Tuesday, 09 October 2007

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF OUR 'NEUTRAL' MEDIA

Ken Berwitz

This comes to us via Mark Finkelstein at www.newsbusters.com.  It is an excellent example of the deep media bias among journalists in positions of great power. 

Not that there aren't countless other examples, but this one stands out a bit more since the senior editor in question had the honesty to tell us about it in so many words:.

Chait Doesn't Just Hate Bush: Loathes Lower Taxes, Too

Created 2007-10-09 07:12

Jonathan Chait is one of the Founding Fathers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Way back in '03, the New Republic senior editor authored one of BDS's early, seminal works: "The Case for Bush Hatred [1]," whose very sentence was the subtle: "I hate President George W. Bush."

Ah, but Jonathan Chait isn't a mere one-hatred man. As of this morning, we can conclusively state that in addition to his animus toward our nation's chief executive, Jonathan Chait also hates lower taxes.

In his New York Times column "Captives of the Supply Side [2]," Chait directs his ire at lower federal taxes in general, and in particular toward those who believe that lowering tax rates can actually yield higher total tax revenues. This is of course the theory behind the Laffer Curve, based on the notion that lowered tax rates are more than compensated for by the additional economic activity they stimulate.

Chait variously derides tax-cut proponents as "the economic far right," calls supply siders "the most extreme and counterfactual subgroup" among anti-taxers, labeling believers in supply-side economics "fanatical ideologues." His new book [3]dismisses their ideas as "crackpot" and a "con."

There's only one small cloud on Chait's higher-taxes horizon: the facts. As he somewhat sheepishly acknowledges along the way:

Granted, economic growth sometimes causes revenues to rise faster than expected after a tax cut, as has happened since the 2003 tax cut.

Uh, yeah, there is that.

But not to worry. Chait goes on to argue that in any case, in most cases higher tax rates will yield higher total tax revenues. We'll leave it to others to determine the precise point on the Laffer Curve that yields the highest return. But I would make two observations:

  • Why, in any case, should our goal be to set tax rates at the point likely to collect the maximum amount of money for the federal government? Why feed the monster? We should instead be seeking to send to Washington the absolute minimum necessary to fulfill the indispensable functions of the federal government.
  • As a senior editor of the New Republic, Chait is a voice of the liberal establishment. It might be difficult to predict what precisely would be the foreign policy of a new Dem president. But one thing is beyond cavil: domestically, raising taxes will be a key goal of any Dem White House denizen.  .

As you can see, Chait provides standard-issue hardline stuff.  The left is right and the right is wrong.  There are not two sides here unless you're one of those far rightists or fanatical ideologues, in which case who cares what you think anyway?

So what should we make of Mr. Chait, the senior editor of a major news/commentary publication, telling us in so many words that he hates President Bush?  Personally, while I don't agree with his conclusions, I commend his honesty.  Biased though his politics may be, at least he declares them up-front.  There is no pretense about it. 

Chait is what he is, and that's the way it goes.  But what about his compatriots in media who do not declare their biases, but indulge them in what they feed to the public?  Illustratively, have Dan Rather, Katie Couric and Brian Williams ever acknowledged their political bias?  Who they root for? 

Every one of these three comes from a Democratic background, did you know that?  And many, many others in media who pretend to be neutral are straight out of the Democratic party as well, including Tim Russert, George Stephanopoulis, Chris Matthews, etc. etc. etc. .   

As I said above, these guys don't declare their bias, they just indulge it.  And what you get is propaganda disguised as news.


DENNIS PRAGER ON CAMPUS FREE SPEECH

Ken Berwitz

Dennis Prager's article is too long for this blog, so I only posting excerpts from it.  But every word of it is worth reading, so I urge you to go to www.townhall.com and read it completely.

Here are the key portions:.

Colorado State University Shames Itself
By Dennis Prager
Tuesday, October 9, 2007

On Sept. 21, 2007, the editorial board of the Colorado State University student newspaper decided to publish a four-word editorial. Apparently finding the traditional mode of expressing ideas -- arguing a case in a few hundred words -- too demanding, they instead wrote four words: "Taser this F--- Bush." Needless to say, they spelled out the F word.

The "Taser" referred to the police using a stun gun on a student at the University of Florida who refused to relinquish the microphone to other students at a speech at the university given by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. (How George Bush is connected to the use of a Taser on a left-wing student interrupting a speech by a left-wing anti-Bush senator was never explained by the editor.)

When universities were governed by people -- either liberals or conservatives -- who valued civilization i.e., before the contemporary left took over the universities, such an "editorial" was inconceivable. It would have been regarded as the work of moral and intellectual idiots whose political philosophy, to the extent that they had any, was anarchism.

But not today. It cannot be stated often enough that our universities generally are run by fools who are breeding a generation of fools. There are, of course, many exceptions, but these exceptions have little impact on the deconstruction of civilization and the breeding of anti-intellectuals taking place at our universities.

The more one knows about what happened at Colorado State University the more this grim assessment of our universities makes sense.

First, the "editorial" itself: It was purely a tantrum, the likes of which we associate with little children. But the editor, David McSwane, is a child; and his editorial board, which unanimously supported the four-word "editorial," is composed of children. Indeed, immaturity is a major feature of college life. For most students, college delays, rather than fosters, the maturing process. Universities, once founded to take young people and help mold them into adults, now work to keep them from becoming adults.

Read this report from CNN, and then weep for our society:

"Speaking for the board that oversees student media, CSU faculty member Jim Landers read a prepared statement and refused to comment further. 'We see the editorial as an opinion which is protected by the First Amendment,' Landers read."

Two sentences that say so much. The misunderstanding of freedom of speech is breathtaking. Retaining or firing the CSU editor had nothing to do with freedom of speech. It had to do with whether someone who abuses the editorial space of a major university newspaper is fit to be its editor. But the left confuses freedom with license (just as it confuses tolerance with acceptance). And so, in the name of protecting freedom, an obscene violation of elementary standards of intellectual coherence and decency went unpunished.

The other illuminating aspect of those two CNN sentences was that professor Landers "refused to comment further." Why? The reason is apparent to anyone familiar with our universities: Liberal professors are unused to being challenged. They are not challenged by other professors, and they hardly are challenged by 19- or 20-year-old students. Professor Landers was not about to open himself to intellectual challenges now.

Likewise, the child-editor himself, "refused to comment," according to CNN. When you retain your job as editor-in-chief of a university newspaper after writing a four-word editorial consisting solely of "'F---' the President of the United States," why would you feel it necessary to explain yourself? Like his mentor, professor Landers, McSwane is aware on some level that he has no intellectual or moral defense for what he did. And like the professor, he feels no obligation to the society-at-large whose mores he so offended.

Finally, let it be noted that the CSU faculty apparently has said next to nothing about the four-word large-font "editorial." Why not? Because, as the Talmud said 1,600 years ago, "Silence is agreement." If questioned, one suspects that nearly all the silent professors of Colorado State University would respond that this was a freedom of speech issue.

Of course, it is not. And that is proved easily: What if an editor had published a four-word large-font editorial that read "F--- Martin Luther King Jr."? Would the professors have kept silent because they deemed the issue one of freedom of speech? Would The New York Times and virtually every other liberal editorial page in America have said nothing about that editorial, as they have said nothing about the "F--- Bush" editorial?  .

The last paragraph puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?  If the editor and his staff publishes that headline, the next day there is an ex-editor and an ex-staff. 

So, in truth, this is a free speech issue.  But not the one being claimed. 

The issue here is lack of free speech.  It is the fact that "free speech" ends at the point where something is said outside of the leftist  orthodoxy which pervades and defines so many college campuses in this country.

When I read or hear someone claiming that putting "Fuck Bush" in a headline is an example of free speech, I cringe.  Because I know it is the polar opposite.  I have the same feelikng when someone tells me that Columbia University, which twice allowed an activist who fights for secure borders to be prevented from speaking, is a bastion of free speech because ahmadinejad was able to propagandize on its campus.  I despair over how completely fooled, bamboozled and played that person is.

When do we wake up and see what is happening in front of our eyes?


TODAY'S REPUBLICAN DEBATE

Ken Berwitz

For those who do not know, there will be a Republican debate on MSNBC and CNBC this afternoon at 4PM, with a replay at 9PM.

The moderator of this debate, along with Maria Bartiromo, is Chris Matthews. 

Chris Matthews is a lifelong Democrat who despises President Bush and who called the Republican administration a "criminal enterprise" at his TV show's 10th anniversary party just last week. That quote was provided by someone in the room, with NBC neither denying he said it nor willing to provide a tape that would dispute it.  So I conclude the quote is accurate.

Patrick Gavin of the Washington Examiner tried to get a tape or transcript of Matthews' comments - which would either incriminate or exonerate him regarding what he is accused of saying.  Here is what happened when he asked:.

GAVIN: Well, you know, I wrote them last night. And I got in touch with them and asked, you know, hey you have the transcript. You have video.

They had NBC crews there. They were their own cameras. And they said no. They said that they might use some footage on it on tonight's "Hardball." And my take on that is, you know, it's their party. It's their cameras. They can do what they want.

But this is a news organization. And they are news organization full of journalists who are constantly asking the powerful to let the sunshine in, to release footage, to release documents, you know, to expose the truth. And so when you ask them, look, I just want to take a look at the transcript, I just want to take a look at the video and they're not willing to sort of hold themselves to the same standard that they hold the people..

Unbelievable.  What arrogance.  What hypocrisy. 

Matthews is supposed to be hosting a neutral political show.  One that does not lean one way or another.  But anyone who has ever watched Hardball (and that ain't many, since, even after 10 years,  his show is still a bottom-dweller on cable) knows better. And if there were any doubt, the "criminal enterprise" comment should dispel it for once and for all.

Yet Republicans are willing to allow this snide, obnoxious partisan to moderate their debate.  That takes some guts.....a helluva lot more guts than Democratic candidates have shown.

 Democrats, as a group, have refused to debate on the Fox News Channel, even though a debate was scheduled on Fox under the auspices of a major Black group.  They were worried that Fox is not in the tank for them...er, that someone might ask them hard questions. 

Can you imagine what media would say if Republicans found a "reason" to bug out of a debate under Black auspices?  Well, you don't have to wonder - the major candidates did just that (The Morgan State U. debate) and were absolutely skewered for it throughout the media.  I agreed with this criticism and wrote a blog about it titled Republican Stupidity, which you can scroll back and read.   

But Democrats bugging out of a Black-sponsored debate?  No problema!!!!!   No racial component here, sheeple, just keep moving along, move along, move on moveon moveon.org, moveon.org.

What contempt these people hold voters in.

Bottom line:  What we have here is a clear contrast in both  a) what each party has to deal with media-wise and b) which party's candidates are willing to face up to a partisan who despises the head of their party and deal with him.

In the real world, not the fantasy-world of "neutral" media, presidents have to deal with partisans who despise the USA every day.  That's something worth thinking about.


CHRIS MOUTHEWS: THE QUOTE OF THE CENTURY

Ken Berwitz

Chris Matthews - or Chris Mouthews as I usually call him because he cannot be quiet long enough for most of his guests to say anything - called the Bush administration a criminal enterprise last week.

Today, with a level of bias that even USA media can't usually muster, Mouthews is being used as a host (co-host, actually) of  the Republican debate, which will be live at 4:00PM eastern time and replayed on MSNBC at 9:00PM. 

(Note:  By replaying the debate at 9PM, MSNBC may finally have found a way for keith olbermann's time slot to be competitive with Bill O'Reilly.  God knows that would never happen if it were just olbermann's show).

So you have a man who has aggresively made his hatred for President Bush crystal clear on his own show and who called the Bush administration "criminal" just this past week, moderating a Republican debate. 

Could this possibly be any more ridiculous?  The corollary of this circus sideshow would be using Rush Limbaugh for the next Democratic debate.

But let's be honest here:  never ever would a media venue do this to Democrats.  The candidates would back out before they finished the press release.  But for Republicans?  Hey that's show biz.  What's your problem anyway?

Now I promised you the quote of the century in this blog, and I always keep my promises.  So here is Chris Mouthews, on what would happen if any Republican dared to make mention of this stacked deck:.

"For twenty years I've paid the price of indepdendence. I've taken it from everybody ... every night of my life for the past twenty years. ... If they accuse of me of being partisan, I'll go rip! ... It's not about me, it's about them and who's going to be president during these difficult times.".

Can you believe your eyes?  This is CHRIS MOUTHEWS.  A lifelong Democrat who worked for Democratic house speaker Tip O'Neill, jimmy carter, and Ed Muskie.  A man who ran Democratic for congress (he didn't make it out of the primaries).  A man who has crapped on the Republican administration for 7 years and now calls it a criminal enterprise.  And if anyone challenges whether it is appropiate for him to moderate a Republican debate, he's going to "rip"???????!!! 

How DARE they call him a partisan.  What did he ever do to be seen in THAT light?

They say that truth is stranger than fiction.  Well this is more bizarre than truth and fiction combined, times twelve.

Personally I hope every candidate makes a point of mentioning everything I've put up here.  And if Chris Mouthews has a thin skin over being cited for what he is?  So what.  What will he do?  Hold his breath until is face turns blue (along with his politics)?  Have a hissy fit and stomp out of the debate? 

If that happened they could make this a pay-per-view event.  I'd gladly pony up the $$$ and I have a feeling lots of other people would too.

 


PRESS COVERAGE FROM IRAQ

Ken Berwitz

If a car bomb went off in Baghdad, killing 7 and wounding 21 others, then a second bomb killed 3 and a third bomb killed 4 more, would it be on the news tonight? 

You bet it would.  That's what they put on every night.  And when you ask them why, what is the standard answer?  "If it bleeds, it leads".

So tell me, how come you didn't see this, which I got courtesy of American Forces Press Service:.

Coalition Troops Kill Seven, Detain 21 Terrorists

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2007 Coalition forces in Iraq killed seven terrorists and detained 21 others today during a series of anti-al Qaeda in Iraq operations in the central and northern parts of the country.

-- Coalition forces killed three and captured eight suspected terrorists during raids targeting al Qaeda in Iraq agents operating in southern Baghdad.

-- South of Mahmudiyah, coalition forces killed four suspected terrorists and captured another.

-- Near Bayji, coalition forces captured an associate of al Qaeda in Iraq who is linked to gun running and moving terrorists. Four other suspects also were detained.

-- In Mosul, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists with links to al Qaeda in Iraq.

-- Coalition forces captured another suspect, a Sunni linked to al Qaeda in Iraq, during an operation west of Samarra. Three other suspects also were detained.

.

See, I'm willing to buy into the "if it bleeds, it leads" clich.  But I have a problem when the only bleeding that leads is inflicted by our enemy.  How come when THEY bleed the story DOESN'T lead?  Or even get reported?

This is the essence of media bias.  It is a glittering demonstration of media featuring news that is negative and demoralizing to our troops and the country, while withholding news that is positive and uplifting. 

What if media had reported World War II this way?  Think about it.


ANOTHER STORY ABOUT IRAQ THAT YOU DIDN'T SEE

Ken Berwitz

This is part of a series from the London Telegraph.  Please read it, and then think about why there is so little coverage of this turn of events in our media:.

Iraq insurgency: People rise against al-Qa'eda


By Damien McElroy in Husaybah

Damien McElroy spent a week in the heart of the insurgency in Anbar province in Iraq. In the second of seven exclusive reports he describes how peace and prosperity have returned to a town formerly riven by sectarian killings.

In a town tucked tight against the Syrian border, US Marines pass softly along a darkened street as the crack of contact rings out. Instead of a panicked rush for cover, the leader of the patrol turns to cheer.

The familiar sound was not from the barrel of gun but the baize of an upstairs pool hall.

A
transformation has swept western Iraq that allows Marines to walk through areas that a year ago were judged lost to radical Islam control and hear nothing more aggressive than a late-night game of pool.Behind the shutters the Sunni Muslim residents of the province are enjoying the dividends of driving out al-Qa'eda fighters who had imposed an oppressive Taliban-style regime.

The popular uprising against al-Qa'eda by residents of Anbar Province turned former enemies into American allies earlier this year. The result was a dramatic restoration of stability across Iraq's Sunni heartland. Husaybah bears the scars of the "terrorist" years - 2004 and 2005 - when al-Qa'eda and its local allies controlled the town.

Buildings stand half destroyed, roads remain torn up and almost half its population has fled. Much of the physical damage was inflicted in Operation Iron Curtain last year when Marine companies fought building by building to retake the town. Amid the ruins, relationships have been built by a softly-softly approach by American troops.

Footpatrols are hailed with cries of Salaam (Peace) and Habibi (Friend) in streets that were in no-go zones for the coalition a year ago. A ten-man unit of US Marines passes nightly along Husaybah's market street and zig-zags down alleys into residential areas. As they walk out, the sounds of a town reviving fill the air.

Sweet shops are filled with customers, workshop churn out furniture. "It's been a while since we hit any trouble," said patrol leader, Corporal Kristian Bandy. "We get a lot of feedback from the locals now, they tell us where arms caches are and if anyone's acting suspicious they turn him in."

In the advanced field combat hospitals run by the Navy in Anbar province, there is suddenly nothing to do. Equipped to handle sudden rushes of dozens of gravely injured troops, the hospitals are empty.

Commander William Klorig, the chief US medic in Anbar, said the numbers treated at the facility in al-Taqqadum has plummeted to less than 80 personnel in a week.

"Our expectation on deploying here was we would be caring for a great many combat wounded," he said. "That is not the way it has turned out. Many days we have no work."

Confident that progress is irreversible America is pushing to reopen Husaybah's border crossing with Syria. A large checkpoint under construction is due to start operating in mid-November. Security guards at the border will be equipped with a plethora of high technology to ensure bombs and weapons can't be smuggled from Syria.

"I'm not putting a number of how many vehicles will go through here, probably very many," said Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Giorno, the official in charge of the project. "My standard is safety. If just one gets through and nobody is killed, that's good for me."

Mr Kareem and other Husaybah residents claim that the peace that followed the expulsion of al-Qa'eda has triggered an economic revival and restoration of favourite pastimes. Ghanim Mirdie Waleed, coach of the local football team, who celebrated a recent victory with cigarettes, paid tribute to the American role in Husaybah.

"The conflict here was all caused by al-Qa'eda," he said. "We work and play as we like under the coalition security. There are jobs for people, shops are opened and we are very happy."

With al-Qa'eda pushed out, Anbaris are even rallying to a new shared cause with America - a fight to secure the country against Iranian infiltration.

Husaybah residents condemned Iran at nightly meetings where locals sit on stoops to enjoy the cool midnight breeze. Sectarian fighting is taking place hundreds of miles to east of the Syrian border but Iran's interference in Iraq ranked as a primary reason to back the American presence.

One of the leaders of the tribal revolt, Shiekh Kurdi Rafi Al-Shurayji said there was nothing to distinguish al-Qa'eda and the regime in Teheran. "They are no different," he said. "Al-Qa'eda relies on Iran's support, just the same as every evil force in Iraq."

Police Col Obaida Sueidi Khalif said Anbar's gains will remain dependent on the Americans until the government in Baghdad is capable of representing the entire nation.

"A lot of people from outside Iraq are trying to destroy our country," he said. "The people have to let the Coalition Forces not just here but in the capital help us because Baghdad can't run Iraq until it reconciles with the competent officials who served under Saddam Hussein."

A reduction in extremist intimidation has brought a flood of officers and men from the army disbanded after the 2003 war, back into Iraq's security forces. Anbar's main training academy this month held the first class devoted exclusively to Saddam era colonels and majors who have joined the new army's 7th Division.

Symbolically the class was the first to receive instruction in the workings of the US M16 assault rifle, which is to be the new weapon of the country's armed forces.

"I decided to rejoin two years ago but I live in Ramadi and the insurgents would have killed me and my family if I signed up until now," said Lt-Col Hamid Adwas. "As soon as the city was safe, I came back." .

Well, well, well.  A major piece of good news about the war in Iraq.  An apparent success for the USA and an apparent defeat for al qaeda - you know, those fun-loving folks who want us all either dead or living under their lunacy.

This is a major story in the London Telegraph, as it should be.  But a virtual non-story in USA media. 

However, if you want to know how many people died in the latest car bomb, no problem.  Our media are all over it, providing nonstop coverage.

Remember that question I have asked hardline anti-war people and never gotten a straight answer to?  "Would you rather we succeed in Iraq with President Bush taking the credit, or fail in Iraq with President Bush taking the blame?"  That question comes to mind as I note the lack of coverage regarding this positive, optimistic outcome which our media are so averse to telling us about.

Is is really that hard to report that the strategy being employed in Iraq is showing results?

This, unfortunately, leads to another question which regular readers have seen me ask numbers of times:  Which side are these people rooting for? 

 


ED MORRISSEY ANALYZES THE REPUBLICAN DEBATE

Ken Berwitz

If you can get by a little self indulgence and a decided preference for Fred Thompson, Ed Morrissey of www.captainsquartersblog.com has written an interesting analysis of today's Republican debate.  Here it is:.

Fred Wins, Chris Loses (Update: My Prediction Comes True)

The first debate with Fred Thompson was expected to reveal whether the lanky actor had what it takes to make a national run for the office. Instead, it revealed Chris Matthews as a hack of the first order, one who tried his best to torpedo Thompson -- and failed utterly. He got so desparate that he demanded to know whether Thompson knew who the Canadian Prime Minister was -- and he did. Matthews grew so frustrated that he openly critiqued one of Thompson's answer for being too detailed, which prompted a scolding from Thompson.

That was the game behind the debate, and Thompson stomped Matthews into a laughingstock. In the rest of the debate, Thompson showed that he was comfortable and prepared, even for the silly attacks from other candidates. Mitt Romney went into a long, telegraphed, and obviously gag-written punch about how the debates resemble "Law and Order" and how Fred shows up last, which Fred neatly returned by feigning surprise that he wasn't the best actor on the stage -- jabbing at Romney's perceived plasticness.

Rudy wisely chose to stay away from Thompson. Romney pulled Rudy into a catfight, but neither man scored a knockout punch. Rudy's team sent out a flurry of e-mails showing that Romney didn't have his facts straight, but Rudy shrugged it off anyway. He showed poise, humor, energy, and personality. He continues to show his mastery of the format.

Romney and McCain did pretty well, although they had rough spots. When asked about war powers, Romney's insistence that he would have to check with his lawyers sounded like he didn't have a firm grasp on the mechanisms of war. Fred got it right first, and McCain answered well. McCain started off shaky, with the unusual "angry man" gambit in the opening minutes, but relaxed and was much more himself.

As for the rest, well, they occupied subplots most of the evening. Paul mostly continued his odd hand-flailing and high-pitched shouting. Tancredo couldn't seem to get words out of his mouth. Brownback faded into Tommy Thompson-like dullness. Duncan Hunter did well and his protectionism may have sounded good to the Michigan audience, but it won't sell to the GOP. Mike Huckabee again did well, but after Ames, he needed a breakout performance and didn't get it -- in part because he didn't get a lot of opportunities to respond. Matthews spent too much time hunting the Great Fred Whale, and coming up empty.

Fred's in now, and he will find new momentum after this performance. Matthews will become more of a joke, if such a thing is possible at a network that employs Keith Olbermann.

UPDATE: Earlier this morning, as Rick Moran reminded me during the Debate Central roundtable, I urged Republicans to engage against Chris Matthews:

Mike Allen at The Politico believes that Chris Matthews will be lying in wait to find a "gotcha" moment for Thompson. Allen thinks it will come from an economics question, but it could just as well come from a foreign-policy query. Matthews has been accused of having a "man crush" on Thompson by some of his critics on the Left, and will no doubt want to establish some credibility with a tough attack on Thompson. Thompson will have an equal opportunity to pop Matthews' bubble by responding calmly and in the same 30-second generalities as everyone else on stage.

I guess I had that about right, didn't I? Also, I suggested that "the candidate who can push back best against Matthews' potential low blows should be strongly considered for the nomination." I think Fred qualifies as someone who can fight for himself. .

I'll say this for Chris Mouthews;  he wasn't as bad as he could have been. 

If that looks like a compliment of sorts for Mouthews, or a justification of why MSNBC would put a born-again Democrat in the host's seat of a Republican debate, believe me when I say it isn't.  My only point is that Mouthews has the capacity to be worse than he was and didn't exploit that capacity to it's fullest degree. 

It's a little like saying that your fat diabetic uncle only ate three jelly donuts tonight when he could have had five. 


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