Thursday, 21 June 2007

UPDATE ON POLL COVERAGE

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday I blogged about Gallup's latest political polling, in which President Bush has a job approval rating of 32%.....and the Democratic congress has a job approval rating of 24%, which is significantly lower.  I speculated that there would be little coverage of these data in the mainstream media, because while they love to show you bad numbers for George Bush, they are highly averse to doing so for Democrats.

I watched the Today show this morning to see if I was correct.  I paid special attention to the segment in which Matt Lauer talks with Tim Russert, because they frequently discuss polling data at that time.   Well, guess what:  If they mentioned the fact that Bush is ahead of the Democratic congress, I didn't see or hear it. 

I admit I didn't catch all 60 minutes of Today's first hour so I can't swear they didn't mention it during that period.  But I watched/listened enough to know that, if they did so at all. it was the fast in-and-out story that tells you not to pay much attention.  It certainly wasn't done as a full segment, or as a feature with strategists from both parties commenting and debating what the data mean.  Bottom line?  It was buried.

Then I picked up my New York Times and went through the news section.  I scoured it page by page.  This is the so-called "paper of record" that gives us "all the news that's fit to print".  So it must have been there.  Right? 

Well, I admit that I did find poll data that involved the presidency.  But before you say "see, I told you so", be advised that the data showed how people felt about a number of positions taken by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who may be considering an independent presidential run.  There was nothing whatsoever about the fact that President Bush's approval ratings are significantly higher than those of the Democratic congress.  Not one word.  Not one chart.  Nothing. 

I can't say this surprises me.  Obviously it doesn't, because I often point out that how flagrant media bias is.  Maybe at this point I should be so sensitized to the bias that it shouldn't bother me.  But it does, for two reasons.  One is that it is bias per se.  And the other is that it abuses the people who rely on media for their information.

When media tell you the parts they want you to know and suppress the parts they don't want you to know, they are doing more than misinforming you.  They are manipulating you to their point of view.  And be assured, if they do it in one area (e.g. polling data) they do it in others as well. 

When media do this, they are intentionally making fools of well-meaning, intelligent people who think they are keeping themselves informed.  That is cynical.  It is ugly.  And it is wrong.  

If you make no attempt to know what is happening in the world, that's your choice and welcome to it.  But if you do attempt to know what is happening in the world you should be respected for that attempt.  You should not be treated like a circus clown by elitists who think they have the right to decide what you think..

FURTHER UPDATE:  As bad as that 24% approval rating is, there are other Gallup data even worse for the Democratic congress.  USA Today (which HAS to report it, they commissioned the study), indicates that satisfaction with congress is at an astonishingly low 14%.  To assure you this is not a typo, let me repeat:  14%.  That is the single lowest level in Gallup's 34 year history of measuring satisfaction with congress, and it blows away the former lowest level of 18%. 

But Today and the Times?  No mention  Nothing to see here, sheeple, just keep moving on.  moveon. moveon. Got it?


MORE PROOF OF MEDIA BIAS (AS IF ANY MORE WERE NEEDED)

Ken Berwitz

However improbable, I bet that there are still people out there somewhere who have convinced themselves that media in the USA are not biased to the Democratic/liberal side.  Let me put them out of their misery.

Here is an article written by Bill Dedman from - of all places - MSNBC, which makes the bias so crystal-clear that it can't be denied.  It is the proverbial 1,000 lb. gorilla in the middle of the road. 

I give MSNBC a lot of credit for publishling Mr. Dedman's article.  By doing so they are exposing a reality which most of their colleagues would never address and, frankly, do not want you to know.  Good for them!!. 

It took lots of guts for MSNBC to provide such a refreshing dose of candor.  I hope it takes hold and continues from now on.  (And, for humanitarian reasons, I hope they had the foresight to put iron bar restraints on keith olbermann's office window in case he reads it).

Specifically, here is what they have found:.

Journalists dole out cash to politicians (quietly)

News organizations diverge on handling of political activism by staff

By Bill Dedman
Investigative reporter
MSNBC
 

BOSTON - A CNN reporter gave $500 to John Kerry's campaign the same month he was embedded with the U.S. Army in Iraq. An assistant managing editor at Forbes magazine not only sent $2,000 to Republicans, but also volunteers as a director of an ExxonMobil-funded group that questions global warming. A junior editor at Dow Jones Newswires gave $1,036 to the liberal group MoveOn.org and keeps a blog listing "people I don't like," starting with George Bush, Pat Robertson, the Christian Coalition, the NRA and corporate America ("these are the people who are really in charge").

Whether you sample your news feed from ABC or CBS (or, yes, even NBC and MSNBC), whether you prefer Fox News Channel or National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal or The New Yorker, some of the journalists feeding you are also feeding cash to politicians, parties or political action committees.

MSNBC.com identified 144 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties..

Any readers with lingering doubts about the fact that there is media bias which vastly favors the Democratic/liberal/ side, would either have to cover their eyes and pretend they didn't see this article or fantasize that Mr. Dedman was giving them a recipe for blueberry muffins.

Let's review:  MSNBC uncovered 144 journalists who gave money to political entities....and 125 gave exclusively to the Democratic/liberal/ side, compared to 17 for the Republican/conservative side.  That sort of ends the issue, doesn't it?

Dedman then goes on to name them individually.  They include major TV news correspondents, news anchors, editors of major magazines and so on.  Yes there are lower level people too, but the point is that there are plenty of people at every level of responsibility, including a good number of  "final word" executives.  The entire list is available at ttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19113455

This should tell you plenty about why reportage is so biased, even if you have been one of the holdouts who denied it exists.  I hope you keep it in mind when you watch and/or read the news from now on.


FORCING YOU TO LISTEN TO WHAT YOU REJECT....

Ken Berwitz

Here's an old joke we used to tell as kids, to assure ourselves that our teachers weren't really any smarter than we were:

This professor decided to conduct an experiment, so he went near a fly that was on his kitchen table and yelled "FLY".  Of course, the fly got scared and did just that.  Then he caught the fly, held it in his hand and pulled off its wings.  He yelled "FLY" again, and the fly stayed put.

So he concluded that if you pull off a fly's wings, it becomes deaf.

When you're a kid that's pretty funny.  You might even get a brief chuckle out of it as an adult.  But when you grow up you know that it's just a joke and makes no sense at all.

The problem is, some people never grow up.  They continue to make ridiculous conclusions that deny the obvious reasons things happen.  Here, I'll show you:

Following is a summary of the findings from a leftwing organization which is upset that conservatives are so dominant in talk radio. The organization decided to analyze why this could possibly happen - after all, how could anyone with a brain listen to what they disagree with?  This is their summary of findings:.

REPORT: The Right Wing Domination Of Talk Radio And How To End It

The Center for American Progress and Free Press today released the first-of-its-kind statistical analysis of the political make-up of talk radio in the United States. It confirms that talk radio, one of the most widely used media formats in America, is dominated almost exclusively by conservatives.

The new report entitled The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio raises serious questions about whether the companies licensed to broadcast over the public radio airwaves are serving the listening needs of all Americans.

While progressive talk is making inroads on commercial stations, right-wing talk reigns supreme on Americas airwaves. Some key findings:

In the spring of 2007, of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners, 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming was conservative, and only 9 percent was progressive.

Each weekday, 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk are broadcast on these stations compared to 254 hours of progressive talk 10 times as much conservative talk as progressive talk.

76 percent of the news/talk programming in the top 10 radio markets is conservative, while 24 percent is progressive.

Two common myths are frequently offered to explain the imbalance of talk radio: 1) the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine (which required broadcasters to devote airtime to contrasting views), and 2) simple consumer demand. Each of these fails to adequately explain the root cause of the problem. The report explains:

Our conclusion is that the gap between conservative and progressive talk radio is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast, the elimination of clear public interest requirements for broadcasting, and the relaxation of ownership rules including the requirement of local participation in management. []

Ultimately, these results suggest that increasing ownership diversity, both in terms of the race/ethnicity and gender of owners, as well as the number of independent local owners, will lead to more diverse programming, more choices for listeners, and more owners who are responsive to their local communities and serve the public interest.

Along with other ideas, the report recommends that national radio ownership not be allowed to exceed 5 percent of the total number of AM and FM broadcast stations, and local ownership should not exceed more than 10 percent of the total commercial radio stations in a given market. .

Do you follow this?  Can you even believe your eyes?

Radio is a discretionary medium.  It is entirely your choice as to a) whether you listen at all and b) what you listen to. 

There have been numerous attempts to program liberal/left talk shows.  But with almost no exceptions, every time it has been tried it has failed.  The most notable (and notorious) failure, of course, was Air America, but there have been plenty of others.  Mario Cuomo tried and lasted just about 6 months.  Roseanne Barr just tried and is now gone, after only 3 months, etc. etc. etc.  Ed Schultz is the only "progressive" (I love that new buzzword for liberal/left) with any success at all, and even he is well down the list.

Most folks would conclude from this that listener preference is with conservative talk shows.  But, then again, most folks are rational.  Then there are the ideology-driven LAMBs (Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigade).  Like, for example,  "The Center For American Progress And Free Press". 

Their conclusion?  It isn't that you listen to what you want to listen to.  It is.....wait, what were the exact words?  Oh yeah, they are...

"multiple structural problems in the US regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast, the elimination of clear public interest requirements for broadcasting, and the relaxation of ownership rules, including the requirement of local participation in management"

In other words, the fly became deaf.

What they are really saying, of course, is that if you don't intend to listen to what they want you to hear, they intend to MAKE you listen to it.  If the public far prefers conservative talk radio, the public has to be redirected to "progressive" shows.  It isn't your choice, it's their choice.

And, as I have blogged about in the past, Democrats in congress are actively working to try to implement this effort at reprogramming radio listeners to their way of thinking, through what they call the "Fairness Doctrine" - which is anything but.

If they ever accomplish it, you'll envy the deaf fly............


TROOP SURGE "FAILURE" UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

From today's Washington Post:.

Dozens of Insurgents Killed in Iraq Offensive
Bombmaking Material Found in Diyala Province
By John Ward Anderson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, June 21, 2007; A18

BAGHDAD, June 20 -- U.S. and Iraqi forces continued targeting Sunni insurgents in the city of Baqubah north of Baghdad on Wednesday, the second day of a major new offensive aimed at stamping out the Sunni extremist group al-Qaeda in Iraq.

About 10,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops are participating in the new offensive, called Arrowhead Ripper, which began early Tuesday in Diyala province, a mixed Sunni-Shiite-Kurdish province north and east of Baghdad that, in recent months, has become a stronghold of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the most violent area in the country outside of the capital. Forty-one insurgents and one American soldier were killed in two days of fighting, the U.S. military said Wednesday.

"We have found three warehouses and factories where car bombs cars were built, as well as large stashes of TNT and mortar rounds used to make" roadside bombs, said Mohammed al-Askari, an Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman. "We also found the swords that they used to slaughter people in their so-called courts, in addition to sniper rifles and silencers."

The U.S. military said in a statement that five weapons caches had been found and that 25 roadside bombs and five booby-trapped houses had been discovered and destroyed. .

This is great news.  And it is only happening because we have the additional troops in place, along with the newly trained and increasingly effective Iraqi troops -- which will be more and more responsible for such initiatives as time goes on. 

Successes like these provide an intelligent reason for reducing US troop strength, as opposed to pulling a random date out of a hat and effectively telling the enemy to wait until then.

I bet the senate malaise leader, harry reid and the disparager of the house, nancy pelosi-ricardo, are calling a joint press conference to celebrate this wonderful news, because they are so happy to see the USA with something good to say about the war's conduct.  I bet.


THE MUSLIM "SCHOLAR" LOVE AFFAIR WITH BIN LADEN

Ken Berwitz

Some things don't need explanations, they speak for themselves.

Lamentably, this is one of them:.

Pakistan scholars honour Bin Laden in Rushdie row

by Rana Jawad Thu Jun 21, 10:19 AM ET

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistani Islamic scholars honoured Osama bin Laden Thursday in response to Britain's knighthood for Salman Rushdie, as a senior ruling party member said he would not hesitate to kill the novelist.

Meanwhile the country's religious affairs minister, who caused outrage by remarking that the award given to the "Satanic Verses" author justified suicide attacks, announced that he may visit Britain next month.

The Pakistani Ulema Council, a private body that claims to be the biggest of its kind in the country with 2,000 scholars, said it had given Bin Laden the title "Saifullah", or Sword of Allah, its top accolade.

"We are pleased to award the title of Saifullah to Osama bin Laden after the British government's decision to bestow the title of 'Sir' on blasphemer Rushdie," council chairman Maulana Tahir Ashrafi told AFP.

"This is the highest title for a Muslim warrior."

Bin Laden has been blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people. He is widely believed to be hiding on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Later Afzal Sahi -- the speaker of the Punjab province assembly and a member of the Pakistan Muslim League party that backs President Pervez Musharraf -- said during a debate that he would murder Rushdie if he saw him.

"I am a Muslim and then a politician and it is ordained in Islam that the punishment for a blasphemer is death. If this man comes in front of me I will definitely kill him," he said in response to a question by an opposition MP.

During a protest by thousands of people in Lahore against Musharraf's suspension of the Pakistani chief justice, a large part of the crowd briefly chanted "Death to Britain, Death to Rushdie", witnesses said.

The neighbouring Islamic republics of Pakistan and Iran both summoned the British envoys to their countries on Tuesday as the row spread over the Rushdie award, which was announced on Saturday.

Britain hit back by expressing "deep concern" over the comments on suicide attacks by religious affairs minister Ijaz-ul Haq.

Haq -- who later withdrew the remarks saying that he meant only that the award would foster extremism -- said he now planned to visit Britain.

"Yes, I may travel to Britain next month as a British delegation has invited me to guide them on how to engage khateebs and imams (sermon deliverers and prayer leaders) in a constructive dialogue," Haq told AFP.

The British delegation met Haq on Monday and included representatives from Britain's Home Office and Foreign Office with responsibility for engaging with the Islamic world and preventing extremism, he said.

"I can confirm he did meet the delegation but I am not aware of any invitation," said Aidan Liddle, a spokesman for the British High Commission (embassy) in Islamabad.

Former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto has called on Haq to resign.

Haq is the son of military dictator Zia-ul-Haq, who ruled Pakistan from 1977 until his death in a mysterious plane crash in 1988. His father introduced Islamic punishments to the country including death for blasphemy.

A comment piece in Britain's Daily Telegraph said that if Pakistan was so angry about the issue, it should return the 480 million pounds (955 million dollars) in aid promised by Prime Minister Tony Blair last year.

"If this is tainted money, it can presumably be returned," it said.

But in the Pakistani federal parliament Pakistan Muslim League president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said that Blair was "personally and mentally against Muslims." .

I would feel a lot better if many other Muslim "scholars" and Muslim groups of any kind now rise up and condemn these statements.  Will they?

Because if they don't they are in agreement with this honor for bin laden.

Let's keep an eye out and see...............


GUEST COMMENTARY: CAL THOMAS ON THE ISRAEL/PALESTINIAN ARAB SITUATION

Ken Berwitz

I don't always agree with Cal Thomas, but he has, for the most part, hit a home run with this column.  See if you agree:

.

Palestinians' power shuffle leaves the deck stacked against Israel

Originally published June 20, 2007
The Bush administration's announced goal for Israel and the "Palestinian people" has been two states, living side by side in peace. The administration is two-thirds of the way there. There are now two states - one in Gaza, headed by the militant Hamas organization, which shot its way to power, and another in the West Bank, headed by accused Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas. Unfortunately for Israel, there is no peace, which should not surprise those who have been predicting exactly what is coming to pass.

Whatever their names, be they groups such as Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida, or states such as Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, their objectives are identical: the annihilation of the democratic Jewish state and the elimination of all Jews, either by death or displacement, from the land. To argue otherwise and to continue believing the fiction that "infidel" diplomats from the State Department or European Union can magically transform people commanded to hate Jews and Israel based on a twisted mandate from their corrupt notion of God, is to be in extreme denial.

Hamas won't stop with Gaza. After its victory over poorly directed Israeli forces in Lebanon last summer, why should it? The one thing terrorists understand is weakness. They perceive Israel, under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as weak, and they are going for Israel's jugular. Benyamin Elon, a conservative member of Israel's Knesset, said, "The Fatah is diminishing in front of our eyes, and a group of gangsters is taking over. Israel can wake up now from the delusion of an independent Palestinian state."

Will it, or will Mr. Olmert be passing out and swallowing more diplomatic sleeping pills during meetings this week with President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and members of Congress? The violence and broken agreements are not being perpetrated by Israel. They are being perpetrated on Israel. It is mystifying that Western diplomats continue to pressure Israel to "do more" when "more" has brought Israel less.

Each time Israel gives up something necessary for its security, it receives in return more war, more terror and more insecurity. If more for less remains the "strategy" of the United States, Israel has two choices: Surrender now, or prepare for all-out war with catastrophic results.

The Palestinians held elections in January 2006 and instead of picking leaders to make peace with Israel, they overwhelmingly voted in members of Hamas to head the Palestinian Authority. A flood tide of terrorists and arms subsequently flowed into Gaza.

The intentions of Hamas and other terrorist groups are not hidden. They openly proclaim what they intend to do and then they do it.

Osama bin Laden said five years before Sept. 11, 2001, that he planned to attack the United States, but our leaders didn't take his statement seriously enough to eliminate him when they had the chance.

Those still in doubt or denial about what Israel's (and America's) enemies are planning might benefit from reading Jed Babbin's new book, In the Words of Our Enemies, in which he assembles what the Islamic terrorists, Chinese and North Korean communists and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are saying they want to do to us. This quote from the al-Qaida training manual leaves no room for diplomacy: "The confrontation that Islam calls for with these godless and apostate regimes does not know Socratic debates, Platonic ideals nor Aristotelian diplomacy. But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machinegun."

Anyone who questions the sincerity of such a statement is a fool. Apparently enough fools remain in leadership in Israel, the United States and Europe to encourage the killers to fight on until victory is attained.

.


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