web counter Media Lies: September 2004

Thursday, September 30, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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Clarity on responsibility

If you want clarity on who is responsible for the attacks in Iraq, read this post at Belmont Club. This quote is particularly striking.
A New York Times article quoting a private security group's data shows that 41% of all terror attacks in Iraq take place in 0.17% of the country -- a thousand attacks concentrated in 734 square kilometers of Baghdad -- attacks which have almost no military value -- only a propaganda one. It is imperative from the terrorist point of view that their depredations take place, not in the unwitnessed wastes of the Western desert, but before a global audience. The Associated Press may have been right about the candy and wrong about the candyman.
Makes it pretty clear, doesn't it? Even terrorists know that they need the help of a willing, liberal old media, to get the job done.

Hat tip to Hugh Hewitt for this one.


New source of Iraqi news

You'll want to visit this site if you're interested in what's really going on in Iraq as opposed to what the old media is telling you. (You should already know about Chrenkoff, but if you're not familiar with his work, click on the link on my blogroll.)

Hat tip to Iraq the Model.

UPDATE: Iraq the Model also points to this article that discusses an Iraqi woman's plea to the British to finish the job rather than pull out. Her argument won the day in Britain.


More on the debate

I can't believe Kerry just said that his highest priority if he is elected would be nuclear proliferation. What about terrorism? What about terrorism!!!

I thought Bush deftly handled the response by saying he agreed with his opponent that the highest priority would be WMD in the hands of terrorists. And he just repeated that when Lehrer asked for clarification.

Again Kerry called for bilateral talks with North Korea, which Bush has pounced on each time. I'm wondering why Bush doesn't say, "I thought you wanted to work with other countries and build alliances?"

I'm not sure how Kerry reconciles the "get your kids home" and "get the job done" phraseology. It makes no sense to me, but I guess it makes sense to some people.

I guess I'd have to say the debate is a draw at best, and if the experts are correct (are they ever?) that means that Kerry loses.


Initial impressions of the debate

I'm disappointed that President Bush hasn't mentioned the contributions of the Iraqis in terms of the number of Iraqi security forces that have given their lives. I also get the impression that Bush is a little bit nervous.

Kerry seems to be trying to scattershoot in the hope that he'll hit a good target at least once. One comment that comes to mind is throwing in the bit about tax cuts in the context of foreign policy.

Other than that they both seem to be trying to stick to their "talking points", which I find irritating. I wish they would just talk to us about what they believe. I see that Bush is trying hard to convince us that Kerry wavers and that he is steady.


Interesting history lesson

As a student of history, I confess embarassment at being taken to school by this fisking of a Glenn Reynolds article. I guess my focus on history has never been political. It's the only way I can explain my ignorance.

It's definitely worth the (lengthy) read.

Hat tip to the maestro himself for this one.


Debates a test for old media?

Hugh Hewitt, writing in Weekly Standard, argues that tonight's debate will be a test for old media. If bloggers detect bias on the part of the moderator, Jim Lehrer, Hewitt argues, there will be "a cyber-tsunami headed towards PBS affiliates across the country."

Hewitt may well be right. With the recent follies at CBS, the obvious bias on the Swiftvets story and other recent missteps of old media, the blogosphere is on high alert, sensitive to even the slightest twinge of bias. It's a certainty that there will be live blogging during the debates and much discussion in the blogosphere subsequently about the debates. If the media tries to spin the results, their spin will be analyzed, dissected and inspected carefully and the results of that probing will be widely known before morning.

One point Hewitt makes that I heartily agree with is that the opinions of "regular folks" now matter as never before.
It will be the viewers themselves, working through the blogosphere, posting on FreeRepublic.com, calling into talk radio, and canceling their pledges to local PBS affiliates if their verdict on Lehrer's performance is negative.
These are interesting times.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

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What price "false" stories?

If you want to understand the pernicious nature of biased (or "shaded") news reporting, this op-ed in the NY Times provides an excellent example. Daniel Drezner, an associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago, in an op-ed titled "Where Did All the Jobs Go? Nowhere", writes
Not surprisingly, all this coverage had an effect on public opinion. This month a poll by Zogby International for the Foreign Policy Association found that 71 percent of Americans believed outsourcing was hurting the economy. It also found that 62 percent of American workers believed the federal government should penalize companies that send work offshore.

Now, however, we can add some actual figures to the overheated debate. The Government Accountability Office has issued its first review of the data, and one undeniable conclusion to be drawn from it is that outsourcing is not quite the job-destroying tsunami it's been made out to be. Of the 1.5 million jobs lost last year in "mass layoffs'' - that is, when 50 or more workers are let go at once - less than 1 percent were attributed to overseas relocation; that was a decline from the previous year. In 2002, only about 4 percent of the money directly invested by American companies overseas went to the developing countries that are most likely to account for outsourced jobs - and most of that money was concentrated in manufacturing.
Interesting, isn't it?

Demagoguing about job outsourcing has been a successful strategy for the Democrats and particularly for John Kerry. Yet when we look at the actual figures, we find that, while any job loss is devastating to the individual who loses their job, the impact on the nation as a whole is miniscule. The "problem" is overblown. In fact, Drezner shows that the net effect to the nation is an increase in higher paying jobs.

If you go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and look at the figures, you find out some very interesting things about jobs and unemployment. As I'm sure you're aware, the Democrats have been blaming Bush for massive job losses (3 million jobs lost, worst record since Herbert Hoover, yada, yada, yada), but when you look at the actual figures, you find out the picture is a bit more complex than that. You have to go here and do a search and then go here and do a search to find out that:

  • The number of unemployed was lower at the end of Bush's first year in office than it was at the end of Clinton's last year in office (5, 641,000 vs. 5,653,000) and the unemployment rate was less by 0.1% (3.9 vs.4.0).
  • At the beginning of Clinton's second year in office, the unemployment rate was 6.6%. At the beginning of Bush's second year in office, the unemployment rate was 5.6%, and that was just three months after 9/11, one of the worst disasters in US history.
  • Bush has never had a 6.6% unemployment rate.
  • The number of unemployed by August 2004 was 8,022,000. Sounds terrible, doesn't it? Looks like the "3 million lost jobs", doesn't it? But wait, the unemployment rate was 5.4%, the lowest it's been in quite a while.
  • When Clinton left office, the civilian non-institutional population (whatever the heck that is) was 207,753,000.
  • Today, after almost four years of the Bush administration, the same population is 223,677,000. That's almost 16 million more people in the US than when Bush took office. If one quarter of those are looking for employment, then that's almost a million more people than the "increase" in unemployed people. So are people "losing" their jobs? Or are more people that just came to the US looking for work? Or is the rate of increase in population outstripping the rate of increase in jobs? Or to put it another way, is the economy not expanding fast enough to keep up with the expansion in population? (Puts a different perspective on the problem, doesn't it?)
  • Then you find out that the BLS doesn't even bother to count self-employed people. Huh? So, if a company lays off 5,000, and 10% of those laid off start their own business, they simply aren't counted as employed? How would the numbers change if we actually counted them?
There's an old saying - "There's lies. There's damned lies, and then there's statistics." You can demagogue the employment/unemployment numbers any way you want, and no one can prove otherwise without having to engage in complex, time-consuming discussions that don't fit into TV soundbites or 15 minute segments in talk shows.

Tim Blair blogged It's All Relative in February of this year and put the press coverage of unemployment figures in perspective.
Here's CNN in July 1996, as the Clinton-Dole election approached:

Economists didn't expect June's unemployment rate to be much different from May's, which was an already-low 5.6 percent. But in fact, it did fall -- to 5.3 percent. The unemployment rate hasn't been that low since June 1990.

So 5.6 percent is "already-low". Now here's CNN in December 2001:

The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 5.7 percent in November - the highest in six years - as employers cut hundreds of thousands more jobs in response to the first recession in a decade in the world's largest economy.
Huh? How can 5.6 be "already low", but 5.7 is "the highest in six years"? Note that neither statement is inaccurate. It's just a matter of perspective, as Blair points out.

The point? If you really want to understand what's going on, you're going to have to look at the figures yourself and understand the context. Have we really lost 3 million jobs if the population has increased by 16 million and 3 million are out of work? Or has the economy not expanded fast enough to absorb the population increase? What about the impact of 9/11 on the airline industry? The travel industry? Aircraft production and sales? Parts? Etc., etc.

If the old media sees the glass as half full when Democrats are in the White House but half empty when Republicans are in office, has anything really changed other than the media's reporting?


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

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Absolutely unbelieveable!

Ratherbiased.com reports that Dan Rather has aired another story based on forged documents and biased "witnesses" without revealing their biases.
Three weeks after he denounced the internet as being "filled with rumors," the embattled CBS anchor ran a story on his Tuesday "Evening News" program hoping to stir up fear of an impending military draft.

In a story that was a textbook example of slipshod reporting, CBS reporter Richard Schlesinger used debunked internet hoax emails and an unlabeled interest group member to scare elderly "Evening" viewers into believing that the U.S. government is poised to resume the draft.
Unbelieveable! If anyone is still watching CBS News, turn out the lights. If they had any single shred of credibility left, they just threw it completely out the window.

I'm astounded. I find it difficult to believe that CBS is this stupid, but the evidence is staring me in the face. I guess it's been so long since I last watched CBS News that I've completely lost the context within which they operate.

Make sure you read the entire story and follow the links. It's incredibly damning of Rather and CBS.

UPDATE: Ratherbiased.com has updated the CBS story with much more detail.


Will cable TV replace old media?

At home I have cable, but it's only the "A" channel. I only have access to the Discovery Channel (which I really enjoy), TBS and WGN, along with all the local channels and many local cable channels. So I don't to see the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN and all the "chatter" shows that go on. (I pay for it because the reception is better than an antenna.) Now that I'm on vacation, I've been spending some time watching some of the shows, and I must say, I'm not impressed.

Most of the "talk" shows (like Scarborough Country, Hannity and Colmes, etc are just "talking point" shows as far as I can tell. There isn't any substantive discussion going on. I suppose there's some merit to having people on different sides of an issue responding to the same points, but in the end nothing substantive gets done. Each side talks past the other, stressing the points they want to make without any real evidence to back them up, and repeating the same charges over and over again. Both the moderators and the "debaters" interrupt each other constantly, bringing rudeness to a new level of sophistication.

In addition, because the shows really don't deal with substantive issues in any meaningful way, they "cover" a lot of ground in a short period of time. This leaves the "news" portions of the channels with a shortage of material to cover, so they cross over into "National Enquirer" sorts of stories. Thus we get in-depth reports about the Scott and Laci Peterson story (does anyone really care about that trial?), lots of "coverage" of celebrities (and who cares about what they are doing?) and extensive sessions with "experts" who pontificate endlessly on their area of "expertise" without providing a shred of evidence that they know what they're talking about.

Now we have wall to wall "coverage" of debates that haven't even taken placed yet, with endless streams of know-it-alls explaining what each candidate must do or avoid doing in order to "win" the debate. Frankly, I could care less. The fact is the candidates will debate and people watching will decide for themselves who "won" and who "lost" and make their decisions (if they haven't already made them) based on the debates and what they think of the candidates.

Then there's the polls. Inspect, dissect, retrospect, introspect ad nauseum, ad infinitim. Many years ago someone (I don't recall who) said that TV was "a vast wasteland". If that's true, cable TV has simply expanded the size and scope of the waste.

As much as old media likes to mock bloggers, I think the internet holds the greatest promise for informing the public. There we can get our "news" unfiltered and unadulterated, often wrong and frequently corrected, and we can crosscheck the stories ourselves, read different points of view of the same events and judge for ourselves where the "truth" lies.

I won't be paying for cable (or satellite) any time soon.


Say What?

I don't care much for NewsMax. They're far too strident for my tastes. Sometimes, however, they carry stories that no one else does, so I check them from time to time. Somehow, I got on their mailing list recently, and today I got something that made me laugh. You'd have to subscribe to get it, so I'll just copy what little they put on their web page here.
atest: Democrats plan to steal election, strategist warns ... Dem-backed 527s and unions plan to spend $300 million on "voter turnout" alone, more than double Bush's war chest ... 2.5 million Democrats in key states will be registered by Nov. 2 ... New York Times reveals Democrats are outregistering Republicans by more than 5 to 1 in Ohio and Florida ...
The brief summary they provide here really portrays the entire article. Liberal-supported 527 orgs are putting a ton of money into registering voters in the battleground states in the hope that they can turn the tide of the election.

NewsMax calls this "stealing" the election. Mind you, if they are deliberately registering people who are not eligible to vote, that would be attempting to steal an election, but NewsMax doesn't provide any evidence for that charge. According to NewsMax the very act of registering people to vote is attempting to steal an election!

By that logic, attempting to get people to not vote at all would attempting to preserve an election wouldn't it? When did registering people to vote become a "bad thing"? I must admit I'm stumped.

Every election we decide who will lead us at every level of government. Sometimes those elections involve less than 25% of our population. I think that's a travesty, and I think anyone who opposes registering more people to vote and getting them to the polls is flatly wrong.

I've often thought that voting should be mandatory. Perhaps it could be tied to something tangible. For example, if you don't vote you're not eligible for something or you can't receive public assistance (or perhaps your assistance is reduced by some percentage) or your taxes are higher by some percentage, etc., etc. Maybe I'm just hallucinating, but it seems to me that voting is an obligation that every citizen should be required to fulfill.

Call me crazy, but I also think every 18 year old should have to serve the country for a minimum of two years in some capacity - the armed forces, community service, or some other capacity, before they go to college or begin a career. I suspect it would solve a lot of problems our country has.


Kennedy as Secretary of State?

If John Kerry is elected next month, Ted Kennedy will probably get a top spot in his administration. Some have speculated he would be named as Attorney General. What if he was named Secretary of State?

The Boston Globe published an article quoting extensively Kennedy's views of the situation in Iraq. Here's what you might have to look forward to.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy told a national audience yesterday that the Bush administration's Iraq policy has made America less safe because it has been a diversion from the struggle against Al Qaeda and the occupation has been marked by "blunder after blunder," foreshadowing a new election-season speech he is scheduled to deliver today at George Washington University.
Mind you, the 9/11 Commission's conclusion was that we are "safer, but not yet safe". Yet Kennedy insists we are "less safe".

Kennedy claims Iraq has been "a diversion from the struggle against Al Qaeda", yet an reasonable view of Iraq should conclude that Iraq has drawn the focus of Al Qaeda almost to the exclusion of anything else. Kennedy claims the occupation has been "marked by blunder after blunder". Here Kennedy has a point. There have been misteps in Iraq, and they are not easily explained.

Kennedy stated on Face the Nation
"we have to free ourselves from the lies and distortions about Iraq," the Massachusetts Democrat accused President Bush and top administration officials of misleading the country by talking of progress despite mounting violence by an insurgency that controls an increasing portion of the country. He argued that electing the Democratic presidential nominee, John F. Kerry, would mean a fresh start.

"What we are seeing is that we are lost in the quagmire over there," Kennedy said. "Now, John Kerry has offered a plan to try and change this. This administration has had its chance. And it's blunder after blunder. We need a new direction."
Note here that Kennedy brings up the meme of "lies and distortions" and "misleading the country". This entire thread was birthed by the lies of Joe Wilson. Until then, the Democrats had no success attaching the claim to Bush, who came across as sincere and forthright. Despite the fact that Wilson is thoroughly discredited, this line of attack continues because it resonates and because the old media has abdicated the truth by refusing to discuss Wilson's complete collapse.

In a speech Kennedy has prepared to give next Monday, Kennedy raises the stakes.
In a speech prepared for delivery at George Washington University on Monday, Kennedy said that by shifting attention from Osama bin Laden to Iraq, President George W. Bush had increased the danger of a "nuclear 9/11."

He said it was a good thing Bush was not in charge during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, a nuclear confrontation with Russia when Kennedy's brother was president.
I think this is a last gasp effort to attack Bush's strength on the war on terror. Time will tell if it's effective.

What you won't find in Kennedy's speeches (as in Kerry's) is any sense of what they might do differently. I'm sure, if Kerry is elected, we will finally find out what his plan is. Kennedy will probably have a lot to do with shaping that plan.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

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Iraqis paying the price for freedom

I watched CSPAN yesterday (the number one reason my wife refuses to get cable - I'd be watching that "boring" channel all the time) during the Senate hearing on global posture review (repositioning) of US forces. Sec. Rumsfield was responding to a question when he mentioned something that I really hadn't thought about. The old media and liberals want to make a big deal of the "thousand" troops we've lost in Iraq. What you never hear them talking about is the fact that the Iraqis have lost more troops than we have in the battle against terrorists.

The video is available on CSPAN if you want to view it (click on Sec. Rumsfeld & Gen. Myers Testimony on Global Posture Review (09/23/2004) ). (If you're interested, you can download a pdf copy of the Secretary's opening statement.) I don't recall the exact numbers, but the Secretary said something like the Iraqis had lost 641 since May 2003, and we have lost 587 (I'm sure my numbers aren't correct. I'm doing this from memory.) I confess I really hadn't even considered that aspect of the problems in Iraq.

With all the whining and complaining about our losses and the constant carping that the Iraqis ought to be doing more in their own defense, the reality of the situation on the ground is lost. The Iraqis are doing more. They're dying in larger numbers. They're fighting side by side with us. They're being blown up as they stand in recruitment lines. Yet they continue to volunteer to serve in the Iraqi National Guard and in the Iraqi Police. Old media should be ashamed of themselves for not reporting this, and for distorting the reality of the Iraqis' committment to the fight for their freedom.

I don't recall where I read it now, but I recently read a statement from an American military person who said that the Iraqis want to support freedom but they're scared to death that we will cut and run and leave them to deal with the aftermath. The US track record is abysmal. We abandoned both the Kurds and the Shiites after the Gulf War and left them to die by the thousands at the hands of Sadaam. Why should they believe us now?

I suspect that once the election is over and they have a better idea where we stand, they will be much more supportive of our efforts. If Bush is re-elected, the situation in Iraq could change dramatically for the better. If Kerry is elected, then I suspect the Iraqis will take a wait and see atttitude rather than committing more fully to the fight for freedom.


Disturbing WMD news

The London Telegraph is reporting that Syria is working on a secret deal with Iran to transfer some Iraqi nuclear scientists (that Syria has been secretly harboring) to Iran because Syria is beginning to feel the heat from the US. (Perhaps this is an admission that Bush will most likely win the election and things won't go well for them afterwards?)

This news is disturbing on several fronts. First, if Syria was harboring Iraqi nuclear scientists, then that gives greater credibility to reports that chemical and biological weapons were transferred from Iraq to Syria in the run-up to OIF. Why would Sadaam only transfer the scientists and not other technology that he had? Why have western nations rejected this idea and assumed that all of the western intelligence agencies were wrong? This defies logic.

Second, Iran is already hard at work developing their own nuclear program. This will give them a boost, allowing them to finish their development more quickly. None of this is comforting news considering that both regimes happily harbor terrorists. It's bad enough that we have to deal with the terrorists in Iraq, who are trying desparately to kill the newly planted flower of freedom. If they obtain nuclear material from Iran or Syria, which is certainly a possibility, then we can assume they will try very hard to use it in Iraq or even here in the US.

Finally, Iran has successfully tested a new strategic missile which is capable of hitting both Israel and any US troops stationed in the Mideast. Coupled with their rapidly developing nuclear program, trouble lies directly ahead. I suspect Iran is working feverishly to complete their program while the US is still busy in Iraq. In fact, Iran is working hard to keep the US busy in Iraq by importing intelligence agents and terrorists into Iraq to resupply their numbers as our troops kill them.

Hat tip to Captain Ed for both stories.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

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AP at it again

Powerline discusses an AP story by Jennifer Loven that can only be accurately described as a hit piece.

Powerline then follows up with a closer look at the "reporter", Jennifer Loven, who has been at it for a while now.


Interesting take on the Swiftvets

Instapundit pointed to an op-ed in WaPo that clearly explains what Kerry's problem is with Vietnam vets. This from some black men who served honorably and would normally vote Democrat in any national election.
"I served my 13 months in combat. Returned in 1972 with the Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Technical Services Honor Medal to a very anti-Vietnam America. [Harry] "Butch" Robinson, Denny [Dennis] Hightower, and many more that you know did the same. We endured the pain of separation from our loved ones, were frightened when the rockets came in to camp and lives were lost. But we were never unfit for command.

"Kerry still hasn't satisfied me and many others. . . . It's September and I'm still conflicted. Speaking for myself, it is NOT enough that he served!" Those aren't the thoughts of a Republican-funded, right-wing, over-the-top Swift boat veteran. Ignore them, Kerry camp, at your peril.
Personally, I think the divide is much wider and much deeper than the polls are showing, and I suspect that vets will make this election a landslide for Bush as they reject the leftist, anti-war views Kerry espoused in 1971 and the press has promoted ever since.


Scathing op-ed by Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn excoriates both Kerry and the press in a no-holds-barred editorial. Here's how he closes his argument, discussing the press.
They're six feet from Iraq's head of government and they've got not a question for him. They've got no interest in Iraq except insofar as they can use the issue to depress sufficient numbers of swing voters in Florida and Ohio.

Who's living in the fantasyland here? Huge forces are at play in a world of rapid change. As the prime minister said, ''We Iraqis will stand by you, America, in a war larger than either of our nations.'' But the gentlemen of the press can barely stifle their ennui. Say what you like about the old left, but at least they were outward-looking and internationalist. This new crowd -- Democrats and media alike -- are stunted and parochial, their horizons shriveling more every day.
Steyn is right. The press does a great disservice to this country because of their bias.

Thank God for bloggers.


Friday, September 24, 2004

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Patterico discusses monkeys

Patterico linked to WaPo and discusses Tina Brown's "monkeys typing" article.

Personally, I couldn't get past the first paragraph.
Are the media having a nervous breakdown?

The Dan Rather affair looks like yet another giant freakout in the patient's collapse. For Rather and CBS, all the conflicting tensions that torture journalists and producers day and night came together. The broiling partisan heat, the pressure to get out of third place with a scoop, the hot breath of cable news, the race to beat all the hacks and scribes who keep nibbling away at the story (your story, the story you've spent five years trying to get right), the baying of the bloggers, the sick sense of always being news-managed by the White House's black arts, the longing to show the Web charlatans and cable-heads that rumpled-trenchcoat news is still where the action is, the pounding inner soundtrack that asks: Am I a watchdog or a poodle? A journalist or an entertainer? A tough newsman or a mouse with mousse?
Brown completely misses the point, so I guess I'm going to have to point it out to her.

Tina, if you spend five years working on a story and the best you can do is a partisan hack and forged documents from another partisan hack and you put that on the air (or in your newspaper in your case), then I doubt seriously it was the competition that made you do it. It's an interesting defense, but Flip Wilson already has the copyright.

BTW, if any of my readers are talented with graphics and willing to create a graphic of a monkey in pajamas, I'd be delighted to use it as my picture on my blog.

Which reminds me.....some may wonder who I am and/or what I look like. I have deliberately chosen to remain anonymous (as much as is possible on the Internet, which isn't much) because I think the ideas are what's important, not who I am.


Surprising mention from Sneakeasy's Joint

I was more than a little surprised to find Sneakeasy talking about my first post to this blog. I have trouble just keeping up with the events of one day, trying to read all the blogs that address an issue that interests me. Somehow Sneakeasy found the time to read the first post I ever made. I just got done reading it myself, and I have to admit, I've remained true to my purpose, as far as I can tell. I also noticed my first post was not short, a characteristic that seems the norm, rather than the exception, for me. I admire people like Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds who can be very short and concise, but that's not me. I assume that my regular readers enjoy reading my lengthy posts or they probably wouldn't return. Since, in the end, I write for myself and for my own satisfaction, in some sense it doesn't really matter. I admit that I enjoy knowing that people are reading my posts, so in that sense, readers really do matter. As I'm sure my readers know, I could go on indefinitely, so I guess I'd better stop while I'm ahead. :-)


One more nail in the coffin

As if we didn't already have more than enough proof that Bush didn't receive preferential treatment to get in the Guard and was an excellent pilot, now we have Ed Morrisey, the man who swore Bush into the Guard and was the Executive Officer at that time, speaks out, saying, "The kid did good,"


Kerry the coalition builder?

One topic John Kerry has been consistent about is his ridicule of the coalition that Bush has built for the war in Afghanistan as well as the coalition he has built for the war in Iraq. It's patently obvious that he disdains anything that doesn't include the European nations (minus Great Britain). I've often wondered how he intends to get nations involved in Iraq when he insults them regularly.

Now WaPo has published an op-ed that asks the same question. I think it's question Bush should be asking regularly.


News items of interest

Memories of the old dial-up days are with me again. I had forgotten how painfully slow dial-up is.

I couple of news items that I think you might find interesting.

President Bush suprised some Guard troops heading for Iraq by boarding their plane, shaking their hands, offering them words of encouragement and comfort and posing for pictures with them. I'm sure some will find a cynical explanation, but I think this is Bush just being himself - one of the guys, "hangin' with the crew" if you will. No pretense. No thought for polls and politics. Just concern for the folks who go in harm's way.

The UN is apparently under attack, from National Review Online as well as Victor Davis Hanson, in "U. N.? Who Cares?".

My sentiments exactly. The UN still can play a roll in humanitarian aid, perhaps, but as the arbiter of national disputes, the UN is morally bankrupt and not worthy of our trust or our money.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

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Damn "journalists"!

I shut down my Mac laptop and put away the power cord, in preparation for leaving in the morning, and I picked up the newspaper to glance at the opinion section before going to bed. I should have known I couldn't do that without having to blog something.

Old media "journalists" just drive me nuts. Nicholas Kristof has a huge piece today titled Deconstructing Kerry's Vietnam War claims. Under the question, "Did Mr. Kerry deserve his Bronze Star?", Kristof writes
Yes. The Swift Boat Veterans claim that he was not facing enemy fire when he rescued a Green Beret, Jim Rassmann, but that is contradicted by those who were there, like William Rood and Mr. Rassmann (a Republican). Mr. Rassmann recommended Mr. Kerry for a Silver Star.
There should be a rule. If you can't even get your facts straight, you should not be allowed to write for major media organizations and get paid obscene amounts of money for doing so.

William Rood was not with Kerry during the Bronze Star incident, and Mr. Rassmann is not a Republican. If Kristoff is going to deconstruct Kerry's record, the least he could do is get his facts straight before writing about it! As we've seen with CBS, accuracy isn't exactly the long suit of the old media.

Under the question, "Did Mr. Kerry get his first Purple Heart for a self-inflicted wound?", Kristof writes
That's the accusation of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who say that the injury came (unintentionally) from a grenade that Mr. Kerry himself fired at the Viet Cong. It's possible that the critics are right. It's not certain that the Viet Cong were returning fire. But the only other American on the boat in a position to see anything, Bill Zaldonis (who says he voted for Mr. Bush in 2000), told me, "He was hurt, and I don't think it was self-inflicted."
The Kerry campaign has admitted that the wound was self-inflicted. Zaladonis has said that he was firing the M-60 and has no way of knowing whether there was any enemy fire or not.

Here's the facts.

  • Kristof got the facts regarding Kerry's "volunteering" for dangerous duty correct, confirming the Swiftvets accusation

  • The Swiftvets accused Kerry of lying about being in Cambodia on Christmas Eve of 1968. Kerry has admitted that he wasn't in Cambodia, under orders, on Christmas eve, confirming the Swiftvets accusation.

  • The Swiftvets accused Kerry of not deserving his first Purple Heart because the wound was self-inflicted and there was no enemy fire. Kerry has now admitted that the wound "may have been" self-inflicted and no one can substantiate Kerry's claim that there was enemy fire.

  • The Swiftvets accused Kerry of having shot a lone, fleeing enemy on the day he won his Silver Star. Kerry's own military records confirm this. His later citations exaggerate the events of that day and are directly refuted by the after action report.

  • The Swiftvets accused Kerry of conflating his "ass" injury from the rice incident with his minor contusion from the mine incident in order to get his third Purple Heart. Kerry's own hagiography and journal entries confirm that.

Kristoff concludes with this
Mr. Kerry has stretched the truth here and there, but earned his decorations. And the Swift Boat Veterans, contradicted by official records and virtually everyone who witnessed the incidents, are engaging in one of the ugliest smears in modern U.S. politics.
Here's a clue for you from the blogosphere, Nicholas. The truth is not a smear, and a smear is not the truth. Contrary to your conclusion, your own comments, while revealing your ignorance of the facts, still show that the Swiftvets have been right about several things.

I could go on, but you get the point. If you're ignorant of the facts, what sort of hubris motivates you to write about it anyway, Nicholas?


I'm outta here

I'll be blogging sporadically for the next two days. I'll be on the road, traveling to my in-laws to celebrate my father-in-laws 85th birthday. Once I get there, I'll have a dial-up connection (can you imagine?) so I may get too frustrated to blog much. I'll be back in full swing on October 3rd, when I get back home. Until then, keep the blogosphere going for me. :-)


Burkett comes clean?

USA Today published an interview with Bill Burkett that leave more questions than it provides answers. Who knows where this trail will lead? Anybody in Houston know "Lucy Ramirez"?


Finally a voice of reason

The Dallas Morning News published an op-ed from Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, who is general manager of Al-Arabiya news channel. I'll "reprint" it here in its entirety. I have one comment. It's about time!
It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.

The hostage-takers of children in Beslan, North Ossetia, were Muslims. The other hostage-takers and subsequent murderers of the Nepalese chefs and workers in Iraq were also Muslims. Those involved in rape and murder in Darfur, Sudan, are Muslims, with other Muslims chosen to be their victims.

Those responsible for the attacks on residential towers in Riyadh and Khobar were Muslims. The two women who crashed two airliners last week were also Muslims.

Osama bin Laden is a Muslim. The majority of those who manned the suicide bombings against buses, vehicles, schools, houses and buildings, all over the world, were Muslim.

What a pathetic record. What an abominable "achievement." Does all this tell us anything about ourselves, our societies and our culture?

These images, when put together or taken separately, are shameful and degrading. But let us start with putting an end to a history of denial. Let us acknowledge their reality, instead of denying them and seeking to justify them with sound and fury signifying nothing.

For it would be easy to cure ourselves if we realize the seriousness of our sickness. Self-cure starts with self-realization and confession. We should then run after our terrorist sons, in the full knowledge that they are the sour grapes of a deformed culture.

Let us listen to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the sheikh - the Qatar-based radical Egyptian cleric - and hear him recite his fatwa about the religious permissibility of killing civilian Americans in Iraq. Let us contemplate the incident of this religious sheikh allowing, nay even calling for, the murder of civilians.

This ailing sheikh, in his last days, with two daughters studying in "infidel" Britain, soliciting children to kill innocent civilians.

How could this sheikh face the mother of the youthful Nick Berg, who was slaughtered in Iraq because he wanted to build communication towers in that ravished country? How can we believe him when he tells us that Islam is the religion of mercy and peace while he is turning it into a religion of blood and slaughter?

In a different era, we used to consider the extremists, with nationalist or leftist leanings, a menace and a source of corruption because of their adoption of violence as a means of discourse and their involvement in murder as an easy shortcut to their objectives.

At that time, the mosque used to be a haven, and the voice of religion used to be that of peace and reconciliation. Religious sermons were warm behests for a moral order and an ethical life.

Then came the neo-Muslims. An innocent and benevolent religion, whose verses prohibit the felling of trees in the absence of urgent necessity, that calls murder the most heinous of crimes, that says explicitly that if you kill one person you have killed humanity as a whole, has been turned into a global message of hate and a universal war cry.

We can't call those who take schoolchildren as hostages our own.

We cannot tolerate in our midst those who abduct journalists, murder civilians, explode buses; we cannot accept them as related to us, whatever the sufferings they claim to justify their criminal deeds. These are the people who have smeared Islam and stained its image.

We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise; an almost exclusive monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women.

We cannot redeem our extremist youths, who commit all these heinous crimes, without confronting the sheikhs who thought it ennobling to reinvent themselves as revolutionary ideologues, sending other people's sons and daughters to certain death, while sending their own children to European and American schools and colleges.
Maybe there's hope yet for our world.


Fake But Accurate

I was reading Powerline tonight when I clicked on a link in this story and I began reading Mackubin Thomas Owens' Seared in My Memory. Owens discusses Kerry's claims that atrocities were routine and a matter of public policy in the Vietnam war. Like any honest broker, Owens concedes that atrocities were committed in Vietnam, just as they are in every war. However, he points out that even generous estimates of the atrocities committed in Vietnam show that less than 1% of the men in Vietnam committed them. He says, "I doubt that many armies in history could match that record."

As I continued to read I came across this quote of historian John Prados, who disputes the charge that the claims of Kerry and his cohorts are false.
Lewy's primary evidence consists of noting that VVAW members refused to give depositions. When the Naval Investigative Service tried to pull VVAW members into an inquiry, it found one Marine who either could not or would not give details of what he had seen and allegedly located several other veterans who said they had never gone to Detroit. (O'Neill had cited this same information in his televised debate with Kerry.) But even if true, these incidents were far too limited to establish anything in particular about the Winter Soldier Investigation; the fact that some of the winter soldiers declined to give depositions does not prove or disprove the legitimacy of the entire project. The VVAW leadership left it up to individual members to decide how to respond to requests for depositions. And veterans had good reasons to decline. For one thing, they argued that their purpose was to protest U.S. policy, not to draw attention to individual soldiers. What's more, with the VVAW under direct assault from the Nixon administration, it's understandable that the group's members were loath to cooperate with government investigators.
I was stunned. What Prados is arguing is "even if the specific claims are false, the story itself is true" - fake, but accurate!

This is the same damnable lie that Rather and NYT and LAT and the DNC are trying to pass off on us now with regard to Bush's Guard service! So what if the witnesses in the Winter Soldier Investigation lied? So what if they were frauds who never even served in Vietnam? So what if we can't corroborate any of their testimonies? The essence of their claims is still true!

The arrogance of it is breathtaking! This lie has been passed off on us for more than thirty years! The deleterious effect it has had on this nation is inestimable and, until now, unchallenged. I'm more convinced now than ever that this election is much more than a referendum on Iraq. It's a referendum on the honor of the American soldier and the deceit, arrogance and appalling lack of integrity of the American left.

When the history of this time is written, John Kerry will be seen as the catalyst that caused the Vietnam-era vets to rise up and right a festering wrong that has eaten away at the fabric of this nation like a cancer. For that we should thank him. Despite his unconscionable theft of our honor 33 years ago, his overweening ambition to be President and his unfathomable choice to cast himself in the mold of war hero has granted us the opportunity to set the record straight and in so doing to restore to this country the honor that is rightfully hers.

America has always been an honorable country. The liars and elites have used fake evidence and forged documents to claim otherwise. They are no longer the all powerful gatekeepers of information. Chomsky has been exposed and his empire has no clothes. From now on we will demand to see the evidence or we will not believe.

In Iraq, as in this election, America will reclaim her honor.


Monday, September 20, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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Lockhart involved in CBS mess

The AP (via Drudge) is reporting that Joe Lockhart talked to Bill Burkett on the phone. This means two members of the Kerry campaign have admitted to talking to Burkett. (Max Cleland is the other one.)

This is even stranger
Lockhart said Mapes asked him the weekend before the story broke to call Burkett. "She basically said there's a guy who is being helpful on the story who wants to talk to you," Lockhart said, adding that it was common knowledge that CBS was working on a story raising questions about Bush's Guard service. Mapes told him there were some records "that might move the story forward. She didn't tell me what they said."
So we now have two members of the Kerry campaign involved and we have CBS working directly with the campaign, feeding them "helpful" information.

But there was no coordination. Oh, and CBS is an ethical news organization. :-)

UPDATE: USA Today is carrying the story as well.


Expanding on Beldar

Beldar posts a scathing analysis of Rathergate and CBS's somewhat mea culpa, and motivates me to expand on three points.

First, Beldar quotes Newsweek
Yesterday, Emily J. Will, a document specialist who inspected the records for CBS News and said last week that she had raised concerns about their authenticity with CBS News producers, confirmed a report in Newsweek that a producer had told her that the source of the documents said they had been obtained anonymously and through the mail.
Now I'm genuinely intrigued. We already know that the documents were faxed from Abilene, where Bill Burkett had an account. Burkett has now admitted to being CBS's source for the documents. So who mailed the documents to Burkett? If Burkett got the documents anonymously, why did he tell CBS he got them from a Guard member? Then change his story and tell Rather he wouldn't reveal the real source? If Burkett told Mapes he got them from a Guard member, then who is the producer who told Emily Will that Burkett had received the documents anonymously?

Inquiring minds really want to know now.

Second, Beldar mentions this
Mr. Burkett is a former Texas Army National Guard officer, not from the Texas Air National Guard, which of course was the branch of the Guard in which Dubya, Killian, Staudt, et al. served in. When one sees this sort of distinction elude the NYT, one wonders if it also eluded CBS News, with serious consequences.)
Every news service I'm aware of has missed this point. I think it illustrates something larger. The old media has despised the military for so long now that they no longer have any understanding of its inner workings nor do they comprehend the differences between the services; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard - it's all the same to them - and the details aren't important to them anyway.

That's why they have no appreciation for the "minutiae" of the Swiftvets story.

Third, and final point.Beldar again quotes Newsweek.
In a telephone interview this weekend, Josh Howard, the executive producer of the "60 Minutes'' Wednesday edition, said that he did not initially know who was Ms. Mapes' primary source for the documents but that he did not see any reason to doubt them. He said he believed Ms. Mapes and her team had appropriately answered all questions about the documents' authenticity and, he noted, no one seemed to be casting doubt upon the essential thrust of the report.

"The editorial story line was still intact, and still is, to this day,'' he said, "and the reporting that was done in it was by a person who has turned in decades of flawless reporting with no challenge to her credibility.''
The only reason this editorial story line is still intact is because no one in the old media has done their homework. (Bloggers have - see here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here and here.)

This has been self evident for some time now. Recent examples abound, most notably the Swiftvets story. How many times have you seen an interviewer ask Steve Gardner about the March 13th Bronze Star incident? Or Tedd Peck? How many times have you seen an interviewer say, "You weren't on his boat" revealing that they aren't even aware that Kerry commanded two different boats? How many times have you read interviews that completely miss the point the Swiftvets make? Or ignore the evidence? Or contradict the evidence?

This isn't some sudden, emerging phenomenon. The press has been going for the "easy get" for some time. The AP writes something. Everyone else reprints, with no critical analysis at all. If a story is "exciting", it spreads like wildfire. Never mind the details. We can "correct" those later. Remember the story about subliminal messages in the smoke in Lion King? It's still accepted as true today, despite the fact that it's been proven false or at a minimum uncertain. (And they mock the Internet for spreading rumors!)

You can expect a great deal more accuracy from the blogosphere because, where the press has an ombudsman, bloggers have a thousand critics.


A day late and a dollar short

CBS finally admits that the documents were forgeries and that Burkett was the provider of those documents. Unfortunately, they want to now play the victim, claiming they were duped by Burkett. Had they done ten minutes of research on Burkett, they should have known better than to accept anything he gave them at face value, but Mary Mapes and Dan Rather wanted this story to be true so badly they were willing to overlook manifest signs of forgery in the rush to get the story out.

I don't think this is over by any means, and I suspect that the blogosphere will hold Rather's and Mapes' feet to the fire for a while longer - at least until the entire story has been told and some heads have rolled.

In any case, CBS's image is now shattered, and they are relegated to third class status as a news organization.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
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Interesting poll results in Iraq

Things are really bad in Iraq right now, right? Then why do the Iraqis feel like this?


Fisking Rather's report, Part 2

In Fisking Rather's report, Part 1 I dealt with the charge that Bush received special treatment to enter the Guard, and I found that the charge is not accurate. The reason I am dealing with these charges at all is that CBS and Dan Rather, with the support of the old media, are claiming that although the documents used in the 60 Minutes II broadcast have been proven to be forgeries, the charges against Bush are still accurate and need to be addressed by the President.

To any rational person, charges based on forged documents should be dismissed out of hand, but in the politically charged atmosphere we have today the claim that the documents are "Fake but Accurate" (put forward by the NY Times) are given credence. In a desparate effort to salvage any credibility at all, CBS clung to the slender thread of Marian Knox's claim "I did not type those, no, but the information in them is correct" and the documents "reflect sentiments Killian expressed to her at the time."

In a Dallas Morning News article Ms. Knox claimed, "I remember very vividly when Bush was there and all the yak-yak that was going on about it." However, in an earlier interview with the Houston Chronicle (linked above), Ms. Knox stated she had no knowledge of Bush's time in the Guard.
Last week, Knox said she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush's time with the Texas Air National Guard, although she did recall a culture of special treatment for the sons of prominent people, such as Bush and others.
Her statements are internally inconsistent. If she had "no firsthand knowledge" of Bush then how could she "remember very vividly when Bush was there"? The Houston Chronicle interview and the DMN interview were published on the same day, just hours apart, and the Chronicle uses the phrase "last week", which means her statements couldn't be separated by more than a few days. This casts serious doubt on Knox's statements, because she has contradicted herself within the space of a week, in separate interviews.

Without a corroborating witness, her testimony is suspect. Some might suggest that Bill Burkett supports her claims, but Burkett didn't serve in the Guard with Bush and he has completely contradicted himself at various times. His testimony is of very little value.

Maj. Hodges was quoted by CBS as saying when he was "read the documents...over the phone", "these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time." Unfortunately, we have no idea what the "things" are that Hodges was referring to, and at this point we certainly can't trust CBS to tell us. Was Hodges referring to Killian's feelings about Bush? We do know that CBS had two documents that it never published, so it's impossible to say what was read to Hodges. Only Hodges and/or CBS could clear this up, and to my knowledge no one has asked either one what was read over the phone.

Hodges has since said that he was "misled" by CBS, and the documents are "forgeries".

Another "witness" to the documents is Robert Strong, Hodges' administrative assistant in the Guard. Strong has been cited as stating that the documents were "consistent with what [he] knew of Killian." Again, we have no indication what documents Strong had read to him or what their content was, so it's nearly impossible to make any judgments about the meaning of his statements.

For the sake of argument, however, let's assume that Knox, Hodges and Strong are all saying that Killian thought that Bush was receiving preferential treatment and that Killian was being forced to "sugar coat" Bush's record.

Marjorie Connell, Lt. Col. Killian's widow, disputes the content of the memos, stating
"The wording in these documents is very suspect to me. ... I just can't believe these are his words."

Connell said that her late husband would be "turning over in his grave to know that a document such as this would be used against a fellow Guardsman," and she is "sick" and "angry" that his name is "being battled back and forth on television."

Connell said that her late husband was a fan of the young Bush.

She stated, "I know for a fact that this young man ... was an excellent aviator, an excellent person to be in the Guard, and he was very happy to have him become a member of the 111th."
Connell isn't the only eye witness who questions the content of the documents.
Rufus Martin, the personnel chief in Killian's unit at the time told CNN, "They looked to me like forgeries. ... I don't think Killian would do that, and I knew him for 17 years."
That isn't all there is, however. Gen. Staudt has stated, "I never pressured anybody about George Bush because I had no reason to", directly refuting the statement in one forged document that "Staudt is pushing to sugar coat" a review of Bush's performance. As others have pointed out, Staudt was already retired on the date of the forged document.

Furthermore, known, authentic, contemporaneous documents, signed by Killian reveal a completely different opinion of Bush than the portrayal given by the 'witnesses" to the forged documents.

Based on this evidence, the charge that Bush received special treatment with regard to his physical and his time in Alabama is weak at best. It's based upon forged documents, the conflicting statements of an aging secretary, the obviously biased claims of Bill Burkett and statements by individuals who were misled by CBS. Offsetting those claims are people who knew Killian well who claim he never would have written the things found in the memos and known, authentic documents that portray a completely different view of Bush held by Killian.

In sum, the charge is not accurate.


Fisking Rather's report, Part 1

The first charge Dan Rather made against George Bush is that he received preferential treatment to enter the Texas Air National Guard. Ben Barnes is the man Rather interviewed who has made this claim. No one else has come forward with a similar or supporting claim.

I'm going to ignore Barnes' conflicting statements and his extensive support of Kerry and focus on the charge he has made. In my opinion it's entirely possible for someone to be very partisan and still tell the truth about events they have experienced. Furthermore, I think the charge of partisanship is insufficient to refute a claim that is made against someone. All it does is muddy the waters. (Witness Rather's attempts to deflect criticism about the authenticity of documentary evidence by claims that his opponents were partisans.)

In 1999 the Dallas Morning News published an article reporting that Ben Barnes had told friends that he helped Bush get in the Guard. Barnes claimed that "one of his staff members" forwarded a request from Sidney Adger, a Houston oilman closely associated with George H. W. Bush, to Brig. Gen. James Rose, the head of the Texas Air National Guard at that time. Both Sidney Adger and James Rose were dead when Barnes made his claim, so there was no way to question either man regarding the veracity of Barnes' statements.

Barnes has qualifed his statement to include the facts that he had not been contacted by either Bush senior or Bush junior for help and that neither man was aware of his efforts on George Bush's behalf.
Barnes testified for several hours Monday in a deposition in the case. Afterwards, his lawyer issued a written statement saying Barnes had been contacted by the now-deceased Sidney Adger, a Houston oilman and friend of the elder Bush.

"Mr. Barnes was contacted by Sid Adger and asked to recommend George W. Bush for a pilot position with the Air National Guard. Barnes called Gen. (James) Rose (Texas Air Guard commander) and did so," the statement said.

"Neither Congressman Bush nor any other member of the Bush family asked Barnes' help. Barnes has no knowledge that Governor Bush or President Bush knew of Barnes' recommendation," the statement said.
So the charge that Barnes makes is that a man who was friends with Bush senior asked him to help get Bush junior in the Guard and neither Bush senior nor Bush junior has anything directly to do with that request.

The fact still remains that Bush senior could have spoken with Adger, who then spoke with Barnes, and the request was passed on to Rose and carried out, resulting in Bush junior getting special treatment to get in the Guard.

George Bush denied there was an influence exerted to get him in the Guard.
Asked whether Mr. Adger or anyone else approached Mr. Barnes about the Guard, Mr. Bush said, "I have no idea and I don't believe so. I applied to be a pilot in the Guard and I met the requirements and the people who decided I was going to be in the Guard have said publicly that there was no influence."
George H. W. Bush also denied that he had exerted any influence to get his son in the Guard.
A spokeswoman for former President George Bush confirmed the elder Bush's friendship with Mr. Adger but said he was "almost positive" he never talked to Mr. Adger - or anyone else - about getting his son into the Guard.

"He said he is fairly certain - I mean he doesn't remember everything that happened in the 1960s - but he said he and Sid Adger never, ever talked about George W. and the Texas Air National Guard," said Jean Becker, a spokeswoman for the former president.
DMN's own research staff discovered that there were openings for pilots when Bush applied.
Research by The News has shown there were two or three pilot vacancies in the 147th when Mr. Bush applied - before losing his student deferment from the draft.

Although thousands of people were waiting for Guard slots around the country, Gen. Staudt said that Mr. Bush got in because he was willing to undertake the yearlong training and time-consuming duty as a pilot.
The Amarillo Globe-News published an account of a trial that Barnes was in that addressed the issue of Bush's Guard service. One person questioned under oath was Barnes' assistant, Nick Kralj. Kralj was in the unique position of being an aide to Barnes, who was Speaker of the House in Texas and an aide to Brig. Gen. Rose. Kralj would have unique knowledge about the events of those years and whether or not Bush had received preferential treatement or benefitted from the influence of the Texas Speaker of the House.

Under oath, Mr. Kralj testified that "Barnes and one of his assistants, sometimes passed on to him names of people wanting to get into the Guard" and "he turned the names over to the general but did not know whether they were accepted." Kralj, it turns out, is the "staff member" that Barnes had referred to in the DMN interview.

Did Kralj pass on Bush's name? Not according to his sworn testimony.
Kralj also said that he couldn't recall any of the names but that Bush's was not among them.

"I guess the bottom line here we want is that I did not help George Bush Sr. or George Bush Jr. get in the National Guard," he said during questioning by Levine.

Pressed further, Kralj said, "I didn't do it because I think that it would have been something that I would have remembered. He was a United States congressman. It would have been his son. I think I would have recalled something of that."
Supporting the President's claim and DMN's research saying that there were openings for pilots and that Bush did not need help to get in the Guard is the man who was directly involved.

In a recent interview, Brig. Gen. Staudt stated uneqivocally
Staudt insisted Bush did not use connections to avoid being sent to Vietnam.

"He didn't use political influence to get into the Air National Guard," Staudt said, adding, "I don't know how they would know that, because I was the one who did it and I was the one who was there and I didn't talk to any of them."

During his time in charge of the unit, Staudt decided whether to accept those who applied for pilot training. He recalled Bush as a standout candidate.

"He was highly qualified," he said. "He passed all the scrutiny and tests he was given."

Staudt said he never tried to influence Killian or other Guardsmen, and added that he never came under any pressure himself to accept Bush. "No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard," he said. "It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody."
What I've written about here should be part of any discussion of Bush's entrance into the Guard and whether or not he received preferential treatment. CBS should have aired this information in Rather's 60 Minutes II segment when he interviewed Barnes. Only Mary Mapes and Dan Rather can answer why it wasn't addressed.

The reasonable conclusion is that Rather's first charge against Bush is not accurate.


Rather may win this yet

Beldar points to today's front page article in WaPo that takes an in-depth look at the CBS forged documents scandal. The Post spends quite a long time looking at the development of the story and although they don't emphasize it, it's obvious that the real culprits in this fiasco are Mary Mapes who quashed opposition to the story and misrepresented the certainty of their authenticity to CBS executives and Dan Rather who so desparately wanted the story to be true that he abandoned journalistic ethics to push the story forward.

All this is well and good, but what frustrates me is that the meme that the documents may be forged but the story is accurate simply won't go away. The Post closes with this.
As they continue their investigation into whether they were hoaxed, CBS officials have begun shifting their public focus from the memos themselves to their underlying allegations about the president. Rather said that if the memos were indeed faked, "I'd like to break that story." But whatever the verdict on the memos, he said, critics "can't deny the story."

As the days begin to blur for Josh Howard, he embraces the same logic: "So much of this debate has focused on the documents, and no one has really challenged the story. It's been frustrating to us to see all this reduced to a debate over little 'th's."
This meme is being repeated in the old media, best represented by the unbelieveable "Fake but Accurate" NY Times headline. That this could possibly be a "standard" for journalism is a definitive statement of the corruption that infests the media today.

What irritates me more, however, is that the claim that the charges are accurate is provably false. I've written about this before, but it seems it will not go away, so I guess I'm going to have to deal with it in depth. Since that would be a very long article, I will address each charge individually in separate articles.


Saturday, September 18, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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Piercing through the buzz

The latest buzz in the old media and among liberals centers around the intelligence report that was recently released. There's all sorts of conspiracy theories being put forward, including that the Bush administration "withheld" the report in order to hide the "bad news".

Wretchard, in his usual style of patient and cogent analysis examines what is really going on in Iraq in a series of articles: Iraq, Part 1, Iraq, Part 1.1 and his latest, Iraq, Part 2.

He makes several interesting observations. In one sense we are victims of our own success. We defeated Sadaam's army so rapidly and hunted down the old Ba'athists so well that we left a power vacuum. Into that vacuum poured terrorists, agents from Iran, Syria and Jordan and disaffected Ba'athists. While we have had much success in dealing with them (mostly by killing them in large numbers), we haven't, until recently, had the time to train Iraqis to defend themselves against these attacks.

Using statistical data, Wretchard shows that the violence is still centered in the same areas as before - the Sunni triangle and whereever the buffoon al Sadr happens to be. He points out that what is happening right now is not outside the norm of what has been happening for some time now, and as the President has repeatedly said, we need to be patient and allow the military to do their work.

Despite the reports in the US press, Iraqi bloggers see a different story, different patterns, different facts and a completely different outcome.


This is what's wrong with the media

Tom Maguire links to a story about a three-year-old girl who was brought to tears when Kerry supporters tore up her Bush sign. Bloggers have found out that the man, Phil Parlock, has been bringing his children to Democratic rallies and stirring up trouble for the past twelve years. This story highlights the media's fascination with anything controversial. "If it bleeds, it leads" thinking.

Would it really have been that difficult for the AP to do a little research on Mr. Parlock before running this story? Is it really necessary to stir up the crazy people on either side of the political spectrum by publishing poorly researched stories?

When is the media going to learn about Google, for crying out loud?


Musings from the past

When you read an article like this one in Newsweek, you wonder what world these people live in. Eleanor Clift writes in "Where's the Outrage?"
From the Kerry campaign's perspective, this was another week lost to the Republicans. George W. Bush's proven failure to fulfill his National Guard duties was widely reported, but because of CBS's flawed journalism, the GOP was able to shift the story away from Bush's credibility to Dan Rather's.
The fantasy world Clift writes about doesn't exist, yet she still has a job. What more do you need to know about old media?

"George Bush's failure to fullfill his National Guard duties was widely reported" is true in the sense that the old media picked up that water bucket and carried it, but it failed to gain traction because it's false! Numerous blogs have addressed the issues with Bush's Guard service, and it has been proven conclusively to everyone except pertinacious liberals and the imperceptive old media that Bush entered the Guard on his own steam, served honorably and fully and was honorably discharged precisely because he was not derelict in his duties.

"CBS's flawed journalism"? Using forged documents and a partisan liar to try and discredit a political candidate is not "flawed journalism". It's partisan hackery. If Clift can't recognize that, then she should be writing for the Enquirer.
Republican lapdogs on Capitol Hill rushed to cash in on "Rathergate." Rep. Chris Cox, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, urged the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications to investigate CBS's use of potentially falsified documents. This is a party that launches investigations into Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction--and now this--while ignoring the intelligence lapses that led the country into an unnecessary war in Iraq, and covering for Bush when he exaggerates the progress in that nation's development. The National Intelligence Estimate prepared for the president in late July, and reported Thursday by The New York Times, describes Iraq in far more pessimistic terms than Bush does on the campaign trail, with civil war a likely outcome.
I can't resist the opportunity to ask the obvious. Were the shoe on the other foot - had CBS aired a story that debunked Kerry's Vietnam service using a partisan Republican liar and forged documents - where would Clift's outrage be then? Would she be writing about "Democratic lapdogs" rushing to cash in? Somehow I think not.

Objective people of every political persuasion should be outraged at Rathergate, and they are. Only people who don't give a damn about America could sit idly by while a major media outlet tries to influence the outcome of an election by publishing complete falsehoods with forged supporting documentation while ignoring strong evidence to the contrary.

What conclusion should we draw from Clift's bleatings? Mine is quite simple. She prefers a certain outcome to the truth. She's not troubled by the publication of false stories if they contrbute to her view of the way things out to be. That should trouble Newsweek and MSNBC a great deal.

There's nothing wrong with a media outlet having a partisan bent so long as their reporting isn't influenced by it. Fox News is a good example of a blend of objective reporting with partisan commentating. The trouble with old media is they don't want to admit to their bias while they allow it to influence their reporting.

Unfortunately for them, many people can tell the difference.


Friday, September 17, 2004

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Patterico misses a fisking

Patterico wrote a brief comment about an LA Times story that reveals the identity of Buckhead, the freeper who "broke" the story of the forged documents that CBS used to defame Bush.

I think Patterico missed a golden opportunity for a fisking. Maybe he was tired. Maybe the Rather story has worn him out, but this article practically begs for a fisking. The trouble is, it will be really long, because there's a lot to fisk. Somebody has to do it, right? Might as well be me.

The Times is positively gleeful over the fact that they have identified Buckhead and he is a conservative who supports Bush. In the warped world of the old media, this is a clear sign of bias permitting them to ignore anything a person says - except if they're Democrats or liberals, who obviously aren't biased - they're rational.

The Times reports
The identity of "Buckhead," a blogger known previously only by his screen name on the site freerepublic.com and lifted to folk hero status in the conservative blogosphere since last week's posting, is likely to fuel speculation among Democrats that the efforts to discredit the CBS memos were engineered by Republicans eager to undermine reports that Bush received preferential treatment in the National Guard more than 30 years ago.
"Lifted to folk hero status". Folk heroes are mythical figures whose exploits aren't real. The reality of their stories is always much more mundane than the myth. IOW, the Times is implying that Buckhead didn't actually - "eureka!" - discover that the documents were forged - he probably knew it all along - get it?

The writer then confirms it by immediately inserting the meme of the story - ah hah! We knew it all along. This story was planted by those dirty Republicans. See it? They were "eager to undermine reports", which means they would be willing to do anything to discredit CBS - even plant forged documents! OK. This is beginning to make sense now. Let's read on.
Republican officials have denied any involvement among those debunking the CBS story.
Well of course they would! Plausible deniability and all that sort of thing. After all - these are the people who brought you Watergate!

On we press.
Reached by telephone today, MacDougald, 46, confirmed that he is Buckhead, but declined to answer questions about his political background or how he knew so much about the CBS documents so fast.
Just how did Buckhead figure this out? We'll get to that later, but first we have to thoroughly cover Mr. MacDonald's Republican connections, because it's important for the readers to understand the bias this man has so they can understand that he planted those documents or surely had something to do with it. After all - he's a frickin' freeper man - do you know who those people are? They're hard right man! Frickin' wingnuts, you know?! (Remind me to write a story about how insane and frothing-at-the-mouth-stupid those sly, cunning, devilish conservatives are.)

So the Times devotes several paragraphs to MacDonald's Republican bona fides to plant him firmly in the camp of the wingnuts. Having done that, we can return to the real story behind this nefarious Buckhead.
Last week, MacDougald once again plunged into a politically charged controversy -- but this time his participation was anonymous.
Ah hah! Now why would he "participate" anonymously? It must be the plausible deniability thing!
Operating as "Buckhead," which is also the name of an upscale Atlanta neighborhood, MacDougald wrote that the memos that CBS' "60 Minutes" presented on Sept. 8 as being written in the early 1970s by the late Lt. Col Jerry B. Killian were "in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman."

"The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers," MacDougald wrote on the freerepublic website. "They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn't used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80's used monospaced fonts.

"I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old. This should be pursued aggressively."
(The article began with this.)
It was the first public allegation that CBS News used forged memos in its report questioning President Bush's National Guard service -- a highly technical explanation posted within hours of airtime citing proportional spacing and font styles.

But it did not come from an expert in typography or typewriter history as some first thought. Instead, it was the work of Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to conservative Republican causes
Now how could the nefarious Mr. MacDougald possibly know all this stuff?

I suppose someone who has no idea what Ctrl-C does might find this "a highly technical explanation", but I suspect Gen-exers will yawn. Personally, I'm a geek, nerd or whatever other label you put on computer security professionals. I find this about as technical as Computing 101, but perhaps I'm not qualified to judge the unwashed.

Let's assume, for the moment, that Mr. MacDougald really didn't have a clue about all this technical mumbo jumbo. I'm willing to bet he's heard of Google. Armed with "hey, that looks like a computer generated document" and Google, Mr. MacDougald could have known within - oh say 10 minutes - all about proportional spacing and font styles.

If the Times had bothered to actually read the comments section of the posts that led to Mr. MacDougald's response (#47), they would have learned that, at post #11, the link to the CBS documents was posted by "Howlin", who wrote, "There are the documents; now you see if you think they say what the NYT says they say."

This began the research into the documents. It was posted at 8:17:50 PDT. At 8:21:29, just 10 minutes and 33 seconds after the NY Times article that started the whole thing was posted, "Rome2000" posted an indepth response addressing who Ben Barnes was. Note to old media. This is the power of the Internet in action. In 10 minutes, anything that's ever been printed about you can be posted on a forum where you will be discussed and dissected. Old media doesn't understand this, so they don't understand how CBS could begin to lose all its credibility in less than 24 hours. Hey, man, we've got Lexis-Nexis just like you, but Google rocks!

I digress. At 8:29:02 (post #27) Howlin got his first response, from "Texasforever", "Did you notice that NO ONE was CC'd on those memos?" By the time Buckhead posted (#47) at 8:59:43, a full 41 minutes and 53 seconds after Howlin posted the link, Buckhead had had plenty of time to research the memo, compare it other documents of the period (which are available on the web) and notice that it looked suspiciously like a computer-generated document. Note to old media - this is called research. New concept, I know, but you really ought to try it.

OK, now that we've identified the real malady of the old media, back to the article. The Times goes on to discuss CBS's defense of the memos in a surreal, alter-world discussion that ignores all the evidence of forgery. They even bring up Bill Glennon in defense of the documents. Note to Times - Google Bill Glennon. He's been thoroughly discredited. Note to self - stop putting yourself through the pain of reading old media.

Then there's this.
While bloggers and some conservative activists hailed Buckhead as a hero in their longtime efforts to paint the mainstream media as politically biased, some Democrats and even some conservative bloggers have marveled at Buckhead's detailed knowledge of the memos and wondered whether that suggested a White House conspiracy.
Heh, yeah, that's us bloggers all right. Toiling away, late at night, in our pajamas, searching for ways to "paint" the mainstream media as politically biased. It's not that they are, you see. It's just that we want you to think that they are.

After all, why in the world would you think the LA Times, which is still defending Rathergate even after big Dan himself has had to admit that maybe, just maybe, those documents weren't authentic (can't quite bring himself to say "forged", you know) was politically biased? Note to old media - you're way to easy to fisk. (Google fisk) We don't need to "paint" you as politically biased. All we have to do is fisk what you write - like this article, for instance.

Back to you, Patrick.


Patterico pisses me off

Patterico wrote a story today that pisses me off. I wanted to believe that most of the stories I read in the old media are true. Rather has shaken that faith a little, but I knew Rather was biased. Now I have to question every quote I read. (Believe me, I've been "quoted" before, and I know that "quotes" don't always tell the whole story or even accurately represent what the person actually said.) Patterico destroys what little faith I had remaining with this entertaining and disturbing anecdote.
Former L.A. Times reporter Evan Maxwell passes along this observation:
Years ago, when I was with The LATimes, the newsroom guru was a fine reporter and great writer named Gordon Grant.

Gordie was old-school. He broke in in Florida, worked in Chicago, and was a reporter in Europe during WWII. He lost an eye in combat. He was the real deal.

Gordie used to come up with brilliant stuff, great anecdotes and those gem-like quotes that captured a story perfectly. I used to sit next to him and once in a while, I'd say, "Gordie, I know this guy you are quoting here. He's not very bright. Are you sure he said this?"

Gordie would look at me and grin. Then he'd say, "Well, he would have said it if he had thought of it."

God Bless you, Gordie. Your spirit is still alive.
If the old media believes this is good journalism, then why am I still reading their stories?

I don't know why I am.


Staudt slams the lid shut

Brig. Gen Staudt finally broke his recent silence and granted an interview to ABC. Staudt told the same story he's been telling for years, the same story that the old media has been ignoring for years. Hopefully this will finally put to rest the idea that Bush received special treatment to get in the Air National Guard.

As I wrote before when CBS first aired their fraudulent story, the Dallas Morning News revealed back in 1999 that there were "two or three" openings for pilots in the Guard when Bush applied. There was no waiting line that Bush had to jump over. Now Staudt responds
"He didn't use political influence to get into the Air National Guard," Staudt said, adding, "I don't know how they would know that, because I was the one who did it and I was the one who was there and I didn't talk to any of them."

During his time in charge of the unit, Staudt decided whether to accept those who applied for pilot training. He recalled Bush as a standout candidate.

"He was highly qualified," he said. "He passed all the scrutiny and tests he was given."........"No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard," he said. "It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody."

When he interviewed for the job, Bush was eager to join the pilot program, which Staudt said often was a hard sell. "I asked him, 'Why do you want to be a fighter pilot?' " Staudt recalled. "He said, 'Because my daddy was one.' He was a well-educated, bright-eyed young man, just the kind of guy we were looking for."

He added that Bush more than met the requirements for pilot training. "He presented himself well. I'd say he was in the upper 10 percent or 5 percent or whatever we ever talked to about going to pilot training. We were pretty particular because when he came back [from training], we had to fly with him."
The other issue that Staudt addressed is the claim (based upon forged documents and Mary Knox's supposed recollections) that he pressured Lt. Col. Killian to "sugar coat" Bush's record.

Staudt told ABC
Staudt said he never tried to influence Killian or other Guardsmen........Records show Bush stopped flying F-102As in April 1972. He has said he moved to Alabama to work on the Senate campaign of a family friend. Staudt retired from the Guard in March of that year and said he was never contacted about Bush's performance.

"There was no contact between me and George Bush … he certainly never asked for help," Staudt said. "He didn't need any help as far as I knew."

He added that after retiring he was not involved in Air National Guard affairs. "I didn't check in with anybody — I had no reason to," he said. "I was busy with my civilian endeavors, and they were busy with their military options. I had no reason to talk to them, and I didn't."
The two issues that were raised by CBS are that Bush received special treatment to get in the Guard and that Bush received special treatment to ignore his defiance of a direct order to take a physical.

Staudt once again has refuted these charges. The documents are forgeries. Killian is dead and cannot testify. Marian Knox's memory of events is polluted by her hatred of Bush, and officers who served with Bush have refuted her. Let's Fly Under the Bridge demonstrates that no matter how you count Bush's credits, he earned more than enough credits each year to fulfill his obligation.

The only issue that remains in question is the six month period that is "unaccounted for" because so far no records proving his presence in Alabama and the press refuses to believe the memory of Lt. Calhoun who says he saw him there. Those may yet turn up.


Sadaam-al Qaeda - no ties?

The media and the left (OK, I'm being redundant) have been trying to sell the idea that there were no ties between Sadaam and al Qaeda. Of course anybody with one good eye (to read with) and a half a brain (to think with) knows there were extensive ties. Today Fox News reports possible ties between Sadaam and al Qaeda in, of all places, the "Oil For Food" program of the UN. As if Kofi Anan didn't have enough credibilty problems already (his son paid bribes to Sadaam in exchange for "special" oil prices), now evidence is being uncovered that some of the $10 billion dollars Sadaam skimmed from the program was used to fund terrorism.

I'm going to go out on a limb here. After the election is over and Bush cannot be elected again (because this will be his second term), the media will begin to report this story in depth. They'll try to get the details out of the way in the first two years of his second term so they can spend the last year tearing his accomplishments down in an effort to get Hillary in the White House in 2008.

Of course I could just be daffy.


The story devolves

In a Houston Chronicle article today any credibility that Bill Burkett had left was completely shredded. The Chronicle reporters, in a comprehensive analysis of Burkett's various statements over the years demonstrated that Burkett is dissembling, to use a "polite company" term.

Here are the salient points.
Burkett's allegations have changed over the years, and have been dismissed as baseless by former Guard colleagues, state legislators and others.

Even Burkett has admitted some of his allegations are false.
The Chronicle is being kind.
Burkett wrote a long indictment against Bush for a Web site in 2003 in which he said he personally was ordered to "alter personnel records of George W. Bush." In that article, Burkett said that when he refused he was sent to Panama as punishment, where he contracted a disabling disease.
Burkett later said, "That statement was not accurate, that is overstated."

Burkett has also posted in public forums on the Internet comparing Bush to Hitler.
In an article Burkett wrote for the Internet last year he compared Bush to Hitler and Napoleon as one of "the three small men" who sought to rule through tyranny. "Three small men who wanted to conquer and vanquish," Burkett wrote. Burkett confirmed authorship of that article in the February Chronicle interview.
Burkett in the past has expressed frustration about not finding any records of Bush's "failures" (Burkett's word.)
One month ago, in an essay posted on a progressive Web site, Burkett theorized that Killian would have been a likely person to know more about Bush's service. But, he conceded, "I have found no documentation from LTC Killian's hand or staff that indicate that this unit was involved in any complicit way to ... cover for the failures of 1Lt. Bush ... " Burkett went on to say, "On the contrary, LTC Killian's remarks are rare."
Yet Burkett has stated on the record that in 1997 he saw the records in a trash can!

To pound the final nail in this coffin -
Texas Guard officials said no Texas Air Guard records had ever been stored at the facility Burkett named.
That pretty much does it for Burkett, I would say.

Since he's the probable author of the forged documents, it also "does it" for Rather as well. The documents are forged. The likely source is discredited. The "support" for the meme, Ms. Knox is, to be kind, not impartial, and Ben Barnes has been debunked.

What's left? Not even an apology will do now. Rather needs to either resign gracefully or be shown the door if CBS hopes to have any future at all.