The hed isn't snappy, but I'm trying to come up with new slogans for a paper
that can't bring itself to accurately describe Rep. John Murtha.
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On Oct. 11, the Washington Post's David Brown filed Study Claims Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000, reporting this year's Lancet pre-election broadside against the war. While Brown noted the earlier study claiming 100,000 deaths was "controversial" and said this one would be too, he failed to cite a single critic attacking it. He did quote outside experts who support the study, and of course one of its co-authors, Gilbert Burnham.
I happened to catch Chris Wallace on the Sean Hannity radio show, and heard something new: Two weeks ago DNC chief Howard Dean told Wallace he was "tough but fair." This is an entertaining contrast to Dean's current statement characterizing Fox News as part of the right-wing propaganda machine.
I don't have a recording, but I took brief notes.
Wallace said that two weeks ago, he got lots of emails from conservatives raging about how harsh he was in his questioning of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Dean followed Rice in a separate appearance, and according to Wallace, Dean told him "I can't believe you questioned her that tough." After his segment, Dean signed the guestbook with the comment Tough but fair.
Associated Press chief executiveTom Curley writes a laughable defense of Bilal Hussein, the AP photographer being held by military authorities in Iraq after being nabbed with an alleged al Qaeda operative and an arms cache. The rigor of this column is indicated thus:
Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi photographer who helped the Associated Press
win a Pulitzer Prize last year, is now in his sixth month in a U.S.
Army prison in Iraq. He doesn't understand why he's there, and neither
do his AP colleagues.
This from one of the pinnacles of American journalism. Curley then adds that the The Army says it thinks Bilal has too many contacts among insurgents. Oh that's an honest assessement. Eventually he manages to discover a sliver of the information that seconds ago he was wholly ignorant of:
He has taken pictures the Army thinks could have been made only with
the connivance of insurgents. So Bilal himself must be one, too, or at
least a sympathizer.
But if you rely only on this Op-Ed, or publications including the Washington Post, you'd never know about Hussein's allged al Qaeda connection and the little matter of being nabbed alongside an arms cache. Neither this Op-Ed nor this squib in the Post on Sept. 18 say anything about the circumstances surrounding his capture.
In the Saturday Washington Post, Rick Weiss skips over his own misreporting of embryonic stem-cell research by Robert Lanza and Advanced Cell Technology. The technique involves removing one cell from an early eight-celled embyro, cultivating the single cell into a new self-replicating line and, in theory, allowing the seven-celled embryo to survive and grow. But despite early reports, including Weiss's, all the embryos were destroyed. Weiss says Nature, which published the Lanza/ACT study, has now "corrected wording in a lay-language news release it had distributed in advance," but he doesn't acknowledge the errors in his own original account.
In today's Critic Alleges Deceit in Study On Stem Cells, Weiss quotes from an email by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Richard Doerflinger:
First, he said the scientists did not make it clear that no embryos survived their experiments. In fact, data in the paper do make that clear, but Nature's initial release said otherwise...
But Weiss didn't make it clear that no embryos survived--his story on Thursday said otherwise:
Many writers covering the launch of a new magazine would mention that its inaugural issue had been boycotted and removed from thousands of chain-store racks because of a copyright infringement case that continues to rage.
Not Peter Carlson, though. That would be too...obvious.
A train wreck of reporting and editing is displayed in Study Casts Doubt On the 'Boy Crisis' by the Washington Post's Jay Mathews on the front page. It's based on a report by a think tank called Education Sector, and tries to refute years of research showing boys' collective disadvantage in education. The logic of this report is illustrated in the following quote from the report itself, written by Sarah Mead:
The real story is not bad news about boys doing worse; it's good news about girls doing better.
fact, with a few exceptions, American boys are scoring higher and
achieving more than they ever have before. But girls have just improved
their performance on some measures even faster. As a result, girls
have narrowed or even closed some academic gaps that previously favored
boys, while other long-standing gaps that favored girls have widened,
leading to the belief that boys are falling behind.
Got it? Girls narrowed or obliterated gaps that favored boys. They also widened gaps that favored girls. It's time to face facts. Girls are the uber-race. Bow down and accept your fate before girls!
Dan Balz's outlook on life may be too sunny and stable to regularly read Markos Moulitsas's Daily Kos. That would explain why Balz fails to describe the far-left venom that powers the Kossacks in his account of their Las Vegas conference, Bloggers' Convention Draws Democrats. If Balz had provided some excerpts from Moulitsas's website, it would help explain why every one of the 20-odd candidates they've backed for national office office has lost. But he doesn't mention that either.
It's not necessary for reporters to agree that the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a major victory. But they should let their readers know such people, outside the Bush Administration, exist.
In After Zarqawi, No Clear Path In Weary Iraq by the Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer, every independent expert downplays the significance of Zarqawi's death. Even a mysteriously identified "longtime participant in the U.S. military hunt for Zarqawi" sees it as upside for the bad guys. Yet at least one of Knickmeyer's named sources is more upbeat in a different outlet, and she omits the passionate political convictions of another.
It's old news now: In the election to replace Randy Cunningham, Democrat congressional candidate Francine Busby appears to have told a crowd of supporters that illegal aliens could vote and otherwise aid her campaign against Republican Brian Bilbray.("You don't need papers for voting," she said.
I've been as riveted as any
self-respecting blogger by this week's revelations about the CIA's Mary
McCarthy, whose leak to the Washington Post's Dana Priest about foreign terrorist
detention centers earned the former a pink slip plus possible criminal
charges but the latter a Pulitzer. It now appears that McCarthy was a
fairly enthusiastic contributor to Democratic causes including some guy
washingtonpost.com is its own kingdom in many ways, with more content, more readers and at least as many issues that beg for accountability as the newspaper. So bravo to Post ombudsman Deborah Howell for writing about the website in her Sunday column. Most visitors to the site have no idea how separate the operations are, but its reporters sure do:
The hed isn't snappy, but I'm trying to come up with new slogans for a paper
Rep. John Murtha is no Cindy Sheehan, but the Washington Post's inability to do some simple reporting on Murtha's Iraq war record is reminiscent of its limited Lexis-Nexis skills last summer. As I documented at the time, the Post simply ignored Sheehan's wild ravings about President Bush being the biggest war criminal and a lying bastard, about liberal bloggers being the only thing preventing the U.S. from becoming a fascist state, about insurgents being freedom fighters and Iraq having held a sham election, etc., etc.
That's my recommendation for supplying the missing description of sources' motives in the Washington Post's DeLay Team Weighed Misdemeanor Plea to Save GOP Post by R. Jeffrey Smith on A1:
No, I don't mean the Bush Administration, whose unwillingness to apologize for itself drives mainstream media into perpetual indignation.
Michelle Malkin got a response from a reporter--not the Washington Post's--after she asked about issuing some kind of correction following reports about war atrocity claims by Jimmy Massey, which have since been debunked by St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Ron Harris. The reply, from USA Today's Rick Hampson, is a depressing example of indifference to the truth. Malkin quotes him:
After early stories about French riots in which a reader's questions about Muslims could elicit the response "what's that?" the Washington Post's Molly Moore has started to find a way to write about them. Her major files today are France Beefs Up Respose To Riots, on A1, and an updated version online, French Cabinet Authorizes Curfews Amid 12 Days of Violence.