Category: The Media

Another Headline that Doesn’t Deliver

By , September 4, 2013 11:26 am

I am not an Obama fan. Never have been. But neither am I a fan of headlines and taunts that promise one thing and deliver another. Case in point, the headline at this link and the text beneath it. Compare them with what the President says in the video at the same link.

Note how he even refers to the press conference in which he originally talked about the red line: “When I said, in a press conference, that my calculus about what’s happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons . . . ”

Only someone who willfully tries to misunderstand what Obama is saying in that video–the press conference in Sweden–could write the headline and accompanying text. In short, the claims at the link are bald face lies.

Folks, we’re in serious times. We’re at the brink of possible war. Lives are at stake. So, sure, hold the President accountable for what he says and does about Syria, but don’t make stuff up. Now is not the time to score political points based on a willful misunderstanding (aka misrepresentation) of what your political opponent says.

And yes, I’m fully aware that the current occupant of the White House and his sycophants in the media have done similar things to his opponents. Shame on all of them, red and blue.

The Associated Press Stylebook and Race

By , July 15, 2013 1:42 pm

I was proof reading my most recent post and began to wonder if I was using and capitalizing race and ethnic terminology appropriately. For example, I had written the term “black” in lowercase but the term “White-Hispanic” in uppercase. Hey, I thought, I should check The Associated Press Stylebookto see what’s appropriate in the world of journalism. Unfortunately, I only have the 2004 edition, so things may have changed, but here’s what I found (all bolding, italics, and capitalization is original).

African-American The preferred term is black. Use African-American only in quotations or the names of organizations or if individuals describe themselves so. See black.

Arab [No entry.]

Asian, Asiatic Use Asian or Asians when referring to people. Some Asians regard Asiatic as offensive when applied to people.

black Preferred usage for those of the Negroid or black race. Use Negro only in names of organizations or in quotations. Do not use colored as a synonym. See colored entry.

Caucasian [This is the entire entry for this term.]

Hispanic The preferred term for those whose ethnic origin is in a Spanish-speaking. Latino is acceptable for Hispanics who prefer that term. (The feminine form is Latina.) Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican or Mexican-American or the name of an indigenous group in a Latin American country. Avoid Chicano as a synonym for Mexican-American. Refer to people of Brazilian and Portuguese origin as such, not as Hispanic.

Indians American Indian is the preferred term for those in the United States. Where possible, be precise and use the name of the tribe: He is a Navajo commissioner. Native American is acceptable in quotations and names of organizations. In news stories about American Indians, such words as wampum, warpath, powwow, tepee, brave, squaw, etc., can be disparaging and offensive. Be careful and certain of their usage.

Jew Use for men and women. Do not use Jewess.

Muslims The preferred term to describe adherents of Islam. A Black Muslim is a member of a predominately black Islamic sect in the United States. However,the term is considered derogatory by members of the sect, who call themselves Muslims.

Polynesian [No entry.]

White [No entry.]

White-Hispanic [No entry.]

If I’ve excluded any race, ethnicity, or religion, I mean no ill will. The terms I covered seem to be the ones I and (I assume) most others have difficulty with. And I stress again: this is from the 2004 edition of the stylebook. Things may have changed.

Update: I’ve seen the links to the following story floating around the Internet, but until now, I had not followed them. What is apparent, however, is that this TV station in San Francisco did not have a copy of The Associated Press Stylebook handy, nor had they played Clue lately.


What if?

By , July 15, 2013 11:09 am

What if NBC had not doctored the recording of George Zimmerman’s telephone conversation with the police, you know, to make it sound like Zimmerman had told the police–unsolicited–that Trayvon Martin was black, which gave the impression that he was racially profiling Martin?

What if the media had referred to Zimmerman as Hispanic rather than White-Hispanic from the get go.?

What if the public had known early on that Zimmerman was 1/8 black, that he mentored black children?

What if the media had looked behind the gates of the gated community Zimmerman lived in?

What if some talking heads hadn’t speculated about a supposed “racial slur” uttered by Zimmerman, a slur that actually wasn’t?

What if the public had understood that the police initially had, in fact, arrested Zimmerman, handcuffed him, and taken him to the police station?

What if the media had made it clear from the outset that the evidence indicates that Zimmerman had, in fact, obeyed the police 911 dispatcher and stopped following Martin? If there had been evidence to the contrary, you’d think the state would have introduced it at trial, right?

What if the public had been made aware from the beginning that the forensic evidence supported Zimmerman’s story that Martin attacked him, that Martin was on top of him, that Martin was pounding him MMA-style, that Martin bashed his head against concrete many times, and that the only evidence of injury to Martin–other than the fatal gun shot, of course–was Martin’s bloody knuckles?

What if the media had done a better job of helping the public understand that this case was not about “stand your ground,” but was instead a case about simple self defense?

What if the prosecutor’s office had been–to put it charitably–more forthcoming about evidence in the Martin/Zimmerman case?

What if more in the media had followed Reuters’ lead in attempting to humanize a man that Florida State Attorney General Angela Corey, in full out CYA mode, continues to maintain is a “murderer” even after the not guilty verdict in a case that she never should have filed?

What if the public the media is supposed to serve, particularly that part of the public that is so outraged by the Zimmerman verdict, had actually followed the case in detail and actually had some idea of what the real case was really about?

Was Zimmerman justified in shooting Martin? The actual evidence seems to back up his version of events, but in the end, I don’t know, and neither do you.

Would the outcome have been different had their roles been reversed? Assuming Martin had had similar legal counsel working with the same evidence, I’d say yes. But I don’t know, and neither do you. If, in my hypothetical, Martin had been saddled with an overworked and underfunded public defender, then the outcome very well could have been different. But again, I don’t know, and neither do you.

Would this case have attracted the attention it has, had the media done its job, had the race hustlers remained stage right (or left, I don’t care), I think the answer would be no.

Look, the African-American community is justifiably outraged about the short straw it too often draws in our justice system. And I can understand the outpouring of sympathy and concern for Trayvon Martin’s family. His death was a tragedy. But to use George Zimmerman as a tool to root out injustice, to destroy his life in a different, but very real way in order to advance that cause is another unnecessary tragedy–or a travesty, as Zimmerman’s attorney characterizes it.

Finally, I don’t want to make this about guns. Yes, a gun was involved. A legally acquired, legally carried gun. But for a moment, let’s forget that. Let’s suppose that Zimmerman’s version of events is accurate. Let’s suppose that Trayvon was the aggressor, that he sucker punched Zimmerman, that the punch laid Zimmerman out on the ground, that Martin straddled Zimmerman’s body, pummeled him MMA style, bashed his head against solid concrete. (All this, by the way, is a reasonable inference from the actual evidence rather than from speculation.) Let’s assume that Zimmerman did indeed think his life was in danger. And let’s assume that Martin didn’t stop, and Zimmerman couldn’t stop him. Under those assumptions, Zimmerman likely could have died an equally violent death.

In other words, assuming Zimmerman’s version of events is accurate, because he had a gun, someone died. It just wasn’t him.

This sad case was not about guns. It was about self defense.

Update: I just discovered TalkLeft, a blog written, in part, by a Denver criminal defense attorney. Her post on this case is worth reading.

Saul Alinsky Hell, Someone’s Been Reading Robert Caro

By , July 9, 2013 12:53 pm

Another two thumbs up for Robert Caro’s book The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. It easily ranks among the top 5 books I’ve ever read, a mesmerizing study of power in the hands of one man, the New York state and City parks commissioner. A parks commissioner!

This passage caught my attention today:

If a commissioner [of another department resisted his attempts to circumvent the law], Moses used the public rather than the private smear. “Mr. Moses told me . . . that he was able to control the press of New York City, so as to hold me up to such obloquy that I would not be able to stand it,” W. Kingsland Macy had testified a decade before. The smear technique that had been used then was used now–frequently.

In the hands of a man for whom the press acted as a gigantic sounding board, repeating and amplifying his words, the smear was a terrible weapon–particularly when those words were as caustic and cutting as Moses’. . . . (469)

How bad was it? How deep in Moses’ pocket were the press? This deep:

Mrs. Sulzberger [daughter of the founder of the New York Times, wife of the publisher in the 1930s] believed that Moses came “close to our ideal of what a Park Commissioner should be”; the Times evidently believed so, too. Its reporters and editors may never have been directly ordered to give Moses special treatment but, during the Thirties as during the Twenties, they were not so insensitive as not to know what was expected of them. Moses’ press releases were treated with respect, being given prominent treatment and often being printed in full. There were no investigating of the “facts” presented in those press releases, no attempt at detailed analysis of his theories of recreation and transportation, no probing of the assumption on which the city was building and maintaining recreational facilities and roads. The Times ran more than one hundred editorials on Moses and his programs during the twelve-year La Guardia administration–overwhelmingly favorable editorials. (461)

Just imagine what it would be like if a president of the United States had so much power and such a compliant press?

About those Abortion “Myths”

By , April 23, 2013 11:49 am

The Washington Post recently ran a piece titled “Five Myths about Abortion,” part of an on-going series titled “Five Myths: Challenging Everything You Think You Know.” And surprise! Some are challenging author Rickie Solinger on her use and abuse of abortion facts and statistics.

First comes Ramesh Ponnuru, who avers that “The Washington Post’s ‘five myths’ column propagates myths at least as often as it debunks them, and today’s ‘five myths about abortion’ adds to that dismal record,” then proceeds to dissect Solinger’s attempt at myth making.

Then comes Jonathan Adler, who likewise has his bones to pick with Ms. Solinger, in this case regarding myth #3: that Roe led to a huge increase in the number of abortions. According to Adler, “Solinger purports to be correcting a ‘myth.’ Yet nothing in Solinger’s account is directly responsive to the claim she purports to correct.”

In brief, Solinger’s piece doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. You can read the long version at the links.

So You’re Anti-Science if You Don’t Accept Research Posing as Science?

By , March 17, 2013 9:00 am

Apparently, the NRA and all of us Right Wing Gun Nuts are anti-science, according to a post on Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC site, which in turn references a 1993 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. I guess that’s marginally better than being called racists, homophobes, fascists, deniers (oh wait, deniers by definition are anti-science), and such. But only marginally. Well, of course, there is another side to the story, and I’m simply preserving it here for future reference.

Herewith are links to two articles published on Reason.com. They shed additional–and much needed–light on Mr. Roth’s story (the one on O’Donnell’s site). The first one actually links to the latter one by the way. I recommend you read them. Here is the key quote from both in reference to that 1993 “scientific” study, among others:

Contrary to this picture of dispassionate scientists under assault by the Neanderthal NRA and its know-nothing allies in Congress, serious scholars have been criticizing the CDC’s “public health” approach to gun research for years. In a presentation at the American Society of Criminology’s 1994 meeting, for example, University of Illinois sociologist David Bordua and epidemiologist David Cowan called the public health literature on guns “advocacy based on political beliefs rather than scientific fact.” Bordua and Cowan noted that The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, the main outlets for CDC-funded studies of firearms, are consistent supporters of strict gun control. They found that “reports with findings not supporting the position of the journal are rarely cited,” “little is cited from the criminological or sociological field,” and the articles that are cited “are almost always by medical or public health researchers.”

Reasonable minds can differ. I recognize that. But in most cases all the reasonable minds aren’t standing on just one side of the issue. That’s especially true when one side is calling the other “anti-science,” “deniers,” “racists,” “homophobes,” “fascists,” and the like.

Edited: added clearer references/links in the first sentence of this post as well as to the sentence that leads into the block quote.

Emily Litella: Act V — What’s Good for Romney Isn’t So Good for Hagel

By , February 15, 2013 8:29 am

Remember the Democrats’ feigned outrage over Mitt Romney’s income taxes? How they wanted him to come clean and lay 10 years of his IRS filings on the table when the standard was two? Remember how Harry Reid claimed Romney had not paid taxes with the only shred of evidence being a shadowy, unnamed source?

Well, apparently, that was then. This is now, and it’s Chuch Hagel, for Hell’s sake, and he’s only up for Secretary of State. So what’s the problem? Why’s Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) doing such nasty things to our boy? I mean, really! Or words to that effect:

But with his latest attack on Hagel, Cruz has gone too far. Cruz has every right — indeed, he has an obligation — to question Hagel vigorously. He has a right to demand relevant information. He has a right to vote against Hagel; indeed Republicans are now filibustering the nomination.

But he doesn’t have the right to smear Hagel, with no supporting evidence, with insinuations that the nominee received money from foreign governments or extremist groups.

“We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme or radical groups,” Cruz told the Senate Armed Services Committee before it voted Tuesday to approve Hagel’s nomination. “It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea.”

The “only reasonable inference” to draw from Hagel’s refusal to provide additional financial information, he said, is that “there was something in there that they did not want to make public.”

As the committee chairman, Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, pointed out, Cruz was attempting to unilaterally rewrite committee rules, which require two years of financial information, instead of the five Cruz demanded. And Cruz’s sleazy innuendos about hidden foreign money are undercut by a separate requirement to disclose any transactions with a foreign government — going back 10 years. (Emphasis supplied)

So it’s with a drum roll, that I bring Emily Litella back on stage because apparently, it only matters if it’s a Republican doing it, whatever the it is at the moment. Get it?

Maybe Some of The New Republic’s Best Friends are Black?

By , February 12, 2013 4:38 pm

The New Republic’s current issue is out. Here’s the cover (the toy robot is to obscure the address label):

NewRepublicCover

Not that they’ll listen, but “Pot to ceramic kettle: You’re white!

So Could This Be the 1,000th Cut?

By , January 12, 2013 10:29 am

David Gregory, possessor of a high capacity magazine in D.C. and the silver-haired talking head of Meet the Press, will not be prosecuted for possessing said high capacity magazine that he brandished in the face of NRA president Wayne LaPiere in a effort to make the point that said high capacity magazines should be illegal. Ironically, said high capacity magazine was in fact illegal to possess in Washington D.C., a fact Gregory knew because his office had contacted the D.C. Metro Police and inquired as to the legality of possessing said high capacity magazine and were told no, even Mr. Gregory could not legally possess said high capacity magazine despite the fact that he was a “trusted” journalist, was friends with the prosecutor, and would be interviewing President Obama soon thereafter about, among other things, the need to pass new gun laws, including the need to ban said high capacity magazines for the safety of the children and some sort of political advantage.

James Brinkley was not available for comment. Neither was the Rule of Law, having suffered possibly its 1,000th cut. Word is that the little people (as in “the law is for the”) have finally risen up and are marching to the nation’s capitol for a high-capacity magazine-light vigil, viz. the comments to this Ann Althouse post (apologies for the foul-word weary):

Vigil_2013-01-12_1011

The More Things Change . . .

By , January 11, 2013 5:21 pm

The conduct of the republican [sic] party in this nomination is a remarkable indication of a small intellect, growing smaller.

Guess who wrote that and when?

The abuse continues:

[Rather than choose “statesmen and able men” as their candidate] They take up a fourth rate lecturer, who cannot speak good grammar [and whose speeches are] illiterate compositions . . . interlarded with coarse and clumsy jokes.

Nope, that was not The New York Times pining for Jon Huntsman to be the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. Nor was it any of those who routinely bashed George W. Bush as dumb and inarticulate or Ronald Reagan as just plain dumb.

No, according to Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her book Team of Rivals, that was the Democratic New York Hearald taking aim at newly nominated Abraham Lincoln, and, she says, that paper was not alone in ridiculing him and the new Republican Party–the party that opposed slavery by the way.

So campers, if it seems to you that the Republican Party can never field a candidate who is not stupid and inarticulate–according to the Democrats–take heart and give it a little time. One hundred and fifty three years later, they’ll be making Oscar-nominated movies about the alleged dunces.

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