Friday, 13 July 2007


Ken Berwitz

I just read this at the invaluable site.  And it raises an interesting question:

Would media report the story if the group in question were, say, evangelical Christians?  Or orthodox Jews?  What do you think?.

Danish Muslims Lose Libel Case, Threaten Fatwa

A Muslim group in Denmark has been trying to use the Danish legal system to shut down criticism of their hate speech and seditious behavior, but the Danish court has refused to knuckle under to their demands: Muslim group loses cartoons libel case in Denmark.

COPENHAGEN, July 13 (Reuters) - A Muslim group lost a libel case on Friday against the leader of a Danish anti-immigrant party who had accused its members of treason for publicising cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

A court ruled that Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of the Danish Peoples Party (DPP), did not libel the Islamic Faith Community when she accused some of its members of treason for travelling to the Middle East to publicise a Danish newspapers publication of the drawings, which caused a worldwide uproar in 2006.

The court said the term treason was not libellous because it was used extensively in public debate. It ordered the plaintiffs, a loose network of Danish Muslim organisations which says it represents 50,000 members, to pay Kjaersgaard 40,000 Danish crowns ($7,400) in costs.

In September 2005, the newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of the Prophet which were later reprinted elsewhere and provoked outrage among Muslims. Three Danish embassies were attacked and at least 50 people were killed in rioting in the Middle East and Asia. Most Muslims regard any depiction of the Prophet as offensive.

Since the legal method didnt get them what they wanted, the Islamic Faith Community now resorts to threats.

We are very disappointed with the verdict and are considering an appeal, said Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Muslim group. He added that the group would issue a fatwa, or religious edict, against Jyllands-Posten if it did not receive an apology from the paper.

"Its too early to say any details of the fatwa, Ahmad said. The fatwa is the last step and will also satisfy Muslims in the Middle East." .

What do you think?  Would they?  Because I doubt very much that you saw it in any mainstream media today.  And the reason I doubt it is that the group was comprised of "activist" Muslims (that's the nice way of saying it).

What is it in our media that makes them think it is perfectly ok to expose every misstep, big or small, real or imagined, against Christians and Jews, but unthinkable to report overt threats made by radical Muslims for "crimes" like publishing a few cartoons?

Do mainstream media support radical Islam?  Or is it just that they are too pee-in-your-pants scared to criticize them in print?  I think I know the answer and I think you do too.


Ken Berwitz

Have you ever eaten something at a street fair?  I bet the answer is yes -- who hasn't?

For someone like me, who is in New York City all the time, this is almost inevitable.  Manhattan has endless street fairs all summer and at various other times throughout the year.  When I drive in, I always try to find out where they are, because they require streets to be closed and therefore creat a traffic nightmare.

In Chicago, they have a yearly fair devoted almost entirely to food.  It is called "A Taste Of Chicago".  My wife and I have gone to this event and found it lots of fun.

But in Chicago, as in New York, I always wonder about the quality of food being cooked and served, as well as the hygiene of the cookware and - very especially - the people doing the cooking.

With this in mind, please read the following, courtesy of the Associated Press, with special attention to the last part, which I have put in bold print:

126 People Ill After Chicago Food Fest

Jul. 13 12:00AM US/Eastern

CHICAGO (AP) - More than 120 people who ate from the same booth at the Taste of Chicago food festival last week became ill, at least nine of them with salmonella poisoning and 10 who were hospitalized, the health department said Thursday.

The Chicago Department of Health was investigating the cases and confirmed that nine were caused by salmonella bacteria. The number could increase because lab results are pending in some of the cases.

The 126 people all ate at the Pars Cove Persian Cuisine booth, which served cucumber salad over hummus, grilled lamb and beef, pomegranate barbecued chicken and baklava.

It was the first confirmed outbreak of a food-borne illness associated with the Taste of Chicago in at least 20 years, the health department said in a release. The 10-day outdoor festival, which ended Sunday, brings out food from more than 70 restaurants and concerts.

Mike Bambouyani, manager of Pars Cove, said the restaurant is cooperating with health officials to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Officials inspected the restaurant and were interviewing and testing restaurant workers who handle food. The bacteria could have been transmitted by food handlers or could have come from a food ingredient, officials said.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.  

Street fair food is supposed to make you go mmmm, not hmmm follwed by arrggghhhh.  I'm sorry for the 126 people who did what I and anyone else who ever ate at a food fair did - assumed the food was safe for human consumption..

In fairness, Chicago claims that this is the first such incident in more than 20 years  -- I think.  I'm  not sure because they threw in that it was the first confirmed incident in that time, which suggests that it may have happened other times but they could not prove it conclusively.

In Manhattan, there are many street vendors who sell food.  My wife refers to the guys who sell boiled hot dogs as "the dirty waters" and would not eat them.  Given that the same guy who makes your hot dog handles your money, I don't blame her.  

The point here, is that when you consume food from a nameless, faceless person at a non-permanent eating establishment, you don't know what you're getting.  Maybe it will make you sick and maybe it will do worse. 

It also occurs to me that food which can be poisoned with something that takes a period of time to work, would enable someone who is so disposed to physically harm or even kill a huge number of innocent civilians.  And, as I hope we are all aware, there are people, and groups, who would like nothing better than dead civilians and a terrorized population. 

That's a real good reason to think twice before you indulge. 


Ken Berwitz

When there is a a car wreck, don't they usually remove the debris?  Or do they let it sit there for years and years?  Well, if you're CBS News, apparently you do the latter. 

Here, courtesy of the Associated Press, is how they are handling the ratings catastrophe visited upon the CBS Evening News since Katie Carwreck took the anchor seat:


July 12, 2007, 7:28PM
CBS chief: Couric will stay

CBS News president Sean McManus Thursday dismissed talk that Katie Couric may leave as CBS Evening News anchor, saying he expected her to be on the job through her five-year contract.

A candid Couric interview in New York magazine this week renewed questions about Couric's future, leading a prominent blogger to start speculating about who might replace her.

"She has a five-year contract with CBS to anchor the evening news," McManus said. "All of us, including Katie, expect her to be anchoring the evening news in her fifth year."

Couric began anchoring the evening news last September and the ratings have been a disappointment. .

"...the ratings have been a disappointment"?  Yep, you could say that.  Bob Schieffer, the guy who FILLED IN while Katie was disengaging from the Today show, actually had higher ratings than Couric does now.

Think of this in baseball terms:  Suppose there is a free agent named "Slugger".  Suppose you give Slugger $75 million for five years ($15 million per) because he is a .300 hitter who belts 40 home runs and drives in 120 runs a year.  You figure that this is going to pay off handsomely because Slugger will make your team better and draw many more people into the ballpark. 

Now suppose that in Slugger's first year he bats .225, with 12 home runs and 55 runs batted in.  And, because of his lack of production, not only is there is no increase in attendance, it actually drops substantially and you lose revenues instead of gaining them.

Would you want to keep Slugger for another four years at $15 million per?  Would you be happy about all that money going out without any benefit - either on the field or in the stands?  Of course not.

But you are STUCK with him, because you made a huge mistake by giving him that contract.  So what you are you going to say?  You're going to say something like:

 "Slugger has a five-year contract with the team to play ball.  All of us, including Slugger, expect him to be playing for us in his fifth year".

I wonder how Slugger would feel about going out onto the field every day, knowing the fans will deride him for taking all that money and providing a net loss. 

I wonder how Katie feels.



Ken Berwitz

Bad news about the war in Iraq?  Massive coverage.

Endless investigations, hearings, etc, during which the Democratic congress avoids dealing with critically needed legislation in favor of trying to "get" Republicans?  Massive coverage.

Great economic news?  No coverage.

That's what we have today.  But I'll try to do my part and make up the difference, by showing you the following:.

Job Creation Continues - More Than 8.2 Million Jobs Created Since August 2003

On July 6, 2007, The Bureau Of Labor Statistics Released New Jobs Figures 132,000 Jobs Created In June.  Since August 2003, more than 8.2 million jobs have been created, with more than 2 million jobs created over the twelve months ending in June.  Our economy has now added jobs for 46 straight months, and the unemployment rate remains low at 4.5 percent. 

Americans Are Working And Taking Home More Pay

  • Real After-Tax Per Capita Personal Income Has Risen By 9.9 Percent Nearly $3,000 Per Person Since President Bush Took Office.
  • Real Wages Rose 1.1 Percent Over The 12 Months Ending In May.  This is faster than the average rate during the 1990s, and it means an extra $729 in the past year for the typical family with two wage earners.
  • The Economy Has Now Experienced Over Five Years Of Uninterrupted Growth, Averaging 2.9 Percent A Year Since 2001.  Real GDP grew a strong 3.1 percent in 2006.
  • Since The First Quarter Of 2001, Productivity Growth Has Averaged 2.8 Percent.  This is well above average productivity growth in the 1990s, 1980s, and 1970s.
  • Purchasing Managers Reported Manufacturing Expansion For The Fifth Consecutive Month In June.  The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index rose to 56 in June.  .

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that media might find something to talk about there.

The great columnist, Charles Krauthammer, coined a phrase to describe media and others) who hate George Bush so much that they cannot bring themselves to say anything good happened under his watch, even when it clearly did.  The term is BDS - Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Allowing this kind of news to go virtually unreported is a case in point.

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