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Thursday, August 24, 2006

More MSM incompetence

Ellen Knickmeyer has a profile in the Washington Post on Moqtada al-Sadr (eighth item), one of the most powerful anti-American Shi'ite clerics in Iraq today.  Yet during her entire profile on his movement, the social services it runs, and its eagerness to take over the country after American troops leave, Ms. Knickmeyer leaves her readers oblivious to a major factor in al-Sadr's rise - support from Communist China's allies in Iran.  With incompetence like this, willful or otherwise, mainstream media's sense of superiority over the blogosphere becomes more and more laughable.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on August 24, 2006 in International Affairs, Media | Permalink


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And you expected better than this from "journalists"?

Posted by: obc | 2006-08-24 2:38:06 PM


Point taken.

Posted by: D.J. McGuire | 2006-08-24 3:29:21 PM

Let me add one more:


During his August 21 press conference, George W. Bush responded to a question about the Iraq War by saying that "sometimes I'm happy" about the conflict. But many readers and TV viewers never heard the remark, since journalists edited the statement to save Bush any possible embarrassment.

Bush's unedited comment was as follows:

Q: But are you frustrated, sir?

BUSH: Frustrated? Sometimes I'm frustrated. Rarely surprised. Sometimes I'm happy. This is -- but war is not a time of joy. These aren't joyous times. These are challenging times, and they're difficult times, and they're straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.

Viewers of CBS Evening News (8/21/06) saw a carefully edited version of that response—one better suited to presenting Bush as serious and concerned with the effects of the war. Reporter Bill Plante previewed the answer by saying that Bush "conceded that daily reports of death and destruction take a toll, both on the nation and on him." The edited quote that followed:

Frustrated? Sometimes I'm frustrated, rarely surprised. These aren't joyous times. These are challenging times, and they're difficult times. And they're straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.

CBS was not alone in massaging Bush's response—many outlets excised Bush's "happy" remark, or found other ways to clean up Bush's performance. NBC Nightly News (8/21/06) worked around Bush's awkward answer; reporter Kelly O'Donnell noted that Bush "offered an unusual glimpse into his thinking," but then proceeded to edit the comments to Bush's advantage:

BUSH: Frustrated? Sometimes I'm frustrated. Rarely surprised.

O'DONNELL: ...and acknowledged Iraq's weight on the nation.

BUSH: They're difficult times, and they're straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.

So instead of airing Bush's "happy" remark, NBC's reporter stressed the fact that Bush was serious about Iraq's "weight on the nation."

Print outlets also generally left out Bush's remark and praised his performance. The New York Times (8/22/06) interpreted Bush's "occasionally rocking back and forth" as a sign that he was "generally upbeat," while the Los Angeles Times was more effusive: "Bush's appearance suggested he was settling into a pattern of regular, wide-ranging interactions with reporters in which he can appear confident and presidential" (8/22/06).

Of course, Bush can only appear that way if the press decides to present his comments in the most flattering light. With the Iraq War widely unpopular with the public, many viewers may have found Bush saying that it sometimes made him "happy" jarring and distasteful. CBS and NBC apparently thought it was more appropriate to shield viewers from Bush's words—and, perhaps more importantly, shield the White House from that public response.

ACTION: Contact CBS and NBC and ask them why they decided that Bush's comments about the Iraq War making him "happy" should be excised from their reporting.

CBS Evening News
[email protected]

CBS Public Eye
[email protected]

NBC Nightly News
[email protected]

NOTE: You can watch the CBS broadcast here:

Click on the segment labeled "Bush Holds Firm On Iraq"

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-24 4:31:28 PM

I don't know, Snowrunner, when I saw some Shiite leaders stand enough and demand Iran get its meathooks out of Iraq, I was pretty happy.

Posted by: D.J. McGuire | 2006-08-24 6:46:38 PM

SR: Wow! You should get a Pulitzer for finding the 1 thing in 6 years that the MSM did that actually did not try to make Bush look bad. Good job !

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2006-08-24 6:55:52 PM

MarkAlta I think they didn't say that President Bush said 'sometimes I am happy' because they want us to believe that President Bush is so worried about what msm says about him and his leadership that he is always grim and miserable and PESIMISTIC - just as they, themselves always are. The Leftos are perpectually 'sad, disappointed, alarmed.....they do not know the meaning of happy. Happy is a GOOD feeling - how can the nasty, sneering, lost, souless ever feel happy? They eliminated that word because it is not in the lefto wacko dictionary.

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-08-24 7:51:15 PM

Mark, they actually made him look BETTER not worse.

Read what he said and what it was edited into again.

And I am sure there are more examples, that was just the one thing that came over one of my mailing lists today.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-24 10:44:43 PM

So what if he said that, SR? So what if he was trying to be upbeat? The MSM did something honorable. They know it was a slip of the tongue and he's not really happy about war itself. When FDR was Pres, the media respectfully avoided taking pictures of him struggling with his crutches and wheelchair. That's the problem with lefties these days. Zero manners.

Posted by: Bunker | 2006-08-24 11:02:14 PM

Actually, I'm with jema54j on this. MSM would, of course, ask, "How in the world can the President ever be happy?" - at which point the blogosphere and talk radio (both of which are far more poewrful down here than up there) would present the avalanche of reasons why.

No, MSM would rather skip that chain of events, and emphasize how terrible the President thinks things are - even when he doesn't think it.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again, compared to American MSM, CBC - yes, THAT CBC - actually comes off as somewhat (though not sufficiently) objective and decent. Canadians have no idea how bad it is down here.

Posted by: D.J. McGuire | 2006-08-25 2:36:21 AM

On the third anniversary of America's invasion of Iraq broadcast in full shock and awe to the world via green TV screens that all might see the night devastation of the city, another invasion was underway in Gaza, a silent invasion of human rights that, in its barbarity, casts its own shock and awe, the starvation of the people of Gaza by closure of that prison's gates by Israeli IDF. David Shearer of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA) stated, "What we were warning before was that stocks (of wheat) were getting low. Today we are saying stocks are gone, and the end point has been reached." Israel has closed Gaza's commercial lifeline, the Al-Minter Crossing, these past 50 days in peak harvest time, preventing the export of goods and stopping the import of bread supplies. 3,594 MT of wheat flour contracted to local mills did not enter. Now there is no bread and the 70% of Palestinians living below the poverty line have no food. This barbarity one does not expect from the people who cried for protection from fascist forces when they were under siege.

Perhaps as we watch the Israelis enter their voting booths on the 28th, we might hope that the branding of Israel as a genocidal nation might cause a twinge of moral outrage and put into office a government that would seek reconciliation with the Palestinians rather than devastation of them. Perhaps the world communities might get a chance to see behind the veil of silence that shrouds what takes place in Palestine and keeps the horror from the eyes of Americans and Europeans. Perhaps a new Israeli government would recognize that the election of Hamas is an opportunity for peace since it represents the views of the vast majority of Palestinians and not a threat to be discounted because it did not represent voters in Israel. Perhaps a free democratic election tells us something we don't want to admit: justice must be sought for all, not just those the Israelis want to appease because they do what Israelis want. Perhaps the Israeli wall of silence that makes the reality in Palestine invisible to all can be breached because of the democratic elections that have taken place in Palestine if the Israelis will match that effort.

The sower of deceit spreads his seed upon the fertile soil of ignorance, waters it with repetition, and covers it with silence. For five years, America and Israel, under Bush and Sharon, have spread seeds of deceit on minds made fertile to receive it by a controlled press, titillation news programs, and a disinterested public made lethargic by discomfort and fear. But in 2005 the seeds had germinated, broken through the soil and cast their evil smell over the lands, here and in Palestine. Now Bush and the American people await the disassembling of the Bush regime as the Libby lies, the Abramoff payoffs, the DeLay lobbying industry, the Rumsfeld Defense debacle, the torture scenes that never end, the Katrina catastrophe, the isolation of the United States by unilateral arrogance, the terror caused by our subservience to Sharon and his inhumane imprisonment of Palestinians, the ineluctable civil war that engulfs our liberated friends in Iraq, the impending repetition of Iraq in Iran, and death by debt once we are forced to disembark from Iraq's shores, tear apart the fabric of America.

And now, while we await the elections in Israel, we sense that it, too, will disassemble as the revelations of its spying on America cover the front pages and replace the titillation of our news broadcasts with real news. Witness what even our controlled press must contend with if it is not to remain a joke:

* Two convicted employees of AIPAC, the most powerful lobby in Washington, expose their traitorous behavior before the American people revealing just how "friendly" Israel is to the US thus reopening the gates to prior Israeli espionage that surfaced in 2001 on Fox news only to be silenced by the power of AIPAC.

* On its web site, AIPAC brags that it wrote the legislation that became the Syrian Accountability and Lebanon Restoration Act, thus pushing America into another confrontation in the mid-east as it had pushed America into the war against Iraq despite the lack of WMD or any means whatsoever of invading or destroying America;

* Another Israel support group, PNAC, that is under the control of the Neo-cons that have absconded with our government, declared now the source of the National Security Strategy Report that yokes the Bush administration to Israeli interests, a document that had its origins in 1992 and, in its revised form as a document prepared for Benjamin Netanyahu, "Securing the Realm," became our official foreign policy under Bush in September 2002;

* Repetition ad nauseam of silencing any criticism of Sharon's heinous government that has flaunted international law and the United Nations or any activity that represents the Palestinian reality like the stopping of the musical concert, "The Skies Are Weeping" and the play My Name Is Rachel using the ubiquitous "anti-Semitic" to force censorship;

* and, finally, in this litany of cancers inflicted on America by its purported friend, the disclosure that the American taxpayer contributes one third of its foreign aid budget to the 16th wealthiest nation on the planet, with a population that represents .001% of the world's population, supporting in the process the resettlement of thousands of immigrants from foreign lands to Israel, a foreign country, where they can reside in luxury town homes with lush grounds and pools, while our New Orleans residents, the majority classified African-American and living below the poverty line, remain scattered throughout the country unable to return to their homes.

Perhaps these disclosures will echo through the halls of Congress and the Senate, waking our representatives to their biased and bought support for Israel that has brought America such democratic values as pre-emptive strikes, extrajudicial execution, torture on demand, kid napping to countries we condemn in public and pay off for torture in private (Syria of the Syrian Accountability Act), collective punishment including walling in innocent civilians in Iraq, disinformation to enable willing administration members to lie to the American people as they prepared us for unending war, hidden budget information that covered the reality of our support for the illegal occupation of Palestine, and, in all brazen hypocrisy, to place America before the world as a partner to the allegedly genocidal actions of Sharon's government as he strangled the Palestinians constituting a war crime of unfathomable dimensions.

To do it in my name I cannot condone, nor sit idly by as America becomes a rogue state that is seen world wide as the instigator of terror not the victim of it. Disassembling democracy demands dissent. I condemn both this government and that of Israel under Sharon because it is my duty as a citizen; I condemn as well the atrocities resulting from those who resort to violence against the civilian as their last expression of vengeance and despair since it, like oppression, fosters only greater evil, and I do so as a brother to all. Yet, having done so, I will be labeled an anti-Semite and anti-American. Neither is the case. Those who say nothing let silence shroud their judgment placing them in the phalanx of those who carry out the crimes.

Let it be said loud and clear, Israel alone can bring peace to the mid-east. Despite its protestations to the contrary, Israel exists as a major military force in the world, a silent member of the nuclear club, the only such in the mid-east. Yet it cries wolf to the world that Hamas threatens its existence even as Hamas stands imprisoned behind Israeli walls unable to leave by land, sea or water without Israeli IDF approval, unable to receive goods of any kind, including weapons of consequence with which to face the third largest military in the world. Thus does the oppressor become the victim.

That is the reality in Palestine and it has forced the people to elect an organization that has no obligations to the Israeli government or to the United States, only to them. They have nothing to lose but everything to gain. The United States extolled the virtues of democracy, the right of a people to choose their own government, especially in the mid-east, and they responded in a manner that puts the elections of 2000 and 2004 in this country to shame only to find that Bush didn't mean what he said nor did its erstwhile partner in democracy in the mid-east, Israel.

But this election is a victory for the Palestinian people; it is the catapult that can breach the Walls of the Israeli prison which has silenced the Palestinians so completely under the PLO, a hapless group made "irrelevant" by Sharon and Bush. And that reality Israel fears more than any army or terrorism Hamas can field against them; indeed, the continuation of terrorism benefits Israel because it supports their arguments for further lock downs and imprisonment and house demolitions and land confiscation. But if Hamas can invite Putin and Chirac and Chavez and diplomats from around the world to Ramallah, if the TV cameras arrive to put before the world the tangible humiliation that wraps the Palestinian people in the infectious disease of Israeli dominance in every facet of their day to day existence, then, perhaps, the devastating silence, the absolute muffling of their voice, the solitary confinement imposed by Israel on an entire people locked behind Walls of cement and steel, prevented from speaking out against this intolerable and illegal imprisonment, will be broken and the truth revealed to all the world.

That is what Israel and the Bush administration fear, the truth that exposes their lies, their absolute disregard for international law, the defiance of all UN resolutions that have condemned Israel for disregard of human rights, the theft of another people's land, the illegal imprisonment of 8000 without charge, the abandonment of due justice before the courts as IDF soldiers and settlers who kill at will go free, the infliction of hundreds of military check points throughout the West Bank, the acres upon acres of demolished homes that give the IDF freedom to incarcerate the inhabitants of Gaza, the collective punishment that Israel imposes on the Palestinian people by home demolition, the stealing of land, the destruction of their fields and produce, and by torture. This Israel rightly fears. This disassembling of their total control of what the world sees will be the battering ram that destroys the deceit that has made Hamas the fearsome enemy that can bring devastation to Israel and its people.

When this Wall of silence is breached, when the truth is made manifest, what the world will see and what Jews around the world will see, is that Sharon has destroyed the moral fiber of Judaism. What Jews suffered under the boots of Nazi Germany -- the humiliation, torture, powerlessness, and fear ­ impressed on them by a racist nation arrogant in their superiority, the Israelis now inflict on the hapless people of Palestine. What Jews suffered in concentration camps, isolated from the world's communities that did not see their pain, existed because world leaders heeded only the voice of Hitler, tolerated the deceit that hid the reality, and accepted the truth of the oppressor not the truth of walls, and chain link fences, and barbed wire, and guard towers, and ID cards and symbols of identification that imprisoned the Jews in body, mind and spirit. What the Jews of the holocaust bequeathed to all humankind as a moral legacy must not be lost again; it is a legacy at once unique in its awareness of the sacredness of each living being and in its acceptance of the responsibility each has to each, a blessed union built on tolerance for all. Jews throughout the world have reacted against Sharon's savagery but have been as helpless to stop it as Americans have been to stop Bush from destroying America.

This silence, built like the four hundred miles of cement forms, barbed wire and steel that entombs the Palestinians as though it stood an eloquent testimonial of racism run rampant, Sharon's epitaph for his life of crime, begins now to unravel as the lies and deceit fall away and the sun's light rises above the debris left in its wake. The Palestinian quiet revolution, the election of a government by the people, of the people, and for the people, has the potential to let the sun shine in and open the door to peace, if only the world would treat that government with the respect it deserves. And that brings us back to the Israeli election this month, an election that can force its new government to move ineluctably toward real peace or to continue the violence that comes with spreading fear.

Israel can force America to sue for peace before the United Nations, to seek from that community of nations, from the community of Arab nations in particular, a Peace Force to stand along the green line while Israel recalls its forces back to the land it owns and returns to its rightful owners the land confiscated in the 1967 war, acceptance if you will of UN Resolution 242. It can return all stolen land, tear down the hideous monument to fear erected by Sharon, accept the internationally recognized right of return, and abjure violence against the Palestinians even as Hamas and the people of Palestine abjure all violence against the Israelis, all overseen in a new era of openness by the United Nations. It is the sower of peace and prosperity not the sower of discord and deceit that assures the harvest; it is in trust and tolerance not accusation and anger that accord can be reached; it is in recognition of right and justice for all not fanatical beliefs for those initiated that renders peace possible. That is the choice the Israelis bring to the election booth this month, and their choice will usher in a day of calm for all the world, or a day of chaos.

Posted by: CraigDavid | 2006-08-25 3:21:38 AM


Problems with insomnia?

That's sure a cure.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-25 8:40:49 AM

CraigDavid wrote: On the third anniversary of America's invasion ...........................

If you cut and paste an article at least give credit to the author.


Posted by: No Spin Zone | 2006-08-25 9:36:33 AM

craigdavid: Wow, a powerful piece of literary crap there from the Professor of English. Maybe his minor was in Middle East relations. Keep the wall, and keep the land Israel fought and won in Wars forced on them by the muslim oppressors of infidels everywhere.

Posted by: Markalta | 2006-08-25 9:54:55 AM

Hey Craig, "accept the internationally recognized right of return"? Are you kidding me? The Palestinians who left Israel did so at the behest of the Arab regimes, not the Israeli government. The next time you go pasting someone else's stuff, at least make sure it's not intellecutally dishonest.

Besides, for the last 20 years, we've heard all about the need for Israel to give "land for peace." Yet you and others in your ilk push for "right of return." Why is land-for-peace a requirement from Israelis but an unacceptable cost for Arabs?

Posted by: D.J. McGuire | 2006-08-25 9:58:48 AM


A president doesn't need to be a marathon runner to be a good president, this is mainly a role that requires brains and the ability to COMMUNICATE.

Politics is about getting people to be involved, care and move forward, for this we use words, written and spoken.

To have a leader that cannot clearly articulate his own ideas / thoughts on important subject matters is not something that the Media should "paint over" or deemphasize, they should report the words said, and not interpret into it what they THINK he wanted to say.

Everybody on here got all rallied up when the CBC cut two interviews together from Harper and someone else that made Harper appear cold and uninterested in the other individuals plight, but in your book the reverse is okay? Why?

Either we strive for an independent media that works for the people (and in this case any politician is fair game) or we want a media that follows our own ideology, if the latter, why even bother with the media? We can just all receive the press releases of "our" politician in the mail every morning and don't have to worry about anything else.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-25 4:10:00 PM

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