Lyford Beverage

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One of the central political issues facing the American People over the past few years, and certain to be one in the next few, is the issue over whether or not governments are required to recognize same-sex relationships in the same manner that marriages are recognized. Ground-zero in that debate, and one of the places where that discussion has joined arm-in-arm with the debate over judicial activism, is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In November of 2003, in the case of Goodridge v.

In an amazingly influential way, the New York Times article on NSA intelligence gathering last week has touched off a feeding frenzy in the press, where every outlet is rushing to get out their stories about how the Bush administration is violating the rights of average American citizens in their paranoid fantasy about terrorist enemies. The latest entry comes from U.S.

The Associated Press is very good at what it does. It's just a shame that straight news reporting isn't it.

They've run a piece this morning (Lawmakers Hasten to Return Abramoff Gifts) dealing with lobbyist and equal-opportunity crook Jack Abramoff. Regular AP readers will remember that when Abramoff was indicted back in August the AP story mentioned one congressman by name, Republican Tom Delay, and they mentioned him 5 times. Despite the fact that Abramoff has given money to many congresspeople of both party, the Republican Delay got mentioned, and no one else.

Well, they're at it again. (H/T to Michelle Malkin). Today's AP story makes it seem, again, as if Abramoff gave, or steered, contributions to Republicans, and to Republicans alone. They start with a quote from the President:

This week, President Bush said it seemed to him that Abramoff "was an equal money dispenser, that he was giving money to people in both political parties."

According to the worldview of the mainstream press, there are really two kinds of people in the world - normal people who hold normal views, and conservatives, who hold abnormal views. There's a front-page story in Today's Boston Globe that demonstrates this, yet again.

Margaret Friedenauer is a reporter for the Fairbanks News-Miner, and is currently embedded with the 172nd Stryker Brigade in Iraq. In addition to whatever reporting she's producing for the newspaper, she's also blogging her experiences. Yesterday, she put up an interesting entry on "The view from on the ground" which was enlightening in ways she intended, and also in ways that I don't think she intended. It dealt with the situation on the ground in Iraq, and the comment she had was that "everything I thought I knew was wrong."

The big news story from Iraq yesterday was the suicide bombing in Mahmudiya which killed 31 people. The Washington Post story makes it clear what the "insurgents" are really doing:
A suicide attacker steered a car packed with explosives toward U.S. soldiers giving away toys to children outside a hospital in central Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 31 people. Almost all of the victims were women and children, police said.

Chris Matthews has never pretended that he's an unbiased journalist. He's a former aide to Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 1980s. His show, Hardball, developed an audience during the late 1990s, as he was one of the few liberal pundits not to accept the Clinton spin, for the most part, during the scandal-ridden 2nd Clinton term.

The AP on Sunday significantly misrepresented President Bush's public statements on pre-war intelligence. It's not the first time, it won't be the last, and it long ago ceased being surprising. But it is unacceptable journalistic malpractice.

The media storyline from yesterday's election results has been, for the most part, that Democrats picked up big victories, and that it was all bad news for the Republicans. And that President Bush, bogged down in incompetence (Hurricane Katrina) and malice ("he lied - people died!"), pandering to the right-wing (Alito) and heading an out-of-control criminal White House (Libby and Rove) is acting as an anchor, dragging down the Republican Party, leading to these spectacular Democratic wins. We see it in the New York Times:
After months of sagging poll ratings, scandal and general political unrest, the Republicans badly needed some good news in Tuesday's elections for governor. What they got instead was a clear-cut loss in a red state, and an expected but still painful defeat in a blue one. The Republican loss in Virginia, which President Bush carried with 54 percent just a year ago, came after an 11th-hour campaign stop by Mr. Bush and the kind of all-out Republican effort to mobilize the vote that reaped rich rewards last year.

There's an editorial at USA Today this morning (Bush picks another justice — and a fight over court's future) that does a wonderful job illustrating all of the problems with the media coverage of the Supreme Court debate. USA Today has chosen sides, and doesn't even seem to understand it.

The Bush administration is preparing the announcement of a national plan for dealing with a possible influenza pandemic. According to the Associated Press, the plan will cover stockpiling of vaccine, improved vaccine manufacturing capabilities and the potential for travel restrictions.

One of the easiest things to predict was that President Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court would be met with cries of dismay from the left. (Indeed, Sen. Schumer's nonsense - "he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee...who would unify us" - notwithstanding, it's difficult to conceive of a potential Bush nominee who would NOT have provoked an outcry on the left.)

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had a long news conference this afternoon, addressing the end of service of his Grand Jury and the indictments handed down on I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Shortly thereafter, the talk station to which I listened after the PC ran a newsbreak at 3:30 PM EST. During that break, they ran the ABC news, and one of the stories was, of course, the indictments.

Cokie Roberts, on ABC's Good Morning America this morning, is accusing the conservative opposition to Harriet Miers of sexism. When asked whether the standards were higher for Miers than they would have been for a man, Roberts replied:
Absolutely. Absolutely.

When Cindy Sheehan showed up outside of President Bush's Crawford, TX ranch in August, it was, to a certain degree, understandable that there would be some press coverage. She was there, the media was there, there wasn't a lot to write about. But the coverage was weak and biased in almost all cases, carrying her message uncritically, with no evaluation of who she was or what she was saying. The attitude seemed to be that she lost her son, she was criticizing the President, so she was credible and newsworthy, no matter what else there was in her views and attitudes. Indeed, I noted at the time how the Associated Press was acting as a PR firm for Sheehan, as opposed to an actual news organization.

From 1979 until 2003, Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq. He was a brutal dictator, a head-of-state who waged war on his neighbors and his own people. He ruled over his people with an iron fist, utilizing torture and murder as weapons of statecraft. The coalition that ejected him from Kuwait in 1991 left him in power, at extreme cost to thousands more Iraqis. He supported terrorism in Israel, paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. He provided safe haven for Abu Abbas and other international terrorists. Well, he's finally going to be put on trial for his crimes, and what is the first concern of the NY Times? That he might not get a fair trial.

As the Goodridge case worked its way through the court system over the past several years, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts became ground zero in the struggle over "gay marriage." And the Boston Globe, the largest newspaper in New England, certainly chose sides. Referred to by some as the "all-gay, all the time" Boston Globe, the Globe has consistently found ways to put stories on the front page that focus on "gay" issues, whether they're legitimate front-page news or not (most often, not). Back in August, for example, the Globe ran a front-page story on the fact that the pair of swans in Boston's famed Public Garden were both males. ("Some same-sex marriage advocates hoped the swans' celebrity would not be diminished by the revelation of their same-sex status.")

It has often been noted, throughout history, that one of the problems of unsuccessful leaders is that they spend time fighting the last war, instead of the next one. The US media has been as guilty of that as any group ever in their coverage of Iraq, being determined since day 1 to fit it into the Vietnam template of unnecessary and unpopular war, led by incompetent dishonest leaders, resulting in a quagmire.

The AP is constructing bad news for the President (Katrina Adds to Public Doubts About Bush). Again. And to do it, they're using a skewed sample poll, and then misrepresenting what it says. The latest AP-Ipsos poll is what they're reporting on. Once again, they've got a sample of adults, and it is signficantly skewed, with 49 percent Democrats and 41 percent Republicans. And they use that skewed sample as a hammer to hit the President, even if it isn't justified by the actual results.
  • An AP-Ipsos poll shows a sharp increase since the storm in the percentage of people who are most worried about the economy.
    Of course it does. Let's stop, for just a moment, and consider what was happening in the media in this country before Katrina hit. Every day, in every outlet, it was all Iraq, all the time. As soon as the storm went through, and the refineries and supply lines went down, the story changed to Katrina and the rising gas prices, and the devastating economic impact. The fact that there's been a sharp increase in people being most concerned about the economy says nothing about George W. Bush.

The mainstream press does not always blame only Republicans or conservatives. There's a tendency in some quarters to believe that, but it's not true. What is true, however, is that the tendency to blame or criticize Republicans and/or conservatives is much, much stronger than the tendency to blame Democrats and/or liberals. This fact manifests itself in a couple of different ways. The first thing that happens is that a Democrat can get away with things that a Republican just can't. Trent Lott, for example, made an offhand remark at a birthday party for Strom Thurmond that could be read as racist, and the outcry was immediate and widespread. When Richard Durbin went to the floor of the Senate to make comments that were far more inflammatory and inappropriate, comparing the US military to Nazis and genocidal Cambodian dictators, there was no coverage at all for several days, and the little coverage it eventually got didn't compare to what Lott got. The other thing that happens is that Democratic follies and foibles tend to get grouped with others by Republicans, and presented in "everybody does it" arguments. I've said for years that there are three mainstream blame assessment scenarios: if the Republicans are wrong, they get blamed; if both parties are wrong, the Republicans get blamed; and if the Democrats are wrong, both parties get blamed.