Media Blog

NRO’s MSM watchdog.

Last Foreign Journalists Leave Tibet


This does not portend good things:

China has ordered the last foreign journalists remaining in Tibet to leave the province. It comes amidst reports of China beefing up its security presence in and around the area.

Beijing had threatened to withdraw the residence permits of the two German journalists if they failed to comply with the demand. The move has been widely condemned by journalists’ organizations and human rights groups.

Georg Blume, a correspondent for the German weekly Die Zeit, and Kristin Kupfer, a reporter for the Austrian weekly Profil and the German news service epd, left the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Thursday, Mar. 20.

Given what the Chi-Comms are willing to do while the world is watching, what do you think they’ll get up to after all the foreign journalists are gone? China hasn’t changed that much. The country’s richer, which is to be celebrated, but its rulers are still beastly.

“God is Great!”


And He has a wicked sense of humor, too:

Ohana said he went through a turnstile and spotted a group of young Arabic men sitting on a bench.

“I wasn’t afraid of anything. I didn’t think anything would happen,” he said.

But something did.

Ohana said he felt a hand grab his brown yarmulke off his head.

He then spun around and came face to face with one of the men, Ali Hussein, 18, police said.

“There were no words exchanged. I decided to chase him to get my yarmulke back,” Ohana said.

Hussein’s friends joined in the foot pursuit, screaming “Allah-hu Akbar,” which means “God is great.”

They ran outside and Hussein darted into the street, where he was hit by a blue Volvo and toppled to the ground, cops said.

“He couldn’t move. He broke his leg. He was crying,” said Ohana.

Hussein’s friends then jumped into a suburban GMC and sped away.

Police arrested Hussein for alleged aggravated harassment as a hate crime.


News Flash, Just In Time for Good Friday


Headline from AFP: Philippines warns ‘crucifixion bad for health’

Yes, I suppose it is. Quote:

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said that as was hard to discourage “flagellants from whipping their own flesh, the best penitents can do is ensure that their whips are well-maintained.”

Kind of makes giving up lattes for Lent look limp, doesn’t it?

Party Identification


The admirable Mr. Taranto at the Wall Street Journal writes about this frequently, but Newsbusters actually produced numbers on how often politicians caught in scandals have their party identified. As you might have guessed, scandal-ensnared Republicans are usually identified; scandalous Democrats suddenly become nonpartisan independents:

My colleague Brent Baker has painstakingly documented how the big three broadcast networks have gone out of their way to avoid labeling scandal-scarred New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a “Democrat.” An examination of the fifteen ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows through Wednesday night finds Spitzer was called a Democrat just 20% of the time — twice on CBS, once on ABC, and never on NBC.

So how do the networks treat Republicans involved in sex scandals? Always, always as Republicans, and as problems for their party.

Last July, Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s name surfaced in the phone records of the “DC Madam,” Deborah Jean Palfrey. Over the next week, ABC talked about Vitter twice on World News and twice on Good Morning America, labeling him as a “Republican” or “conservative Republican” all four times.

The CBS Early Show aired two Vitter stories, and both times called him a Republican. For some reason, the CBS Evening News did not report on Vitter that week. NBC’s Today mentioned Vitter on two different mornings, and called him a Republican both times. The NBC Nightly News reported on Vitter once, and called him a Republican.

I had an anecdotal impression that this was probably the case, but I had always doubted the validity of that impression, since I spend so much time looking for media bias. You find what you’re looking for–that’s how media gets biased in the first place. Thinking about how to to counteract one’s own bias when writing about media bias (so as not to produced biased media reports about media bias) has the potential to send me off on one of those head-clutching David Foster Wallace/Douglas Hofstadter infinitely self-referential loops, so I’m glad to have a little data to anchor the discussion.

More on Obama’s “More Perfect Union”


I’m not surprised the media hasn’t devoted too much time (if they have, I have yet to see it) to this excerpt from the big speech (emphasis mine):

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination–and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past – are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds–by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

These ladders sound a lot like a slew of new affirmative-action programs.  Maybe he should tell voters exactly what he’s thinking. 


More Wright Quotes


Sorry Senator Obama, this isn’t going away.  From ABC News:

“The winds of Katrina blew the cover off America. The hurricane exposed the hypocrisy,” Rev. Wright said, “protecting white folks’ property took priority over saving black folks’ lives.” He continued, “This storm called Katrina says far more about a racist government than it does about the wrath of God.”

And this one…

“For every one Oprah, a billionaire, you’ve got five million blacks who are out of work,” he said. “For every one Colin Powell, a millionaire, you’ve got 10 million blacks who cannot read. For every one Condoskeeza [sic] Rice, you’ve got one million in prison. For every one Tiger Woods, who needs to get beat, at the Masters, with his cap-blazing hips, playing on a course that discriminates against women. For every one Tiger Woods, we got 10,000 black kids who will never see a golf course.”

Does Barack Obama mind that his pastor refers to Secretary Rice as a “Condoskeeza?”

Silly AP Story of the Day


Here’s the headline:

AP IMPACT: Sturdier cars slow rescuers

And an excerpt:

Capt. Clint Roberts makes his living cutting accident victims out of hideously mangled vehicles, but even he could hardly believe it when two people in a 2007 midsize car survived a head-on crash with a full-sized pickup last year.

The Ford Fusion’s reinforced steel construction probably saved the lives of the 18-year-old driver and his 16-year-old passenger. But Roberts said it gave his Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crew fits as they tried to free them last November.

Because hydraulic cutters couldn’t shear the roof posts, rescue workers had to turn to heavy-duty electric saws, replacing blade after blade as they dulled on the rugged material.

“It was just beating the snot out of the tools,” adding minutes and delaying medical treatment, Roberts said.

There is no question that today’s cars save lives by cocooning motorists in reinforced alloys, impact-absorbing crumple zones and as many as a dozen air bags.

But in interviews with The Associated Press, rescue officials and experts from around the United States said the new technology is also hindering extrication of injured people, increasingly forcing crews to work deeper into the critical “golden hour” between accident and treatment by emergency room doctors. On many 2005 and later cars, an extrication that once took 10 or 15 minutes can now take twice that or longer.

So, people who never would have survived a crash are now surviving, but it takes longer to get them out.  And the impact on lives?

Experts cannot say for certain whether the delays in getting these victims to the hospital have resulted in people dying. But that’s the fear.

Number of deaths–probably zero.  And the nightmare scenario of all this?.  They make cars even safer:

“If the automakers roll out something new next year, we could be right back where we were at,” Craft said. “That’s the problem we’re confronted with.”

The conclusion of the story above, which shows just how off this article is:

The Fusion’s passenger, for example, was hurt but conscious and joking with Roberts as the crew worked to get him out. The driver of the other vehicle — a 2001 Ford F-150 pickup — was dead at the scene.

Yes, but I bet they got the dead guy out in record time.

The Diminished Dollar ...


Where Your Foreign Aid Dollars Go


Very interesting and accessible paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, via Chris Blattman’s blog:

We calculated the share of total aid going to countries classified by Freedom House as “unfree” as well as “unfree  part free.” Unfree countries have retained about a third of aid, while around 80 percent of aid goes to countries either partly free or unfree. These proportions have not changed much over time, despite democratization throughout the world and much donor rhetoric about promoting democracy. The only substantial movement can be found in the early 1990s, when the share going to unfree countries first dropped to about 20 percent, then increased to almost 50 percent, and then slowly fell back to its historic level of about 30 percent. This pattern occurs because countries essentially hand out aid to the same countries year after year, but the countries themselves have shifted their status from unfree to free and back to unfree. To put it another way, donor agencies appear to be unresponsive to political changes in recipient countries. Only in the last couple of years before 2004 is there a change in the share going to unfree countries that is explained by a change in donor behavior—and this change is in the wrong direction.  


For a .pdf of the whole thing, scroll down to “Where does the money go?” here.


The paper offers evidence to support the longstanding belief that pouring aid money into corrupt autocracies, no matter how well-intended we are, doesn’t help the poor and probably hurts them. And while we may talk a good game about corruption, donors do almost nothing about it:

The share of aid going to corrupt countries has fluctuated, but there was an upsurge in the late 1990s and early 2000s, just when it became acceptable for donors to explicitly condemn corruption. When we examined this pattern more closely, we again found that donors do not seem to react to changes in the level of corruption, but simply continue giving to the same countries.

And, as any informed charitable giver knows, it pays to keep an eye on administrative costs vs. aid payouts:

There is tremendous variation across agencies, with the UN agencies typically having the highest ratios of operating costs to aid by a large margin. UNDP is the worst, spending much more on its administrative budget than it gives in aid.

Is This Photo Racist?


Some are saying it is.  (Too much like King Kong carrying off Faye Wray.)

Interesting Arrangement


Maria Shriver was still receiving an NBC paycheck while she was California’s first lady:

Maria Shriver received hundreds of thousands of dollars from NBC as part of an exit deal after she left her position with “Dateline NBC” when her husband was elected governor of California, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The network paid her between $100,000 and $1 million during each of the last three years, according to statements of economic interest the governor is required to file, the newspaper reported.

The payments were part of an “exit agreement” arranged between her and NBC in April 2004, when network executives were worried about a conflict of interest, the Los Angeles Times reported

Shriver’s chief of staff declined to say the exact amount that was paid, and NBC had no comment, the newspaper reported.

Tina Fey on “The Daily Show”


In an interview with Readers’ Digest:

RD: What pleases you more, applause or laughter?
Fey: Laughter. You can prompt applause with a sign. My friend, SNL writer Seth Meyers, coined the term clapter, which is when you do a political joke and people go, “Woo-hoo.” It means they sort of approve but didn’t really like it that much. You hear a lot of that on [whispers] The Daily Show.

You reckon that’s ever been the case with one of your predictable anti-Republican gags on SNL, Tina?

Obama and Music


Speaking of music, it should be noted that Obama apparently uses Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered” as a campaign song. Isn’t that a bit cocky? Audacity, indeed.

But since Obama has tied up the all-important Twisted Sister guitarist vote (seriously, do they get a superdelegate, or what?), maybe we should keep in mind my favorite lyric from that particular group: You are so condescending. Your gall is neverending. We don’t want nothing, not a thing from you. Which seems to me a fit response to yesterday’s self-satisfied performance from Obama and his chanting followers.

Commentor Outshines Story


This is fantastic:

In a related story, Jay Jay French and Friends recorded another version of “I Wanna Rock” in Farsi for President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. The song was requested by Ahmadinejad in expectation of the US military pullout that will result from a Clinton or Obama presidency. While the details of the song are being kept secret, it has been rumored that Ahmadinejad sings lead vocals and the title is “I Want Iraq”.

Competition for


Who are you? Where do you come from? What do you want to do with your life?

I want … Barack?

Rush on Obama’s Speech


Good stuff from yesterday.  An excerpt:

Jeremiah Wright is a hatemonger.  He hates America.  It is patently obvious.  Barack Obama sought to excuse that today in ways that I found a little bit troubling, blamed it on his generation.  Well, he grew up in the fifties and sixties, and that’s what America was then.  Well, there were a lot of blacks who grew up in the fifties and sixties who have not become Jeremiah Wright.  Just because you grew up in the fifties and sixties does not entitle you to hate the country and not try to move forward and build a ministry around it.  It’s essentially a political movement disguised as a ministry based on the hatred of America.  When I watch tapes of Reverend Wright’s speeches, I don’t see the congregation upset about it.  I see them applauding and doing all kind of things.  Obama made it plain today, folks, that the future of America rests on one thing, and that’s racial division being healed, and which would be great if it would happen.  Those of us my age, my generation have been hoping and praying to get rid of race as a dividing issue and as an identity issue in politics and in our culture for as long as I’ve been an adult, thinking and caring about these things.  But there’s an entire race industry on the left that will not allow that to happen.  You know the kind of people I’m talking about.  It’s become very profitable for them.  

All the News That’s Fit to Print


Another insightful take on international media coverage from Israel-based cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen:

Dry Bones cartoon: Watching the Media.

The Sign Says It All


J-Pod on Obama’s Speech


Over at Commentary’s Contentions blog.  An excerpt:

The eloquence of the speech will almost certainly mask Obama’s sophisticated effort here to condemn and not to condemn, to say something but not say anything, to sound clear while being extremely unclear. A denunciation that does not denounce, a condemnation that is full of love — as a former political speechwriter, I will acknowledge I am lost in admiration of the anti-sophistic sophistry on display in every syllable of his text.

Media Shares Sit Out Rally


From the Hollywood Reporter:

An unusually hefty though widely expected U.S. Federal Reserve rate cut Tuesday led to the biggest Wall Street rally in five years, but media stocks underperformed.

That media congloms didn’t move as dramatically as some other stocks wasn’t a surprise given that Tuesday’s rally was mostly driven by the financial sector.

“This rally reflects an easing of concern that we would have a financial crisis,” said Northlake Capital Management’s Steve Birenberg, who specializes in media investments.

“Media stocks are more sensitive to concerns about future economic growth,” Birenberg said. “Despite the big rally, those concerns remain and thus concerns about advertising growth remain. After all, the Fed statement today said the risk to growth was to the downside.”

If the federal government were devaluing the dollar to try to help out Disney or The New York Times Co., people would throw fits. But do it for Lehman Bros. and it’s prudent statesmanship?


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