That Post Story About MilBlogs...
PostWatch nails it:
What do you suppose the Post would focus on in a front-page story titled The New Ernie Pyles: Sgtlizzie and 67cshdocs” by Jonathan Finer?Mudville Gazette
1. Milbloggers often complain that mainstream media is biased against the war and don’t report on the good they’re doing. This is their story…
2. Military officials earlier this year issued regulations on milblogs, and some have been shut down after reporting on casualties and antiwar sentiment among troops
3. Other blogs haven’t been shut down. They report on the horror of war.
4. I know, let’s run a sidebar featuring an Iraqi blogger with a “chilling 5,000-word posting” on being interrogated by U.S. forces.
PostWatch readers know they can skip “1″ and run merrily along to 2,3 and 4.
, briefly mentioned in the Post
article, covers no. 1 a little better.
Blitzer Corrects on NARAL; CNN Calls Specter’s Letter “Play of the Week”
Wolf Blitzer corrected CNN’s erroneous report that NARAL’s ad was running on Fox News, as part of a longer segment on the NARAL ad in which CNN political analyst Bill Schneider called Sen. Arlen Specter’s condemnation of the ad the political “Play of the Week.”
Just for the record, I don’t hate Blitzer or The Situation Room. Media Blog readers know I applaud CNN’s effort to put more hard news on during the daytime, and even though The Situation Room needs to work out some kinks, it’s better than Aruba-Teen or Bonnie-and-Clyde coverage.
Having said that, I am still thoroughly dismayed that Blitzer missed the chance to ask Clinton about Able Danger yesterday when he had him on. That interview, which CNN won’t shut up about, didn’t really make any news. It could have, however, if Blitzer had asked Clinton what he knew about the project.
NY Times Breaks a Small Local Story About Mismanagement at a Bronx Charity
The New York Times broke some major news today about mismanagement at a local Bronx Boys and Girls Club. This is the kind of story that starts in the New York/Region section of the paper, but you can just tell is going to break wide open once the paper grasps the implications of the scandal it’s unearthed.
You see, it seems the mismanagement involved the transfer of funds earmarked for poor kids and seniors to a floundering liberal talk radio network when its crooked manager worked for both organizations. This is big news. I’m surprised the blogosphere missed this one, but good for the enterprising NY Times for finding such a big national story on a local beat. I am breathless with anticipation over what the National Desk will do with such explosive story.
How Can CNN Recover?
In addition to suffering from recent criticism over its decision to run a fraudulent NARAL ad, CNN has also been in a ratings slump for quite some time. Blogger Mr. Sun has come up with a few ways for CNN to recover. Among them:
Stop teasing and cut right to the heart of the matter with a re-tooled Anderson Cooper Understands You Better Than Your Husband — a full hour of sensitive journalism and impossibly tight pants. In the event MSNBC overtakes CNN for two consecutive ratings periods, get ready for Anderson Cooper 360 Full Monte, a panoramic view of the Mini Cooper, if you catch my drift, and I know that you do. Whatever it takes.
Let Lou be Lou, and dominate the senior demographic with Lou Dobbs’ Earlybird Special. Tune in for plenty of Social Security scaremongering, Matlock rerun spoilers, and hard-hitting coupon-clipping action.
Finally, a breakthrough show that plays on the strengths of the network and its anchor: Nancy Grace’s Rush To Judgment — a one minute segment at the bottom of every hour where Nancy Grace empties her bedpan of hatred and contempt on people who have not yet been given due process of law. Robert Novak is featured in a special walk-on/storm off cameo.
Loosen the last remaining tie that keeps Larry King tethered to reality and get ready for interviews with the ghost of Carol Channing about Islam, her memories of playing Dolly on Broadway, irritable bowel syndrome, and being dead. For the full hour.
Carol Channing isn’t even dead yet, but I still think these are great ideas! Read them all. I’ve got one to add, based on a post here
yesterday. Erase Wolf Blitzer’s memory, give him a baffling pile of different passports and let him spend all three hours of The Blitzer Identity
using his mysterious martial arts skills to force politicians to answer tough questions about the news of the day, with each one offering a clue to Wolf’s true identity. (via TVNewser
Did NARAL Get Its Money’s Worth?
Both the NY Times and AP reported that NARAL is pulling the fraudulent ads that accused John Roberts of being cool with abortion-clinic bombings. This certainly comes just in time for CNN, which was coming under increased pressure to drop the ads, but Media Blog reader John L. says NARAL may have already gotten its money
Why Won’t CNN Correct Its Mistake?
I’m told the New York Times will be correcting its mistaken assertion that Fox News will be carrying the fraudulent NARAL ad accusing John Roberts of “excusing” the behavior of abortion-clinic bombers. But so far Wolf Blitzer, who reported the same thing on The Blitzer Identity, er, The Situation Room yesterday, has yet to correct his mistake on the air. Nor has CNN’s “Inside the Blogs” segment mentioned that this blog reported CNN’s error yesterday.
Hey! Look over here! Fox News is NOT running the NARAL ad that CNN, despite serious challenges to the ad’s accuracy, has been running all day. Will Blitzer correct? Can you ask him for me?
The Blitzer Identity
A colleague and I are watching The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, and neither of us are sure if these opening credits are for real or if someone at CNN slipped in the Bourne Identity DVD.
NY Times Buries Able Danger
The New York Times broke some major news today, with a report that exposes for the first time the fact that the 9/11 Commission met with a military officer who provided information on a secret military operation called Able Danger that, by the summer of 2000, had used data-mining techniques to identify several of the 9/11 hijackers, including Mohammed Atta, as members of an Al Qaeda cell in the United States. Members of the Able Danger team sought permission to pass on the information to the FBI, but Pentagon lawyers told them they could not. The 9/11 Commission left this information out of its final report.
This is huge news that raises a lot of questions relating to the credibility of the 9/11 Commission, the culpability of Clinton-administration policies for 9/11, and the effectiveness of data-mining. A natural for the front page, right? Try A-14. Instead, the NY Times finds room on A-1 for stories about trans fats, wife-beatings in Africa, and the breaking story of how Beaver College changed its name to Arcadia University four years ago. I would have put the Able Danger story up front in favor of the Beaver College name change, but I’m weird like that.
No Coverage of Air America Scandal
The MSM’s refusal to cover the growing scandal at the liberal Air America radio network (Michelle Malkin has more details about how the former director of the network, Evan Cohen, loaned over $850,000 to himself from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, where he was development director, to keep Air America afloat) has gotten so bad that even the lefties at CJR Daily are asking “Hello?”:
What do you get when you cross a controversial liberal media outlet, the continuing fingerprints of its former director who resigned in disgrace, and hundreds of thousands of dollars apparently skimmed from a local non-profit that cares for disadvantaged youth and the elderly?
Well, one would think you would have a story with all the elements to at least make the business pages of the major dailies — but then, one would be wrong.
If CJR is this worked up about the MSM ignoring a scandal involving a liberal cause, you know you’ve got a serious omission going on.
Accuracy in Media has issued a press release disclosing a major conflict of interest for CNN in running the false NARAL ad:
The ad, accusing Roberts of endorsing anti-abortion terrorism, is from the group known as NARAL Pro-Choice America, a pro-abortion group. Public information shows that the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation received more than $1.4 million in 2003 from Ted Turner’s private foundation.
This wouldn’t be the first time Turner’s fingerprints were found all over a CNN decision to run or not run a political ad. Tim Graham recently e-mailed to point out another instance:
In the fall of ‘97, CNN refused to run ads that underlined how some major polluting nations would not be expected to be held to Kyoto emissions-reduction goals. Ted Turner nixed it.
Full story here
. It almost makes you feel sorry for Wolf Blitzer. Yesterday on The Situation Room
when Ken Mehlman criticized CNN for running the ad, Blitzer looked uncomfortable and changed the subject fast
Mehlman: The fact is, what we’ve seen, though, is outrage on the other side. A new NARAL ad has come out, an ad which is knowingly false and misleading. We have sent this station a letter on behalf of our general council asking you not to run it. If you’ve got an ad that you know is misleading, seems to me that’s an ad you shouldn’t run…
Blitzer: CNN’s attitude is you bend over to allow all political parties, all political advocacy groups to show the kinds of ads, barring something that’s totally, totally outrageous. Let me briefly read to you what Newt Gingrich said in the aftermath of that very close Ohio congressional race in Cincinnati…
Yesterday I said I thought there was still time for CNN to prevent lasting damage to its reputation by backing off from this thing. Now that Turner’s involvement is becoming clear, I don’t think CNN will back off.
UPDATE: Wendy Long at Bench Memos has more:
A few months ago, Judicial Confirmation Network (a “responsible group”) produced an ad on the Democratic filibuster of judicial nominees. CNN’s in-house lawyers questioned and nitpicked the text of JCN’s ad (which was perfectly accurate to begin with, and which ultimately ran as produced on CNN and other cable networks and local broadcast stations). Something tells me that NARAL likely did not face the same critical review.
Post Issues Correction; NY Times Repeats Error
The Washington Post issued a correction on a story that Dan Balz wrote about the NARAL ad that falsely accuses John Roberts of “excusing” violent clinic bombers:
Correction to This Article: Because of incorrect information from NARAL Pro-Choice America, an Aug. 9 article incorrectly said that a new television ad attacking Judge John G. Roberts Jr. would air on the Fox News Channel.
In discussing this story yesterday on the Hugh Hewitt radio show with Peter Robinson and Carol Liebau, who are currently guest hosting, I mentioned something I should have mentioned on the blog yesterday: Balz is a solid reporter and his story on the NARAL ad was far more balanced than the Sheryl Gay Stolberg article
in the NY Times
yesterday (see TimesWatch
for details). When I mentioned this, Peter Robinson agreed and argued that Balz probably failed to check out NARAL’s claim about Fox News because “why would NARAL lie about something that could be so easily verified?” Now that such an esteemed member of the DC press corps as Balz has been embarrassed by NARAL’s lies, maybe other reporters will be more skeptical of anything its spokespeople say.
Or maybe not. In today’s NY Times, Linda Greenhouse repeats the same error that the Post just corrected:
The focus of the 30-second spot, which Naral Pro-Choice America is spending $500,000 to place on the Fox and CNN cable networks, as well as on broadcast stations in Maine and Rhode Island over the next two weeks…
After all the corrections have run, will reporters ever take anything NARAL says at face value again? More importantly, should they ever have in the first place? (Thanks to Media Blog reader IQV for spotting the Times
FNC: They Actually Never Approached Us
I just got in touch with Dan Balz, who wrote the Washington Post report that Fox News along with CNN would be running an ad from NARAL falsely accusing John Roberts of harboring sympathies for abortion-clinic bombers. As I mentioned in an update to the post below, FNC told me that NARAL “actually never approached us for a buy.” Balz confirmed that he got the bum information from NARAL and that the Post will run a correction, and good for them.
Now. Will CNN announce that it reported incorrectly that Fox News would also be running the ads? Or will it continue to pass on NARAL’s lies about its lying ad?
UPDATE: Here’s a link to the CNN transcript, just posted, in which Wolf Blitzer reports that NARAL said the ads would run on Fox News, without noting that the statement is incorrect.
MoDo and I Are Back
Maureen Dowd is back from her sabbatical with a column about Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war protester whose son was killed in Iraq. Dowd calls Bush
Signing Off... No, Really
Greetings. The wedding was a great success. I am still officially out-of-the-office, but I just wanted to write one last post to say thank you to everyone who has e-mailed in to say congratulations, and to highlight the fact-checking wizardry of the New York Times society desk. The reporter who worked on this item requested transcripts and called multiple times to make sure everything was accurate. He did a great job (and the paper wisely decided not to run the picture we submitted). If only the news desk were as thorough.
Thanks again, and I’ll be back to blogging regularly soon.
I appreciate the kind words from John Podhoretz on the Corner, who writes that the Media Blog is “not-to-be-missed.” Sadly, just as it’s getting this praise, the Media Blog will have to be missed for the next two weeks. I’m attending a wedding on Saturday, and my duties as the groom will take me away from blogging until August 10th. Be sure to check back then, and enjoy the rest of NRO while I’m gone.
Inman on the Culture of Leaks
I recently asked Admiral Bobby R. Inman (USN Ret.), a professor at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs who served as both Director of the National Security Administration and former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, what he thought about Wilson, Plame and the leaking of classified information. Inman brought up an episode that has been overlooked in the recent debate — the CIA leaks during the 2004 election cycle, particularly the book Imperial Hubris, published by former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer under the pseudonym Anonymous. Inman said:
I was utterly appalled during the 2004 election cycle at the number of clearly politically motivated leaks from intelligence organizations — mostly if not all from CIA — that appeared to me to be the most crass thing I had ever seen to influence the outcome of an election. I never saw it quite as harsh as it was. And clearing books to be published anonymously — there was no precedent for it. I started getting telephone calls from CIA retirees when Bush appointed Negroponte, talking about how vindictive the administration was in trying to punish CIA, and I was again sort of dismayed by the effort to play politics including with information that was classified. What is the impact on younger workers who see the higher-ups engaged in this kind of leaking?
Johnny Walker was probably the single most devastating spy to the Navy, maybe the country, and when he was caught he was asked, “Why did you do it?” He was working communications on the staff of a submarine and he owned a bar that was going broke, so he needed the money. He said one day he had handled and decoded a classified message and sent it off, and the next day he read the contents on the front page of the Washington Post. He said,