March 25, 2009

WHO WILL POLICE THE PRESS?

I know there are people out there who think that the media is in Republican pockets because it's all owned by big corporations. Really, I have always found that position untenable. I truly can't understand how anyone who listens to the news for ten minutes would possibly think it is right-wing. But those people exist, a constant reminder to me that people can hear the exact same thing and come to completely different conclusions.

But can anyone really defend the media for how they give Democrats a pass on everything? Is it possible to ignore they way Bush was treated vs Obama? I don't think it is.

A link via NRO: Forgetting about Alzheimers:

When President Bush and Vice President Cheney claimed that reversing their tax cuts would hurt many small businesses, the fact-checkers of the press zinged them for exaggerating the impact. Most small businesses, they pointed out, would not be affected. Good for the media: Journalists ought to inform the public when their leaders are making false or misleading statements.

But they ought to do so whether the politicians in question are Republicans or Democrats, and whether the claims help liberal or conservative causes. Last night, President Obama said that his liberalized policy on funding for embryonic stem-cell research would aid the search for cures for Alzheimers disease. Shouldnt news outlets have reported that even scientists on Obamas side of the issue say thats a pipe dream?

Posted by Sarah at 03:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 09, 2009

QUICK THOUGHT BEFORE BED

I hope Bono starting to write for the New York Times garners as much outrage as Joe the Plumber corresponding from Israel does...

Posted by Sarah at 09:56 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 18, 2008

YES WE CAN TURN AWAY YOUR AD

Heh, this is rich. Apparently The Washington Post is selling classified ads to welcome the Obamas to the White House and has specified that they will only accept positive, glowing ads.

My favorite comment on this blog post:

It is only fair that WaPo post only positive comments for the winner of the election, after all, they did the same for Mr. Bush right? If John McCain had won, everyone knows they would have done the same for him too. I am also certain no liberals would have had a problem with that either and would have defended their decision. I am also certain McCain would have been Times 'Man of the Year' had he won, as well. That is why he was on the cover just as much as Obama was. Therefore, they are completely objective. People need to realize the myth of media bias is just silly.

Case closed.

Posted by Sarah at 08:58 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 10, 2008

IT MAKES ME LIKE HIM EVEN MORE

Last night I was thinking about how everyone loves positive reinforcement. How even us hardened jerks like to hear that we're not all bad.

So I sent Neal Boortz an email.

I briefly said that I enjoy his show, that I took some heat for agreeing with him on voting, and that I was simply emailing to give him some positive feedback, which I'm sure he gets little of. I just wanted him to know that not everyone hates him.

His contact page says, "I probably won't answer your email. I rarely answer any emails. We get over 2000 a day ... do the math. Web Guy and Cristina will forward intelligent messages to me. If you're writing in to tell me you hate me, that's fine."

But he wrote me back. How awesome is that?

Even Neal Boortz has a soft spot for a compliment.

Posted by Sarah at 09:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 29, 2008

MY KIND OF PAPER

I used to rave about the Stars and Stripes coverage when we lived in Germany, but I don't read it often now that we're home. The Girl clued me back in on it today. Read this article, which is what I think all reporting should be: good points, bad points, positive tone, actual information that's not just regurgitated from Reuters, and the 5 W's right at the beginning. I had forgotten how much I miss that newspaper.

Posted by Sarah at 04:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2008

IGNORANCE IS BLISS

This article on the truth behind the Jena Six is just so depressing. But the part that stands out to me is this:

Bean's narrative, though, contained an interesting factual error: It stated that there had been three nooses, not two, hung from the tree at Jena High School. The error was not material, and the truth did not exonerate the perpetrators (one noose would have been too many), but to an observer examining the numerous stories about the Jena Six that flooded newspapers, radio, television, and blogs, the three nooses, which appear again and again, are a kind of journalistic dye-marker signaling a tendency on the part of the reporters to rely on Bean's narrative, his handpicked sources, and the reporting of Witt--whose frequent stories appeared nationwide in Tribune Co.-owned papers like the Los Angeles Times--instead of doing their own legwork by consulting court records and other documents, or even the Alexandria Town Talk, which accurately reported the number of nooses from the very beginning.

Some guy makes a bunch of "facts" up, and the news sources copy and disseminate it. Good heavens, are they even trustworthy at all?

And remember this the next time you read a report out of Iraq. If journalists don't even bother to interview someone in Jena to get the real story, how much of what we hear from Iraq is verified?

Posted by Sarah at 03:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 22, 2008

OLD MEDIA

In October, I got interviewed for a Military Spouse Magazine article on how deployments mess with family planning. We had just found out that I was finally pregnant, so I had a triumphant story to tell: we had wasted most of our safe year, but it had worked out in the end.

The article just got published. So much for happy endings.
It's pretty surreal to see your happiness immortalized in a magazine after everything has gone to crap.

I've had a couple of people suggest that I try to get paid to write for a publication, but this is a prime example of why I don't have much interest in such endeavors. Talk about old media; so much has happened in the three months it took for the article to go to print that the story isn't even remotely accurate anymore.

So I'll keep writing my drivel here for free.

UPDATE:

Son of a gun...I just found this interview that I gave, dang, like last summer. Tee hee, it's about Erin!

Posted by Sarah at 08:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 20, 2007

CRAPPY NEWS NETWORK

Woah. McQ from Q and O busts out CNN bigtime. He was watching a program on John Cena and steroid use and thought Cena's answer was evasive. Then he saw the entire tape. He asks, "If CNN can so cavalierly edit an answer in a relatively peripheral story about professional wresting, what are they doing with really important stories."

You have to go watch these two videos. It's unreal how sneaky CNN was. And, yes, Cena definitely deserves an apology.

Every time I see something like this, it makes me distrust the news even more. What else are they clipping and cutting?

Posted by Sarah at 08:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 17, 2007

YOU MUST BE KIDDING

John Hawkins found the perfect example of how the media will come up with anything they can to make Iraq look bad. Deaths in Iraq are way down? How can we play this story? Oh, I know, an article on how Iraqi grave diggers are out of a job. Seriously. That's the story they chose to report. The death toll is down, so let's report that cemetery workers are feeling the sting in their wallets.

I hate these people.

Posted by Sarah at 07:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 27, 2007

WOMEN DRIVE ME NUTS

John Hawkins posts that Katie Couric is still blaming her failure on the fact that the world can't handle her being a woman. Puh-lease.

Look, you can't have it both ways. You can't say that the country is progressive enough to hire you for the biggest news job ever but not progressive enough to watch you do it. CBS is in it to make money, and Hawkins is right: they wouldn't have hired you if they thought you couldn't pull in ratings. They were wrong. But it's not because they're sexist.

God, that's what I hate about women. They want to be thought of as completely equal, able to do any job that men can and bristling when anyone even suggests they can't. And then when they fail, they say it's because they're a woman and it's different. Either it's different or it's not. It can't be that you are just as good as a man when you're successful and then held back by your gender when you fail.

Male anchormen have come and gone, and none of them get to whine that they failed because they were men. Stop blaming your problems on the viewing audience. And stop viewing everything in the entire world through the lens of your gender. No one cares that you have a vagina; they only care that they don't like to watch you reading the news.

Posted by Sarah at 12:57 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 09, 2007

WHAT?

Today's I-can't-believe-they-actually-wrote-that line comes from (who else) Agence France-Presse in an article about Michael Moore's new anti-Bush movie:

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Steve Earl, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Joan Baez break up the film with musical interludes.

Pop singer Cat Stevens, "who couldn't be here tonight" because he found himself on a US no-fly list after changing his name to Yusuf Islam, got a nod.

The egregious statement is bolded so it can sink in for a minute. Do they really think we're stupid enough to swallow that cause and effect chain? Cat Stevens was flying all over the place and then changed his name and accidentally got mistaken for a terrorist and now can't fly? Balderdash! Cat Stevens changed his name back in 19freaking78. He hasn't been Cat Stevens for nearly 30 years. And he's on the no-fly list because he's suspected of contributing money to Hamas, not because his name has the word "Islam" in it. And nice use of the phrase "found himself," as if the action were agent-less. He "found himself" on the list, instead of performed actions and made statements that had the authorities looking in his direction. It's all just a big snafu, right? Poor Cat Stevens just accidentally can't fly anywhere now. Mean old Bush.

If that isn't the biggest whitewashing of why Yusef Islam couldn't be in Michael Moore's movie...

Posted by Sarah at 12:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 09, 2007

THEY TAKE IT SO LITERALLY

The people of Seattle are on the edge of their seats:

Construction delays will force journalism history buffs to wait a few more months to visit the Newseum, a museum dedicated to news reporting and the First Amendment being built near the Capitol.

Lenin's Tomb quips, "I hope it includes a special clinic for journalists whose arms dislocate from the spontaneous back-patting."

A museum dedicated to the First Amendment. Incidentally, we caught some crap on the news last week in the motel, where a talking head made a remark about "Second Amendment literalists." Nice. I'd love to hear someone sneer about First Amendment literalists and see how that goes over.

Posted by Sarah at 09:29 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 13, 2007

LOST CAUSE

VDH takes The Times to task.

Critics called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a change in command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops. But now that we have a new secretary, a new command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops, suddenly we have a renewed demand for withdrawal before the agreed-upon September accountingsuggesting that the only constant in such harping was the assumption that Iraq was either hopeless or not worth the effort.

Amen to that. I had a discussion back in 2003 with a German friend who said we were wrong to go to Iraq without support from countries like France. I pointed out that the problem is that there was actually no possibility of getting France's support, that Chirac said they would not vote for war no matter what. They had already made their decision, no matter what we said or did. Same with the anti-OIF types at The Times: there's absolutely nothing we could do to ever get them to admit that Iraq is not a lost cause. So what's the point?

Posted by Sarah at 09:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 07, 2007

NICE

A stinging quote from Matt Sanchez:

When Time magazine interviewed a bombmaker claiming to be responsible for rising American casualties, they forgot to ask the sophisticated and tenacious enemy the tough questions like, Whats your exit strategy? or How broken is the insurgency? Could you define victory? or even the most basic, Why are you doing this? The fact that the press demands accountability from one side and offers servility to the other is a very cunning strategy to win an asymmetrical war.

Posted by Sarah at 08:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 14, 2007

THE PRESS

The SpouseBUZZ Live went well, in my opinion. You can read the liveblogs of the panels over at SpouseBUZZ to see what we touched on. The event was really high-class and impressive; Military.com and USAA went all out for us.

After the panels, I was approached to do an interview for a local news affiliate. How bad could it be, right?

When I said at the Milblogs Conference that I had no bad experience with the press, I suppose I spoke too soon. I just didn't have any personal experience to speak of. So far I'd never been in any articles or newscasts.

For some reason, the local affiliate only wanted to talk about this blog. Why did they come to SpouseBUZZ Live and then start asking dumb questions about my personal site? And I was not savvy enough to see where this line of questioning was heading; I thought they'd ask me how I started blogging and then segue into SpouseBUZZ. Instead we segued into what I think about deployments and politics. Ugh. In hindsight, I wish I'd asked to start over or told the man I really only wanted to talk about SpouseBUZZ. But I was inexperienced and thought his questions would get more appropriate as we progressed.

As he shut down his camera, he decided to ask me off-the-record what I think about the war and if I think we're winning. Ugh again. I answered with some vague nonsense I can't even remember, but at some point I mentioned that my husband was learning Farsi. This guy's eyes got an a-ha twinkle as he said, "Waaait, that means Iran, right?" as if the fact that my husband is learning Farsi is some indicator that Bushitler is indeed planning to invade Iran. Thank heavens we weren't still on camera, because I wouldn't be surprised if he'd used the word Farsi as a way to speculate about Ahmadinejad. He acted as if he'd uncovered an Army plot to invade Iran.

Remind me not to do any more interviews in the future.

Posted by Sarah at 12:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 21, 2007

TIME

The other day we got an offer in the mail for a subscription to Time magazine. We cancelled that rag years ago, but I was wooed by the free clock/radio/thermometer they were giving away with the subscription. My mental dialog went like this: I really want that radio, and it's only $20, but then that means I'm saddled with Time. Weighing, weighing. In the end, I decided to do without the radio because I couldn't bear the thought of giving more money to that stupid magazine. Unfortunately, Annika has a free subscription, so she's reduced to tossing her Time when it gets unfreakinreadable.

Posted by Sarah at 06:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 19, 2007

LMAO

Confederate Yankee sent an email to the Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs for the Associated Press about discrepancies in their "Jamil Hussein" reporting. As I read this email, I couldn't help but laugh. I wonder just how deep the MSM's hatred for bloggers runs. Can you imagine if you came to work every morning only to find that some "guy in his pajamas" tore apart your stories and demanded corrections and retractions? And bloggers find problems with many stories, not just the most obvious ones like the National Guard memos or flaming tire piles in Lebanon. I bet the Associated Press and Reuters don't even know what to do now because they keep getting their butts handed to them by nobodies.

Posted by Sarah at 05:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 27, 2006

LINK

Read Flopping Aces' Getting the News from the Enemy. He wonders why the media is running stories based on hearsay and rumors. And he's got a lot of info on it.

Posted by Sarah at 07:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 25, 2006

WTF?

I have no idea what happened or why this groom was shot at his bachelor party by the police. The only people interviewed in this article are friends of the groom and Al Sharpton. There's no official word out yet, it seems. But what in the hell is up with the last two paragraphs of the article? Let's throw in two other completely unrelated incidents where police shot black people. What does that have to do with anything? And why does the AP do this all the time, tack on unrelated crap at the end of articles? Those two paragraphs have no business being in that article, other than to lead readers to assume that cops repeatedly shoot black people for no reason whatsoever. Shame on you, AP.

MORE:

Since MSNBC changed their link, I had to find the original article elsewhere. I found it here, but I'll copy the end of the article before it disappears again.

"I still don't want to believe it," Porter said, "a beautiful day like this, and he was going to have a beautiful wedding, he was going to live forever with his wife and children. And this happened."

In 1999, police killed Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant who was shot 19 times in the Bronx. The four officers in that case were acquitted of criminal charges.

And in 2003, Ousmane Zongo, 43, a native of the western African country of Burkina Faso who repaired art and musical instruments in a Manhattan warehouse, was shot to death during a police raid. Zongo was hit four times, twice in the back.

See what I mean? Talk about inflammatory. And completely unrelated.

Posted by Sarah at 09:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 18, 2006

LINK

Greyhawk has a lengthy and thorough analysis of the damage the Abu Ghraib scandal did to the war effort. It's posted in two parts: A Combination of Blurring and Smearing Part 1 and Part 2 (the internal links are busted, but you can figure it out).

Posted by Sarah at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 16, 2006

RE-SHOW

CNN Headline News is re-showing the program Exposed: The Extremist Agenda on the Glenn Beck Program on Sunday night at 7:00 and 9:00. Check it out if you missed it last night.

UPDATE:

The show ended up being the second highest rated show in the history of Headline News.

Posted by Sarah at 07:53 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 06, 2006

NOW THAT'S JOURNALISM

Via RWN: Steve Harrigan from Fox News gets waterboarded. Wow, that's really amazing journalism. Harrigan wanted to see the fact behind this interrogation technique, so he put himself on the line to find out. That's awesome.

Posted by Sarah at 01:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 30, 2006

UGH

I'm sorry, but I don't see any reason it would ever be appropriate to ask a soldier in an interview "You ever worry one day your number's gonna come up?" What kind of question is that from a journalist? If you want to get to that issue, could you at least ask it in a less crass way? And then to follow up with whether or not they think their wives are screwing around on them. Sweet merciful crap. What is wrong with people?

Posted by Sarah at 11:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 16, 2006

THAT AIN'T MY COUNTRY

They've been beating us over the head with that new Chevy commercial during the postseason, and my husband hates it too. He flies off the handle every time it's on. He's mad that someone would proudly boil the US down to Hurricane Katrina and Vietnam protesters. I'll have to point out this quote from Slate: "I wonder if they could squeeze in the Rodney King beating and the Abu Ghraib photos, too."

There was a much better commercial on AFN that tried for the same concept. I have been looking online for 15 minutes but can't find any trace of it. Those of you in USAREUR will remember the Navy Reserves commercial that laid out things worth fighting for: hot dogs, Route 66, baseball, etc. This Chevy commercial really misses that mark.

Posted by Sarah at 01:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 03, 2006

FOOD NETWORK RULES

Is it just me, or is TV going a bit too far with snarky social commentary? I was watching Cold Case the other day, and one of the suspects was a former crackhead who'd turned his life around. So Scotty snidely quips, "Yeah, you overcame drugs and had a stint in the Guard; you could be president." Hardy har har. Shut up and solve the damn mystery. It's no wonder I find myself spending more and more time on the Food Network.

Speaking of which, look who I nearly had a heart attack to meet today...

jamiedeen.JPG

Posted by Sarah at 07:50 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 18, 2006

I'M SORRY

More about apologies...

I remember my grammar professor talking about an interesting facet of the English language. We have two meanings behind the words "I'm sorry": one is in the sense of "this was my fault" and the other is "I am sympathetic that this happened to you." That is how your friend can tell you his house burned down and you say "I'm sorry" while obviously not being guilty. It is my understanding -- based on my limited experience with foreign languages -- that this distinction is more clear in other languages, usually with two different phrases to express the different meanings. For example, in Swedish you can say "Förlåt mig", which means "forgive me" when it's your fault, but you'd say something more like "Det är trakigt" for sympathy, which loosely can translate as "that sucks". I used to try to say "Jag är ledsen" for "I'm sorry", but my friend said I was always using it wrong because it never carried quite the meaning I was striving for when I tried to use it for sympathy. (Maybe Amritas can shed more light on the topic, especially if I'm misinformed.)

Anyway, as my professor explained to us, this is how we can apologize without apologizing. The Pope can say he's sorry (that Muslims are reacting in such a violent way) without saying he's sorry (that he quoted Manuel II Paleologos in a long speech about rationality in religion).

There are two "I'm sorry"s in English, and apparently the Muslims know the difference. Because they're still ticked, which is why they say things like

We shall break the cross and spill the wine ... God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome ... (May) God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen.

Goddamit, maybe it's time they apologize to us. To the Pope. And for the nun they shot in the back. And the churches they burned down.

I am so f-ing sick of the Muslim world.

Posted by Sarah at 04:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

APOLOGY LIES

I was finishing up some laundry when I heard a news segment on the TV about Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb. Apparently he wrote some article in 1979 called "Women Can't Fight", in which he said that he'd never met a woman who could lead men in combat and that they shouldn't be admitted to the Naval Academy. So now that he's running for office, this stuff is surfacing and reporters are wondering why he doesn't apologize for writing this article. Got that? Reporters want him to apologize. (Well, so do women in the Navy, but that's beside the point for this blog post.) Apparently after his debate, they pressed him to offer a blanket apology for his remarks.

I don't know Webb from shinola, but I think this whole thing is weird. He wrote something in 1979 that might not have been that shocking given our military norms at the time. Since then, he has grown with the times and altered his position a little. Apparently he's since apologized for any difficulties women might've faced at the Naval Academy in light of his words. He also is apparently "'completely comfortable' with women's roles in today's military." So the short story is that his view of women has changed a bit since 1979. Pardon me if I don't think we should stop the presses.

Here's what I don't get, why I'm bothering to blog this. I wish I had recorded the reporter's exact wording of this story, but he said something to the effect that people were pressing Webb to retract his 1979 statement. They want him to publicly state that he doesn't believe what he wrote then. And it seems to me that he's doing just enough to hedge his statements so that it would appear that he still holds the same view to a certain extent but doesn't want to seem anti-woman or even anti-women in the military. He thinks they're fine in certain leadership positions but not leading men in combat. (I hope I'm not putting words in his mouth here, but this is just what I'm surmising by reading between the lines.)

So reporters are clamoring for him to retract his previous beliefs, even though they seem to still be his beliefs. That is to say, they want him to lie. They want him to come out and say that he doesn't believe all that malarky he thought back in the 70s, heavens no, women are fabulous. Why do they want him to say this? Why do they want him to lie?

Let's leave aside the fact that they're the Media and he's a Democrat, OK?

Don't we want politicians who tell the truth? I know every politician will gloss over things and sugarcoat stuff and hand us rose-colored glasses to look through. We all know this. But we don't want them to flat out lie and say that they believe in something when they truly don't. If Webb holds a belief that's unpopular or not P.C., the voters have a right to make a choice based on what the man believes. The media shouldn't hound him to apologize for something he's not actually sorry about just to make himself look better.

Why do we want all these people to apologize all the time? This comes while I'm still festering over the hubbub the Pope has caused. The Pope doesn't need to apologize for quoting some medieval text that's actually right on the money. As one Turkish columnist said, "You would think that the Pope had spent his whole speech attacking Islam. The Pope is the Pope. We didn’t expect him to praise Islam." So he can apologize for hurting people's feelings -- as Webb did -- but why this rush to get him to retract, to take it all back, to act like he never actually believed the thing he said? He's the freaking Pope! He's the head of a completely different religion; why on earth should he be expected to be nicey-nice with a religion that's *not true* according to the beliefs of his religion? Lord knows the imams say far worse things about Jews and Christians every single day.

But you know what? If you don't like what the Pope said, or what Webb said, then talk about it on your blog or in your Bible study or at your dinner party. But would it really make us feel better for them to lie to us and say they never meant to say these things? That's ridiculous.

You can't take it back and you shouldn't have to. Don't say something controversial and then just cave when people call you on it. It doesn't really help; just ask Lawrence Summers. And the media, or American society, or whomever we want to blame this on needs to lay off and stop calling for people to freaking apologize. We need for more people to tell the truth and say it like it is in this ridiculous world of ours, not be afraid that they might bring the house down with their words. We need to stop stifling people from saying what they really believe!

You don't like what Webb said? Don't vote for him. It's that simple.
(Actually, just don't vote for him: he's a Democrat. Heh.)


MORE TO GROK:

More on apologies here.

Posted by Sarah at 02:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 30, 2006

WOAH

Wow. Did anyone just see Keith Olbermann ten minutes ago? He was completely off his rocker. I am taping the repeat at midnight because I missed the beginning of his diatribe, but apparently Donald Rumsfeld's speech got him all in a tizzy. I think he's just ticked because Rumsfeld went after journalism.

Anyway, somehow Olbermann managed to twist history so far into itself that he said Rumsfeld is the new Chamberlain and we're waiting for the new Churchill to step up. Oooh, I know, can Murtha be Churchill? Because that would complete the wacked out reverse analogy. Rumsfeld is Chamberlain? In what universe?

Olbermann made some pretty outlandish claims. While Rumsfeld said:

I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. Today -- another enemy, a different kind of enemy -- has made clear its intentions with attacks in places like New York and Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, Moscow and so many other places. But some seem not to have learned history's lessons.

Olbermann sarcastically said, "This country faces a new type of facism indeed." Referring to the Bush administration. Olbermann actually had the gall to say that the United States is a democracy, "sometimes just barely."

Sometimes.
Just.
Barely.

Is he joking or insane? Just barely. Keith, if this were a fascist state and barely a democracy, you wouldn't have made it to the end of that rant. And you wouldn't make it to work tomorrow. For all your ridiculous talk about the Bush administration being omnipotent and fascist, I bet you still have your job tomorrow.

Lord, this diatribe was too good to be true. But you know, Fox is the biased one and the other networks are bastions of middleoftheroadhood. Blogging fun like this doesn't come along every day.

Rumsfeld is Chamberlain. Just wow.

I'll be checking OlbermannWatch tomorrow for their response.

MORE TO GROK:

I hit refresh one more time after I posted this, and the OlbermannWatch for today is up! Better commentary than mine here.

Posted by Sarah at 09:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

JUST NASTY

Did you know that Fox News Channel reporter Steve Centanni and freelance cameraman Olaf Wiig were kidnapped in Gaza? Maybe not, since all we hear about on TV these days is John Mark Karr. But according to some TV critic guy named Bob Lawrence, this may be more than just an oversight:

Fox has deliberately set itself apart from other news media. Starting at the top with Roger Ailes, the Fox sales pitch has been to deride other media, to declare itself the one source of the real truth, the sole source of ‘fair and accurate’ news reporting. As a result, there’s not a reservoir of kinship or good will with Fox on the part of the rest of the news media. You can’t keep insulting people and then expect friendship when you need it.

They’ve made it a policy to keep a distance between themselves and the rest of the media, far beyond the usual competitive spirit, so that’s where they are: at a distance.

So you mean I was right to make the snide comment a week ago that no one would care because the journalist was from Fox? I thought I was being overly snarky, but I guess life is stranger than parody.

I'm with Cold Fury:

So howzabout we make a little deal: since you and your liberal-media playmates find yourselves unable to muster enough patriotic spirit — or, for that matter, simple human decency — to bother concerning yourselves about the fate of a couple of fellow American journalists because their politics may not mesh with your own, from here on out, American soldiers (the overwhelming majority of whom violently disagree with your politics, which I think we can safely infer from your snide and heartless comment) will no longer be expected to go out and rescue your sorry, worthless asses when the terrorists you’re so busy propagandizing for get tired of putting up with your ass-kissing sycophancy and decide you’d be more useful as hostages instead.

In other words, if partisan politics means that much to you liberal-media jackholes, and you’re that closed-minded that you can’t even rise above your own petty liberal dogma to scrape up a plugged nickel’s worth of fellow-feeling for your American colleagues no matter who they work (or voted) for, then you have no right to expect any when you find yourself caught in a steel-jawed Islamist trap of your own devising.

If the North Kosanese getcha, don't expect any help from your "countrymen"...

Posted by Sarah at 09:20 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

INTERNET

The joys and headaches of the internet. From Robert McHenry:

[What we have here is] the dissolution of categories, the collapse of hierarchy, that used to help us navigate information in a way that Google cannot. Time was, we understood that what is written in a scholarly monograph is different from what is written in a reference book, which is different from what is written in an informal essay, which is different from what is written in a news bulletin, which is different from what is offhandedly jotted down, which is different from what is scribbled on the bathroom wall. Different in intent, different in style, different in reliability. And not only did we understand that they were different, we could tell which was what, usually at a glance.

When the world wide web took off, I was finishing high school and starting college. We were told we could not use internet sites for research papers because they were unreliable: any old guy could write any old thing on the web. But now I think we've come full circle; I trust Charles Johnson infinitely more than I trust Dan Rather. News reports are full of lies and fake photos. Academic papers insist that Neil Prakash is a dentist. How can any high schooler or college student wade through this mass of bias and nonsense to write a paper for school? And how can any teacher decide which sources fly these days?

Thank goodness I'm done with school.

Posted by Sarah at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 07, 2006

RUBBISH

The internet is ablaze trying to find Adnan Hajj fake photos, and everyone wants to be the next Charles Johnson busting the media's chops. I too am shocked at some of the photos that have been taken at face value, but the one howler to rule them all, in my opinion, has to be the photo of the burning Koran.

koran.jpg

Ace busts some chops too:

Well! I guess a foreign Muslim photographer just got lucky again to find the inciting, dramatic picture of a burning Koran after an Israeli air strike, huh? It's the perfect visual metaphor for the Islamist cause -- the Jews destroying the Koran itself -- and I just suppose he happened to luck upon a bomb site where one was conveniently still aflame. I would imagine a book would either stop burning, or be completely burned (and hence not burning) 99% of the time you visited a scene two hours after an attack, but this phographer just got lucky once again, right?

Seriously, do people in newsrooms even think anymore? Someone runs to them with a National Guard memo or a photo of a burning Koran and they're so eager to run the presses that they don't even stop to think. Why is a book still on fire in a pile of burned building? The book burned slower than the wood and metal? Please. And a wedding dress would stay white in the midst of bombing too...oh wait, that also supposedly happened.

When the same man and woman keep popping up in photos all over Lebanon, maybe it's time to question these photographers' motives.


P.S. The comment that made me laugh out loud at Ace's post:

That mannequin has clearly been manipulated to look like Rachel Corrie.
Posted by: Kat R. Pillar on August 6, 2006 10:07 PM

Posted by Sarah at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 06, 2006

UTTER GARBAGE

When Kevin Spacey was on The Daily Show, he went on and on about how much better the news situation was in London than in the US. I couldn't help but remember that segment when I read Stressed out and anxious in Beirut. (I found this link in another article called Israeli war deaths go largely unnoticed.) It really is a piece of work: the journalist is sitting with the people of Beriut, musing over where Israel will bomb next and trying to explain his understanding of Israel's motives to the Lebanese people. Hey, newsguy, you wanna understand Israel? How 'bout, you know, going to Israel and talking to them instead of reporting your speculations as news. What a bunch of baloney, which is what passes for "articles" these days:

People keep saying to me, "We are not Hezbollah - why are they bombing our homes?"

The Israelis say that these renewed attacks on Beirut are justified because they are targeting Hezbollah. But for the hundreds of thousands of people in this city who don't support Hezbollah it feels like collective punishment.

Hezbollah's primitive, unguided Katyusha rockets hit civilians too - although far fewer have died in Israel than have been killed in Lebanon by the massive Israeli munitions.

Many Lebanese readily agree that Hezbollah gravely miscalculated when they captured those two Israeli soldiers on 12 July - but now they go on to say: "We were never Hezbollah. But we are all Hezbollah now. The Israeli response is completely unjustified."

I have met some who curse Hezbollah, and who say the Israeli bombardment is understandable. Some, but not many.

And I don't think "But we are all Hezbollah now" is just talk. The more Israel destroys, the more supporters Hezbollah will be able to recruit.

How fair and balanced. Kevin Spacey must be so proud. The article ends with:

Smoking hubble-bubble at a cafe one evening, I heard the sound of a fighter-bomber overhead.

A young man at the next table leaned over to me, gestured in the direction of the menacing rumble, and said: "This - this also is terrorism!"

What a gross misstatement of the definition of terrorism. Provided as the final punch in this craptastic article. Looks like someone at the BBC has been studying his "New Rules" For Mideast Reporting.

Posted by Sarah at 09:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 27, 2006

SAD

The husband and I have been watching some old Ali G shows on TV lately. We're always amazed at the utter garbage that he can get people to say; I can't believe that the guests don't smell a rat. My husband also constantly wonders about The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, how they can trick their guests into sounding so stupid. I guess I know part of the reason now: Wexler falls into a comedic interviewer's trap -- and he's not laughing. I feel sorry for the people who do these shows because they come off looking like complete idiots. Ali G isn't even fun to watch, because who really wants to see someone make Buzz Aldrin look like a fool?

Posted by Sarah at 09:59 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 19, 2006

GRR

The NY Post reports that Jerome Armstrong went on stock trading chat sites and hyped up stocks without mentioning that he was paid by the company. That's so dishonest I can't even believe it. I found the link via LGF and then followed it to Daily Kos to see what they had to say about the article. Several people seemed troubled by Armstrong's past, but many commenters flat out said that they were skeptical of the information because it came from the NY Post.

Frankly, I'm tired of that crap. Fox News is usually on the receiving end of that kind of nonsense: how many times have I heard someone sneeringly say something like, "Where'd you hear that, Fox News?" Fox may come off as pro-American, but people like to act like Fox is making up news stories. That's complete crap.

Armstrong was charged by the SEC in 2003; there's a civil suit on record. The NY Post didn't just make that up out of thin air. It disgusts me that people find it so easy to dismiss news just because they don't like where they heard it.

Posted by Sarah at 08:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 14, 2006

UGH

I'm thrilled to be back to watching South Park on TV. It's been three years, so we're behind on new episodes. We happened to catch the Paris Hilton episode the other night, and I loved the moral of the story: "Being spoiled and stupid and whorish is supposed to be a bad thing, remember? Parents, if you don't teach your children that people like Paris Hilton are supposed to be despised, where are they gonna learn it?" I couldn't help but think about this when I was flipping channels today and happened across The View. Apparently Paris Hilton is going to guest on the show tomorrow, and the women were all excited and defending her when some audience members tsk-tsked. Now, maybe they don't get any say in who is a guest, so maybe they have to pretend to be excited even if they hate Paris Hilton, but since when should someone like Barbara Walters ever say that Paris Hilton is a "cute and sweet girl"? What has the world come to when a 77-yr-old woman is defending the honor of a girl who answers her cell phone during sex on a porn video? I don't understand why she's even on The View, or why anyone even cares about her at all, but I guess that's the whole point of the opening scene in this South Park episode...

Bebe: Come on, Wendy, we're gonna miss it.
Wendy: We're gonna miss what?
Bebe: Paris Hilton is making an appearance at the mall.
Wendy: Who's Paris Hilton?
Red: "Who's Paris Hilton?"
Annie: You don't know?
Announcer: [someone takes a picture as he approaches the mic.] Hello, everyone! [drumroll] The Guess Clothing Company is pleased to have as its new spokesperson model, a woman all you young ones can look up to, Ms. Paris Hilton. [she appears and flashbulbs go off amid squeals from females in the crowd. She then lifts her bra and shows off her breasts]
Bebe: Wow, that's really her! Paris! Over here!
Wendy: I don't get it. What does she do?
Annie: She's super-rich!
Wendy: ...but what does she do?
Red: She's totally spoiled and savvy.
Wendy: [annoyed] What does she do?!
Man: [walks by and overhears] She's a whore. [takes his camera and snaps a few pictures]

Posted by Sarah at 11:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 09, 2006

RED 6 IS A DENTIST?

Via CaliValleyGirl via Smink, I heard about this academic paper on milblogs. I haven't read the whole thing yet, only the part that Cali pointed out to me on pg 13.

Neil Prackish is an Army reserve officer and Silver Star awardee for valor; a dentist in civilian life, Prackish recently stopped blogging on his popular site, Armor Geddon, because of his own concerns for operational security.

Um, no, no, and no.

Neil Prakash is an active duty soldier. He is not a dentist, nor does he have any plans to be one (but his parents both are). I would even quibble about the reason he stopped blogging, but since I only know because we've sat in my living room and talked about it, I can hardly fault the authors that one. But otherwise, at least please spell his name right. Neil was hardly secretive or incognito on his blog, so these are things that should've been easy to fact check.

See, I typed "Neil Prakash" into google and immediately found better info on him than this academic paper provides. Of course, I spelled his name correctly, so maybe that's how I found it so fast. Hardy har.

Posted by Sarah at 09:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 22, 2006

OPTIMISM, ANYONE?

I saw some show yesterday with some newswoman talking about the anniversary of OIF I (honestly, I can never be bothered to keep the shows or the people straight). At the very end of the segment, she said something in closing about the toll of the war blah blah and something like "in a war whose outcome is far from certain." What a defeatist way of ending the show. I'd like to think my country isn't interested in getting into wars we're not sure we're going to win. And I'd like to think that three years in we're still committed to winning instead of being "far from certain." I wish she had ended the program by saying that the road may be hard but the US is not ready to give up. How different everyone's view of this war would be if newspeople threw a dash of optimism into their reporting.

LGF got an email about casualty statistics that's really something to ponder. Anyone who has a loved one in the fight should read it. It also brings up the same thing that I said while my husband was gone: a soldier's job is to soldier. These are things we should all keep in mind as we settle into OIF IV.

Posted by Sarah at 07:25 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

March 21, 2006

UPDATE

I just talked to my Swedish friend, and somehow something came up about a unit leaving for Iraq. She asked if we were still sending soldiers to Iraq, you know, since the bombing started this week.

Oh lord.

When I flipped out about the media's misrepresentation of the air assault, I honestly didn't even think about the repercussions for the global media. I didn't stop to think that the German media might be telling Germans that the US started bombing. What a mess they've caused.

Posted by Sarah at 03:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 16, 2006

WHAT?

Sweet merciful crap.

Right now on MSNBC on TV, they're announcing that the US has launched the biggest "air strike" in Iraq since 2003. This would be news if it were true, but what is really going on is an air assault, which is nothing like an air strike. An air strike is planes dropping bombs; an air assault is helicopters dropping troops onto the ground so they can kick down doors. Big whopping difference, news folks. Maybe you should get your damn terminology straight before you start blabbing your mouths.

As of right now, the MSNBC homepage has this graphic:

airstrike.jpg

Which leads to this article: U.S. launches largest Iraq air assault in 3 years
Correct information in the article, which the military spoonfed them; incorrect information in their flashy photo.

Oh media, how I roll my eyes at you.

This is not just a nitpicky difference. The two words are completely not interchangable. Why didn't someone correct the anchorwoman, who repeated "air strike" several times? Oh, that's right, because no one at MSNBC has the first clue about the military.

Posted by Sarah at 06:21 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

December 28, 2005

WHA?

Hud found a list of ridiculous media quotes. I'm still reading them all, but my favorite so far is this one from MSNBC's Keith Olberman after Hurricane Katrina:

For many of this country’s citizens, the mantra has been, as we were taught in social studies it should always be, whether or not I voted for this President, he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week. I suspect, also, a lot of his supporters, looking ahead to ‘08, are wondering how they can distance themselves from the two words which will define his government, our government: New Orleans. For him, it is a shame, in all senses of the word. A few changes of pronouns in there and he might not have looked so much like a 21st century Marie Antoinette.

Bwahahahahaha.

Posted by Sarah at 12:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 19, 2005

FOX

I think most people on the left think that we right-wingers love Fox News. Fox is always trotted out as the one example of ultra-conservative views, and several times when I have repeated something I read online, people have said, "What, did you hear that on Fox?" when they don't believe me. For the record, I know many right-wingers who don't like Fox. My husband and I enjoy watching Forbes on Fox and Cavuto on Business, but that's about it.

I personally see very little difference in the way Fox reports the news. For example, on Iraqi election day last week, the Fox reporter said, "This is the day Bush has been waiting for...", which really burned me up. Why not the day the Iraqi people have been waiting for, or the day the world has been waiting to see, or the day the American public, or anything but always placing the emphasis on Bush? Fox is just as crappy, and it drives me nuts. In fact, the day after Iraqi election day, my husband sat down and checked all websites of the major networks. MSNBC, ABC, CNN, they all had that stupid freezing rain as their top story. My husband said, "I bet Fox got it right," as he typed in the URL. Nope, they also went with freezing rain, though at least the Iraqi election was the second story; the other news sources didn't even have it on their main pages.

Therefore, I wasn't that surprised to find that Brit Hume on Fox only ranks as slightly right of center on that new media study from UCLA. Fox isn't nearly as far right as people like to pretend.

Take a few minutes to read the results of that study. They seem to have done a good job trying to filter out bias in their study. Interesting stuff.

Posted by Sarah at 10:17 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 13, 2005

PARALLEL

Tonight at the dinner table, the husband and I raced to finish each other's sentences as we both realized we'd read the same article and come to the same conclusion. The results of this ABC poll in Iraq are interesting all around, but the most striking thing was how they parallel the American experience. 70% of Iraqis say their own life is going well, but only 44% say that their country is doing well. That sounds almost exactly like something I heard Rush Limbaugh say on the radio a few weeks ago. He said he gets callers who, well, I'll let him say it in his own words:

"[Jack] Welch told Fox News Channel that President Bush has much to be proud of with regard to the economy, but he has to get out there and sell himself - and his accomplishments - to the American people to let them know about it. 'President Bush put a tax bill through that supported capital formation and risk taking,' Welch said. 'We’ve created 2 million jobs a year after the 9/11 attacks. That’s a remarkable accomplishment. Bush has to get out there and talk about it.' Despite the recent natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the U.S. economy continues to grow, and the stock market seems to weather every storm.'" In fact, last week the stock market was -- well, not at a record high but, I mean, it was at ten seven, the Dow Jones industrial average at 10,700 something. "Welch certainly noticed" all this. "Most business people have noticed. Investors noticed. But, according to the recent polls – which show the president’s approval rating at its lowest level of his presidency – the majority of Americans have not been persuaded of the 'good news economy.'" Now, you know why this is. This is very simple. This is one of the most remarkable phenomena that I recall experiencing as host of this wildly successful program and it is this: We could be in the middle of an economic boom; I get phone calls from people, "Yeah, I'm doing okay, Rush. I am just doing fabulous. But I'm worried about my neighbors."

"Why are you worried about your neighbors? Is the Meals on Wheels showing up at their house every day? What are you worried about?"

"Well, I just see the news on TV and the economy's not doing all that well. People are this and that. I'm just worried about my neighbor."

"Well, do you know that they're doing badly or are you just worried about them?"

"No, I'm doing okay," and then there's some guilt associated with it. So most people's perception of their own economic circumstances are fine but all this negative news makes them think everybody else out there is, you know, eating dirt. They refuse to feel good about it because they think they're going to feel guilty.

I believe the same sort of phenomenon is happening in Iraq, that individual Iraqis feel they are doing well, but they keep hearing about bombs and insurgency, so they think the country is not doing well. I know it's not a perfect comparison, the US economy and the situation in Iraq, but my husband and I couldn't help but notice the parallel.

Anyway, the whole ABC poll is worth a read.

Posted by Sarah at 07:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 12, 2005

PROPAGANDA

Does it get any better than Varifrank? I submit that it does not.

[The Western mainstream media] compares our actions at abu-ghirab with the saddam regime, as if being held in a compromising position by the ugliest woman from West Kentucky was anything like being killed, butchered and buried with a 1000 people from your hometown.

There's more, much more, on the virtues of propaganda.

Posted by Sarah at 10:25 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

December 11, 2005

WHO ASKED FOR YOUR TWO CENTS?

There's just something that irked me about this paragraph in this totally finger-pointing article Lieberman's pro-war views concern Dems. I absolutely hate when "journalists" throw stuff like this in (italics mine):

Lieberman, who seems to relish his role as a maverick, is veering far from the Democratic script. His vocal support for the war, a stark and frequent reminder of the deep divisions among Democrats on how to end the war, makes him something of a marked man.

As if Lieberman is purposely trying to tick off Democrats. Ever consider that maybe he really does disagree with his party? Ever consider that he's standing up for what he believes in? Nope, he's just relishing the beat of a different drum. That's not reporting, that's editorializing. I hate the media.

Posted by Sarah at 10:30 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 27, 2005

OP-ED WOES

God bless the Stars and Stripes. For being a military newspaper, I'm often stunned at how many anti-war, anti-Bush opinion columns they print. I know I don't want to read that garbage, but maybe someone does, and they provide the service, even when it makes our president and our military look bad. Usually I just read the online version, so I don't bother with the AP junk, but occasionally I'll come across a hard copy of the paper and want to throw up, as I did when I read this piece, in which the author muses what his life would be like if he'd had to join the military...

What if, for instance, my parents hadn't gone into debt to provide me with a private-school education and the benefits it affords? What if, instead, I had taken the path followed by many in my hometown and pursued my American dream through the military? And what if I was writing these words not from the comfort of my office but from a forward operating base somewhere in the Sunni Triangle?

Perhaps this all can be written off as a neurotic intellectual exercise. But the persistent rumors of a draft (unlikely as one might be) do little to reassure.

Yes, many people join the military instead of having mommy and daddy foot their bills. They become adults at age 18 and deploy to the Middle East where their buddies' lives are in their hands as they sit on overnight guard duty at the Tigris River...instead of kickin' it at the frat house drinking Red Bull and vodka until they puke all over some girl and pass out in the bushes. Which life choice makes you more of a man?

Oh, the draft. It's comin' folks. Been comin' for three years. Except there's gonna be a drawdown of troops next year. So when are we all getting drafted?

Now, I'm sure a fair number of those in the military enlisted out of a lack of other options. I know full well that relatively few in my generation buy into the "for flag and country" bit, and that my sense of patriotic guilt would probably make for a good joke or two in the service. And the honest truth is that nothing less than a full-fledged draft could get me to say goodbye to my wife's puppy-dog brown eyes and put on a uniform.

Maybe I just lack the conviction of the soldiers deployed in Iraq. Or maybe they've just lacked my good fortune. Which of the two is the case, I'm not quite sure.

Actually, I know quite a few soldiers who joined "for flag and country", and I know many who joined just because they wanted a job but end up staying for their country. My husband called the Army a "labor of love" the other day; he could get out and see what other jobs he could find, but he stays out of a sense of purpose and duty.

And, yes, I bet many of them would think you're a tool.

You probably do indeed lack conviction. Not everyone considers it the Worst Possible Thing In The World to get deployed. Some people, my husband included, think it's the most important thing they've done with their lives, and though they don't necessarily cherish the thought of deploying for another year and missing out on their own wives' puppy-dog eyes, they are more than willing to do whatever it takes to see Iraq succeed.

At the very least, when I read about the next soldier killed in combat, I'll make sure to take five minutes out of my privileged day to wonder: There but for the grace of God go I, drunk and naked, screaming bloody suicide at the thought of going back to Iraq.

And that is precisely why we don't want a draft.

There's nothing wrong with not wanting to go to Iraq. It's a normal, natural feeling. But I'm sick and tired of these crap-ass op-eds looking down their noses at soldiers. A fancy-pants degree doesn't make you better than someone who joined the Army. Can you repair track on a tank? Can you accurately fire a 50-cal? Can you make a delicious sugar cookie out of the remnants of your MRE? Oh, you can write. Judging from MilBlogs, so can most soldiers who don't have the "good fortune" of a "private-school education and the benefits it affords". They're writing and selling books, in addition to being mechanics, marksmen, chemists, nurses, and diplomats.

And I'm not convinced many of them would want to trade places with you.

Posted by Sarah at 12:54 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 22, 2005

BUT

Today the US military is offically handing over FOB Danger to the Iraqis. That's a great step in getting Iraq on her own feet. I was struck by the last paragraph in the article:

It was a bittersweet year for the Big Red One, with more than 100 soldiers killed and 1,000 wounded but great advances in combined operations with new, better-led Iraqi army units and 2,000 reconstruction projects worth about $1 billion.

The emphasis is mine, because what struck me was how the Stars and Stripes gets the "but" right. Most journalists seem to flip the two clauses: some nice stuff is happening, but it's a quagmire and American deaths is the most important thing. Stars and Stripes gets the focus just right, as usual. 1ID had a rough year in Iraq, but they accomplished so much. It's the accomplishments we should be focused on -- what these soldiers and marines did with their lives -- not the death toll.

Good on you, Stars and Stripes.

Posted by Sarah at 09:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

JOURNALISTS

The article about Mary Mapes' new book was almost a waste of time. I followed the Rathergate hullabaloo closely last year: those documents are ridiculous fakes and Rather & Mapes were reckless in rushing them to press. The article was all about poor little Mary and how unfairly she was treated. And as the violins began to fade, the last line in the article made me sneer.

Despite her career implosion, Mapes hopes to stay in journalism. "It's what I'm good at," she said. "I like making a difference."

Newsflash: Journalists aren't supposed to make a difference. They're supposed to report the freaking news, just the way it is. They're supposed to find facts and report the Five W's and that's it: give us the facts and let us make the inferences. They don't make a difference, they don't speak truth to power, and they don't create the news.

Or at least they're not supposed to.

Posted by Sarah at 11:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 28, 2005

FRUSTRATED

As I started reading Baldilocks' post In Search of a Survival Plan, I was thunderstruck. By a completely unoriginal idea.

The concept of the Vietnam War—rather than the actual war itself—was shaped by the media of that time and today’s overwhelming Democrat, leftists, "anti-war" media is attempting, with some success, to shape how the American public thinks about this war.

I've talked to my mom extensively about her generation. I guess it's not hard for me to understand that many people her age think all wars are Vietnam. They lost friends, they sat anxiously and waited to hear the lottery numbers, and they unfortunately participated in America's only half-assed war. I'm sorry they had to go through that. But Iraq is not Vietnam.

When the Guif War started, I was in 7th grade. I saw it on TV and ran to my room, scared out of my wits. I wrote in my diary OH GOD WE'RE AT WAR and went on to write that we would all die. It's hard not to laugh at myself now, since I know I was imagining trench warfare and blitzkrieg. I had no concept of war. Heck, I still have no concept of war, try as I might. I've talked extensively with my husband and his friends, trying to get a sense of what they did in Iraq. But I have managed to figure out one thing, the thing that hit me when I read Baldilocks' first paragraph.

If Iraq really is as bad as the media says it is, why don't I know any soldiers who concur?

Why does Red 6 say that it was "the best year of his life"? Why did my husband's unit softball team love to get together and rehash their "so there we were" stories? Why does my husband think that going to Iraq was the most important and meaningful thing he's ever done? And why does he feel so down in the dumps about being home? If Iraq really is a quagmire, shouldn't he feel relieved?

The soldiers I've talked to think that Iraq was meaningful. They think it was fun, boring, and scary all at once. They think they were helping both Iraq and the United States by being there, and they were proud to serve. Some have already gotten their fill and others are itching to get back, but they all believe a soldier should soldier.

So why don't I feel like the media or the general public groks this?

I think it's sad that my mom says she feels like she has to defend my husband because he wants to continue to contribute to the War on Terror. She says that her friends and extended family simply cannot comprehend that my husband and I are not horrified by the thought of Iraq. And we're just not. If he raised his hand today and volunteered to go back, I'd be extremely proud of him, because I think the only way to win this thing is to see it through to the end, and I'd rather have someone as smart and capable as my husband to lead the way.

My husband is strong enough to go back, and I think it's important enough to let him go. That's why it's so frustrating that the TV is filled with Cindy f-ing Sheehan all the time. That body count and gloom and doom reporting is demeaning to the soldiers who want to see this war through to the end.

Sometimes I get the feeling that the media is as uninformed as I was at 13. Their reports read like a page from my diary, where the sky is falling and we're all gonna die. But "if I got my news from the newspapers also I'd be pretty depressed as well." Thank goodness I have soldiers to give me the straight story.

Maybe some journalists should come have dinner with us and Red 6. Except I doubt he and my husband would let them in the front door...

Posted by Sarah at 10:17 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 22, 2005

SON OF A...

This article (via Beth) about an Iraqi who trains suicide bombers is just too disturbing for words. I think it's disgusting that Time magazine sat down with this guy...

Al-Tamimi met with TIME in two interviews spanning five hours. He agreed to meet with us after members of the TIME staff approached Iraqi contacts who are close to the insurgency, in an effort to gain information on the ways in which suicide-bombing networks operate.

...but hopefully some good can come of it and someone in the military can learn to identify these dry runs and practice sessions. Still, it's a little too eerily like the North Kosanese issue for me.

Here's my favorite part of the article:

He is so proficient at facilitating suicide bombings that he says his own brother and sister have asked to be considered for "martyrdom operations." He gave them some basic training but advised them to find other, less drastic ways of serving the insurgency. "A suicide bombing should be the last resort," he says. "It should not be a shortcut to paradise."

Let that be a lesson to anyone who thinks being a suicide bomber is honorable. If it were that freaking honorable, al-Tamimi would be proud to help his family members to paradise. But apparently al-Tamimi scruples don't prevent him from making his son into a monster:

He has told his son that he is too young to become a martyr but says he recently taught the child how to make roadside bombs and how to fashion a rudimentary rocket launcher out of metal tubes.

May you burn in hell, al-Tamimi.

Posted by Sarah at 01:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 15, 2005

WEIRD HEADLINE CHOICE

I should've said this a few days ago, but it didn't seem that important at the time. But now that everyone is carrying on about how the conference between President Bush and the soldiers was "staged", I just wanted to say that I thought the weirdest thing was the link from the MSN homepage (now gone, of course): Bush tries to boost morale. I clicked on it out of sheer curiosity, because I thought that it was such a strange headline. It made me imagine President Bush dressed up in Will Ferrell's cheerleader suit, trying to get soldiers to cheer up and stick with the mission. I don't think the actual interview had anything to do with cheerleading, so it was bizarre that they said he was trying to boost morale.

Posted by Sarah at 11:20 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

JUMPED THE SHARK

A sad day has come: my husband no longer wants to watch The Simpsons.

We hadn't seen any new episodes since spring 2003, so we were excited when they started showing them on AFN Korea. But after four weeks, my husband shut off the TV and said that he was through. A global warming joke every week is a bit too much.

I started getting skeptical when I heard Michael Moore was going to be a guest last year, but it honestly feels like every episode is peppered with Democratic Underground memes. The Simpsons used to be about timeless plots: starting a barbershop quartet, going off to summer camp, writing an Itchy & Scratchy episode. The last episode we watched was a glimpse ten years into the future, complete with global warming turning Alaska into a beach, a military draft for Gulf War Five, and the 51st state being Saudi Israelia (I still don't understand what they were getting at there.) And this garbage is from the same genius minds that made Futurama?

Bart and Lisa go on a field trip to Springfield Glacier...which is the size of an ice cube now. Hardy har har. Give me "I Love Lisa" over this crap any day.

Posted by Sarah at 11:08 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

October 06, 2005

OU

For God's sake, with a system like this, if the country came under enemy attack, the only people who'd know it would be bloggers!

My mom went to Oklahoma University, so she noticed when the crawl at the bottom of the TV said that someone had blown himself up there. But she searched and searched for additional information: nothing else that night on the TV nor in the local paper in the morning. She told me about it, and I found some info on blogs. But why did we have to turn to blogs for reporting of such an event?

Eric of Classical Values has a post with lots of details about what the media is and is not reporting. Funny how a Muslim convert who tries to enter a sports arena and blow himself up isn't news...

Posted by Sarah at 08:45 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 05, 2005

1985?

Longtime readers know I think that our popular entertainment is a result of our collective value system; it's the reason I blog so often about Rocky. The American Geek found an interesting article about this very phenomenon: How Hollywood needs to stop worrying and love the flag. It's a very interesting take on why Hollywood is in a slump.

Posted by Sarah at 02:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2005

SAME OLD SAME OLD

Sometimes I just get so frustrated that I don't know why I bother caring.

I was interested in reading this blog entry dubunking the recruiting slump, but as I dove deeper into the comments section, I found we're still arguing over whether Iraq had any ties to al Qaeda. My comments section recently went through a fight over whether Iraq had any WMDs. Everywhere I look, we're still arguing over the same fundamental differences in common ground that we've been arguing over for three years.

The straw that broke my back this morning was one quote from Kersten's article:

"The more play the press gives Cindy Sheehan," [Lt. Col. James] MacVarish concludes, "the better the terrorists' chances are of ultimately succeeding here."

We've heard this before, with CPT Powell being the most famous to point out the difference between the Iraq soldiers see and the Iraq the media sees. But this is nothing new; we've been having these fights with the press since the Tet Offensive. It's extremely infuriating to know that we learned nothing from the last time around. Negative press can lose wars, even if the military is winning. The thing is, I've heard this statement made in just about every letter to the editor and article written by people in the military, yet the media keeps ramming bad news down our throats. They completely ignore the men they're interviewing and continue doing whatever they want.

I'm just tired of seeing the same things played out on the internet over and over. Tired of every discussion turing into WMDs and Bush lied. Tired of reading scores of ignored soldier complaints that the media is being too pessimistic. Tired of nothing changing.

Posted by Sarah at 10:37 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 25, 2005

BLACK SANDS OF PROTEST

I've been reading through official reports and blog posts about the anti-war ralley in D.C., and I've been getting increasingly grumpy. The google experiment posts really chap my hide. Are reporters really just glossing over Brian Becker's credentials, or saying that Cuddy is a "novice"? Aren't there any internet connections in newsrooms? All it took was ten seconds on google to show these people's true colors.

But what got me the most was this acute statement at Protein Wisdom:

[from the original AP article]

While united against the war, political beliefs varied in the Washington crowd. Paul Rutherford, 60, of Vandalia, Mich., said he is a Republican who supported Bush in the last election and still does except for the war.

“President Bush needs to admit he made a mistake in the war and bring the troops home, and let’s move on,” he said. His wife, Judy, 58, called the removal of Saddam Hussein “a noble mission” but said U.S. troops should have left when claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded.

“We found that there were none and yet we still stay there and innocent people are dying daily,” she said.

Only in a story that is desperately trying to hide its bias would the author find, foreground, and quote, as her initial interviewees, a couple who are surely the least politically representative of all those attending this rally: a pro-Bush Republican tandem so unversed in the Administration’s reasons for being in Iraq that they believe we should pull out before the mission is completed, and are basing that belief on a tired liberal talking point that conveniently ignores all the other reasons the Bushies outlined for the Iraq campaign. So, while Ms Kerr is certainly correct to note that political beliefs among the rallyers varies, her choice to highlight the most unrepresentative of the variants to open the story betrays her own rhetorical agenda—and does so in a way that is so obvious I’d be surprised to learn she thought it might actually fool anyone.

That is just the thing that might slip by an unperceptive reader like me, but Jeff Goldstein is a top-rate grokker. Out of the thousands (maybe) of people at the protest, this reporter handpicks the one middle-aged Republican couple. As if they're even representative of the type of folks there in D.C. Come on, they're thrown in the article with Brian Becker and Cindy Sheehan, for pete's sake. You know this AP reporter had to interview dozens of people before she got this money-shot couple. Oooh, look, they used to support Bush!

God, this reminds me so much of Whittle's fable of Noam Chomsky and the Black Sand:

Let’s say we stand overlooking the ocean along Pacific Coast Highway. From high atop the cliffs, we look down to the waves and the sand below. I ask you what color the beach is. You reply, reasonably enough, that it is sandy white. And you are exactly right.

However, there are people who cannot see the beach for themselves because they are not standing with us on this very spot. This is where Noam earns his liberal sainthood. Noam takes a small pail to the beach and sits down in the sand.

If you’ve ever run sand through your fingers, you know that for all of the thousands upon thousands of white or clear grains, there are a few dark ones here and there, falling through your fingers. With a jewelers loupe and an EXCEEDINGLY fine pair of tweezers, you carefully and methodically pluck all of the dark grains you can find – and only the dark grains – and carefully place them, one by one, into your trusty bucket.

It will take you a long time – it has taken Chomsky decades – to fill this bucket, but with enough sand and enough time, you will eventually do so. And then, when you do, you can make a career touring colleges through the world, giving speeches about the ebony-black beaches of Malibu, and you can pour your black sand onto the lectern and state, without fear of contradiction, that this sand was taken from those very beaches.

And what you say will be accurate, it will be factually based, and you will be lying like the most pernicious son of a bitch that ever lived.

This Republican couple was the black grain of sand at this anti-war ralley, but they're put in the article to create a fake sense of balance. Yeah, sure, the Mall is teeming with patchouli-smelling, underarm-hairy hippies, but hey, there's also a Republican couple from a blue state there! It's completely sneaky and false to claim that "political beliefs varied in the Washington crowd" because you found one couple who wasn't wearing a Rachel Corrie shirt or raving about how it's all the Jooooooos fault.

It all goes back to the premise of The Argument Culture: take every issue and show that it has two sides. But if there were 2000 protesters in D.C., and even 50 of them were former-Republicans, they're a small minority. Don't interview one moonbat and one Republican and then say that the anti-war rally represented a wide spectrum of beliefs. That's completely disingenuous, because the sands of this anti-war protest were not black.


UPDATE:

Nearly everyone in the comments section is missing the point. Yes, I'm aware of the President's approval ratings. I do not deny the fact that some people who voted for him might not support the war. What I said, however -- if you actually listened to my words and didn't infer whatever you wanted so you could rant about approval ratings and WMDs -- was that those people are likely not representative of the folks who attend anti-war rallies. Look at any collection of photos from the rally and you'll see folks waving Palestinian flags and wearing keffiyeh and crap. That's the face of the hardcore anti-war protester, so it's journalistically dishonest to seek out the most mainstream protesters and paint them as the norm.

My post was about the journalist's manipulation; it had nothing to do with President Bush's approval ratings. Please stop taking my writing off into tangents I never intended.

MORE TO GROK:

Here's another example of "lying like the most pernicious son of a bitch that ever lived"...

Posted by Sarah at 10:40 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 18, 2005

HA

I got a big smile when I heard these evacuees on the radio Friday night. I'm glad Newsbusters got the story online. (And I'm thrilled with Hawkins' Conservative Grapevine, where I often find such gems.):

ABC News producers probably didn't hear what they expected when they sent Dean Reynolds to the Houston Astrodome's parking lot to get reaction to President Bush's speech from black evacuees from New Orleans. Instead of denouncing Bush and blaming him for their plight, they praised Bush and blamed local officials.
[...]
Not one of the six people interviewed on camera had a bad word for Bush -- despite Reynolds' best efforts.

Go read the transcript and see how bamboozled Reynolds was that these evacuees have faith in our president.

Posted by Sarah at 10:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 17, 2005

HATE

I read the book Bias in two days; I couldn't put it down. Goldberg's argument is that the media skews left not because of some conspiracy but because those in the media don't recognize their worldview as being liberal; they simply see themselves as rational and reasonable. The problem is that a big chunk of America doesn't see the world the way they do.

My husband and I saw a good example of this subtle liberalism in the media on our vacation. We were watching Dateline in the hotel, a segment on gay adoption. The story of two lesbians opened with "It was a fairy tale romance..." My husband guffawed, "I don't know what fairy tales they've been reading!" I personally don't have any problem with homosexuals, and in select cases I don't have a problem with gay adoption, but I do raise my eyebrows at lesbian romance being called "fairy tale". Who wrote that line? And how many people let it slide? Did no one see how odd it sounds? Roughly half of the US population doesn't support gay adoption and probably doesn't consider lesbians to be the stuff of tales and legends. But to the liberals in the media, this statement was unobjectionable.

Yesterday I saw a Law & Order: SVU that made me cringe. The episode, called "Hate", featured the death of two Muslims. Guess who did it? Yep, some crazy white kid. Oh, and not like sleeper-cell Muslims; these two were members of an organization where Muslims and Jews work together in harmony. So this white kid kills two of the most sympathetic Muslims in NYC, and then in his uncontrolable rage he stomps to death another Arab in his holding cell. See how racist white people are?

And then the kicker. The DA's office is discussing whether they should charge this guy under hate crime laws. The police captain says that they should because obviously this man "acted out of hate, that matters." The ADA balked, saying that she hesitates to invoke the hate crime legislation too often because of the slippery slope effect. "What if a black man kills a klansman or a gay man kills a homophobe -- where do we draw the line?"

Come again?

Obviously I'm not as rational and reasonable as the show's liberal writers. I personally subscribe to the South Park school of thought when it comes to hate crime laws, but if we're going to have them, then of course I think a black man killing a klansman or a gay man killing a homophobe should count. The underlying message this ADA was sending was that there's a right and wrong way to hate: if a klansman kills a black man, well that's atrocious, but if the black man kills the klansman, well that's justified. What a bunch of BS.

Things like this are the subtle liberal ideas that pervade our media. It is accepted as a given that lesbians live happily ever after and black men should be given some leeway if they kill a racist. Those are the little digs that make me want to shut the TV off and stand barefoot in the kitchen.

Posted by Sarah at 09:50 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

July 25, 2005

WHAT???

I agree with Lileks that this is just absurd. The flip-flops were too informal, but John Roberts' family was too formal? What on earth does that mean? Their children looked nice, for pete's sake. My brothers and I used to wear stuff like that regularly when occasion called for it, like church or family photos. I darn sure think my mom would've made us dress up when we went to be on TV at the White House! And the caption under the photo is just plain snarky: "Even the clothes are conservative". What could the children have worn to make them look less right-wing, tie-dye and peace signs? Give me, and the Roberts family, a freaking break.

Posted by Sarah at 01:29 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 21, 2005

GRRR

You know what really bugs me? The media bends over backwards to recognize knighthood, but they constantly belittle our president. They make sure to always say Sir Paul McCartney, but I can't even count the times I've heard the media refer to our president as "Bush". His name is President Bush, you clods.

Posted by Sarah at 10:40 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

July 02, 2005

RETRACTION

Stars and Stripes issues a forthright retraction of incorrect data. The mainstream media should take notice of what a real retraction looks like. Stars and Stripes looks classier every day.

Posted by Sarah at 06:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 29, 2005

SIGACTS

Make sure you read Michael Yon's post on how the media get their news in Iraq (via LGF). Remember it the next time you read an article about "what's going on" in Iraq.

Posted by Sarah at 10:58 AM | Comments (1)

May 24, 2005

February 14, 2005

MAD

So 20/20 runs the story of Abu Ghraib, and that photo of the hooded fellow shows up on every news site and I-told-you-so blog. It's on the cover of newspapers and magazines, so everyone knows the Official Symbol of Abu Ghraib Torture.

Friday night, 20/20 ran a story about the UN workers who are raping children in the Congo. They have photos of a French man having sex with hundreds of girls. And what is on the main page of the 20/20 website?

Corey f-ing Feldman.

Oh sure, after you click around, you get some fuzzy photos of freaking nothing at all. I'm not saying we should see this monster with a little girl, but surely there's something a little more damning than that purple wallpaper. Surely there's a Defining Photo that should go on the front page of newspapers and magazines.

Heaven forbid that an investigation of 50 aid workers involving hundreds of raped children -- while Kofi himself said that sexual abuse has "haunted peacekeeping operations for decades" -- should be bigger news than Abu Ghraib.

I guess Corey Feldman's more important.

Posted by Sarah at 08:01 AM | Comments (7)

February 03, 2005

HUH?

Appears there's an air of mystery surrounding LTG Sanchez's vist to our post, though I didn't get that impression. He did ask at the beginning of the briefing if there were any journalists present, and when there weren't, he said, "Good." I took that as dislike for the press, not that he was being secretive, but that's probably due to my own dislike. At any rate, whatever your secret is, LTG Sanchez, it's safe with me.

Posted by Sarah at 08:12 AM | Comments (1)

January 31, 2005

DUH MOMENT OF THE DAY

Wish I'd thought of what Thomas Sowell said:

Real insurgents want to get the occupying power out of their country. But the fastest way to get Americans out of Iraq would be to do the opposite of what these "insurgents" are doing. Just by letting peace and order return, those who want to see American troops gone would speed their departure.

Posted by Sarah at 10:31 AM | Comments (3)

January 30, 2005

FLIP

CNN is running an article called Bombers target Iraqi voters: Polls open in country's first free vote in a half-century. I wish those two phrases were flip-flopped. Put the emphasis on the voting, not the bombers.

Posted by Sarah at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2005

ZIGGY

Here's one guy who was at the inaguration that the MSM didn't introduce us to:

ziggy.jpg

Nearby, Zeqir “Ziggy” Berisha, a native of Kosovo and now a citizen with two sons in the U.S. Army and two in the Marines, waved his flag and shouted support for Bush.

“This nation underneath God is best on Earth!”

Asked about the protesters, he shrugged them off.

“Disagree is good! I disagree with my wife 35 years! Disagree is OK.”

Berisha spoke of how different it was when he was living in Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito.

“Tito used to shoot people for speaking against them. He shot two of my friends.”

Berisha is a little more reserved about free speech when it comes to his boys.

“I tell them, you speak against this country, you speak against me!”

Hilarious.

Posted by Sarah at 06:47 AM | Comments (14)

January 15, 2005

I HATE THE MEDIA, AGAIN

Blackfive has an article called Aiding and Abetting the Enemy: the Media in Iraq. LTC Ryan doesn't say anything we don't already know and hate, but he says it all well.

In a similar vein, see VDH's Triangulating the War.

Posted by Sarah at 08:48 AM | Comments (2)

January 11, 2005

$@#%

I just watched "We Interrupt This Program" in the From the Earth to the Moon series. It's reason number I-lost-count why I hate reporters.

Following the Apollo 13 tragedy from the perspective of news reporters, this episode is another one of the most memorable in the series. While some reporters try to keep their distance from the families of the astronauts on Apollo 13, others set out to exploit the raw emotion from those families to gain better ratings. This episode nicely displays the change in journalism ethics that occurred in the late '60s and early '70s, and how it directly affected the Apollo 13 news story.

Posted by Sarah at 09:30 PM | Comments (1)

November 24, 2004

QUESTIONS

Election blogging has now been replaced by Marine-shooting-in-Fallujah blogging. Rightwingsparkle asks some interesting questions concerning omniscient reporters.

Posted by Sarah at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2004

CALLING B.S.

Many people have pointed to Kevin Sites' explanation to the Marines (he's the one who taped the Marine shooting the wounded terrorist). I don't doubt that Sites felt a sinking feeling in his stomach as he witness the scene. I also tend to believe him that he wasn't out looking for Woodward/Bernstein-type fame. But here's what I don't like.

In war, as in life, there are plenty of opportunities to see the full spectrum of good and evil that people are capable of. As journalists, it is our job is to report both -- though neither may be fully representative of those people on whom we're reporting. For example, acts of selfless heroism are likely to be as unique to a group as the darker deeds. But our coverage of these unique events, combined with the larger perspective - will allow the truth of that situation, in all of its complexities, to begin to emerge.

When we look back on Operation Iraqi Freedom, what are we going to remember? What are the memories that the Mainstream Media has drilled into our heads? Abu Ghraib. This Marine shooting a wounded terrorist. Jessica Lynch. The lack of WMDs.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. I don't watch news on the TV, so maybe the airwaves are bombarded with hero stories I just haven't heard yet. But I sincerely reject the idea that the Media is balancing "the full spectrum of good and evil that people are capable of" in the daily news. They instead take something like Abu Ghraib and give it flashy banners and expert guests, run the story on a loop every 15 minutes, and drill the "atrocity" into our heads. Did they present the full atrocity of Nick Berg's beheading? Of the children's jails and rape rooms and mass graves uncovered after the war? Did they make a nice flashy banner for the torture chambers and half-dead prisoners that were just found in Fallujah this week?

Where's the flashy banner for CPL Yeager? Where's Pat Tillman's story on a loop over and over? A few clips at the end of your segment pointing out some Hometown Heroes does not a balanced scale make. The Media defends itself by saying, "we have to show the good and the bad." Please, show me when you've given half the airtime to good as you have to bad.

Over the past two years, I have developed a sense of utter revulsion for reporters and journalists. I don't want to feel like that, but they've made their own bed. I don't blame Kevin Sites for shooting the footage, but I blame the Media Monster for the way it's presented and distributed.

John Kerry killed a wounded enemy in Vietnam and got the Silver Star. This Marine killed a wounded enemy in Iraq and will face the death penalty. It's all in how you package and sell it.

Posted by Sarah at 08:22 AM | Comments (6)

November 22, 2004

EMBEDS

Charles Johnson writes a lengthier post on the liabilities of having embedded reporters. I can't stress enough how everyone should watch Ethics in America: Under Orders, Under Fire. It's two hours long, so the next time you think about popping in a movie, consider watching this instead.

Posted by Sarah at 06:42 AM | Comments (1)

October 09, 2004

BROKAW

Every time I watch the news on TV, I remember why I hate watching the news on TV. I just watched the end of the rerun of the presidential debate, and I wanted to drop a 'bow in Tom Brokaw's face. What on earth is wrong with these news anchors who think that the appropriate way to phrase a question is "Well, my guess is that the majority of Democrats think that President Bush is a complete moron who may possibly still wet the bed. Your thoughts, Karen Hughes?" OK, so it wasn't that bad, but Brokaw might as well have substituted "I think President Bush has lost credibility" instead of pinning his biased and speculative nonsense on the "majority of Democrats." Ugh, I'm staying away from the TV for a while.

Posted by Sarah at 01:12 PM | Comments (5)

October 02, 2004

THE BANNER?

After having finished re-reading The Fountainhead, this story -- a newspaper editor going against public opinion -- made me chuckle. I had to register to read it, so now you don't have to.

Crawford wants newspaper to eat its words

Rebeca Rodriguez
San Antonio Express-News

CRAWFORD — Photos of President Bush hugging diners and mugging for the camera adorn the walls of the Crawford Coffee Station, a popular cafe in this small Central Texas town Bush calls home.

Just a few miles from the Bush ranch, the spot is a popular place for locals to gather in the morning for coffee, breakfast and a glance at the day's news.

But the rack that once held the Lone Star Iconoclast — Crawford's weekly newspaper — now is empty, thanks to a blistering indictment in Tuesday's paper of Bush's presidential record and a call to elect Democrat John Kerry in November.

For a town drenched in Bush, the editorial is practically political heresy.

"Not only is he the president of the United States, he's my neighbor, he's my customer," Coffee Station owner Nick Spanos said. "We're not carrying that paper after today."

The firestorm began Tuesday morning, when readers opened up the newspaper to Page 2 and found an entire half-page criticizing the president for a variety of failings, and calling for the election of Kerry.

By the afternoon, news of the editorial was burning up Internet blogs and e-mail boxes all over the country.

Iconoclast publisher W. Leon Smith, who co-wrote the editorial with two other writers, is unapologetic.

"We're just trying to point out the direction the country's going in, and it's not good," he said.

Smith is majority owner of the Iconoclast, the Record of nearby Clifton and the Bosque Globe. He's also the mayor of Clifton and a Democrat who was defeated twice in campaigns for the Texas House of Representatives.

Now, Smith has become an iconoclast in his own right, challenging the widely declared belief that Crawford and its environs are "Bush Country."

[snip]

As of Wednesday morning, more than a dozen readers had canceled their subscription and six advertisers had pulled their spots from the paper.

Smith expects there will be more, and he's preparing for the worst.

"It will probably put us under," he said.

Smith's desk at the Record offices is piled with paper, and his cubicle is filled with Mickey Mouse paraphernalia — two clocks, posters and even his computer screensaver.

He pulled up his computer e-mail inbox, filled with messages of varying intensity.

Smith said about 75 percent of them applaud the editorial, but the remaining fourth border on vitriol.

"It really appears to be me that we no longer live in an open society," he said. "When you get to the point where you can't express an opinion, then you're in trouble."

I really hate when people pull the "police state" b.s. when their opinion is unpopular. You can write whatever you want in your newspaper, dude. People don't have to pay to read it if they don't like it though. That's not crushing dissent; that's the textbook definition of an "open society". In an open society, people disagree. And they vote with their wallet. If you "go under" because of this editorial, then you need to reevaluate your priorities. Either you give the people what they want in Crawford and make money, or you stand up for your principles and "go under" if that's in the cards. But don't complain that American society is in danger because people don't want to give you money to stand on your soapbox and say things they disagree with.

Long live capitalism!

(thanks to Dagney's Rant for the heads up...and the continued Ayn Rand connection)

Posted by Sarah at 09:27 AM | Comments (5)

September 15, 2004

WHAT FOR?

After having read more articles and blog posts on the topic than I ever would've thought possible, I am now fairly certain that the CBS memos are fakes. Given that they are fake, I now wonder what the person who made them is thinking. Did he create them to make President Bush look bad? If so, is he kicking himself that he used MS Word and two superiors who were already out of the military by 1973? Is he banging his head against the wall that the discussion centers around superscript th and kerning instead of Bush's attendance? Or did he create them to make the mainstream media look bad? If so, is he like the guy who hid the box cutters in the airplane bathrooms just to prove the point that security isn't tight enough? Did the memo forger assume the media would run with them and want to make them look foolish? I'm insanely curious as to who would make these memos and why. I hope we find out someday.

Posted by Sarah at 09:03 AM | Comments (2)

September 12, 2004

THE MEDIA'S JOB

See, here's what ticks me off. I haven't seen anyone but Dan Rather and his unnamed experts defend these memos (and no one has claimed the $10,500 reward). And now the AP is asking retired servicemembers what they think about the memos, without any hint that they might be fakes.

Majied, a Democrat from Albany who served 30 years in the Navy, including five years as a SEAL in Vietnam, said the memos support his belief that Bush was a "playboy" during his service years.

"He had enough money to get what he wanted," Majied said. "I think his main concern was not to go to Southeast Asia. I bet he never dreamed it would come back to haunt him."

This man obviously hasn't read this story:

Finally, Killian said his father told him a story in 1980 or 1981, when the two sat in an officers' club in San Antonio, Texas, about Lt. Bush having twice volunteered for duty in the Air National Guard "Palace Alert" program, under which fighter pilots in the Guard could serve a year on active duty in Vietnam.

On both occasions, the younger Killian said, Lt. Bush was turned down because he did not have more than 500 hours of flight time. Killian cited Maurice Udell, later a commander of the 147th Fighter Group, in which Lt. Bush served, and Col. Buck Staudt, later a brigadier general, as the individuals who turned Lt. Bush down.

"We have pilots with thousands of hours in the F-102," Bush was told, according to Killian. "Why would I send you?"

Majied seems to already have his mind made up (and could potentially be another Micah Wright), but it's shoddy reporting that allows people to base their vote on utter nonsense. If the MSM weren't so gung-ho Kerry, they would report things like that the F-102 was actually dangerous and that President Bush wasn't roasting marshmallows around the campfire in the Guard. They would report that President Bush seems to have tried to get sent to Vietnam but was turned down, in contrast to Kerry, who tried to get out of going to Vietnam but was turned down.

The media's job is to provide us with facts so we can make our own decisions. It seems these days that they're making the decisions ahead of time and then providing us with the facts they like.

In times like these, it can't hurt to go back and read Nelson Ascher's post Ignorance and Journalism.

Posted by Sarah at 09:34 AM | Comments (14)

September 10, 2004

MEMOS

According to LGF, "By 8:30 pm Pacific, an investigation is underway at CBS" about the forged memos. It's now 1130 in Germany, a full six hours later. So why is the MSN homepage still running this link up top? And where's Seb's post about how, sadly no, they're not real?

MORE:

And why is freaking CBS still running the story? I can't even find anything on their news site that says they're investigating the matter.

MORE:

There's something up there now (it's 2023; I don't know at what time the story was added.)

And here's a memo someone dug up on Kerry (via Bunker).

MORE:

Ha, I had forgotten I said this back in February:

The whole point of his post is just to let you know that Sarah's dumb. Nice. I think my brother said the same thing when he was seven, but that wouldn't make for a very interesting blog.

I can't honestly believe that Seb has been reading my blog for an entire year, looking for things to nitpick. I get bored of his after five minutes. But you keep up the good fight, huh Seb? From now on, your comments are deleted here.

Posted by Sarah at 11:36 AM | Comments (11)

August 25, 2004

DENZEL

Man, I wish I could've seen this exchange between Katie Couric and Denzel Washington. Thank heavens for brave celebrities...

(emailed to me by Tim)

MORE TO GROK:

I went and bought Courage Under Fire online, just because of Denzel. And also because that's the movie that made me know I wanted to be a military wife. After we watched it in ROTC class, I walked home from class all full of pride and love for my then-boyfriend's service. And I got back to his room to find he'd smashed a ukulele to splinters because a class he needed to graduate filled before he could register and therefore he would have to give up his slot in Air Assault School and take the business class in summer school.

As I calmed him down, I knew then that he was the man for me. I told him that as long as he beat up musical instruments instead of me, I'd stand by him through anything.

True story.

MORE:

Well, that's weird. Reader Matt found it on Snopes, and the account is MIGHTY different. I always check the validity of email forwards, but I don't snope out websites (though on a second glance, I should have if I'd read the parenthetical statement more thoroughly). Sigh. Oh well...it's still a good movie.

Hilarious that Meryl Streep said that money is bad though.

Posted by Sarah at 10:50 AM | Comments (8)

LIFE IMITATES OTT

Hilarious new Scrappleface article.
What's that you say? It's real? It's a real article?
Oh. I coulda sworn...

Posted by Sarah at 08:15 AM | Comments (2)

August 22, 2004

DISJOINT

Is it just me, or is this title -- Iraqi athletes object to Bush campaign ad: Soccer players say president shouldn't exploit their success -- a little different from the crux of the article's content?

...

However, the Iraqi Olympic delegation accused journalists of deliberately provoking an angry response from their players.

“Our purpose is not to politicize the football team in any way,” Mark Clark, a consultant for the Iraqi Olympic Committee, said. “It seems the story was engineered.”

...

But Clark insisted journalists were wrong to take advantage of the athletes.

“It is a little naughty,” he said. “The players are not very sophisticated politically; they are a little naive. Whoever posed these questions knew that the reaction would be negative.

“It is possible something was lost in translation. It’s a free, new Iraq, and the players are entitled to their opinions but we are disappointed.”

Iraq’s soccer players once lived in fear of Uday Hussein, son of toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, who used to beat the soles of their feet or throw them in prison for slip-ups on the pitch.

Under current coach Adnan Hamd, they have defied the odds to reach the quarterfinals at the Athens Olympics, where they will play Australia on Saturday.

Posted by Sarah at 09:40 AM | Comments (5)

MINI-SERIES

I remember last year there was a mini-series about Hitler on TV, and everyone was worried that it was too sympathetic. Even today, sixty years later, people don't want a personable Hitler. So why in the hell do we have a mini-series on 9/11 through the terrorists' eyes? I don't want to know what was going on in their lives to make them do these things, I don't want to watch them prepare to board the planes, I don't want to see the crash of Flight 93 from anyone but Tood Beamer's point of view, and I certainly don't want to give the 9/11 hijackers any more publicity and glory for the heinous thing that they did. I think that's disgusting.

That Hitler mini-series took 60 years. Maybe in 2060, when it's history, they can make a mini-series about that garbage, but it's not history when some of the collaborators are still alive and kickin' and being released by Germans.

This sure isn't the 9/11 movie Lileks envisioned.

Posted by Sarah at 08:40 AM | Comments (3)

August 16, 2004

TRIP

This is a trip: here's what happens when a scientist meets a journalist.

Posted by Sarah at 07:20 AM | Comments (1)

August 12, 2004

ABC

What a crock: ABC didn't call me either, or they'd have found someone who voted Gore in 2000 and will vote Bush in 2004. It seems a tad ridiculous that they can't find anyone in that category. Perhaps they're just not looking hard enough and are instead spending their time crafting over-the-top statements that look like fact but are indeed garbage.

Of course, I voted Gore in 2000 because I was woefully uninformed. I knew that I stood by the Republicans in almost all the issues, but I just didn't think that Bush had the experience to be president. I never thought he was stupid; I just thought he was too...simple.

Thank god I was right. That simplisme is now one of his greatest qualities.

MORE TO GROK:

I digested this for a while and decided I have more to say about it.

The last election was while I was in grad school. I'm ashamed to say that I don't think I read a single newspaper or watched a single debate. I honestly think I got my political news from Saturday Night Live. Embarrassing, I know, but I think it's pretty typical. Most young people just vote based on a hunch or on what they think the parties represent, whether it's true or not.

I'm going to write ABC now.

Posted by Sarah at 07:43 AM | Comments (3)

August 11, 2004

HEARTACHE

If the media knew how much this hurts, how it's like a knife in the heart of every military family member, would they still do it? It's becoming obvious that no one in the media gives a damn about our servicemembers.

Posted by Sarah at 07:26 AM | Comments (5)

August 07, 2004

BOOING

But I thought Fox News was the crazy unbalanced one? At least they're not booing anyone...

Posted by Sarah at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2004

POLLSTER

I read that stuff about 40% of Canadian teens saying the US is a "force for evil". Whatever. But I was interested in this part of the article:

“What they’re reacting to is a sense that the U.S. is belligerent,” said the pollster who conducted the phone survey, Greg Lyle. “The U.S. is sort of bellicose, warmongering [and has] this sort of cowboy diplomacy.”

But former Canadian diplomat Martin Collacot says the teens are responding to cues from their government, the media and their teachers.

How about they're responding to cues from the pollster? I hope this quote was taken out of context, because when the pollster himself thinks Americans are warmongers, it might have an effect on the way he words his questions or interprets his data. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe 40% of Canadian kids really are that ignorant without any cues at all.

Posted by Sarah at 09:53 AM | Comments (6)

July 26, 2004

RESPONSIBILITY

Normally I avoid reading things I have to register for, but I was so intrigued by this NYTimes title that I had to go through the rigamarole: Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?. I really recommend it; it's an honest admission that the NYTimes is "of course" liberal.

However, I did notice one thing that always makes me prickle, something that I also noticed when Atrios' gang descended on me a few months ago: the Left often uses religion as the only line in the sand. The Right doesn't like the NYTimes because of the risque fashion models, articles on gay marriage, and evolutionary theory in the science section. Sarah doesn't like this poll because she's an "evangelical Christian" who refuses to listen to reason. In fact, in discussing evolution in the science section, the author says:

Newspapers have the right to decide what's important and what's not. But their editors must also expect that some readers will think: "This does not represent me or my interests. In fact, it represents my enemy." So is it any wonder that the offended or befuddled reader might consider everything else in the paper - including, say, campaign coverage - suspicious as well? [emphasis added]

So people on the Right think that those who support evolution are "the enemy", and therefore we shouldn't listen to anything else they have to say? Please.

What about all the people I've met on the Right who are atheists? They don't fall into the stereotype that the NYTimes just laid out: either you're happy that the "articles containing the word 'postmodern' have appeared in The Times an average of four times a week this year" or you're a close-minded fuddy-duddy evangelical Christian who wants the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and a cap in every black ass. Ridiculous.

What about all the people I've met on the Right who are libertarians? They don't fit the stereotype either. Some don't like gay marriage, or do believe in "one nation under God", but they still don't think the government has any business poking a nose in. They believe in personal responsibility instead of the "my way is right and you're the enemy" dichotomy the NYTimes set up.

In fact, I'd say a lot of us belong on the Right not because of our religious views but because of our views on Responsibility. (If you've never read Bill Whittle's essay, now's a good time...)

One of the things that makes the current political debate so rancorous is that we do a lot of talking past each other, because the old labels no longer seem to apply. Rachel Lucas is a gun-toting, idiot-intolerant, pro-gay, pro-choice conservative. My Liege Lord and Master, Emperor Misha I, the Hammer of Idiotarians, is a deeply religious, formidably armed firebrand who smashes with righteous fury any homophobic or racist morons who darken his cyberdoor. And Kim Du Toit, the rootin’-est, tootin’-est bad-ass hombre who ever lived, a veritable poster boy for the idea of an assault rifle in every crib, is a former South African who marched in the streets against racism and took huge risks fighting for the equality of all of his fellow citizens before he came home to America.

They, like me, call themselves conservatives, but we are indeed a new breed: pro-choice, pro-gay, vigorous defenders of equality of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. We’re big on freedom and big on responsibility.

The left hates us. We are harder to attack than the racist, homophobic, misogynists that they formerly could comfortably lambaste as right-wingers. (And they deserved to be lambasted, by the way – and I’m not even sure what lambasting is, but it does sound nasty and severe.)

The point is this: labels don’t really work. As one of my readers brilliantly pointed out in my comments section, it’s not like the vast sensible middle of the nation is divided into Red and Blue camps, Republicans vs. Democrats, Liberals vs. Conservatives, Left vs. Right. Today’s politics are more like a Rubik’s cube, where someone you may stand shoulder-to-shoulder with on one subject, can become, with a simple twist of the issues, a bitter opponent in some other fight.

This is where Whittle’s Theory of Political Reduction comes in handy. (If that’s too wordy we can call it Bill’s Electric Razor.)

I contend that there is a single litmus that does indeed separate the nation and the world into two opposing camps, and that when you examine where people will fall on the countless issues that affect our society, this alone is the indicator that will tell you how they will respond.

The indicator is Responsibility.

I appreciate that Daniel Okrent of the NYTimes can at least see that his paper doesn't exactly represent the views of a large chunk of America, but I wish he wouldn't naively herd us all into the "intolerant right-wing nutjob Christian" group that the Left thinks we all belong in. There are a plethora of reasons that the NYTimes disgusts me, and virtually none of them have anything to do with religion.

Posted by Sarah at 08:25 AM | Comments (3)

July 24, 2004

FLIGHT 93

If there are any faceless people I love as much as our servicemembers, they are the people of Flight 93. I didn't know a single one of them, yet their bravery has always made me so proud. If I ever heard anyone put down these heroic passengers, I'd kick him in the teeth, which is why this horrific headline makes me nauseous. I know they finally fixed it, but who on earth greenlighted that asinine headline in the first place? (And what's the deal with mismatched headlines popping up all over the place? Do journalists put their stories into a Headline Generator and pull out the worst title they can find?)


Posted by Sarah at 11:14 AM | Comments (1)

July 21, 2004

DIG

Here's an interesting little dig I found in the MSN movie review for Day After Tomorrow:

The Story: A paleoclimatogist (Dennis Quaid) races to save the world and his Manhattan-trapped son (Jake Gyllenhaal) from an impending Ice Age brought on by the effects of global warming (or, as the gun-shy Fox marketers call it, "global climate change"), which causes cataclysmic hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, hail, heat and a colossal tidal wave. Not for the weatherphobic.

Couldn't resist getting that dig against Fox in there, could you? Even though the cause of global warming could possibly be the sun and not humans, and the whole scare could be a bunch of b.s., let's find a way to blame the biased Fox News for it...

Sheesh.

Posted by Sarah at 02:32 PM | Comments (3)

July 16, 2004

MEDIA

Sander asks an interesting question...

Posted by Sarah at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

POLL

I hesitate to even say the p-word here on my blog again, in light of what happened last time, but Joshua Sharf has an interesting post about the new WaPo poll.

(By the way, if you're not reading Oh, That Liberal Media every day, you're missing out on some shocking stuff.)

Posted by Sarah at 01:15 PM | Comments (1)

GASP

Surprise, surprise. Someone at the NYTimes is donating money to Kerry. Gasp.

(via Iraq Now)

Posted by Sarah at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)

NAZI

Tim found a good article by John Leo about the power of blogging.

Plus I read another Leo article and found this line, about googling Bush=Hitler, hysterical:

The odd thing is that I typed in the names of every Nazi I ever heard of, excluding only Hitler himself, and the group total was still less than George Bush gets alone. This might indicate that either that George Bush is by far the second most important Nazi of all time, or that the Democrats and the left now require some sedation.

Posted by Sarah at 09:26 AM | Comments (2)

June 27, 2004

PRICE

Wretchard writes of the price our Soldiers had to pay to prevent the media from having "quagmire" footage. It pains me that they have to play that kind of game.

MORE TO GROK:

I'd much rather see this movie, made by an anti-war fellow who was looking for the truth.

Posted by Sarah at 07:56 PM | Comments (22)

June 21, 2004

POLLS

The LA Times poll: splashed across the front pages
The Harris poll from last week: nonexistant

(I still don't think the results matter, but I do think it matters that the papers ignore the one where Bush is shown winning.)

Posted by Sarah at 09:45 AM | Comments (3)

June 19, 2004

GOTCHA

I did some major catching up with Iraq Now this morning. Jason has a good post on journalists and the gotcha question. I agree with him; the majority of questions that reporters ask in news conferences do nothing to educate the general public. He also links to Iraqis who were decorated for saving a Marine, more bunk from the media who misreport the IRR and simple military rank, and a journalist who doesn't believe newsrooms lean left and says he'll be "calling Peoria". I hope he does, and I hope my mom answers and gives him an earful!

Posted by Sarah at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2004

IMPARTIAL?

Journalists consider themselves impartial. I saw that in Under Orders, Under Fire when prompted to watch it by this Den Beste post. Deskmerc wonders just how far their impartiality extends, but I'm honestly starting to wonder just how they can consider themselves impartial when they only seem to be reporting on the bad news...

Some who stayed wished they hadn't. They told of savage scenes of decapitation, fingers chopped off one by one, tongues hacked out with a razor blade — all while victims shriek in pain and the thugs chant Saddam's praises.

Saddam's henchmen took the videos as newsreels to document their deeds in honor of their leader.

...

Saddam's torture videos may be too awful to show, but it's hard to explain the low media interest in the story of seven Iraqi men who had their right hands chopped off by Saddam's thugs — and then got new prosthetic arms and new hope in America.

They're eloquent, they're available, they're grateful for the U.S. liberation of Iraq. No one can better talk about Saddam's tortures — and no one is more eager to do so. Yet, as of yesterday, the New York Times had written 177 stories on Abu Ghraib — with over 40 on the front page. The self-proclaimed "paper of record" hadn't written a single story about those seven Iraqi men.

Posted by Sarah at 08:07 AM | Comments (4)

June 11, 2004

POLLS

When my students and I study media bias, this might be a perfect article to discuss:

A majority of American registered voters now say conditions in Iraq did not merit war, but most are reluctant to abandon efforts there, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll.

A majority? How big of a majority?

Voters are increasingly concerned that Iraq is a quagmire America cannot escape, and they are doubtful that a democratic government will be established there, according to the poll published in Friday editions of the Times.

No scare quotes in there? Did the questions in the poll include these words "Is Iraq a quagmire America cannot escape?" or are they the biased drivel straight out of L.A.?

Fifty-three percent of respondents said the situation in Iraq did not merit war, while 43 percent said war was justified. When the same question was asked for Times polls in March and November, the numbers were precisely reversed.

But less than 20 percent said America should withdraw its troops within weeks, and 25 percent said the U.S. should set a deadline for pulling out.

Less than 20 + 25 = max 45%. What did the remaining 55% have to say? Obviously nothing that the LA Times thought was newsworthy. And what was the margin of error, by the way?

The poll, which was conducted from Saturday to Tuesday, surveyed 1,230 registered voters nationwide. It had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

The U.S. population is estimated at close to 300 million right now, and we're supposed to get worked up over what 1,230 people who are registered voters have to say? Hell, I only just registered yesterday, so I would've been ineligible. And if the margin of error is plus or minus 3%, and 53% of these 1,230 people thought war was not necessary, then perhaps only 615 people in the whole USA said this.

615 people. How on earth is this supposed to be representative of the voice of America?

A majority of voters said presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry has done little to help: The poll found that 34 percent said Kerry has not offered a clear plan to handle the war, while 15 percent said he has. The other voters said they didn't know.

Ha ha ha. That last line is a hoot.

MORE:

Since I certainly wouldn't want Groucho to think I was lazy or stupid, I went and registered for the LA Times so I could read the poll. Turns out it was AP who came up with the quagmire quote all on their own; LA Times chose the expression "bogged down". AP also left out many positive findings in the poll: 52% said the US is winning, 73% said there should be no specific date for withdrawal of troops, etc. At the end of the LA poll we see this disclaimer:

Poll results may also be affected by factors such as question wording and the order in which questions are presented.

At least they're aware of it; I think it's highly biased to ask whether Americans support President Bush by framing the question like this:

Q48. As you may know, John Kerry has said that President Bush has lost credibility around the world and that only a new president can rally the support of US allies to help stabilize Iraq. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment by Kerry?

That's a loaded question, since in order to answer it you have to accept the fact that 1) we care what other countries think and 2) we actually need to rally certain former-allies; I don't accept either of those premises. How would I answer that with a yes/no? It's not possible.

So I hope Groucho is happy that I took the time to read the original. I still think that all polls of this nature are worthless, but now I know for sure that the AP was hilariously biased in their reporting and that the original poll contained loaded questions.

I guess I've learned something today. I learned that people who tick me off can incite me to do more research and strengthen my opinion with even more facts than I had before.

UPDATE:

More on why all polls -- not just this one -- are irrelevant.

MORE:

Well, it's time for bed on my side of the world, so I think 90 comments are plenty for one day. Thanks for participating...

Posted by Sarah at 10:36 PM | Comments (90)

June 05, 2004

ETHICS

I hate the show Crossfire. I hate the back and forth arguing and the stressful chaos. When I did invest the time to watch the full two hours of Ethics in America: Under Orders, Under Fire, I was glued to the computer. Here the panelists did not address each other, but only answered the hypothetical situations the moderator posed in a calm and deliberate fashion. They showed each other the highest respect and merely tried to explore their own ethics without belittling the ethics of others. I highly recommend watching the whole thing.

Thus by the time I got to the segment that was highlighted in Why We Hate the Media, I felt more pity for Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace than contempt. Here they were, surrounded by men in uniform who were trying to make difficult decisions about taking lives to protect others, and their jobs as reporters seemed so trivial in comparison. Their ethical systems seemed more trivial as well.

There was more nuance in Mike Wallace's ethics than was suggested in Why We Hate the Media. One exchange that really struck me, which I've transcribed here, after Wallace said that he would not warn the Americans that the enemy was going to ambush them, and would instead roll tape and "remain detached", to use Den Beste's words:

Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft (R): What's it worth? It's worth thirty seconds on the evening news, as opposed to saving a platoon?
Mike Wallace: In other words what you're saying is that the reporter should say, "Hey, hold it, fellas. Americans, these guys are about to go after ya!" and you die? That's really what the question is here?
Moderator: And your answer is?
Mike Wallace: I don't know.

We ask our servicemembers to make these decisions everyday. No, I take that back; it's not even a decision. They do it no matter what. They, in putting on the uniform, have already made the decision that saving other Americans is indeed worth their own life. Standing up and yelling to save others is worth your own life. They don't think twice about it. Yet Mike Wallace, journalist and non-combatant, washes his hands of having to make that choice.

A few minutes later Major Stuart addresses this very paradox:

Major Robert C. Stuart, USMC: I think what we're asking the reporter on the scene to do is -- keeping in mind that that individual is not a combatant -- we expect our combatants to do in the normal course of their duties that which is heroic at all times. We are now all of a sudden charging the reporter with doing the heroic, when that is not...maybe for them it's super-heroic, to jump up and yell and scream and warn the Americans. I think that that's different however than that which we expect from ourselves while in uniform and in a combat situation.

Reporters are not expected to do the heroic, while our men and women in uniform do it every day. Why should we excuse "regular civilians" from doing things that will save the lives of others? Why is that a duty that only servicemembers must obey? Our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors should not be the only Americans who have to face the grim reality that the good of our society is more important than their own life.

Newt Gingrich, surprisingly enough, made an enlightening speech about the role of technology in the changing face of warfare. (And this was in 1987!) At the end, he summarized the whole dilemma between the military and the media:

I don't think we're good right now at deciding "who are we?" Are we Americans first? Are the South Kosanese [the fake ally] then ours? Is it as bad to see our friends and allies get killed as it is to see our own children get killed? What does it all mean? And I think we're right at the cutting edge in this discussion, with the technology and the reality. And all I would say is that the military, I think, has done a vastly better job of systematically thinking through the ethics of behavior in a violent environment than the journalists have.

I agree.

Posted by Sarah at 05:27 PM | Comments (7)

DETACHED

Remember last week when I said I'd strangle the journalist who values "the story" over someone's life? Well, according to Steve Sky and Charles Johnson, I just might get my chance:

MOSUL, Iraq - Coalition soldiers questioned two news media cameramen and a reporter after a roadside bomb exploded near a Coalition convoy two kilometers north of Mosul June 3.

The media, who were at the scene prior to the attack, told soldiers at the scene they had received a tip to be at that location prior to the attack and they had witnessed the explosion.

One of my good friends is attached to 3-2 Infantry. That hits close to home. And those "detached" journalists were going to sit there with their cameras and watch American Soldiers get blown up.

What in the hell is wrong with these people?

Posted by Sarah at 10:09 AM | Comments (9)

May 30, 2004

MEDIA

We citizens have to start thinking of news reporting as being about as reliable as advertising.

Thus ends Den Beste's new post on the media. The other day a new student came into my office to ask about our degree programs. When she said that she was majoring in journalism, I felt myself balk. I actually stuttered as I was handing her information. The old joke is that lawyers are the root of all evil, but these days I extend the prize to journalists. This girl's simple mention of wanting to become one of those loathesome creatures was a shock to my system.

I have said here before how I think that movies are a reflection of our values. What we believe about the world is echoed in our popular entertainment (in fact, this is one of my teaching units in my writing class). In the absolutely fascinating article Den Beste links to, called "Why We Hate the Media", James Fallows makes the same point. Way down at the bottom he talks about the Hollywood portrayal of journalists:

Since the early 1980s, the journalists who have shown up in movies have been portrayed, on average, as more loathsome than the lawyers, politicians, or business moguls who are the traditional bad guys in films about the white-collar world.

He gives many examples from specific movies and then goes on to say

Movies do not necessarily capture reality but they suggest a public mood--in this case, a contrast between the media celebrities' apparent self-satisfaction and the contempt in which its best-known representatives are held by the public. "The news media has a generally positive view of itself in the watchdog role," said the authors of an exhaustive survey of public attitudes toward the press, released in May 1995. But "the outside world strongly faults the news media for its negativism.... The public goes so far as to say that the press gets in the way of society solving its problems, an opinion that is even shared by many leaders." According to the survey, "two out of three members of the public had nothing or nothing good to say about the media." As American institutions in general have lost credibility, few have lost it as fully as the press.

Movies do not propose new values; they simply reflect existing ones. We in the blogosphere have long since lost any respect for journalists. Those like my mom's friend aren't there yet, but hopefully it's a matter of time. If we all reject the way journalism is handled, then perhaps we can see some changes.

In my class this term we spent a full two hours speaking about media bias and statistical manipulation. We used the LT's Story as a starting point, but my soldier students knew firsthand the danger of trusting the media: they have all recently returned from Iraq and have seen how the situation has been misrepresented here at home. I'd be ashamed to point them in the direction of the beginning part of the "Why We Hate the Media" article though.

You have to read the first section, Washing Their Hands of Responsibility: "North Kosan". That is how dangerous I consider the media for my personal life. That hypothetical situation, that could be my husband and his soldiers. And were I ever to find out that a journalist had chosen not to interfere, I would "remain detached" myself as I killed him with my bare hands.

Posted by Sarah at 09:43 AM | Comments (6)

May 28, 2004

BLIFFLE

I thought this comment by bliffle to this post was interesting:

Are conservatives so inarticulate and bereft of argument that we must resort to these ancient charges of press bias instead of telling our message? If the press reports bad news, is it because they are biased or because the news is bad? If there is good news that goes unreported, well shouldn't we report it? Istead of wasting bandwidth flailing at the NYT? Good grief!

First of all, I would like to point out that part of the reason bloggers "waste bandwith" pointing out inaccuracies and bias in the mainstream media is because many Americans just don't believe it exists. I wasn't joking when I said that many people I know think that Fox News is the only biased news source. In fact, my mom just had a conversation with one of her friends, and her friend was shocked to hear that my mom thought the news channels were biased. The more we dig up on the lies in the mainstream media, the better able my mom is to provide accurate examples to her friend and inform her that the media is in fact biased.

And we bloggers are trying to report on the good things that are happening. That's Tim's raison d'etre. But the majority of people do not sit at the computer for 2-3 hours in the morning before work like I do. The majority don't read news or blogs online. We who blowdry our hair in front of the monitor are misled into thinking that others do the same.

The truth is out there. Spectra just linked to a great round-up of positive news out of Iraq, but bliffle is kidding himself if he thinks that my mom's friend is going to stumble across it. We're trying to make the truth heard, but the mainstream media is not interested in our message.

MORE TO GROK:

Beth is trying to get the word out too.

Posted by Sarah at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2004

DRIPPING

I'm with Den Beste today on the media bias. Since the networks thought our President was less important than Fear Factor, and since he spoke in the middle of the night, I had to try to find the transcript of his speech today. I did manage to find this MSNBC article that's positively dripping with disdain. You can hear the liberal bias that Tim wrote about:

President Bush, seeking to convince skeptical Americans that he has a plan to bring stability to Iraq, outlined a five-step program calculated to articulate his objective of a sovereign Iraqi government, and to begin to reverse the damaging fallout over U.S. soldiers’ abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

Positively dripping. It gets even worse when they talk about his poll ratings.

Posted by Sarah at 08:49 AM | Comments (11)

May 18, 2004

TRASH

The other day I said I was tired of caring and planned to just stare at the puppy instead. But then I read this trash, and I remembered why we do this.

Perspective is great.

MORE TO GROK:

Bunker found a good bit on the media.

Posted by Sarah at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2004

SEMANTICS

Our 1SG just returned to Germany from Iraq; he's on his way to Sergeant Major school. We went to dinner with him Friday night and got to ask lots of questions.

"Sometimes we get Iraqis hiding in palm groves around our camp," he began, when he was interrupted by Oda Mae. "Insurgents. They're insurgents, not Iraqis," she said. "Right," the 1SG said, smiling, "insurgents."

There's a big difference, and Oda Mae was right to argue semantics with him. Insurgents are the ones who come after our soldiers with RPGs; Iraqis are the optimistic citizens of a crippled country. Insurgents hang burnt bodies from bridges; Iraqis say things like “who did this crime is a stranger and he’s not of us for sure.”

If you think the American media is showing you who the Iraqis really are, you need to go read this post at Iraq the Model and check your assumption.

Posted by Sarah at 09:40 AM | Comments (5)

May 14, 2004

NOPE

Brain Terminal has a great post comparing Abu Ghraib and Nick Berg. Highlight:

One day the media was telling us we had to see the pictures from Abu Ghraib so we could understand the horrors of war. But with Berg's beheading, we're told we can't handle the truth. It kind of makes you wonder which masters the media serves: images that cast us in a negative light get a full airing; images that remind us of the savagery of our enemies are hidden from view, lest we get blood lust. But is it possible to win a war without a little blood lust?

Nope.

Posted by Sarah at 08:20 AM | Comments (1)

May 12, 2004

GRRR

Here's a sneaky headline.

Posted by Sarah at 10:56 PM | Comments (2)

May 08, 2004

BROADCAST

I watched Fat Man and Little Boy tonight; I hadn't seen it since high school physics class. Then I got online and started listening to WWII speeches. And now I'm depressed.

One news broadcast in particular has caught my attention: the announcement of the end of the war in Europe.

Here is the great news for which the world has been waiting for almost six long years.... Thus it is that eleven months to the day since the invasion of Normandy...the Allies have utterly smashed the German enemy that came close to enslaving the world.

The rest of the report is just the facts -- who signed the surrender, the terms of agreement -- and does not contain 1) any effort to give the Nazis credit for being "freedom fighters" or "opposed to the American occupation" 2) any mention of a body count for Allied soldiers or 3) any interviews with so-called experts about why it has taken so long for the war to end and whether it could be considered a quagmire.

I'd give anything to hear a broadcast like that today.

Posted by Sarah at 08:50 PM | Comments (2)

May 07, 2004

OUTRAGE

I woke up too late today.

This week I've been absolutely exhausted, and when the alarm went off at 06bloggingtime, I shut it off and went back to bed until 0730. And then I found all these things I wanted to write about.

First of all, I expressed outrage last week at the events at Abu Ghraib prison. However, a lot of that outrage has subsided by now, and I'm left being angry at the rest of the world. My feelings were mirrored today on LGF, when Charles Johnson responded to the following paragraph:

Bush spoke as his administration sought to counter a worldwide wave of revulsion over photographs showing Iraqi prisoners, some of them hooded, naked and in sexually humiliating poses, in an American-run prison in the Baghdad area.

Remember that “worldwide wave of revulsion” when a pregnant Israeli mother and her four daughters were murdered in cold blood by Arabs who videotaped the atrocity? Remember the “worldwide wave of revulsion” when four security contractors helping to rebuild Iraq were burned alive, ripped apart, and hung from a bridge by Arabs in Fallujah? Remember the “worldwide wave of revulsion” when an Italian hostage was murdered by Arabs on video?

You don’t?

Yes, I'm still disgusted at the soldiers who abused their position of power in the prison. But I'm getting more disgusted at the way the news can't stop talking about this story, as if none of the other atrocities in the world matter when ten Americans do something stupid. Der Speigel ran this magazine cover and called Americans "The Torturers of Baghdad"; did they run a cover of these photos under the headline "The Torturers of Fallujah"? That's what I thought. See, I was under the impression that Uday was the torturer of Baghdad, but apparently that's not newsworthy. That's like sooo 2003, Sarah.

Posted by Sarah at 10:56 AM | Comments (1)

May 04, 2004

IGNORED

the disgrace in Abu Ghraib prison = something that certainly deserves our attention
the murder of three Americans in Kosovo by a nutcase Palestinian on the UN Peacekeeping force = something largely ignored by the media

The Palestinian carried an M-16, from which he apparently discharged 400 rounds, leading NATO investigators to examine whether his four colleagues in a Jordanian detachment assigned to guard the prison had helped him by feeding his weapon as he fired.

Excuse me? 400 rounds? Four other Jordanians making sure he didn't run out of ammo before he pulverized these American soldiers on their first day on the job? This guy -- suspected of having ties to Hamas -- killed three Americans and wounded 11 others when he went on a shooting spree killing soldiers who were supposedly on the same side as he? Where is the media outrage? Where are the magazine covers? Why isn't the investigation blasted all over the tv?

Oh yeah, because no one cares.

No one cares when Americans die because they're usually getting what they deserve. Three measly Americans got killed in Kosovo; so what, have you seen what the Americans are doing to the helpless, defenseless women and children in Fallujah? "After all, you guys started it," as one of my European friends said when I explained my husband would go to Iraq for a year. And now it's your fault for ticking the Arab street off by training your "barbarian invader" soldiers to make naked pyramids. It was "only a matter of time" before the Americans were revealed as the oil-hungry, Muslim-hating, unilateral torturers they really are.

Sheesh, I'm getting as sarcastic as Amritas. Time for bed.

Posted by Sarah at 09:54 PM | Comments (3)

May 01, 2004

COVERS

I very firmly believe that our media can easily sway public opinion with photographs. A few of us were talking yesterday about how we didn't like the cover photo on Friday's Stars and Stripes, which showed an American soldier leaning over one of the children killed in the mortar attack on Thursday. We shouldn't turn a blind eye to the real deaths this war is causing, but showing the soldier with the dead child seemed to ignore the fact that it was the insurgents' mortar that killed the children and not the Americans. A simple photo like that speaks volumes, sometimes putting fuel on the anti-war fire.

Mrs. du Toit posted a comparison of Life Magazine covers during WWII and Vietnam. The covers accurately reflect society's views on those two wars...or perhaps society's views reflected what was seen on the covers. Which caused which, the cover or the national mood?

Posted by Sarah at 08:52 AM | Comments (3)

April 30, 2004

SURPRISING

Andrew Sullivan linked to an article from an embedded reporter in Fallujah. The relevant bit comes at the end:

Well, it's surprising, to be honest. ... I have spoken to a lot [of Marines] who have been engaged in some of these firefights. In fact, I was in one of the combat surgical rooms where they were working on a couple of these guys.

Two of them had been ambushed, not where the main fight is going on tonight, but their unit had been ambushed east of Fallujah. And seven people rolled in. There were two that had gunshot wounds. And they pulled a huge slug, a bullet, out of the leg of one of the Marines. And another one had a bullet wound right through the back.

And, amazingly, they were trying to convince their commanders that they were ready to go and go back out. I have been really surprised at ... the high degree of morale that these Marines have shown. Remember, they have only been here for a month and a half. Many of these units that are here now engaged in the initial invasion last year and were in Iraq for several months.

Now they're back. But they seem to be engaged. They're taking casualties. But it's really surprising. You don't see much head-dragging or anything like that. I mean, you know, what you see is kind of more encouragement for these guys.

And, for example, the one who had the gravest -- the bullet in and out through his back -- was trying to convince his commander that he'd be back. And his commander actually promised him that his spot was still going to be there. Another soldier who was injured in that huge firefight yesterday who I spoke to earlier this morning, he wanted to get back out there. But the only problem was, was that half his shoulder was missing around his firing arm.

But he was convinced he would be able to sit there on a roof and not have to run anywhere and he could contribute that way. So it's been surprising. But ... the Marines that are here certainly appear to be geared up for whatever the future holds.

One of Sullivan's readers makes a simple point:

The line that struck me as most interesting in that piece from the embedded CNN reporter is near the end where he writes 'So it’s been surprising'. I would love for him to further explain why he finds the actions & attitudes of these men 'surprising'. I would take a guess & say that this is this man's first exposure to our men in the military.
I was an Army brat from the day I was born until I was halfway through college, and my father was an Airborne ranger most of those years. This reporter's observations of our soldiers don't surprise me at all. Anyone who has spent anytime around our soldiers would not have expected anything different. These men take their code and their duty seriously. The fact that the reporter is 'surprised' I think reveals more than anything his (and no doubt a significant number of media people's) disconnect from what most people know, either first hand or instinctively, about our military personnel. We have the best military known to mankind and one of the primary reasons is the simplest one: The people who are in it.

Once I got my taste of military life, I never wanted to live any other way. Having taught soldiers, I never want to teach anyone but. I decided this morning that if my husband ever decides to separate from the military, I will require that we live near a military post so I can continue to work with soldiers. Once you see the caliber person the military fosters, you never want anything less.

Posted by Sarah at 10:11 AM | Comments (1)

April 29, 2004

GRRR

"As far as we know, Senator Kerry got three Purple Hearts for risking his life in Vietnam and President Bush got a dental examination in Alabama," Pelosi said.

This little quote tagged onto the Cheney-is-a-chickenhawk article is disgusting. I don't even know what else to say about it. It makes my blood boil to see such spin.

Posted by Sarah at 01:52 PM | Comments (6)

April 20, 2004

MIMIC

Sometimes I just have to laugh when I think of how the terrorists are starting to mimic what they hear on the American media. I don't for a second believe that these terrorists give one fig about Kyoto or Halliburton or a peace treaty with Europe. These people are not dumb; they know what the transnational progressives in the West want to hear and they give it to them. They listen to the protestors, and then suddenly a "new bin Ladin tape" comes out and says exactly what the moonbats want to hear. It's all fascinatingly silly to me.

Posted by Sarah at 07:29 AM | Comments (3)

April 14, 2004

HEROES

Found an Andy Rooney editorial via Bunker, and the headline makes my blood boil.

Our soldiers in Iraq aren't heroes:

We must support our soldiers in Iraq because it's our fault they're risking their lives there. However, we should not bestow the mantle of heroism on all of them for simply being where we sent them. Most are victims, not heroes.

As a veteran, he should be ashamed of himself for belittling our servicemembers like that. They're not perfect, but they're all risking their lives so we don't have to. Shame on you, Rooney.

MORE TO GROK:

Tim organizes our servicemembers into a fisking. He also invites Rooney to visit the America he lives in.

Posted by Sarah at 03:24 PM | Comments (5)

March 25, 2004

ANGER

OK, today is the first and last day I go read news on MSNBC. I am positively seething right now after reading articles about Clarke and Iraq One Year Later. And this article was the icing on my furious cake: ‘Old Europe’ unrepentant.

My main thought while reading this article was a black-and-white "whose side are you on?" Yep, call me a cowboy, but I believe you're either with us or with the terrorists, and the tone of this article infuriated me. The entire thing is written from the European's perspective, which is fine except the article is written by an NBC reporter.

The stings from U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s verbal attacks against Germany last year are still fresh. Derisively labeling Germany part of “Old Europe” and putting the country in line with rogue nations such as Libya and Cuba — as examples of other countries that were not supportive of the war — did not buy much American goodwill in Germany.

For the past year, Europeans have been waiting for an apology, but they have not gotten one yet.

When Rumsfeld was recently asked about the current state of U.S.-European relations and his “old Europe” remarks, he said the relationships were now “fairly normal.” Rumsfeld added that "he was too old to regret things he has said in the past.”

Germans have moved on and are hoping to start mending fences. "At present, bilateral talks between the two governments are mainly about reconciliation," said Klaus Proempers, a correspondent for German television ZDF.

You want an apology, Europe? I'm sure many of these people would be willing to give you one, but don't hold your breath for the government or the majority of Americans to let bygones be bygones.

Moving on:

An opinion poll by the German Marshall Fund reflected that a clear majority of Europeans want the European Union to become a superpower like the United States.

Ah ha ha ha ha. A clear majority of human beings want to be millionaires without lifting a finger and merely sitting around all day watching Becker, but that don't mean it's gon happen.

Chancellor Schroeder has rejected sending military support to Iraq, but he is hoping his announcement that German police will begin training their Iraqi counterparts this month will be seen as a gesture of goodwill.

And despite the fact that France and Germany have repeatedly rejected committing any NATO troops to Iraq in even a peacekeeping role, Germany has sent troops in Afghanistan and cites that as an example of how it is a reliable and dedicated NATO member.

Germany actually plans to increase its contingent of 220 German soldiers, stationed in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, as part of a so-called Provincial Reconstruction Team.

I'm sorry, I must have something crazy in my ear. Did you say two-hundred twenty? There are more than 220 soldiers from my husband's battalion alone in Iraq right now, and we're supposed to give Germany a gold star for effort and participation? Whew, thank god you pointed out Germany is "a reliable and dedicated NATO member"; I almost forgot, given the fact that their chancellor ran on a platform of Screw Bush. But at least some NATO piece of paper still says they're our ally, regardless of what they do or say.

Look, Europe has a right to their own positions. Journalists have a right to report them, though I wish that American journalists wouldn't play the Europe=innocent USA=naughty game. But if Europe wants to maintain their own positions and not work with us in the war on terror, then they can take care of themselves when the Paris suburbs erupt.

Or maybe we can send 220 soldiers to help them.

Posted by Sarah at 09:28 AM | Comments (6)

March 24, 2004

PANDORA

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -- if all records told the same tale -- then the lie pased into history and became truth. "Who controls the past," ran the Party slogan, "controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple.

I put a pencil mark next to this 1984 passage the other day because of it's frightening impact on me. And today Amritas points me in the direction of a post entitled Pandora's Box. A.E. Brain found out that the Library of Congress keeps certain blog entries about the Iraq war for posterity. His curiosity piqued, Brain checked out the Australian equivalent.

So I did a search on "Iraq & Saddam". The results, frankly, astonished me. A result worthy of the Ministry of Truth.

Of the 4638 hits, I reviewed the first 1000. Of these, approximately 300+ were political anyalysis and commentary. Of that 300+, I found 2 that were neutral, neither pro- nor anti- war, but dispassionate analysis of alternatives. The rest were all anti-Bush, anti-War, anti-American.

I'm willing to admit that there are plausible arguments against the Iraq War. But if future Historians primary sources are so selectively filtered, leaving the inescapable impression that there was absolutely no pro-War support whatsoever... then that's re-writing history by omission. Whether the war was right or wrong is arguable. Or arguably arguable. That editorial articles exist in support of it is not a matter of opinion, but of fact.

We're twenty years late but we're well on our way, Orwell.

Posted by Sarah at 08:02 PM | Comments (3)

March 19, 2004

FISK

OK, I'm not normally a fisker, but the bias in this Reuters article really ticked me off.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush sought on Thursday to paint Democratic White House candidate John Kerry as indecisive, in a new television advertisement that features a clip of the Massachusetts senator talking about Iraq just two days earlier.

"Sought...to paint" him this way. Wasn't successful though. But poor Dubya tried really hard.

In a new example of the early rhetorical brawling that has marked this year's campaign, the Bush camp pounced on Kerry's explanation of a vote against Bush's request last year for $87 billion to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The commercial is slated to run on cable stations across the country. It includes a clip of Kerry telling an audience on Tuesday, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it."

The ad closes with the words: "John Kerry: Wrong on Defense."

Cowboy Bush has "pounced" on poor little Kerry. All this shameful "brawling" over something so minor as voting for something and then opposing it. Why should this matter to the public? It's not like anyone pays attention to voting records anyway, right?

The broader context of Kerry's remark -- made in response to an earlier Bush ad -- was his explanation that he supported a version of the $87 billion funding proposal for Iraq that would have paid for it by repealing of Bush's tax cuts on the wealthy. But when that amendment failed, Kerry voted against the bill.

The Republican president has been hammering Kerry for opposing that money, despite his 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq, in an effort to portray him as dangerously weak and inconsistent on security issues.

Reuters jumps to Kerry's defense to explain the context of his ridiculous quote, and then says Bush is "hammering" him, trying to make him look weak. Not succeeding, though. Poor Dubya.

Both candidates are trying to tout their credentials on national security and defense, amid the continuing U.S. war on global terrorism and instability in post-war Iraq.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, campaigned this week among fellow veterans and Bush on Thursday visited troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Ooo, look! A chance to throw in that he's "a decorated Vietnam veteran"!

"John Kerry opposed a red-inked, blank check on Bush's failed Iraq policy," Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan said in a statement responding to the ad, which he called "misleading."

Kerry has said that one of his concerns about the funding bill was that the Bush administration had not done enough to enlist international help with the Iraq operation.

The Kerry quotation is the same one ridiculed by Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) Wednesday in aggressively attacking the four-term Massachusetts senator's voting record.

Mean old Cheney is picking on Kerry. Those measly voting records. Who cares about those anyway? It's not like it's on the importance level of, say, National Guard sign-in sheets.

With the exception of the new quote, the rest of the nationwide advertisement is the similar (sic) to one released in West Virginia this week in which a narrator listed such things as body armor and health care for soldiers and suggested Kerry had voted against those when he opposed the $87 billion.

"The same misleading ads that the Bush/Cheney campaign dumped on the people of West Virginia, they are now dumping on the Nation," Meehan said. "The three weeks in a row of Bush misleading TV ads, and millions in cash, can't hide George Bush's record of broken promises and misleading America."

Couldn't find anyone from the White House to interview? Bush has nothing to say in defense of his commercials?

Can you not feel this dripping with bias? It's really disgusting. I know this isn't even the worst of these articles; I've seen much worse in the handling of Israel. But for whatever reason, this one ticked me off today.

Posted by Sarah at 01:28 PM | Comments (1)

March 13, 2004

NOT WATCHING

I've given up completely on the media, so I don't even bother to turn on our one news channel here. Ever. So when I got a phone call this morning from our FRG saying that there was nothing to worry about, that the two soldiers who were killed were not from our Brigade, I wanted to say Huh? Because I'm not following the death toll. That phone call this morning confirmed my theory that if anything happened that I needed to know about, I would hear firsthand from our chain of command and not from the news. I can't sit by the TV or AP feed and wait for that kind of news; I've chosen instead to live on a need-to-know basis.

Posted by Sarah at 04:44 PM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2004

APPROPRIATE

I read this entire thread from last week over at Smash's last night, and something didn't sit right with me, but I couldn't place it until this morning when I watched the ads again.

Many of the commenters said that they approve of President Bush's ads, except for one part. They approve of using footage of the WTC, but they didn't like the two-second clip of firefighters carrying a flag-draped coffin. That was crossing the line to them.

Didn't we have a big debate in our country back in October and November about how President Bush was being sneaky for not letting journalists photograph flag-draped coffins coming home from Iraq? People were outraged that he was "candy-coating" the war and not showing the human price that we've paid. But in his ad, when he shows the human price we paid on the morning of September 11, people say that it's in bad taste?

I don't grok.

I think it's the exact opposite. Intentionally shooting footage of servicemembers' coffins coming home to sway opinion on the war -- and that is indeed what certain journalists wanted to do -- is manipulative. Using footage that's "public domain" from September 11 to represent what happened that day is, in my opinion, appropriate.

And, by the way, when do we get to see Kerry's ads? I wonder if he's cookin' up a good one with flapping Bush and Cheney heads farting on each other and laughing à la Terrance and Phillip. Or a flag-draped coffin from Vietnam. Or one with lots of bleeped-out swear words.

Posted by Sarah at 07:21 AM | Comments (3)

March 09, 2004

FLYING PIG

I freaking hate the New York Times, but I have to give them credit today for doing an entire story on our Brigade. (Ugh, login required. Did I mention I freaking hate them?) It includes quotes from our Colonel, who is not only the most motivated guy you'll meet, but also has the highest PT score of anyone on our post. There's also a quote from our Lieutenant Colonel, who's an all-around great guy. It's nice not to read about 1-77 for a change (wink).

I'm stealing Charles Johnson's flying pig photo to capture the moment I was grateful to the NYT.

flying-pig.jpg

Posted by Sarah at 08:25 PM | Comments (1)

March 03, 2004

CREEPY

Lileks imagines a startlingly creepy scene of how we'd react today to a jumper from the Empire State Building. Would we really do that? Sadly I think many of us would.

Posted by Sarah at 07:37 AM | Comments (4)

March 01, 2004

JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY

Just yesterday I was talking to Amritas about the Stars and Stripes seven-day series entitled Ground Truth: Conditions, Contrast, and Morale. I think it was the best example of balanced journalism I've seen since I started blogging. I wrote about each day back on Blogspot: one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. In addition I wrote a rant about how the Washington Post took Stars and Stripes' findings and slanted them horribly.

Considering that I was just talking about these articles yesterday, I was surprised to find an article today written by the ombudsman of the Stars and Stripes about the series. He talks about the good and bad points of the series, quoting both hate- and fan-mail. He talks about the limitations of such a study and brings up an important question:

And in some cases, after giving positive marks on morale on the questionnaire, the responder would write negative comments on the back of the questionnaire or voice them to the reporters.

These circumstances raise an important journalistic issue: How much weight should the reporters and editors give the comments as compared to the data and how much weight should be given to the difference between what military personnel said was their morale and their view of the morale of their unit?

How refreshing to see a publication take a hindsight look at its journalism and evaluate whether they've been fair in their reporting.

My respect for Stars and Stripes grows with every passing day.

Posted by Sarah at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)