AP engages in the most despicable kind of media manipulation

A few years ago, a graphic went around that perfectly illustrated the way in which photographs can be used, not only to capture the moment, but to distort the moment:

Media Manipulation

That graphic popped into my head the moment I read a story about a really evil act by the hard-Left Associated Press:

Associated Press photo fraud of Trail Life

“I was horrified,” said John Stemberger, chairman of the board of Trail Life USA, a new, rapidly-growing scouting organization that doesn’t allow openly gay members.

Stemberger was referring to an Associated Press photograph that accompanied an in-depth story about Trail Life. The image showed a group of young boys gathered in a circle with their hands raised at an unusual angle. The AP’s original caption on the photo said they were reciting the organization’s “creed” during a meeting in North Richland Hills, Texas.

[snip]

The photograph ran last Sunday in newspapers across the nation and generated hundreds of angry emails and some threatening telephone calls to Trail Life headquarters.

But it turns out that the boys were not saluting Hitler and contrary to the first Associated Press caption, they were not reciting a creed. The boys were singing “Taps,” a longtime Boy Scout tradition that the Texas Trail USA troop had adapted as their own.

The boys had gathered in a circle with their hands raised straight into the air. They gradually lowered their hands as they sang the song. It concludes with their hands flush against their side.

What’s even more despicable is that the AP, having published this gross calumny, initially refused to correct it:

But what really infuriated Stemberger was the Associated Press’ initial reluctance to remove the photograph and correct the caption. The Trail Life leader provided me with email correspondence he had with Nomaan Merchant, the writer of the story.

Eventually, the AP did correct the photo, and remove it from its archives, and Merchant (who was not responsible for the photo) apologized, but the whole thing smells bad — that the AP did that in the first place and that the AP took so long to correct its libel by implication that the implied message from the photograph took on a life of its own. As Churchill (or Mark Twain, or someone else entirely) said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on,” a situation made worse when a major media outlet promulgates the lie onto the internet and then takes its own sweet time correcting it.

Friday this and that, with a little what-not thrown in

I could have done this as myriad small posts, but I was in the mood for something big.  I’ll separate the different ideas and issues with asterisks (after all, Obama’s promise with his unspoken asterisk has made asterisks the hot new thing in writing).

My friend (I like say that — my friend) Sally Zelikovsky has written rules for Republicans who want to win elections.  They are very pragmatic rules which state that the time for internecine cherry-picking, purging, and warfare should wait until after the Democrats no longer control Washington.  I’m just giving the rules.  Please go to her post to see her intelligent support for many of the less obvious or more challenging rules:

(1) Duke it out in the primaries and whole-heartedly support your candidate of choice.

(2) Do not support your preferred candidate by stooping to Democrat levels.

[snip]

(3) Never forfeit a “sure thing” candidate for a high risk one.

[snip]

(4) Unless an incontrovertible liability, never abandon a viable candidate especially in an important race.

[snip]

(5) In extreme cases, when a candidate is hurting other races, it’s okay to withdraw support.

[snip]

(6) Do not use outliers to formulate strategies for the entire country.

[snip]

(7) Make protest votes a thing of the past [snip]

(8) Think of the end game.

[snip]

(9) Social conservatives and tea partiers should hold any elected Republican’s feet to the fire.

(10) Moderates should expect social conservatives and tea partiers to hold their feet to the fire.

(11) Do not air our collective dirty laundry.

[snip]

(12) Always anticipate the leftwing response, think through your story, then stick to it.

[snip]

(13) In politics, as in life, there are people in any group or organization who have varying degrees of commitment. [snip]

(14) Use the media to communicate with the PEOPLE. This is your chance to be a PR person for conservatism, even though the press is never on your side.

[snip]

(15) Always promote the improved quality of life in Republican-run states andcontrast this with the diminished quality of life in true blue states.

(16) Speak with one voice on the issues where there is consensus.

(17) Where there is no consensus, speak to the fact that we are a diverse party that welcomes debate but, in the end, we are all guided by time-tested conservative principles that promote freedom.

Some of the suggestions are hard to swallow, because they continue to provide political cover for checkbook Republicans, meaning those who support a Democrat agenda, but who make loud noises about “we have to be able to pay for it.”  Read Sally’s whole article and, if you feel like it, please get back to me.

***

Lee Smith has a brilliant analysis of what John Kerry and Barack Obama are doing in the Middle East:

So how did we reach a point where the United States is working with the Islamic Republic of Iran, while longtime U.S. allies are not only outside the circle but trying to block an American-Iranian condominium over the Middle East? A pretty good idea can be gleaned by taking the advice given by Politico in an article detailing Obama’s habit of meeting with prestigious reporters and columnists to test-drive his ideas: “If you want to know where the president stands on a foreign policy issue .  .  . read the latest column by David Ignatius” or Thomas Friedman, another frequent sounding-board for the president.

Read the whole thing and weep.  What they’re doing is every bit as bad as it sounds, and there will be terrible repercussions.

***

Fouad Ajami says that Obama’s magic is gone.  I like his article but I have to disagree with the core premise.  Obama never had magic.  What he had was a complicit media.  It’s easy to win the game when the referees have determined in advance that you’ll win.  At a certain point, though, the spectators begin to think that the fix is in.

***

Up until this past Wednesday, I tended to side slightly with the government regarding Edward Snowden — namely, that he was a traitor who stole America’s secrets.  And indeed, he seems to have stolen lots and lots of secrets.  What I learned on Wednesday, though, when I heard Mary Theroux, of the Independent Institute, speak, is that the government’s spying on American citizens is so enormous we literally cannot comprehend its scope.  The data collection (which is in the multiple zetabytes) grossly violates our inherent Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.  NSA employees before Snowden tried to blow the whistle on this beginning around the year 2000, and got ferociously persecuted by the government because of their efforts.  Snowden’s spectacular leak broke that log jam.

But here’s the really important thing that Theroux said:  The government gets so much data, it’s useless for the stated purpose of crime and terrorism prevention.  As it comes in, it’s simply so much white noise.  It certainly didn’t stop 9/11 or the Boston bombing.  In this regard, think of England, which has more CCTVs per capita than any other country in the 1st world, and maybe in any world.  Nevertheless, these cameras do nothing to prevent crime.  As the number of cameras has increased, so has the crime rate.  The data is useful only after the fact, to help (sometimes) apprehend the criminal.

Well, one can argue that ex post facto apprehension is a good thing — but it’s a good thing only if there’s been a clear violation of a pretty well known law (e.g., don’t beat people to death or don’t rob a jewelry store).  We’re looking at something much more sinister here.  Think of the volume of law in America and, worse, think of the staggering volumes of rules interpreting those laws.

As Theroux noted, Stalin’s chief of police famously said (and I’m paraphrasing) give me the man and I can find the crime.  We Americans have a government that’s sitting on data that can be used to criminalize us after the fact the current government (Republican or Democrat or Third Party) doesn’t like us.  It’s like a landmine under every American.

Since Obama is quite possibly the most inept national security president in the world, it’s arguable that Snowden’s revealing secrets along those lines (e.g., that we’ve been eavesdropping on allies) leaves us in no worse shape than we were before.  After all, as Lee Smith notes above, Obama has already turned our allies into enemies.  What Snowden did do with his escapade was to remind us that, when government begins collecting every bit of information simply because it can, every citizen becomes a potential criminal.  We’re not at the Stasi stage yet, but our government is laying the groundwork for a Stasi society.  That’s an utterly terrifying thought.  We still can stop it now.  Once it’s in play, stopping it gets much, much harder to stop that fascist juggernaut.

***

Given the debacle that Obamacare is proving to be for Obama, the Democrats, and Progressivism generally, a reader sent me an email saying that we should be grateful for Chief Justice Roberts for allowing this disaster to unfold.  That email reminded me that, back in June 2012, when Chief Justice Roberts managed to salvage Obamacare, I wrote a post looking for lemonade in Roberts’ opinion and, once again, I was a bit prescient.  (And yes, I am mining many of my old posts as real-time events are showing that I predicted with a fair degree of accuracy everything from Obamacare, to the shifting alliances in the Middle East, to Obama’s meltdown when the real world intruded on his little narcissistic dream.)  It’s a long, wandering (and, of course, fascinating and insightful) post, but here’s the Chief Justice nub of it:

Roberts wrote the decision at the end of a 90 year continuum holding that Government fixes problems and the Supreme Court fixes Government.  This approach makes “We, the people” unnecessary.  Rather than elections being the corrective, the Court is the corrective — except that the Court’s make-up is controlled by the Government.  (Remember the Bork debacle?)

Roberts refused to play this game.  He slapped back the Democrats’ hands when it came to the Commerce Clause, telling them that the federal government cannot legislate inactivity.  And he held — quite correctly — that if there’s any possible way for the Court to salvage a law, it must do so.  His salvaging was to say that, this particular law, written in this particular way, with these particular controls over the people, can be salvaged by calling it a tax.  It’s an ugly decision, but probably a correct one.  And then he tossed the whole thing back to the American people.

I can just see Roberts’ thought-process (although he might have thought in more polite terms):  You idiots elected a Congress and president that used every kind of political chicanery known to man in order to pass the biggest tax in American history and one that, moreover, completely corrupts the free market system.  It’s not the Supreme Court’s responsibility to correct that kind of thing, provided that the judges can, as I did, find a smidgen of constitutionality in it.  There’s an election coming up in November.  Let’s hope you’ve wised up enough to figure out that my Supreme Court is returning power to “We, the people.”  We will not pull your chestnuts out of the fire.  We will not legislate from the bench.  We will construe things as narrowly as possible.  If you, the people, don’t like it, you, the people, elect different representatives.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, Ace wonders if Obama just gave the Supreme Court another bite at this rotten apple.

***

Power Line brought this AP headline to my attention:  “In Reversal, Obama to Allow Canceled Health Plans.” Who knew that a constitutionally appointed executive had the power to “allow” canceled health plans?

It was an especially interesting headline to read because, last night, I attended a panel discussion with AP reporters, photographers, and the editor in chief of the AP photograph department.  The purpose was to promote a new book of photographs that AP employees and stringers took during the Vietnam War:  Vietnam: The Real War: A Photographic History by the Associated Press.  It was an interesting event, although I’m sorry to say that they were boring speakers.  (It seems like an oxymoron, but they were boring speakers who offered some interesting content.)

One of the things the panelists kept saying is that they have so much integrity and are devoted to even-handedness in their subject matter and presentation.  We know that’s a joke when it comes to written coverage about domestic politics.  AP has been a Democrat shill since at least George W.’s administration.  But it’s also been a shill when it comes to photographs. Given their record, I have to admit that it was a bit difficult to listen to the panelists’ smug satisfaction about their higher calling, integrity, and even-handedness.

***

I like Deroy Murdock’s writing, so I liked his analysis of the Obamacare debacle.  It’s fun to read.  It doesn’t have the soaring schadenfreude of Jonah Goldberg’s instant classic, but it’s still darn good.

***

Speaking of good writing, Megan McArdle is at it again, this time pointing out in very polite, analytical language that Obama has taken on the behavior of a tyrant (not a word she uses, but it’s the gist):  The law is what Obama says the law is.  It’s probably worth thinking about the Snowden revelations as you read McArdle describe the way in which Obama usurps power.  The media is clucking, but not with any force; the Democrats are running or enabling; and the Republicans are in-fighting.  We’re seeing a weird, passive (even Weimar-ian) anarchy that creates room for a tyrant to breathe and grow.

***

I’m pleased to say that I never liked Oprah, so I’m not surprised to learn that she’s a race-baiting phony. Incidentally, to those who have mentioned in the comments that liberals are like beaten wives who keep coming back for more, Oprah is Exhibit A.  She destroyed her TV show by endorsing Obama, and he rewarded her by freezing her out of the White House.  So what does Oprah do?  She keeps crawling back, defending the man who used her and abused her.  I’m not sorry for her though.  Her racist venom makes pity impossible.

Media Rule No. 1: Never ever abandon Democrat spin — but Charles Martel shows we can spin too

Earl Aagaard caught something in the very first line of an AP report about the fact that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is about to be freed from prison.  If Nakoula’s name doesn’t ring a bell, let me refresh your recollection.

Nakoula posted on YouTube a short video that purported to be a trailer about Muhammad’s life.  It was as inconsequential as any bit of fluff ever put onto YouTube.  For the Obama administration, however, it was a life saver.

In the immediate aftermath of riots at the Egyptian embassy and the al Qaeda-related slaughter of four Americans in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, the administration discounted both its own responsibility and resurgent anti-American Islamist terrorism by saying that Nakoula’s video triggered events in both Egypt and Benghazi.  To the extent that his ten-minute nothing of a video trailer for a non-existent movie was seen as an insult to “the Prophet,” the administration implied, Muslims got righteously upset and, pretty much by accident, attacked a US embassy, a consular office, and a CIA outpost, killing an American ambassador, a consular aide, and two former SEALS.

Nakoula poster

(You can see other cleverly-captioned Nakoula arrest posters here.)

Well, put that way, what else could our government do but arrest someone who had so much blood on his hands?  Within just a day or two, administration flunkies discovered that Nakoula had violated his parole (nobody says Nakoula is the most savory character in the world), had him arrested, and kept him hidden away in the bowels of the American prison system.  Now, over a year later, he is finally to be free.

In that intervening year, of course, we’ve learned that everything the administration said about Nakoula’s little video was a lie.  The rioting in Egypt took place because of the September 11 anniversary, while the attack on the Benghazi consulate was a carefully planned attack by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  To the extent the jihadists talked about the video, it was an ex post facto cover for their terrorist activities — and the Obama administration knew this from the minute the riots in Egypt and the attack in Benghazi came into being.  After all, Ambassador Christopher Stevens had seen the attack coming for some time and had begged for increased security in Benghazi.  Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, turned a deaf ear to his pleas.

When the attack finally came, barring Hillary’s single phone call and Obama’s quick visit to the situation room, both Hillary and Obama were AWOL.  We don’t know what Hillary was doing, but we know that Obama was getting some rest before campaigning in Las Vegas.

With those facts in mind, how does the Associated Press report on the fact that Nakoula, the Obama administration’s designated scapegoat, is finally being set free?  This way:

A California man behind an anti-Muslim film that led to violence in parts of the Middle East is due to be released from federal custody this week.

Wow!  That the AP can say that when we know with certainty that Nakoula’s film did not lead to violence is a breathtaking example of pro-administration spin.  In the year since the attack, AP, which is supposed to track actual news, must have known that Al Qaeda used the film as a cover for a coordinated, planned attack against American outposts in the Middle East, and a sleazy, dishonest, incompetent administration seized on that cover in an effort to hide its own gross culpability.  Pravda couldn’t have done a better job of covering its government master than AP did in that single, dishonest sentence.

Fear not, though, because two can spin at that game.  The brilliant and inimitable Charles Martel, whom I count as one of my dear friends in both the real and the cyber world, has put forth his own idea for spin supporting a pro-American effort in the Middle East:

President Charles Martel’s address to the nation, September 24, 2013:

“My fellow Americans, as you know by now, two U.S. cruise missiles were accidentally launched earlier today and fell inadvertently upon two of the holiest shrines in Islam.

“One careened into the sacred well at Iran’s holy city of Qom, where, according to Shi’ite belief, the 12th Mahdi awaits his return to lead mankind from Daar al Habib—the world at war with Allah—into Daar al Islam, the world in submission to Allah.

“Fortunately, our concern that the misdirected missile may have prematurely awakened the Mahdi remains unfulfilled. U.S. satellite images show that the well is a shambles and apparently whatever lifeforms existed at the bottom of it now lie crushed beneath tens of thousands of tons of rock.

“Nevertheless, we send the Iranian people our deepest apologies and sincere wishes that the Mahdi gets out from under.

“The other missile ended its totally erratic course at the Kaaba in Mecca, the sacred black rock at the very center of Islam’s earthly manifestation. It, like the Mahdi’s well, is a complete wreck. Luckily, the accidental launch took place when only the janitors were buffing the Kaaba, so there was little—although regrettable—loss of life.

“We know that in Muslim belief Allah wills all that happens, and that man himself is predestined to carry out that will. Somehow Allah willed the launch of those two missiles—and believe you me, we are hunting down the man or woman and ship that launched them—and He can will the Kaaba’s  instant restoration. If not, the United States stands ready to deliver building supplies to the good people of Mecca, although given the harsh terrain and conditions there, we would probably have to use M-1 tanks to make those deliveries.

“Again, we apologize for the bad lobs. We trust that Allah, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, will rebuild the Kaaba in the wink of an eye and dust off the Mahdi, thereby restoring His people’s faith in His ability to do anything He wants—including launch missiles against them.

“Good night and God bless the United States of America.”

Is Obama’s puppet master to blame for all the scandals?

Barack Obama -- small and helpless

Scandals, scandals, and more scandals.  My list so far includes:

1.  Benghazi:  politics before, politics and apathy during, and politics and a wall of lies and cover-ups afterwards.

2.  Fast & Furious:  a completely bungled effort to track cartels in Mexico or a deliberate attempt to gin up gun crime as a way to feed anti-gun fervor.

3.  IRS:  Deliberate targeting of conservative groups and individuals in order to disable them in the lead-up to a tight election.

4.  AP:  Justice Department eavesdrops on media, with recent news indicating that this wasn’t about national security but was a tit-for-tat step taken because the AP mis-timed releasing a story about a thwarted terrorism plot.

I feel as if I’ve forgotten something. I’m sure there’s something else, but I’ve reached the outer limits of my brain’s capacity for the scary, sordid, disgusting, and illegal.

Anyway, the above is a starter list, which shows a distinct trend-line:  the Obama government is about politics before country, revenge before law and morality, and cover-ups above and beyond everything.  That’s why the New York Times’ desperate attempt to blame Republicans for all these things makes for amusing reading.  Although the Times was absolutely outraged by the AP scandal (and I agree with their outrage), everything else is just business as usual.  Nothing to see here.  Just move along:

The Internal Revenue Service, according to an inspector general’s report, was not reacting to political pressure or ideology when it singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny in evaluating requests for tax exemptions. It acted inappropriately because employees couldn’t understand inadequate guidelines. The tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, never a scandal to begin with, has devolved into a turf-protection spat between government agencies, and the e-mail messages Republicans long demanded made clear that there was no White House cover-up.

The only example of true government overreach was the seizure of The Associated Press’s telephone records, the latest episode in the Obama administration’s Javert-like obsession with leakers in its midst.

(A total aside here.  The myth is that reporters are, at heart, curious people who want to know what’s going on.  Although they’ve been temporarily blinded by ideology, once they catch the scent, they’ll be like the crazed reporters in His Girl Friday.  That’s just wrong.  Today’s reporters signed on, not because they like sniffing out information, but because they’re ideologues who want to pursue an agenda.  The Times perfectly exemplifies this.  It does not report on all the news fit to print.  It doesn’t report at all.  It simply works like a Leftist propaganda arm, reporting all the spin necessary to advance an agenda.  It’s utterly incurious and cares only when it, personally, gets poked.  And now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.)

Wow.  Just wow.  For one thing, it’s clear that the New York Times wrote this editorial before the head of the IRS went before Congress and confessed that the IRS denied what was going on before the election (a lie) and that it timed the release of information to bury it in the news cycle.  And then there’s all that other fascinating stuff that’s been oozing out from the single most powerful coercive entity in the federal government.

In every single statement she made, Lois Lerner, the IRS official who every so casually broke the story, lied.  Just some examples are the fact that the IRS didn’t target, maybe, 75 groups.  It targeted at least 470 groups.  And it wasn’t just wacky Tea Party groups that got caught it the cross hairs, it was any group that appeared even vaguely to oppose Obama’s policies.  The targeting wasn’t just confined to a rogue Ohio office, it went to the top.  And, indeed, the very top person got over $100,000 in bonuses and was promoted to head the — ahem — nonpartisan branch of the IRS in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

We also know that the IRS illegally leaked information about Obama’s political opponents — which definitely has a kind of mirror-like Watergate quality to it.  Nixon’s henchmen stole data directly from his political opponents; Obama’s henchmen release data about Obama’s political opponents to Obama’s supporters.  And of course, speaking of stealing things, it appears that the IRS stole tens of thousands of medical records — this would be, of course, the same IRS that’s in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

Worried yet?  I know I am.

Despite all this, Obama remains perched precariously atop ignorance mountain.  His line is consistent:

Either Obama’s lying, which is entirely possible, because he’s a compulsive liar, or he was as ignorant as he seems.  Those Leftist media figures who are not in total denial have latched on this as the excuse to protect their idol, now that they know there’s a lot of clay mixed in with his feet.  He’s a little too disengaged, he’s not a micro-manager, he’s too pure to know what evil lurks in the heart of men, etc.

John Fund, however, has a very different idea, and I think he may be on the right track.  His version of events posits that Obama has never actually been president.  We’ve been operating, instead, under the shadow presidency of consigliere Valerie Jarrett:

So if Obama is not fully engaged, who does wield influence in the White House? A lot of Democrats know firsthand that Jarrett, a Chicago mentor to both Barack and Michelle Obama and now officially a senior White House adviser, has enormous influence. She is the only White House staffer in anyone’s memory, other than the chief of staff or national security adviser, to have an around-the-clock Secret Service detail of up to six agents. According to terrorism expert Richard Miniter’s recent book, Leading from Behind: “At the urging of Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three separate occasions before finally approving” the mission for May 2, 2011. She was instrumental in overriding then–chief of staff Rahm Emanuel when he opposed the Obamacare push, and she was key in steamrolling the bill to passage in 2010. Obama may rue the day, as its chaotic implementation could become the biggest political liability Democrats will face in next year’s midterm elections.

A senior Republican congressional leader tells me that he had come to trust that he could detect the real lines of authority in any White House, since he’s worked for five presidents. “But this one baffles me,” he says. “I do know that when I ask Obama for something, there is often no answer. But when I ask Valerie Jarrett, there’s always an answer or something happens.”

You really should read the whole thing.  That theory explains so much….

Illegal immigrant and pedophile kills: uses single rifle blast to kill woman protecting her daughter from him

(First published at Mr. Conservative, but I wrote it, and it’s vintage Bookworm Room)

Maria Saucedo, who was only 31, died the other day in Arizona when Jose Zarate shot her in the chest with a rifle after she refused to let him date her daughter. This sounds like a very ordinary tragedy, but it isn’t. Instead, it perfectly represents the way the Left has used bad ideas and corrupt language to allow terrible things to happen in this country.

Jose Zarate, who is 25-years-old, wanted to date Saucedo’s 13-year-old daughter. When Saucedo objected, Zarate pulled out a rifle and shot Saucedo in the chest, killing her. After his arrest, Deputy Joaquin Enriquez stated that “Sheriff’s deputies say Zarate is a non-U.S. citizen who has been living in the country without proper authorization.” In other words, Zarate is an illegal alien, a pedophile, and a murderer.

Gun grabbers have been noticeably silent about this horrible crime – perhaps because speaking up about it would force them to acknowledge that none of their proposed new laws would have stopped this man. He couldn’t have passed a background check, yet he had a gun; and he needed only one shot to kill Saucedo, so gun magazine sizes would have been irrelevant to his crime.

The only thing that might have stopped Zarate was to keep him out of this country in the first place. That, however, is not something the American political class is willing to do. Democrats want all those potential voters, legal or not. Instead, Leftists are trying to use language to massage away the fact that it’s illegal to enter this country without permission.

Watch reporters contort themselves and distort the language to avoid saying anything negative about people who become criminals the minute they step into this country:

The Leftist AP, which is one of the primary news sources in America, just announced that in future reporting, it will no longer use the phrases “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant.” Instead of judgmental nouns, it will opt for less judgmental verbs. AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained that AP will henceforth refer only to people who happen to be “living in or immigrating to a country illegally.” Deputy Enriquez (quoted above) clearly knew the AP rules when he spoke to the press.

George Orwell, who knew Leftist thinking from the inside out, and viewed it with both fear and disgust, famously said that “political speech and writing,” by which he meant Leftist influenced political speech and writing, “are largely the defense of the indefensible.” He warned, too, that “if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” In the story of Jose Zarate, we are seeing both corruption of language and thought, as a flurry of deadening words are used to hide the fact that a man whose very existence here was criminal, attempted pedophilia and, when blocked, committed cold-blooded murder.

The MSM: Telling a story in reverse chronological order so as to harm Israel

With a few stellar exceptions, the best way to tell a story is in chronological order.  This is because, in the real world, cause and effect matter.  I suspect that the AP knows this is true, which is why they had their latest report from the Middle East start with the effect (Israeli airstrikes) and the loop back, very reluctantly, to the cause (Hamas terror attacks on civilian centers):

Israel pounded Gaza for the second day in a row Saturday, trading airstrikes and rocket fire with Palestinian militants and killing 15 of them as the deadliest Gaza violence in over a year showed no signs of abating.

Despite Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease-fire, Palestinians fired more than 100 rockets, some striking major cities in southern Israel and seriously wounding an Israeli civilian. The military responded with more than a dozen airstrikes and the targeted killings of Palestinian militants from various Gaza organizations.

Israel’s lauded Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted more than 25 projectiles. Still, residents were told to stay close to home and the cities of Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon called off school for Sunday.

Tit-for-tat exchanges between Israel and Palestinians have been routine since the 2009 war, but a flare-up of this intensity is rare. The Arab League called the Israeli attacks a “massacre.” The United Nations and the State Department condemned the violence and called on both sides to exercise restraint.

Relativism and dishonesty are normative in the media.

Obama is Israel’s friend the same way a wife beater is a loving husband

A video that examines the vast chasm between Obama’s rhetoric at AIPAC gatherings and his actions towards Israel:

And because actions have consequences, I thought you’d find interesting the way in which Obama’s attitude towards Israel is reflected in the way the media covers that nation — not even in big ways, but in subliminal ones:


I bet you didn’t know that the Golan Heights was a country, right?  While the Palestinians are fighting over Gaza and the West Bank, the AP has liberated the Golan Heights from Israel’s clutches.

Are the headline writers dumb or malevolent? *UPDATED*

As you already know, I’m sure, the Ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem are fighting hard to segregate men and women in public spaces in Jerusalem.  I posted about the fact that Mr. Bookworm analogized this small group, which is fighting against a democratic, egalitarian government, to the sharia law that exists across large segments of the Muslim world.  I doubt Mr. Bookworm arrived at this thought by himself.  I haven’t been reading the New York Times lately, nor listening to NPR, but I’m willing to bet that their coverage implies that this comparison is real and valid.

Today, the AP managed to state outright that the Ultra-Orthodox are aping the Nazis.  Here’s the AP headline:

Ultra-Orthodox Jews use Nazi images in protest

The implication, of course, is that the Ultra-Orthodox Jews outfitted themselves in swastikas and jackboots.  What the Ultra-Orthodox really did was to dress themselves up in concentration camp garb, thereby sending the message that they are helpless prisoners of a Nazi-style Jewish government:

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Saturday night in Jerusalem to protest what they say is a nationwide campaign directed against their lifestyle. The protesters called Israeli police officers Nazis, wore yellow Star of David patches with the word “Jude” – German for Jew – dressed their children in striped black-and-white uniforms associated with Nazi concentration camps and transported them in the back of a truck.

The Ultra-Orthodox’s stunt was tacky, offensive, ugly, distasteful, and inappropriate.  But the more correct description of this tasteless bit of street theater would be that “Ultra-Orthodox Jews use Holocaust-era Images in Protest.”  For the AP to have implied otherwise adds one more layer of indecency to the whole protest — and, worse, it’s a layer of indecency that dovetails perfectly with the Leftist (especially the European Leftist) effort to paint Jews as Nazis.  It’s bad enough when radical Jews describe each other as Nazis, without having the media pile on too.

UPDATE:  Somehow, this post seems apropos, insofar as it explains that the OWS add-on to the Rose Bowl Parade relied on Nazi imagery to depict the Jews’ alleged influence on world finances.

Another MSM report on NPR that manages to hide the anti-Semitism, but does reveal funding lies

[Between kids and phone calls, it took me way too long to write this post, although that proved useful at the end, as it was the AP's republished news report that contained the real gem. Rather than re-write this post, I'm simply highlighting the explosive little factoid hidden in the AP's execrably written article.]

This morning, I noted that the New York Times, in reporting on the NPR debacle, managed to ignore the anti-Semitism issue.  I speculated that this was to protect its Jewish readers from getting suspicious about the whole Progressive/Democrat structure.  What I forgot is that the MSM (especially the Times) also likes to keep from its readers the fact that Islamists are violently (in deed, not just word) anti-Semitic.

The AP’s coverage (as of 3:00 PST) displays exactly the same elusiveness when it comes to anti-Semitism.  Also, interestingly, the AP was unable to find any conservatives to talk to about the sting and its implications.  It got quotations only from NPR sources.

What the AP included and what it omitted are both telling, as are quotes from the players.  Here’s the sum total of what the AP has to say about the O’Keefe video’s content:

NPR president and CEO Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday under pressure, a day after an undercover video showed one of her executives on a hidden camera calling the tea party racist and saying the news organization would be better off without taxpayer money.

[snip]

On Tuesday, conservative activist James O’Keefe posted a video showing NPR executive Ron Schiller bashing the tea party movement. The video shows two activists, working for O’Keefe, posing as members of a fake Muslim group at a lunch meeting with Ron Schiller, who is not related to Vivian Schiller. The men offered NPR a $5 million donation and engage in a wide-ranging discussion about tea party Republicans, pro-Israel bias in the media and anti-intellectualism.

“The current Republican Party is not really the Republican Party. It’s been hijacked by this group that is … not just Islamophobic but, really, xenophobic,” Ron Schiller said in the video, referring to the tea party movement. “They believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting — it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”

[snip]

[And buried in the article's very last paragraph] Another NPR executive, Betsy Liley, was at the lunch with Ron Schiller. She said little in the video, although she can be heard laughing when one of the men says his group referred to NPR as “National Palestinian Radio.” She has been placed on administrative leave.

The article makes no mention of the way in which the stingers boasted about their Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah connections; no mention of their openly stated desire to bring Sharia law to America; no mention of Schiller’s contentions about Jewish control over print media; etc.  Instead, the report limits itself to having Schiller attack a group — Tea Partiers — that the media assumes everybody wants to attack, and for precisely the same reasons Schiller did.

The report also helps Vivian Schiller look like a victim.  As you noticed, O’Keefe is not described as a citizen journalist, or a muckraker, or even a provocateur in the Michael Moore mold.  Instead, he’s a conservative activist.  The article has more to say about O’Keefe, little of it complimentary.  While it passes as lightly as possible over the way in which he brought ACORN down, it packs the highest number of details into describing his arrest:

O’Keefe, best known for wearing a pimp costume in hidden-camera videos that embarrassed the community-organizing group ACORN, posted the NPR video on his website, Project Veritas. The group said the video was shot on Feb. 22.

O’Keefe also pleaded guilty last May after he was accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office. He pleaded guilty misdemeanor charges of entering federal property under false pretenses and was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine.

Not only is Schiller (per the AP) being hounded by a criminal activist, she and NPR are coming under “pressure” for what are apparently the most innocuous of sins — offending anti-liberal conservatives and using poor judgment in firing tactics (not, please note, in the decision to fire in the first place):

The shake-up comes at a critical time. Conservative politicians are again pressing to end congressional funding for NPR, money the organization said it needs to keep operating public radio and television stations in some of the nation’s smallest communities. The White House defended the funding, saying there remains a need for public broadcasting.

Vivian Schiller also faced criticism for her firing of analyst Juan Williams over comments he made about Muslims. She told The Associated Press that the recent remarks made by her fellow executive Ron Schiller were outrageous and unfortunate, and her staying on would only hurt NPR’s fight for federal money.

“I did not want to leave NPR. There’s a lot of pressure on NPR right now,” Vivian Schiller told AP.

NPR has long been a target of conservatives who claim its programming has a left-wing bias. The budget bill passed by the House last month would end funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports programs distributed on NPR and PBS.

Vivian Schiller was criticized for last year’s firing of Williams after he said on Fox News that he feels uncomfortable when he sees people in “Muslim garb” on airplanes. She later said she was sorry for firing Williams over the phone and that he deserved a face-to-face meeting.

“We took a reputational hit around the Juan Williams incident, and this was another blow to NPR’s reputation. There’s no question,” she told AP.

Schiller said she and the board concluded that her “departure from NPR would help to mitigate the threat from those who have misperceptions about NPR as a news organization.”

Vivian Schiller is not the only one to offer laughable statements to defend her position.  In this wired age, Dave Edwards, who chairs NPR’s board, makes it sound as if this is 1932 all over again, and the federal government is desperately needed to bring electricity to the Tennessee Valley, not to mention news to those dark corners of America without electricity, cable, computers and television:

“It is absolutely true that without federal funding, a lot of our public radio and public TV stations in the system could go dark, and that will happen in some of the smallest communities we serve,” Edwards said. “In some cases, public broadcasting remains that community’s primary connection with the outside world.”

Ron Schiller doesn’t do much better in his own defense:

“While the meeting I participated in turned out to be a ruse,” Ron Schiller said, “I made statements during the course of the meeting that are counter to NPR’s values and also not reflective of my own beliefs. I offer my sincere apology to those I offended.”

Let me see if I can translate: If Schiller, is not, as he appears in that video, an anti-White, anti-Semitic, anti-Conservative, pro-Muslim hater, he is instead a whore who will say anything to anybody to get money. That’s the kind of guy we need working on the federal dime.

(3:45 PST) You get the news in real time at this blog. As I’ve been working on this post, AP, without any acknowledgment that it did so, just republished its article, with substantial changes. The new version of the article isn’t much better than the old.  While keeping, albeit in somewhat different form, the points I noted above, it adds a few new gems.  For example, it helps make Chairman Edwards’ case that, without just a wee bit of federal funds, all sorts of local stations will have to close their doors:

The CPB is receiving $430 million in the current fiscal year and will get $445 million in fiscal 2012. It CPB handed out nearly $94 million in grants to more than 400 public radio stations — not all of which are NPR affiliates — in fiscal 2010.

NPR itself typically gets only about 2 percent of its budget from CPB grants, but many of its 268 member stations rely heavily on them. NPR affiliates get an average of 10 percent of their funding from CPB, and some small and rural stations receive more than 40 percent of their funding that way, although NPR could not provide exact figures.

About a third of NPR’s $161 million budget in fiscal 2010 came from its affiliates in the form of programming fees. NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher said it’s difficult to say how a loss of CPB funding would affect stations’ ability to pay.

A cut in funding to CPB would hit public television stations harder than radio stations. By law, 75 percent of CPB’s grant money must go to TV stations.

AP then proceeds to undercut entirely both its and Edward’s claim that federal funds are the only thing keeping the pathetic little affiliates going to serve the poverty stricken in 1932′s Tennessee Valley time warp. You see, it turns out that those member stations were already in trouble — not because of funding, but because of Schiller herself.  Notwithstanding Edward’s claim that NPR television is the only thing connecting Americans in the outback to civilization, it turns out that Schiller was busy trying to destroy local affiliates in favor of funding NPR’s national website:

Howard Liberman, a longtime broadcast communications attorney who represents NPR affiliates, said many stations were unhappy with Vivian Schiller and the release of the video was the last straw. He pointed to the Williams controversy and other moves by Schiller that have alienated stations, such as shortening the organization’s name from National Public Radio to NPR and trying to drive listeners toward NPR’s website.  (Emphasis mine.)

Bottom line: NPR was planning on killing its own (and isn’t that what Leftist revolutionary entities always do?)

I very much look forward to the next batch of videos O’Keefe promises to release.  They should be interesting.

A couple of AP articles that caught my eye, both for what they say and for what they don’t say *UPDATED*

I was very surprised to see an AP wire story reporting that Islamic militants (as opposed to mere “militants” or “insurgents”) were holding “Christians” (as opposed to mere “people”) hostage.  Even more surprising, the AP reported that the Islamic militants were probably affiliated with Al Qaeda in Iraq, an entity one apparently couldn’t acknowledge during the Bush years.

Just as I was thinking to myself, “Well, that AP worm has certainly turned, with this surprisingly honest report,” I read another wire story about the Chandra Levy murder trial.  You remember that story, right?  A decade ago, Rep. Gary Condit’s career was destroyed when an affair he had with Levy (which was definitely an unprincipled, immoral thing to do, since he was married), got morphed by the media into an unofficial murder charge.  Now, the probable actual murderer is on trial.

This is what the AP says about the defendant:  “Ingmar Guandique, a native of El Salvador, is on trial for the murder and attempted sexual assault of Levy nearly a decade ago.”

Now I, not having been born yesterday, verbalized yet another thought to myself:  “What are the odds that Guandique is an illegal immigrant?”  Turns out the odds are 100%.  Somehow, though, the AP just couldn’t bring itself to put that adjective out there.

Let me remind the open borders crowd that one of the virtues of having legal as opposed to illegal immigration, is that it enhances our government’s ability to weed out the killers before they cross our borders.

UPDATE:  This Philip Terzian post about the WaPo best seller list seems like an appropriate coda to a post on media bias.  I especially like the way Terzian describes the media’s inability to recognize its own bias:

One of the inherent difficulties of defining left-wing bias in the press to journalists is that it is something like describing the ocean to fish: It is so pervasive, and such a comfortable, nurturing environment, that it is hardly noticed.

Yeah — what he said.

AP assures us that Obama’s Afghanistan dithering is actually a show of strength *UPDATED*

Obama has known for more than 12 months that he was going to become CIC, with responsibility for Afghanistan.  This means 12 months of presidential advisers able to give this neophyte help in figuring out the best strategy for the war that he declared, during the campaign, was the essential, central battlefield in the war against those pesky insurgents.  He’s also had two (or is it three?) months of specific recommendations from the general in charge of the Afghanistan operations.

And yet Obama has done absolutely nothing.  He’s floated myriad and contradictory trial balloons:  No troops was his first balloon, a strategy that played out when he played hide-and-seek with General McChrystal.  This balloon got shot down by ordinary Americans horrified that their sons and daughters are in a turkey shoot.  His next attempt at gauging public opinion was to say that he’d send some troops.  This balloon also bit the dust when savvy political and military observers pointed out that, under the circumstances on the ground in Afghanistan, half a loaf would not be better than none.  He then tried a completely different approach, announcing that he’d send lots of troops, albeit on a weirdly attenuated and pointless timeline.  Even the attenuated timeline, though, wasn’t sufficient to assuage his Lefter flank, and Obama quickly drew back on that idea too.

And since we know that Obama has no fixed principles, except for the desperate desire to receive universal accolades and to socialize the American economy, there are no internal impulses moving him in any direction on Afghanistan.  With his trial balloons grounded, he’s inert.

Or at least that’s what I thought.  The AP explains to me that 12 months of inertia, interrupted only by sending up abortive trial balloons, avoiding generals, and having endless meetings, is actually a sign of Obama’s incredible foreign policy expertise:

President Barack Obama’s drawn-out decision-making on Afghanistan is sending messages. To the Afghan government: Clean up your act. To the Pentagon: I’m no rubber stamp. To the American public: More troops can’t be the sole answer.

Obama has been accused by some Republicans of “dithering” about whether to send more troops and deepen U.S. involvement in an increasingly unpopular war.

The slow process also has left him open to critics who recall his pronouncement in March, after developing what he called a “stronger, smarter and comprehensive” Afghan war strategy, that the situation there was “increasingly perilous.” He ordered more troops to battle then, with little discernible result so far.

This time, he’s making it clear he won’t be rushed. Or pushed. And the way the messages he’s sending play out could help determine whether the war effort is sustainable in the long run.

Thank God for the AP.  Without their guidance, I never would have understood how subtle our President is.  Obama’s not ineffectual.  He’s engaging in a thrilling, practically telepathic, negotiation with just about everyone, simply by sitting still.

I’m sure that the troops currently serving in Afghanistan in unprotected positions as a resurgent Taliban contemplates the wonders of an apparently dormant president, are also delighted to learn that this is really all part of a grand plan intended to send marvelously nuanced messages to all sorts of people across the globe and right into the heart of the theater of war.

I’ll leave you with this Carole Burnett spoof of Brief Encounter, because it reminds us that Obama’s gone one better than these funny one-word lovers by doing away with words entirely:

UPDATE:  Unsurprisingly, Big Lizards has a better post about the flight from reality than anything I could do, with his focus, not on the media, but on Obama himself.

UPDATE II:  At American Digest, an excellent post suggesting that the media doesn’t need to spin so madly to cover up for Obama, since Obama really wants to do what he’s doing, and the resulting anarchy is a desired goal.

http://biglizards.net/blog/archives/2009/11/i_reject_your_r.html

Cognitive dissonance at the AP

Zhombre alerted me to the AP’s problem when it tries to balance its story line (Obama good) with the facts, whatever they happen to be.  Here’s the question Zhombre asked:  “It there some dissonance between the first and second sentences or it is me?  Does the AP lead completely contradict what Senator Gregg actually said?”  I’d answer “yes.”  How about you:

The top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee says the Obama administration is on the right course to save the nation’s financial system.

But Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire also says President Barack Obama‘s massive budget proposal will bankrupt the country.