Saturday, 14 June 2008

BERNARD GOLDBERG RECALLS TIM RUSSERT'S POSITION ON "DIVERSITY"

Ken Berwitz

Here, from Brent Baker of www.newsbusters.org,  is a terrific segment from last night's Hannity & Colmes, in which Bernard Goldberg reminisces about Tim Russert and his understanding of "newsroom diversity":

Goldberg Recalls Russert's Call for Newsroom Ideological Diversity

By Brent Baker | June 13, 2008 - 21:53 ET

Appearing by phone on Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg recalled for fill-in host Laura Ingraham how Tim Russert recognized there should be more to newsroom diversity than just diversity by gender and skin tone, that you need ideological diversity. Goldberg, who was forced out of CBS News after he pointed out their liberal bias, lamented:

I wish his colleagues understood that part of Tim Russert, too. That he knew that we needed all kinds of people in journalism because if we didn't have it we were going to get one-sided journalism.

Goldberg read aloud to the FNC audience a quote from Russert contained in an interview featured in Goldberg's 2003 book, Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite:

I'm all for hiring women in the newsroom and minorities in the newsroom -- I'm all for it. It opens up our eyes and gives us a different perspective. But just as well, let's have people with military experience. Let's have people from all walks of life. People from the top echelon schools, but people from junior colleges and the so-called middling schools -- that's the rich pageantry of America. I'm a great believer in racial diversity and gender diversity, but you need cultural diversity, you need ideological diversity. And then he emphasized, Laura: You need it.

Goldberg's entire recollection from the Friday, June 13 O'Reilly Factor:
He was one of the good guys. But the reason he was one of the good guys isn't simply because he knew his beat better than almost everybody else, he was one of the good guys because he was fair. He was a blue collar guy who understood America and Americans a lot better than a lot of other people who work in journalism. One of the things that he told me -- I did a long interview with him and published an entire -- I didn't want to take snippets out so I published the entire transcript of the interview. Let me read you a short segment here. This was about the need for real diversity in the newsroom that goes beyond the kind we have now. He said:

I'm all for hiring women in the newsroom and minorities in the newsroom -- I'm all for it. It opens up our eyes and gives us a different perspective. But just as well, let's have people with military experience. Let's have people from all walks of life. People from the top echelon schools, but people from junior colleges and the so-called middling schools -- that's the rich pageantry of America. I'm a great believer in racial diversity and gender diversity, but you need cultural diversity, you need ideological diversity. And then he emphasized, Laura: You need it.

You know, I've spent much of the day listening to his colleagues say wonderful things about Russert and I'm glad for every word. But I wish his colleagues understood that part of Tim Russert, too. That he knew that we needed all kinds of people in journalism because if we didn't have it we were going to get one-sided journalism. We were going to get people who brought their biases to the stories. And he didn't. He didn't. He went out of his way to take a position, to look at a position, and say this is how I feel about it and that is totally irrelevant. That's what made him as important as he was. That he was fair.

As the tributes flood in from every newsroom of every network, I can only hope against hope that they see this as Mr. Russert's true legacy, and then DO something about it.

Lamentably, however, I do not at all expect this to happen.  I believe them when they talk about their regard for Mr. Russert, who was a remarkable man.  I do not believe they give a damn about what made him that way.


MORE ON THE END OF FREE SPEECH IN CANADA

Ken Berwitz

Robert Spencer of www.jihadwatch.com has written an excellent article detailing the end of free speech as we know it in Canada - and how far the New York Times is willing to go to support the end of free speech.

Sound ridiculous?  I would agree if I didn't know it was true.  It is.

Here are excerpts from Mr. Spencer's article, which you can read in its entirety by clicking here.   Please, please do:

June 12, 2008

New York Times isn't sure that free speech is such a good idea

"Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech," by Adam Liptak in the New York Times, June 12 (thanks to all who sent this in):

VANCOUVER, British Columbia A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The articles tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal will soon rule on whether the cover story of the October 23, 2006, issue of Macleans magazine violated a provincial hate speech law.

Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Macleans, Canadas leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their dignity, feelings and self-respect.

Does the Canadian Islamic Congress have any evidence that Steyn's article stirred up hatred against Muslims? Why, no. But that doesn't seem to matter.

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Macleans violated the law. As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.

Its hate speech! yelled one man.

Its free speech! yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions even false, provocative or hateful things without legal consequence.

The Macleans article, The Future Belongs to Islam, was an excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn called America Alone (Regnery, 2006). The title was fitting: The United States, in its treatment of hate speech, as in so many other areas of the law, takes a distinctive legal path.

Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.

These are all foolish laws, including the Holocaust denial laws. The Holocaust happened, but laws restricting speech, even speech like this, set a dangerous precedent.

Earlier this month, the actress Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined $23,000 in France for provoking racial hatred by criticizing a Muslim ceremony involving the slaughter of sheep.

By contrast, American courts would not stop a planned march by the American Nazi Party in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, though a march would have been deeply distressing to the many Holocaust survivors there.

Six years later, a state court judge in New York dismissed a libel case brought by several Puerto Rican groups against a business executive who had called food stamps basically a Puerto Rican program. The First Amendment, Justice Eve M. Preminger wrote, does not allow even false statements about racial or ethnic groups to be suppressed or punished just because they may increase the general level of prejudice.

The problem here is that true statements about Islam and jihad will be suppressed, and precisely as Islamic supremacists are pressing forward as never before with their program of stealth jihad against the West. We are far closer to restrictions on free speech than most people realize, with even the Times quoting learned analysts in favor of such restrictions:

The irony of this is that Steyn's book, which is what this article began by talking about, has not remotely inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism. Acts of mass murder and terrorism have only been inspired by words such as those being taught at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Virginia, and yet it is Steyn, not Muslim leaders in Canada who teach the same things taught in the Islamic Saudi Academy, who is on trial. Take, for example, these teachers in a Canadian Islamic school: they were suspended, but not tried. And I wouldn't be in the least surprised if they are back at work again now, teaching the same things.

Notice how the Times is now judge, jury, and executioner for Steyn: his article, they say, was "intended to stir up racial hatred." How do they know what Steyn intended? This omniscience regarding intentions is a cornerstone of hate speech laws, and it is vehemently absurd. And what race is Islam again?

The First Amendment is not, of course, absolute. The Supreme Court has said that the government may ban fighting words or threats. Punishments may be enhanced for violent crimes prompted by racial hatred. And private institutions, including universities and employers, are not subject to the First Amendment, which restricts only government activities.

But merely saying hateful things about minorities, even with the intent to cause their members distress and to generate contempt and loathing, is protected by the First Amendment.

Here comes more sly smearing of Steyn, this time equating his work with the KKK:

In 1969, for instance, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction of a leader of a Ku Klux Klan group under an Ohio statute that banned the advocacy of terrorism. The Klan leader, Clarence Brandenburg, had urged his followers at a rally to send the Jews back to Israel, to bury blacks, though he did not call them that, and to consider revengeance against politicians and judges who were unsympathetic to whites.

In his opening statement in the Canadian magazine case, a lawyer representing the Muslim plaintiffs aggrieved by the Macleans article pleaded with a three-member panel of the tribunal to declare that the article subjected his clients to hatred and ridicule and to force the magazine to publish a response.

You are the only thing between racist, hateful, contemptuous Islamophobic and irresponsible journalism, and law-abiding Canadian citizens, the lawyer, Faisal Joseph, told the tribunal.

In response, the lawyer for Macleans, Roger D. McConchie, all but called the proceeding a sham.

Innocent intent is not a defense, Mr. McConchie said in a bitter criticism of the British Columbia law on hate speech. Nor is truth. Nor is fair comment on true facts. Publication in the public interest and for the public benefit is not a defense. Opinion expressed in good faith is not a defense. Responsible journalism is not a defense.

He is right, and that is why the British Columbia law is so pernicious.

If we don't wake people up, it could be too late before anyone even realizes. Call me alarmist, call me hysterical, but it only took six months for Adolf Hitler to dismantle the Weimar Republic and impose a dictatorship. Huey Long is said to have remarked, "Fascism will come to America, but likely under another name, perhaps anti-fascism." Now we are seeing just that: the anti-jihadists are called fascists, and are being silenced in fascist fashion, in the name of anti-fascism. It's time to wake up. Please, try to wake someone up today.

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THE SUPREME COURT: MCCAIN'S ULTIMATE WEDGE ISSUE?

Ken Berwitz

When we were in high school, we had (what we thought was) a funny little saying about girls:  "Beauty is only skin deep.  But ugly?  It's right to the bone"  It's the kind of sarcastic, impolitic humor high school kids engage in.  (Parenthetically, I also recall a couple that the girls used to say about boys, which I can't even post here).

There is somewhat of a parallel to this saying when it comes to policy decisions. The elected President can say one thing, then change gears and say something else.  But a Supreme Court decision?  That is what it is, it stands and there's nowhere you can go to change it except back to the same court.

For months we have talked about what issue might supersede all others in the 2008 campaign.  Among the contenders have been John McCain's age, Barack Obama's color and Hillary Clinton's plumbing. 

Then we have had John McCain's political apostacy on several issues which turns off some conservative voters, and Barack Obama's church and other associations which turn off some Jews and blue-collar voters.

Obviously, there's plenty to choose from.

But I wonder if the single most important issue that emerges in the campaign is who gets to replace the next several Supreme Court justices. 

This week, in a split decision (5-4), the Supreme Court gave habeus corpus rights to enemy combatants held at Guantamo.  The left has hailed this as a wonderful return to constitutionality.  The right is appalled by the conferring of rights to enemies of the state who were trying to kill our soldiers and who never have had habeus corpus rights before. 

The next president is likely to replace at least two Supreme Court justices:  John Paul Stevens, who is 88 years old, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 75 years old and stricken with cancer.  There maybe others as well, but those are the two most likely prospects.

Both of these justices are hardline liberal/leftist in their decisions.  If Barack Obama is replacing them it will probably be with similarly hardline leftist judges.  If John McCain is replacing them it will probably be with judges who, at the very least, are more centrist and most likely are conservative. 

It is a virtual certainty that if Mr. Stevens and Ms. Ginsburg were replaced by two McCain selections this decision would not have gone the same way.

Here, courtesy of an excerpt from an article in yesterday's London Financial Times, is John McCain's view of the court's decision:

McCain attacks Guantnamo ruling

By Andrew Ward and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington

Published: June 13 2008 21:44 | Last updated: June 13 2008 21:44

John McCain on Friday described the decision by the Supreme Court to allow Guantnamo Bay prisoners to challenge their detention in US courts as one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.

The Republican presidential candidate said he agreed with the four dissenting justices on the nine-member court that foreign fighters held at the detention camp were not entitled to the rights of US citizens.

He criticised Barack Obama, his Democratic opponent, for supporting the decision and said it highlighted the importance of nominating conservative judges to the Supreme Court. His remarks represented a hardening of his position from his more moderate initial response to the ruling on Thursday, signalling a strategic decision by the McCain campaign to make it an election issue.

Mr McCains stance appeared designed to demonstrate his toughness on national security, while casting Mr Obama as soft on terrorists. It also looked calculated to spark debate on the future of the Supreme Court one of the most important election issues for many conservative voters.

Will Mr. McCain use this as an ongoing theme of his campaign?  Will he demonstrate the differences between a McCain and Obama presidency by featuring it?  Will Mr. McCain's position on Supreme Court justices bring in some of the conservatives his maverick views have alienated, the ones who might consider Libertarian candidate Bob Barr instead of him?

I don't know the answer to these questions any more than you do.  But it seems to me that the prospects for this being the ultimate wedge issue of 2008 are pretty strong.


MUGABE'S END GAME

Ken Berwitz

As Zimbabwe's people starve in the streets and what few assets it has left are spent on the lifestyles of robert mugabe and his thugs, the UN looks on with detached indifference.  The African Union does exactly the same.

These are the people who lecture the United States on international affairs and who attack us on how little we give in humanitarian aid (which, in reality, is vastly more than they do).

But what about the election that mugabe lost?  Isn't he forced to turn over what shreds and pickings are left to the opposition?

Truthfully, did you ever have even 1% expectation that he would?  If so, read this story from MSNBC news services and lose that last percent:

MSNBC News Services

HARARE, Zimbabwe - President Robert Mugabe vowed on Saturday that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change would never rule Zimbabwe, adding he was prepared to fight.

"We shall never, never accept anything that smells of a delivered parcel of what they call the MDC ... that is not going to happen. We are prepared to fight for it if we lose it in the same way that our forefathers lost it," Mugabe said referring to British colonial rule.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, rights groups and Western powers accuse Mugabe of unleashing a brutal campaign, including using police to harass opponents, to win a presidential run-off vote scheduled for June 27.

Mugabe and his ZANU-PF lost presidential and parliamentary elections on March 29.

A second ballot, however, is required because Tsvangirai fell short of the majority needed to win the presidency outright. He says 66 of his followers have been killed since the March poll.

Meanwhile, police on Saturday brought the Zimbabwe opposition's second-in-command to court.

Reporters watched as Tendai Biti, handcuffed and appearing tense, was brought into Justice Ben Hlatshwayo's court.

Biti, secretary-general of the MDC, was arrested upon returning to Zimbabwe from neighboring South Africa on Thursday.

Police say he faces a treason charge, which can carry the death penalty.

Where is the rest of the world?  Where are they hiding?  Where are the troops to insure democracy?  Where is the food and clothing so desperately needed by Zimbabweans, whose great "crime" is existing within the borders of this mugable-created hell on earth? 

Zimababwe has gone from being the breadbasket of Africa to one of its most despicable cesspools and graveyards.  And the UN and African Union are too busy lecturing the United States on how we should behave to do a thing about it.

I'm not a religious man, but if there is such a thing as eternal punishment let it be visited upon robert mugabe.  And his enablers in the world community.


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