First Amendment vs. Liberty?

During my little sabbatical from posting, I’ve had some time to think about a few things. I’ve stepped away from the news, played a bit of Civilization III, watched/recorded some MST3K, took in some football.

I’ve come to some conclusions:

1) The major news media is irredeemably corrupt, biased, and actively working to undermine the soul of our country, the United States of America. Emphasis on the word “irredeemably.”

I do not believe that the news media in its current form can rise above its baser instincts as shown by Shepard Smith and the pack of baying hounds who transformed the Hurricane Katrina response into the Bataan Death March without a shred of substantial evidence.

2) The implicit deification of the person in the office of President of the United States is repugnant. I am referring to the deification of Bush not by his supporters, but by his opponents: supporters of Islamic terrorism (aka anti-war activists) and the news media (aka the Baying Hound Pack and their followers).

Case in point: the Iraq War. The President can’t declare war. Congress has that power. Congress exercised that power (absent only the word “war”) when the House and the Senate passed the Iraq War Resolution. Bush, the Congress, and the rest of the world had the same facts in front of them. It was Congress’ job to weigh the facts in evidence and either declare war or not.

They declared war.

So, if there is blame, it is laid primarily at the feet of every Representative and Senator who voted for the resolution. They had the final say, and they spoke. That is, if they were wrong in their fundamental decision. I continue to believe that it was in fact the right decision at the right time.

Even absent the WMD mantra, there were good and sufficent reasons to take down Saddam’s regime. There was in fact evidence for WMD’s found in Iraq. There wasn’t much, and it was nowhere near the threat it seemed before the war, but it was there. Did you know that? Of course you didn’t. Those small but inconvenient finds did not support the news media Hate-W meme, so they simply buried on page A-27, and would never have been noticed at all if not for the Internet and conservative talk radio. (See point #1).

3) Some of the same people are saying “if only I knew now what I knew then, I’d have voted the other way.” Yeah, hindsight’s a B-itch, isn’t it? But let’s speculate for a minute on where we would be if the war resolution had been defeated.

Saddam Hussein would still be in power, murdering and terrorizing his citizens. His sons would still be picking girls off the street, raping them then tossing them away like bagels from a street vendor.

With the loss of Afganistan as an operational base, al Qaida would move elsewhere. Their plain intent is to create a radical Islamic Caliphate whose heartland would be Iraq. It is possible, even likely, that AQ would have settled in Iraq, not to blow up car bombs, but to plan the next, bigger attack on the U.S.

So that’s what the news media is working towards (along with the pro-terrorism demonstrators and their tragically deluded puppet figurehead Cindy Sheehan): the Islamic Caliphate, continued terror and misery for the Iraqis, and the ultimate world domination of radical Islam. Yeah, I know that any sentence that contains the words “world domination” sounds seriously wacked out. But that’s where we are.

4) Katrina would still have hit New Orleans. The corrupt and incompetent Louisiana and New Orleans governments would still have badly fumbled the response, then passed the blame to FEMA. And Shepard Smith would still have made a spectacle of himself on the highway overpass.

I conclude with great regret that the news media is an unregulated center of power in our society. Like all such centers, as Lord Acton noted, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The news media is dangerously close to absolute power, and is deeply, irredeemably corrupt, at a time when I believe our national survival is (or soon will be) threatened by a radical and violent religion.

We are coming close to having to make a horrible choice: Limiting First Amendment freedom of the press, or national survival. The thought chills me to the bone.

Whip Fatigue!

OK, I admit it . . . I’ve got Whip Fatigue. Just not feeling any motivation to post lately. I suppose I’ll snap out of it sooner or later, but for now, posting will remain light to nonexistent.

“Many” journalists out of work

The New York Times fires 500 people[*1] :

The cutbacks will include about 250 positions at The New York Times Media Group, including the 45 newsroom jobs at the Times newspaper. Other properties in that group include the International Herald Tribune and Specific reductions for those properties were not revealed.

At the New England Media Group, some 160 positions, including those at the Globe, will be lost. Other outlets within that division are the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and Another 80 job cuts will be spread across the company’s regional newspapers, broadcast outlets, and corporate staff, Mathis said, but did not offer specifics.

Any chance that the remaining reporters won’t be stuck on stupid? Then again, this is the New York Times we’re talking about . . .

“Many” journalists stuck on stupid

Our new favorite media star, Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, calls out the media on asking wrong, stupid questions at press conferences[*1] , from Radioblogger:

Male reporter: General Honore, we were told that Berman Stadium on the west bank would be another staging area…

Honore: Not to my knowledge. Again, the current place, I just told you one time, is the convention center. Once we complete the plan with the mayor, and is approved by the governor, then we’ll start that in the next 12-24 hours. And we understand that there’s a problem in getting communications out. That’s where we need your help. But let’s not confuse the questions with the answers. Buses at the convention center will move our citizens, for whom we have sworn that we will support and defend…and we’ll move them on. Let’s not get stuck on the last storm. You’re asking last storm questions for people who are concerned about the future storm. Don’t get stuck on stupid, reporters. We are moving forward. And don’t confuse the people please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight. And if you don’t understand, maybe you’ll confuse it to the people. That’s why we like follow-up questions. But right now, it’s the convention center, and move on.

Male reporter: General, a little bit more about why that’s happening this time, though, and did not have that last time…

Honore: You are stuck on stupid. I’m not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. This is public information that people are depending on the government to put out. This is the way we’ve got to do it. So please. I apologize to you, but let’s talk about the future. Rita is happening. And right now, we need to get good, clean information out to the people that they can use. And we can have a conversation on the side about the past, in a couple of months.

Via the new Stuck on Stupid[*2] blog, from Michelle Malkin[*3] .

Maybe if more reporters were simply called on their stupid, ignorant, and/or biased questions, “Many” new stories would be better. But as someone who (only once or twice, admittedly) has been misquoted by reporters on the most mundane of facts, I’d say “many” reporters should find some other, less taxing craft to ply.

“Many” journalists want us to lose in Iraq

Chester[*1] leads off with a devestating expose of how Time magazine editorializes via word/phrase selection:

First, let’s examine the overall tone of both sets of documents just through some of the descriptive phrases in each. In the TIME article, here are representative words, reflecting, and shaping, the overall tenor of the piece:

“elusive and inexhaustible enemy”
“success” is “elusive”
“inexhaustible enemy emboldened by the US presence”
“gradual . . . erosion” in public support
“millions of Iraqis will vote on a constitution that threatens to further split the country”
“beleaguered US mission in Iraq”
“unwinnable military fight”
“series of failures”
“hardened local fighters”
“politically compromised outcome”
“dangers, dilemmas, and frustrations that still haunt the US in Iraq”
“temporary tactical gains”
“doubts about whether anything resembling victory can still be achieved”
“powerless to do anything” about atrocities
“intelligence suggests insurgents are displaying their mettle”
“This enemy is not a rabble.”
“fierce resistance”
“shaken US officer”
“troops . . . embittered”
“momentum lost”
“insurgents proving so resiliant”

Do you really even have to read the article to know what it says? When I was a child, my father told me that Life magazine was for people who don’t like to read, and TIME for people who don’t like to think. Seems an accurate characterization.

Meanwhile, Little Green Footballs[*2] takes the AP to task about the casually morphing Iraq into Vietnam in a photo caption:

An absolutely amazing example of naked, unrestrained bias, in a photograph from the Vietnam War dug up and republished today by with this jaw-dropping caption:

Two infantrymen sprint across the clearing in War Zone D where a U.S. battalion is trapped under automatic weapons fire from surrounding Viet Cong troops, 50 miles northeast of Saigon, Vietnam, in this June 18, 1967 black-and-white file photo. Bush administration officials bristle at the suggestion that the war in Iraq might look anything like the Vietnam war. Yet even as 2005’s anti-war protests recall memories of yesteryear’s demonstrations, President Bush’s own words eerily echo those of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967, a pivotal year in Vietnam. (AP Photo/Henri Huet, File)

“2005’s anti-war protests recall memories of yesteryear’s demonstrations?”

Funny, I remember a lot more than 30 people at “yesteryear’s demonstrations.”

(Hat tip: stuiec.)

UPDATE at 9/21/05 9:41:46 pm:

And this photo is accompanied by a mind-blowingly biased article: Bush’s Words on Iraq Echo LBJ in 1967.[*3]

They really do want us to lose in Iraq.

So, can somebody tell me why we should trust the major media’s reporting? In Iraq, about Katrina, about Bush, about just about anything?

“Many” journalists don’t understand military operations

Wretchard[*1] at the Belmont Club makes a point about the lack of comprehension by the media of what’s going on in Iraq:

The news coverage of Iraq frequently fails to convey the cumulative linkage of military events in that country. Operations are often reported in a disconnected fashion, as if some operations officer got up in the morning and asked ‘what are we going to attack today?’, and then troops rush out to do whatever just occurred to them. Worse, definite types of military operations on both sides, whether car bombing, cordon and search, precision strike, etc. are often described according to some political theme — ‘standing up for freedom’, ‘deepening quagmire’, ‘the body bags mount’, ‘reduced to high altitude bombing’ — and the reader gets no sense of the logic behind the events. Both the US Armed Forces and the enemy are led by experienced professionals schooled in the operational art; and if we can be sure of nothing else, we can be certain that their acts have a specific military intent which often does not correspond to the themes articulated by some talking heads. Whether one is on the Left or the Right, it should be abundantly clear that we are watching the battle for the Syrian border and for the control of the Euphrates and Tigris river lines. No matter whose side you’re on, you should know what game you are in.

“Many” journalists simply make stuff up

This article[*1] on talks about the sloppy journalistic practice of using the word “many” to steer a story in the editorial direction the writer/editor/publisher prefers:

when a reporter pours a whole jug of weasel-words into a piece, as Louise Story does on Page One of today’s (Sept. 20) New York Times in “Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood,” she needlessly exposes one of the trade’s best-kept secrets for all to see. She deserves a week in the stockades. And her editor deserves a month.
. . .
I suspect a Times editor glommed onto the idea while overhearing some *censored*tail party chatter—”Say, did you hear that Sam blew hundreds of thousands of dollars sending his daughter to Yale and now she and her friends say all they want in the future is to get married and stay at home?”—and passed the concept to the writer or her editors and asked them to develop it.

So that’s the kind of craft you learn in journalism school? Sounds like fun, let’s give it a try . . .