ve responded.

Right now, I just want to again say thank you to killerleft.

Sticking it to the public

ABC News reports:

Big Three CEOs Flew Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds

Auto Industry Close to Bankruptcy But They Get Pricey Perk
Well, I guess if you think you'll get a $25 billion government bailout, there's nothing wrong with flying in private jets.

Still . . .

Hat tip: Drudge Report

Making Duke Research a “must read”

I recently received a Duke News email which began - - -

As a Duke alumnus, we thought you might be interested in seeing
Duke Research. It's a colorful multimedia magazine that explores the people and programs that have made Duke a top ten research institution. Please join us, leave a comment, and subscribe for monthly updates!

Duke Research may be a fine publication, but I doubt I’ll subscribe. There’s so much out there and so little time to read.

But Duke Research would go to the top of my “must read” list if it provided research findings concerning such questions as:

How and why was the decision made that President Brodhead would say nothing in his March 25, 2006 public statement the about the extensive cooperation the lacrosse players had provided Durham Police?

Did any of the senior administrators who attended the meeting at President Brodhead’s house before his statement was released point out that failing to mention the players’ extensive cooperation, and instead urging everyone to cooperate with police would lend credence to what those at the meeting knew was the Durham Police’s lie about the players stonewalling them?

Executive Vice President Tallman Trask and then AD Joe Alleva had both met with the lacrosse captains who’d detailed their extensive cooperation with police.

Did they not speak up and share what they knew?

Then Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations John Burness knew of the players cooperation?

Didn't he speak up?

Does any Duke trustee then or now believe Brodhead didn't know about the players' cooperation before he issued his statement?

Was there discussion at the meeting of whether President Brodhead would meet later in the day with the lacrosse parents?

If yes, what was the substance of the discussion?

Was the decision that Brodhead would not meet with the parents made at the meeting?

If yes, did any member of “Dick’s senior team” say that was a mistake?

Why has President Brodhead never explained why he refused to meet with the parents?

Was there any trustee involvement during the meeting at Brodhead’s house?

If yes, who was/were the trustee/trustees involved?

Was Board of Trustee Chair Robert Steel involved in any of the following: 1) general discussion during the meeting; 2) discussion in particular concerning whether Brodhead would meet with the parents; 3) discussion in particular concerning the content of Brodhead’s public statement?

There are many more questions about that March 25, 2006 meeting I wish Duke Research would report on the most telling and troubling of which is: Why is it necessary to ask now the questions I've asked here?

They should have been answered more than two-and-a-half years ago?

For your ease of reference, here’s the full text of President Brodhead’s March 25, 2006 statement and a link to the Raleigh News & Observer’s front page story that day which led Brodhead to call the meeting at his house.

Statement by President Richard H. Brodhead on Duke Men’s Lacrosse Team

Physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and have no place at Duke. The criminal allegations against three members of our men’s lacrosse team, if verified, will warrant very serious penalties. The facts are not yet established, however, and there are very different versions of the central events. No charges have been filed, and in our system of law, people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. We also know that many members of the team, including some who were asked to provide DNA samples, did not attend the party.

I urge everyone to cooperate to the fullest with the police inquiry while we wait to learn the truth.

Whatever that inquiry may show, it is already clear that many students acted in a manner inappropriate to a Duke team member in participating in the March 13 party. I applaud Athletics Director Joe Alleva for responding to the conduct that is not in question even as we wait for the investigation to determine the truth about disputed parts of the events.

The N&O's March 25, 2006 story:

Dancer gives details of ordeal

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence

I can’t say I’m sorry Stevens lost

because I’m not.

At the end of a long public career, Ted Stevens was nothing more than a corrupt, favor trading, pork producing Senator.

Yes, that’s what a lot of our “public servants” are these days.

And, yes, I know most of us ordinary citizens really like it when our Senators bring home the bacon.

Still, good riddance to Ted Stevens.

Allahpundit’s take - - -

DeMint was preparing a resolution to boot him from the Senate on Thursday just in case he squeaked through, but all for naught as it turns out. No Senate seat for the ‘Cuda, needless to say, and another black eye for the GOP that could have been avoided if they’d pushed this tool into retirement back when they should have.

That makes 58 Senate seats by my count, with Coleman/Franken and Chambliss/Martin still to come. The two most powerful Republicans in the Senate now? Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, the last GOPers in New England.


In the new Senate Snowe and Collins will often be in the catbird seat, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling them the Senate’s most powerful Republicans.

Otherwise, I agree with Allahpundit.

What about you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Churchill Series - Nov. 18, 2008

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

By the time of the 1906 General Election, Churchill had left his Commons seat on the Conservative side and crossed over to the Liberals. Mostly it had to do with free trade. He was a staunch free-trader.

In the election, the Liberals offered Churchill a chance to run for a seat in Manchester held by a Conservative.

The race was seen as a tough go for him. The Conservative and Labour candidates were strong opponents.

And than there was the matter of many people just not trusting a man who had crossed the aisle. Could you believe anything a turncoat said?

To take advantage of this distrust, the Conservatives decided to distribute a pamphlet filled with quotes Churchill had made while in their ranks.

Let the public challenge him on what he'd once said. That would do him in.

They planned the first distribution for early on the night Churchill was to address a large crowd in a theater he had rented. Put the pamphlet in the hands of the people going in, run a few paid hecklers and some good party men in amongst the crowd, and then shout and hoot Churchill down with his own words.

It seemed like a good plan and everything was in place as Churchill walked onto the stage to a mix of cheers, boos, and a lot of pamphlet waving amidst cries of "Do you deny this?"

Churchill started his formal remarks but the pamphlet waving and cries of "Do you deny this?" threatened to drown him out.

Churchill paused.

Then he drew from his pocket a copy of the pamphlet he's obtained a few hours earlier. "What page should I look on," he asked?

He read for a moment; looked up; and admitted he's said what was on the page. Hoots!

And the other page? He asked for a little quiet while he read.

It was true, too. In fact, as he glanced through the pamphlet, everything he read was something he had said.

He had no quarrel with the people who'd put the pamphlet together. They had told the truth. Indeed, he'd said "all those stupid things."

He seemed to grow angry with himself and started tearing out pages, crumpling some and tossing others over his shoulder all the while repeating, "stupid," "stupid."

Finally, with no more pamphlet left, Churchill thundered to the crowd, "Yes, I said all those stupid things because I was then a member of a stupid party but I left that party and joined one that...."

Much cheering, and the night was his.

On election night Churchill, as the British would put it, "came first past the post."
Many biographers have recorded the pamphlet episode. See, for example, Violet Bonham Carter,
Winston Churchill: An Intimate Portrait. (pgs. 100 - 103)

AP covers up for Jesse Jackson

First a brief Associated Press report; then my comments below the star line

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he's concerned about the effect President Bush could have in his last months in office.

Jackson said Sunday at a Baltimore church that the nation's economic crisis is being compounded by the ideology of the Bush administration.

The civil rights leader and former presidential candidate also said his relationship with Obama is a "great one." He refused to comment on whether his son, an Illinois congressman, would be chosen to fill Obama's vacant Senate seat.

Jackson apologized to Obama earlier this year for saying the Illinois senator appeared to be talking down to black Americans. Jackson said the comments were private and he didn't know they were being recorded.

That’s the entire AP story hosted at news site.


As is so often the case with liberal/leftist “news reporting,” the public is manipulated by virtue of what’s left out or stated falsely.

Jackson didn’t have to apologize for saying Sen. Obama had talked down to black people.

The “civil rights leader” apologized for saying he wanted to rip off Sen. Obama’s testicles, though he actually used a slang term for that part of the President-elect’s anatomy.

Jackson didn’t say Obama “appeared to be talking down …”.

He said Obama did “talk down” and that made him very angry which Jackson said led him to want to rip off … (you know the rest).

The AP spun this story. I’ll say more about that tomorrow.

Now it’s catch a plane time.

How Obama got elected

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posts - - -

I’m sure we’ll all be linking to this video today. John Ziegler interviews Obama voters to gauge their knowledge of various issues that came up during the election, and gets very … entertaining results. His new website, How Obama Got Elected, marries this with a more disturbing report from Zogby that emphasizes a great deal of ignorance in the vote:

Let’s start with Zogby’s numbers. The poll surveyed over 500 self-professed Obama voters and has an MOE of 4.4%, with 55% having a college degree and over 90% having a high-school diploma. It asked 12 multiple-choice questions; only 2.4% got at least 11 correct. Only .5% got all them correct.

  • 57.4 % could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)
  • 81.8 % could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)
  • 82.6 % could NOT correctly say that Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)
  • 88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)
  • 56.1 % could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing).And yet…..
  • Only 13.7% failed to identify Palin as the person their party spent $150,000 in clothes on
  • Only 6.2% failed to identify Palin as the one with a pregnant teenage daughter
  • And 86.9 % thought that Palin said that she could see Russia from her “house,” even though that was Tina Fey who said that!!
On the last point, though, Palin was the only candidate from Alaska. Palin did state that one could see Russia from the state as an answer to an interview question about her foreign-policy credentials. I don’t believe that the survey gave Fey as a choice, so Palin would have been the obvious answer from those provided.

There's more before Ed closes with - - -

As for the video, without the Zogby poll, it would be hilarious but without context. Anyone can find fools for “man on the street” interviews; Jay Leno does it as a regular staple for the Tonight Show. Zogby’s poll shows that Ziegler’s video is no anomaly. Wait for the end, where the ignorant endorse their favorite media outlets, which is the real highlight of this project.

Ed Morrissey's entire post's here.

Now the video - - -

Hat tip: AC, BN and J54

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Churchill Series - Nov. 17, 2008

Readers Note: With the exceptions of Churchill's birth and death, I rarely post in recognition of anniversaries of events in Churchill's life. And I've never posted in recognition of any Series anniversary. But today I'll make an exception to that, albeit I'm late acknowledging the anniversary.

This November 1st was the Series third anniversary. It began as a daily posting. I later cut back to just weekdays to "lighten my load."

I thought you might be interested to view that first post, so I'm reposting it exactly as it appeared on Nov. 1, 2005.

I thank all of you who follow the Series and appreciate the generous comments and the correcting comments (often both in one) many of you've made these past three years.


(One of a series of daily posts about Winston S. Churchill.)

In late December, 1941 Churchill arrived in Washington to meet with Roosevelt and begin joint Anglo-American war planning.

With the exception of a brief trip to Canada, Churchill remained in America for almost four weeks. While in Washington, he stayed at the White House.

The British government and people were understandably very interested to know what was transpiring with the Americans.

When Churchill flew back to England, landing at Plymouth on Jan. 17, 1942, a train was waiting to take him to London where at 10 PM that evening, the War Cabinet assembled to hear his report.

The minutes of that meeting include this:

The Prime Minister thought that (the Americans) were not above learning from us provided we did not set out to teach them.
Cited in Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Road to Victory, 1941-1945, (p. 43).

You can see the surge worked

This 49-second video from is a very powerful piece of journalism. The network news programs could leaern from it.

Raleigh N&O “readers’ advocate” is “on vacation”

Yesterday I posted Where’s the Raleigh N&O’s “readers’ advocate?”

Raleigh News & Observer public editor Ted Vaden’s regular Sunday column didn’t run yesterday.

There was no announcement at the space on the editorial page where Vaden’s column runs or at his blog.

Two calls yesterday to the N&O were fielded politely, but the persons I spoke with weren’t sure of Vaden’s situation.

His VM said he was “out of the office” through October 17th and would return of the 18th.

Today I called editorial page editor Steve Ford who explained Vaden doesn’t report to him and he didn’t know why Vaden’s column hadn’t run.

Ford suggested I call publisher Orage Quarles to whom Vaden reports.

I called Quarles who told me Vaden is on vacation. He expects Vaden’s column to resume.

Snarky NY Timeser meets classic Rove

Thanks to Scott Johnson at Powerline I learned about the NY Times’ Deborah Solomon’s interview with Karl Rove.

It’s brief and begins - - -

Do you see the election results as a repudiation of your politics?
Our new president-elect won one and a half points more than George W. Bush won in 2004, and he did so, in great respect, by adopting the methods of the Bush campaign and conducting a vast army of persuasion to identify and get out the vote.

But what about your great dream of creating a permanent Republican governing majority in Washington?
I never said permanent. Durable.

Do you think John McCain attacked too much or not enough?
Dissecting the campaign that way is not helpful.

Have you met Barack Obama?
Yes, I know him. He was a member of the Senate while I was at the White House and we shared a mutual friend, Ken Mehlman, his law-school classmate. When Obama came to the White House, we would talk about our mutual friend.

Did you have lunch together? Talk in the hall?
We sat in the meeting room and chatted before the meeting. He had a habit of showing up early, which is a good courtesy.

Are you going to send him a little note congratulating him?
I already have. I sent it to his office. I sent him a handwritten note with funny stamps on the outside.

What kind of funny stamps?

Do you have any advice for him? You already criticized Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s new chief of staff, as a sharply partisan choice.
I raised a question as to whether this would be the best use of Rahm Emanuel’s talents. If you’re trying to work through a big legislative priority, it is sort of hard if you have a guy who has a reputation as a tough, hard, take-no-prisoners, head-in-your-face, scream-and-shout, send-them-a-dead-fish partisan.

What about you? You were always seen as very partisan.
I wasn’t the chief of staff. And you’d be surprised by the Democrats I actually met, got to know and worked with.

The rest of the interview’s here.

I wish I was there at the end of it to congratulate Rove on the way he handled the snarky Solomon who kept serving up “gotchas.”

Murdock to media: provide news people “can trust”

CNET’s Charles Cooper at COOP’S CORNER - - -

With newspapers cutting back and predictions of even worse times ahead, Rupert Murdoch said the profession may still have a bright future if it can shake free of reporters and editors who he said have forfeited the trust and loyalty of their readers.

"My summary of the way some of the established media has responded to the internet is this: it's not newspapers that might become obsolete. It's some of the editors, reporters, and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper's most precious asset: the bond with its readers," said Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp.

He made his remarks as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Australian Broadcast Corporation.

Murdoch, whose company's holdings also include MySpace and the Wall Street Journal, criticized what he described as a culture of "complacency and condescension" in some newsrooms. . . .

To make his point, Murdoch criticized the media reaction after bloggers debunked a "60 Minutes" report by former CBS anchor, Dan Rather, that President Bush had evaded service during his days in the National Guard.

"Far from celebrating this citizen journalism, the establishment media reacted defensively. During an appearance on Fox News, a CBS executive attacked the bloggers in a statement that will go down in the annals of arrogance. '60 Minutes,' he said, was a professional organization with 'multiple layers of checks and balances.' By contrast, he dismissed the blogger as 'a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.' But eventually it was the guys sitting in their pajamas who forced Mr. Rather and his producer to resign.

"Mr. Rather and his defenders are not alone," he continued. "A recent American study reported that many editors and reporters simply do not trust their readers to make good decisions. Let's be clear about what this means. This is a polite way of saying that these editors and reporters think their readers are too stupid to think for themselves."

Murdoch's comments come at a time when the media landscape looks increasingly bleak both for print-based and online news organizations. A recent report by Goldman Sachs predicted that advertising pressure will continue because of the declines in the auto and financial industries. Online outlets are also feeling the impact. On Friday, shut its San Francisco office.

Despite the blemishes, however, Murdoch said newspapers can still count on circulation gains "if papers provide readers with news they can trust." . . .

Cooper’s entire post’s here and well worth a read.

Journalist friend Bob Wilson, who sent along the link to Cooper’s post, added:

Murdoch hits the nail with his comments. The real problem does
lie, to a great extent, with the people who are running Old Media.
I know what Murdock says resonates with many of you.

Also, my post yesterday – McClatchy's Raleigh N&O editor shrugs off readers' criticisms - is right in line with what Murdock and many others are saying about editors and reporters disrespect for their readers, listeners and viewers.

Hat tip: BW

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where’s the Raleigh N&O’s “readers’ advocate?”

At his Readers' Corner blog, Ted Vaden self-describes as “the N&O public editor, [who] serves as the readers' advocate within the paper.”

For years Vaden's print column has appeared Sunday on the editorial page of what many regard as one of the liberal/leftist McClatchy Company's most partisan newspapers.

But this Sunday, Nov. 16, there was no Vaden column there and no announcement saying when or whether he'd be back.

I called the N&O twice today to ask about Vaden.

The first time someone told me he thought Vaden’s column had run, but offered to “check.”

After a few minutes on hold, the polite N&O staffer told me Vaden hadn’t run.

“Why not?”

The person said he didn’t know.

“What about an announcement in the paper about Vaden’s return? Something like: 'Ted Vaden’s column will appear again next Sunday?’”

The person said he couldn’t be sure about Vaden's status.

Mind you, the person wasn’t saying Vaden wouldn’t return; just that “a lot of things are changing here now and we don’t always know about them.”

I thanked the person and wished him well.

A few hours later I called the N&O again.

I got a different person this time who knew Vaden hadn’t run but couldn’t say why not. The person hadn’t seen Vaden “in weeks. I’m not sure what his status is. Why don’t you call him and leave a voice mail if you don’t get him.”

I called Vaden at the number listed on the N&O’s editorial page masthead: (919) 836 – 5700.

I got a recorded message with Vaden saying he’d be out of the office from Oct. 7th through Oct. 17th , returning on the 18th. (The dates I cite have been fact-checked as of 8:10 PM ET. - - JinC)

Vaden also provided a number for callers who had “circulation problems.”

There is a lot of "background" talk going around now about various people, positions, policies and practices at the N&O. Some of it concerns Vaden. Just about all of it is tagged with "don't use my name."

I plan tomorrow to contact N&O execs and try to get them "on the record" regarding Vaden and his status with the N&O.

Stay tuned.

The best thing about McCain’s failed bid

JinC Regular CKS gives us her take - - -

I believe that those who are currently savaging Governor Palin will be eating their words in the future. She is a woman with a confidence in her abilities who radiates the cheerful ambience that so characterized probably one of the best presidents of the past century - Ronald Reagan.

What galls the media "elite" is that she is unimpressed with their intellectual pretensions and their view that unless one has consorted with and been educated at the Ivies, one is somehow less than qualified to exist on the earth's surface let alone have an opinion of any merit.

Camille Paglia has it right - I look for Palin to be a force in the future.

The best thing about the failed McCain presidential bid is that it clears the decks so that a new wave of Republicans - young, fiscally conservative, technologically advanced, and committed to core Republican values can emerge and move the party forward.

Palin’s political potential

Jeff Jacoby writes - - -

… [There] can't be much doubt that Palin has become the brightest star in the GOP firmament. A whopping 91 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of her, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, and she is the runaway favorite when they are asked to rank possible contenders for the party's 2012 presidential nominee.

Elsewhere, however, the savaging of Palin continues. In The New York Times, Maureen Dowd devotes yet another column to bashing Alaska's governor ("a shopaholic whack-job diva").

The popular Washington blog Wonkette, characteristically crude, pronounces her "human garbage."

At, an obsessed Andrew Sullivan calls her "deluded and delusional . . . clinically unhinged" and describes her as a nitwit with "the educational level of a high school dropout" who "regards ignorance as some kind of achievement."

Not everyone on the left is in a gibbering rage over Palin. The feminist social critic Camille Paglia, a pro-choice Democrat, is appalled by the Democrats' anti-Palin debauch, especially their attacks on her intelligence.

"As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is," Paglia writes, "and, quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma."

After witnessing the poise, energy, and panache with which John McCain's 44-year-old running mate handled herself on the national stage, can the backbiters working overtime to trash her intellect really believe she is nothing but a vain and ignorant airhead? Well, maybe; partisans and ideologues are good at seeing only what they want to see.

But they might want to recall that the last Republican to inspire such ardor and admiration among the party faithful - Ronald Reagan - was also derided as a dim bulb.

Diplomat Clark Clifford called Reagan an "amiable dunce." The New Republic's Robert Wright viewed him as "virtually brain dead." Nicholas von Hoffman lamented that it was "humiliating to think of this unlettered, self-assured bumpkin being our president."

That "bumpkin" became one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century.

I suspect that the loathing of Palin by so much of the opinion elite is driven not by contempt for her brainpower but by fear of her political potential. She is cheerful and charismatic, an unabashed and likable conservative who generates extraordinary grassroots enthusiasm. . . .

Whether Palin has the skill and stamina it would take to win a presidential nomination, let alone capture the White House, it is way too early to tell.

But the smart money says she is a force to be reckoned with. That may be just what her critics are afraid of.

Jacoby’s entire column’s here.

McClatchy’s Raleigh N&O editor shrugs off readers’ criticisms

To nobody’s surprise John Drescher, executive editor of McClatchy’s “Anything for Obama” Raleigh News & Observer, denies his paper’s presidential campaign coverage was grossly biased in favor of Sen. Barack Obama.

In his Nov. 8 column (
“We’re left, right and wrong?” ), Drescher falls back on a familiar gambit editors use to “prove" their papers’ reporting is fair and balanced: publishing a mix of letters “from all sides” criticizing the paper’s coverage; after which the editor concludes with something like: “Here in the newsroom we get hit from all sides, so we must be doing things right.”

In Drescher’s case he lets the last reader letter in his column make the case for him:

I hope you are all laughing all the way to The Raleigh Times Bar at the fact that both right-wingers and left-wingers are complaining about how biased your paper is. It's comical to me. I think you do a fine job in the fairness department.
-- Steven Dennis, Raleigh
As proof of a newspaper’s fairness or accuracy, the “we get it from all sides” argument is worthless.

If a large circulation newspaper such as the N&O publishes a detailed, sensitive major story on the horrors of the Holocaust, the paper will get comments from people praising the story and from people saying the N&O made too much of the Holocaust. Some readers may cite reliable sources to dispute significant details in the story, while other readers argue the lie that the Holocaust is a fiction.

Each of such comments deserves to be looked at on its individual merits.

If you were the executive editor at the N&O and received considerable reader comment variation as to the accuracy and fairness of the Holocaust story, would you shrug off those comments with a self-justifying “we’re getting it from all sides, so we must have done things right?”

Drescher’s column is nothing more than a shrug-off of readers’ complaints.

Moving on - - -

Far be it from me to begrudge the N&O editors and staff some relaxing hours at The Raleigh Times Bar.

And if editor Drescher and his news team want to congratulate themselves on “a fine job” of campaign coverage, that’s their right.

I’ll close with three brief items:

1) - - Later today I’ll post on the latest N&O circulation numbers. They’re way down.

2) - - McClatchy’s stock is now selling at about $1.50 a share.

3) - - What’s the price of a beer at The Raleigh Times Bar?

What kind of candidate was Al Sharpton? hosts an AP report which begins - - -

Federal auditors have concluded the Rev. Al Sharpton's 2004 [Democratic presidential nomination] campaign owes the government nearly $500,000 for illegal donations and other financial improprieties.

Sharpton has been feuding with the Federal Election Commission for years over his accounting in his failed run for president, for which he received $100,000 in so-called government matching funds that authorities later concluded he did not deserve because he hadn't followed campaign laws.

The auditors have now determined that Sharpton owes $486,803 to the U.S. Treasury because of his campaign's taking improper donations, largely from the National Action Network, a not-for-profit corporation that Sharpton leads but is separate from his campaign committee.

Sharpton will appeal the finding, aides said Friday, which would extend an already years-long fight with the government over how he raised and spent money to run for president.

The audit report is "a gross violation of Reverend Al Sharpton's right to perform his paid duties as president of the National Action Network, a traveling minister, lecturer, and an author who was promoting a book during the time period being audited," said his spokeswoman, Rachel Noerdlinger.

Sharpton's campaign finances came under scrutiny as he campaigned, speaking at churches where he collected "love offerings" that are common to traveling preachers. [Don’t you just love the term
“love offerings?” It sounds sooo much better than “unrecorded and unaccounted for contributions, mostly in cash.“- - JinC]

At the same time, he was campaigning for president, and paying for much of it with his personal American Express card.

Some of the costs were paid by the National Action Network, some by a different company called Rev-Als Production Inc.

"Virtually no effort appears to have been made by Sharpton 2004, the candidate, NAN, or Rev-Als. Production Inc. to keep any sort of detailed records demonstrating what payments paid for which travel," the report found, noting what it called the campaign's "nearly complete failure to produce any information on this subject in the course of the audit."

The FEC audit is just the latest in a long list of money problems for Sharpton.
Last summer, federal prosecutors decided not to seek criminal charges against him over unpaid taxes after a lengthy grand jury investigation.

The IRS obtained a $931,397 lien against Sharpton. City and state officials said he owned them another $933,577. Separately, the National Action Network said in its most recent tax filing that it owed at least $1.9 million in payroll taxes and related interest.



Is anyone surprised to read what the AP’s reporting about one of America’s best known “civil rights leaders” and activists on behalf of the religious left’s social and political agendas?

When Sharpton ran for the Dem presidential nomination, the MSM which does so much to enable him told us Sharpton was a “grievance candidate.”

“Greed candidate” would have been closer to the truth.

Counsel for those thinking of posting comments supportive of Sharpton: IMO the Rev prefers you send him “love offerings.”

Hat tip: BN

Is Palin “a natural Patton?”

Kyle-Anne Shiver says she is. What’s more, Shiver believes Palin “nearly saved McCain.”

Nobody ever defended anything successfully; there is only attack and attack and attack some more.”

General George S. Patton

For all the tacky talk in media circles, where folks have extremely over-inflated opinions of themselves, one would think that Sarah Palin was the sole arbiter of Republican defeat this year.

What a pile of preposterous poppycock!

From the beginning of ‘08, the accepted wisdom was that no matter whom the Democrats nominated, they would deliver to the Republicans an ignominious defeat. But this year’s defeat was anything but the complete rout it was supposed to be.

And the person who nearly even saved the day — and the election — for Republicans was Sarah Palin.

This is not a minority opinion. When Rasmussen conducted detailed exit [1] polling among Republicans, they found that a full 69% of respondents thought Sarah Palin helped — not hurt — McCain. Governor Palin has not garnered the status as America’s most highly regarded, most popular governor for nothing.

And how much do Republicans admire Sarah Palin? Far more than anyone else on our side of the aisle, according to more Rasmussen tidbits:

Ninety-one percent (91%) of Republicans have a favorable view of Palin, including 65% who say their view is very favorable. Only eight percent (8%) have an unfavorable view of her, including three percent (3%) very unfavorable. . …

And just how was it that the pitbull in lipstick upset the pundits and the prognosticators this year, at least in the matter of degree?

The woman, in my opinion, is a natural Patton. A fighter to the core. Palin seems to instinctively know that when one is hip-deep in a culture war and a fight for the survival of American exceptionalism, then one must do more than defend, defend, defend.

If one is not willing to attack in defense of one’s cause, then he ought to get out of the way at the very least — or consider joining the other side.

At least that’s my paraphrase of one of the Patton doctrines.

Sarah Palin came out [2] fighting on her night in the convention spotlight. In her speech, she relied on the same line of attack that catapulted her from Wasilla mayor to governor of Alaska: plainspoken, honest convictions and a sense of humor.

And she debuted with some of the most memorable lines of this entire campaign:

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.

I might add that in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

Sarah Palin’s appeal was her willingness to fight — and fight courageously — for the American taxpayers, the ones who actually pay the bills for all that bureaucratic largess and faux generosity …Shiver has much more to say including this:

Palin wasn’t hesitant to bring up the voter fraud investigations of ACORN and make certain that her hearers understood the intimate connections between Barack Obama and ACORN [5] shenanigans. Sarah Palin, the mother of an American soldier now in Iraq, wasn’t squeamish about picking holes in Obama’s national defense priorities, even when she was [6] derided in the media for doing so. Sarah Palin wasn’t shy about [7] repeating the very, very late release of Obama’s taped admission that his energy plan would naturally “bankrupt the coal industry.”

Palin never stopped. She fought on until the final tally. Absolutely Patton style.

And the pundits, critics, and insiders can turn themselves every which way and back again, but they will not succeed in tearing this natural leader away from the nearly two-thirds majority of Republican voters who have already hailed her as the next leader in waiting.

It must have been just awful for John McCain to have been upstaged the way he was by Governor Sarah Palin. But McCain’s time is clearly past and Palin’s is just beginning. …

Shiver’s entire column’s here.



Shiver states her case well, but I think she claims too much for Palin.

I don’t doubt as the Rasmussen poll results and the size and enthusiasm of the crowds at her rallies indicate, Palin was a plus for McCain among Republicans.

How much she may have helped him among independents and Hillary voters are more complicated questions to which I won’t hazard a guess right now.

I want to first look at more data. I’ll also pay a lot of attention to what Stuart Rothenberg, Michael Barone and Karl Rove say in response to those questions.

As for Palin’s future - - -

Can she expand her enthusiastic base among traditional Republicans to include independents and “Reagan Democrats?”

She’ll need to do that to be an electable candidate heading the GOP’s presidential ticket.

Some pundits say Palin is thinking of making a run for the GOP’s 2012 nomination. She’s done nothing to discourage that talk.

If she’s thinking of 2012, Palin pretty much has to begin now articulating policies and forming alliances that will start the process of expanding her base.

All things considered, I’m inclined to think she might do better to aim for 2016.

How one reader deals with MSM & Internet sources

Responding to another commenter on a post thread, JinC Regular Tarheel Hawkeye offers the following - - -

You make some excellent points, but I fear you arrive at the wrong conclusions. You posit that since the MSM is the only news source (depite knowing it often doesn't provide the full stories), I should accept it on its face. Why? Because it's the only show in town?

I try to balance my intake of information by following the stories as reported by, for example, The New York Times (left slant) and The Washington Times (right slant). Somewhere in the middle lies the truth in most cases, but it takes more deliberation and care than the average American reader is willing to devote.

Internet sources are very dicey so I don't give them much credence until I can find independent confirmation or the reports are never contradicted (John Kerry's "hero medals" are a good example--he promised to provide his complete military records some four+ years ago and we're still waiting to find out if he shot himself in the butt with an M-79 or took VC hostile fire.)

I rely even more on my knowledge and experience and apply the "smell test" to reports about politics and foreign affairs.

But I consider MSM reporting as nothing more than proselyting or downright propaganda in favor of the far left fever pits of politics in America today.

But I didn't say I don't read/watch MSM reports, I simply refuse to be a participant in the masses' willing suspension of disbelief. In fact, I find it valuable to consider anything reported by the NYT to be the exact opposite of fact--I'm right much more than wrong.

You may "be charitable and accept the information you are given," but that was the quandary the captive nations found themselves in when the only sources of "news" were Pravda and Izvestia.


Like most of the severe critics of MSM I encounter, Tarheel Hawkeye's a "news hound."

When MSM editors and others say "readers/viewers have 'drifted away from traditional news sources'" because of new technologies, they're missing or avoiding admitting the biggest part of MSM's declining reader/viewership problem.

Most readers/viewers I encounter aren't "drifting" from traditional news orgs.

They're being driven away by error-filled, aganda-first news reporting at the heart of which is arrogance that's most notable in the reluctance or outright refusal of most news orgs to quickly admit significant errors and/or omissions and then promenently correct them.

The same goes for your local paper and an evening news program.

Most people "drifting " from traditional news orgs. would love to be able to count on a few news sources which would give them as truthful a "first draft of history" as possible with the best error-correction and notation system in place to add to the reliabliity of news as first reported.

That's my say.

What do you folks think?

A thank you to TH for his comment.