Lynn Davidson

Latest from Lynn Davidson

Ever notice the media love to report stories about people fighting the power, unless, of course, the power happens to be something the media favor?

A March 31 New York Times article about Cuba's Havana Biennial art festival highlighted several artists whose political statements were in line with the anti-American, communist outlook of the island's regime, while ignoring prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, who risked her freedom to protest government oppression.

During an open mic session at the festival, the award-winning Generacion Y blogger criticized Cuban policy and the lack of free expression. However, the Times did not mention her pro-free speech performance art or even cover it in a separate piece. Instead, most of the artists the paper described railed against the usual evils, such as capitalism, America and the bourgeoisie.

Afterwards, the government issued a condemnation that singled out Sanchez for “staging a provocation against the Cuban Revolution.” Fortunately, on Wednesday, Reuters reported the controversy:

Are you a conservative? Then you're a d***, and there's something wrong with your brain. At least that's what "24" actress and comedienne Janeane Garofalo believes.

According to the former Air America radio host, a conservative starts out an “a**hole,” and the politics come later. She asserted, “The reason a person is a conservative republican (sic) is because something is wrong with them...It really is neuroscience.”

In this February 12 interview with the environmentalist celebrity blog Ecorazzi, Garofalo also claimed the “irrational” emotion center of the brain, the limbic system, is what creates conservatives (text reformatted, profanity edited, all bold mine):

The reason a person is a conservative republican is because something is wrong with them. Again, that’s science – that’s neuroscience. You cannot be well adjusted, open-minded, pluralistic, enlightened and be a republican. It’s counter-intuitive. And they revel in their anti-intellectualism. They revel in their cruelty.

Michelle may bring home the bacon, but she sure doesn't fry it up in a pan.

During last year's presidential campaign, the media worked overtime to portray John and Cindy McCain as wealthy private jet junkies with more homes than they can remember, while showcasing Barack and Michelle Obama as just another middle class family with two working parents, one car and freshly paid off student loans. In 2008, a media frenzy whirled around Mrs. McCain's income and the $170,000 she paid household staff in 2006.

On the other hand, Mrs. Obama was defined as an average mom who juggled work and home with extraordinary skill. According to the media, she arranged sleepovers, scoured Target for the perfect wardrobe and served healthy organic dinners. Just like us common folk, right? Well, almost. Those healthy organic dinners were cooked by the Obamas' personal chef, Sam Kass.

Funny how the media didn't mention that on the campaign trail, particularly in all of those syrupy, hagiographic interviews where Michelle discussed her family life, such as this October 17, 2008 CBS "Early Show" segment where she danced around answering reporter Maggie Rodriguez when she asked, “Who cooks at home?” (emphasis mine):

Apparently, for Agence France-Presse, desperate Cubans who flee the Castro brothers’ island prison don’t escape or defect, they merely “depart.”   

It wasn’t merely a poorly-chosen headline stating, “Two top players depart Cuba in a bid to play in US." The whitewash was mirrored in the December 29 article, and the bias wasn’t confined to careful language manipulation.  AFP also minimized the escape by framing it as a simple desire to get rich quick in America with a fat Major League Baseball contract. There was no mention of the harsh realities of Cuban life or the possibility that maybe they also wanted more than six ounces of chicken or ten eggs a month to eat (all emphasis mine, image of Yadel Marti via AFP):

Cuban pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez have departed their Communist island homeland in a bid to launch Major League Baseball careers, ESPN reported on Monday on its website.
Players who become available through such nations as the Dominican Republic are free agents and available to the highest bidder among the 30 North American clubs rather than having their rights assigned in a draft like US collegians.

Are newsrooms so slanted toward Barack Obama that they don't even realize it any more, or was an inaccurate headline about Sarah Palin just another example of more pro-Obama media bias? couldn't even rewrite a simple headline without putting fake words in Palin's mouth. The news organization revised and punched up a headline for a From The Road blog post in a way that made it seem as if Palin called her own comments about Obama's connection to domestic terrorist William Ayers an “Obama [s]mear,” which she didn't. Nowhere in the linked post did Palin say her statements were a “[s]mear" (thanks to NB reader Al; more screengrabs below the fold).

BidenIt's good to know that Team Obama is up to date on the latest news from Iraq. Since the media are so eager to report the “lies” and gaffes by Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin, will they cover the mistake Democrat Joe Biden, the man known as a “Gaffe Machine," made on Wednesday, September 24?

Biden's tough-talking Cincinatti, Ohio foreign policy speech was designed to boost Obama's credibility on the War on Terror and foster confidence in the Illinois Senator's ability to handle international issues. The Dem veep pick discussed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and attempted to talk down McCain's positions while portraying Obama as the true expert.

In the process, Biden laid the bluster on thick and appeared to either be dishonest or unable to keep up with the news--or both--by claiming “... the surge is over, and the political reconciliation it was supposed to produce has not materialized." (transcript)

Unfortunately for Biden, news broke that same day about Iraq's “major step toward national reconciliation." CNN wrote (all emphasis mine):

As if the media's coverage of Cuba isn't fawning enough, now they are using “expert” analysis from three professors that the US government has identified as spies.

Babalu Blog reported that, according to Army counterintelligence officer Chris Simmons, the US government believes at least three of the media's academic authorities on Cuba are actually spies working for the Cuban government. The suspected spies include a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, a Miami Herald board member and columnist and the director of Georgetown University's “Cuba Project.”

If these allegations are true, the danger isn't their potential to gather secrets. Instead, it's their ability to quietly shape opinion and influence public policy on Cuba through powerful academic groups, frequent media statements and slanted analyses as they maneuver within elite academic-think tank circles--and even brief government agencies and the military.

Men's Fitness coverHey, did you know that Barack Obama is young and energetic? Also, he's a real go-getter with a drive to win. Did I mention that he's young? That's the underlying message of lowered expectations and hipness from the June/July Men's Fitness article, "25 Fittest Guys In America." MF lumped Obama in with elite athletes, such as an Olympic boxer, an Ironman triathlete, three mixed martial artists and several professional sports stars in its annual list of “25 Fittest Men in America.”

MF revealed that Obama was “a bit of a baller” in his youth and stays in tip-top shape with hotel weight machines or a “brisk” 45-minute run as well as “mostly” avoiding fatty foods. Wow. That sounds like a brutal regimen of moderate daily exercise and a reasonable diet. How does he do it? What, no kudos for eating his vegetables or walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator? Obama was even credited for giving up smoking, which he didn't exactly do.

MF's article may be stealth campaigning, but it still managed to raise the hopes of schlubs everywhere by including Obama on a “fit" list with top-ranked athletes (bold mine):

Entertainment WeeklyEntertainment Weekly interviewed professional conspiracy theorist and filmmaker Oliver Stone about “W,” his upcoming George W. Bush movie. Stone told EW, “I'm tired of defending the accuracy of my movies. I'm past that now.”

While he told EW “he had to speculate” about dialogue, “Stone insist[ed] that every scene in 'W' will be rooted in truth.” Instead, the movie is a hodge podge of supposed eyewitness accounts, third-hand gossip and fantastical guesswork mixed with “awkward and goofy” caricatures. EW pointed out that “some accounts” “may have come from disgruntled former staffers.”

If the left frothed over ABC's “Path to 9/11” and the media criticized “its invented scenes, fabricated dialogue and unsubstantiated accounts,” then surely they'll immediately knock Stone for these scenes that could come directly from Will Farrell's old “Saturday Night Live”  Bush skits (all bold mine):

There's a scene of 26-year-old Bush peeling his car to a stop on his parents' front lawn and drunkenly hurling insults at his father (''Thank you, Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. F---ing-God-Almighty!''), while another scene set a few years later finds Bush nearly crashing a small plane while flying under the influence.

On the heels of accusations that the media exploited the death of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, now there are cries that NBC didn't spend enough time on Eight Belles' death. After her second-place finish in Saturday's Derby, the three-year-old filly snapped both ankles and was euthanized by a vet on the track.

Ruth Hochberger is one of the voices criticizing NBC for their “abysmal” coverage, but her May 4 Huffington Post article misrepresented the broadcast, claiming there was a “complete failure to tell the story.” She scolded NBC because, “Its nearly three hours of coverage of yesterday's Kentucky Derby just about completely ignored the news. “

Since Eight Belles' death was near the end of the “nearly three hours of coverage,” why is Hochberger penalizing NBC for not having a time machine and ignoring it earlier?

It didn't satisfy Hochberger that NBC refused to speculate and reported only when they knew the facts. She seemed to want the wall-to-wall guesswork reporting one finds with the “baby stuck in a well” crisis journalism where a network trains the camera on “breaking news” and continuously chatters about what might be happening, regardless of how much they know (all bold mine):

Leave it to Reuters in this April 29 article, to express surprise that Hugo Chavez' planned economy, complete with “land reform,” price controls and forced production, is failing. Even worse, reporter Frank Jack Daniels relied on a Marxist outlook and socialist jargon to pretend that those tired policies weren't to blam.

Chavez wants to increase domestic food production; so, of course, the logical solution is to base the recovery on Marxist economics. After watching the failed totalitarian agronomics of Cuba and Russia, you'd think they could have invested a few bucks in a SimCity game so they could practice a little first.

Unbelievably, Reuters said Chavez “sheltered consumers from rising world food costs with subsidies and price controls,” and then in spite of all of that awesome planning, something surprisingly went wrong (all bolded portions mine):

The AP's Alisa Tang wrote a horrifying account of the oppression and misogyny that women face in Afghanistan. The April 30 article bucks the post-9/11 trend of the media turning a blind eye to women's issues in Muslim countries.

What's missing are two words—Islam and Sharia.

The AP article was about a country that uses religion to oppress women but which didn't mention that religion or the system of religious laws based on that religion.

Official White House portrait of Gorge Washington


Journalists love reporting that Americans are stupid, and they salivate at the thought of asking us to find the United States on a map or who we fought in the American Revolution. That's why it is rather amusing that the Los Angeles Times mistakenly claimed that George Washington only served one term in office as US president. 

LAT television critic Mary McNamara made the slip up in this April 19 article about HBO's surge in popularity when she began describing the cable network's “John Adams” miniseries (via Patterico) (all bold mine):

In his portrayal of our second president, Paul Giamatti creates a man perpetually dissatisfied, disgusted by the preening ambition of politics even as he is infected by it... [S]etting up a new government is a bureaucratic nightmare, with oversized personalities disagreeing over things both petty and fundamental. George Washington (David Morse) so quickly tired of the infighting among his Cabinet and vagaries of public opinion that he stepped down from the presidency after a single term. "I know now what it is like to be disliked," he says to Adams, his perpetually disliked vice president.

Online gossip blog just doesn't know when to quit. In this April 3 post, the site took time from its busy schedule tracking celebrity train wrecks to condescendingly mock former “Bachelor” reality star Navy Lt. Andy Baldwin yet again for retrieving WWII remains. This is the third time TMZ has knocked Baldwin for “diving for old bones."

The bashing began in a March 20 post that explained Baldwin had been part of a Navy dive team assigned to recover the remains of WWII servicemen from a B-24 crash site in the South Pacific. The staff writers criticized the waste of their tax dollars on “ancient history,” musing “let's talk about why we the taxpayers are footing the bill on such BS” and asking readers if they thought it was a “[r]idiculous waste.” TMZ's staff expressed their disbelief that anyone would bother searching for such an old wreck and then dismissed the importance of recovering the remains, snarking, “At least [Baldwin] got a really good tan" (all bold mine):

What, you ask, were they looking for? A B-24J bomber that went down during the war. Not Iraq. Not Vietnam. No, not Korea. We're talking WWII, as in more than 60 years ago.
Turns out, the military spends $52 million each year to find the remains of missing soldiers -- it's part of the POW/MIA program. That's all well and good depending on the circumstances. But a crash that is ancient history, at a time when the economy sucks and the Federal government is sucking the life out of everyone with taxes??

What does it say about Reuters' environmental coverage when the news organization can't even get a basic “factbox” correct?

This March 31 Reuters “factbox” was supposed to explain “What is the Kyoto Protocol?” Instead, the media conglomerate pushed a biased eco-agenda and omitted anything that cast a negative light on the treaty or revealed problems. There was no mention of Kyoto participants failing to meet their targets or Japan trying to renegotiate because Kyoto is harming its economy. Reuters failed to report that greenhouse gas emissions are rising in the European Union and in many Kyoto-participating countries, such as Canada. Some, like Austria and Great Britain, are actually doing worse than the US in emissions growth. By skewing the data included in this factbox, Reuters massaged data to fit an agenda and crossed into advocacy journalism.

Reuters began by framing the US as the bad guy (all bold mine):

Al Jazeera English logoThe anti-American bias at Al Jazeera English became “so stereotypical, so reflexive” that former “Nightline” reporter David Marash quit his job with the Qatar-based channel, in part over that attitude. What was even more interesting was Marash's assertion that the anti-American attitude came more from the British administrators than the Arabs at AJE.

In a March 27 article, AP television writer David Bauder reported the situation that made the award-winning reporter quit (all bold mine):

Former "Nightline" reporter Dave Marash has quit Al-Jazeera English, saying Thursday his exit was due in part to an anti-American bias at a network that is little seen in this country.

Marash said he felt that attitude more from British administrators than Arabs at the Qatar-based network.

Marash was the highest-profile American TV personality hired when the English language affiliate to Al-Jazeera was started two years ago in an attempt to compete with CNN and the BBC. He said there was a "reflexive adversarial editorial stance" against Americans at Al-Jazeera English.

"Given the global feelings about the Bush administration, it's not surprising," Marash said.

But he found it "became so stereotypical, so reflexive" that he got angry.

Mary Katherine HamThe left and the media love to hyperventilate about the right wing “hate speech” on the Internet, but the anger and vitriol of the left dwarfs that of the right, especially where female or minority bloggers are concerned. Hateful comments are not uncommon at lefty blogs like Daily Kos. That kind of hostility forces the Huffington Post to occassionally close comments on articles involving certain topics like Israel, the military or even Margaret Thatcher.

Right Wing News addressed this trend in its excellent ongoing series “Blogging While Female: 5 Conservative Women Bloggers Talk About Gender Issues and the Blogosphere.” (Pt 2 here). RWN sampled a variety of righty opinion from Michelle Malkin, Mary Katherine Ham, LaShawn Barber, Rachel Lucas and more, and they discussed experiencing misogynistic and often disturbingly aggressive comments.

Pictures of them are photoshopped into violent or sexually explicit positions, and they are stalked, online and occasionally offline. Liberals track down their addresses and phone numbers and leave obscene messages, even threaten rape. Moderate blogger Ann Althouse nailed the root of the hostility, “...people on the Left think you are evil if you don't agree with them, that you're actually a bad person” (all bold mine). 

Photo--Paul Sanoya/AP at the New York TimesThe media just won't identify Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's party or his high-powered political connections, now that he is knee-deep in scandals.

Image AP/Carlos OsorioA few days before Eliot Spitzer went down in flames, a highly-connected Barack Obama* [Update: Kilpatrick has not committed to Obama] superdelegate was mired in accusations of corruption, bid-rigging and a dead-stripper sex scandal. Usually the media love to report the downfall of party bigwigs, but not in the case of Detroit's youngest mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Much of the media downplayed the mayor's scandals and did not report his party, let alone his status as a Democratic power player who can influence the election.

Kwame, who is the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), is not just any mayor. He was a Democratic rising star, who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and is the superdelegate to the 2008 convention thanks to his position as Vice President of the Conference of Democratic Mayors.

But now “The First Hip Hop Mayor” is in serious trouble, with members of the city council calling for his resignation. Controversy has engulfed his two terms, and the latest bout involves a report that his wife assaulted a now-dead stripper whose shooting is still unsolved. At the same time, the mayor's longtime pal Bobby Ferguson won at least $45 million in city contracts while reportedly receiving inside information from Kilpatrick and his chief of staff.

The New York Times reported Democratic NY state assemblyman Brian McLaughlin pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges on Friday. As usual, no party identification in the headline, picture, caption or article, but there's a twist in this March 8 piece. The NYT also didn't report that he was in office at the time the crimes were committed.

In the lede, the Times described McLaughlin as the “former head of the nation’s biggest municipal labor council,” without noting his political office.

Continuing the whitewash, the NYT buried and downplayed the story's juicy details. While in office, McLaughlin stole a total of $2.2 million from little leaguers, labor unions, his political club and the state of New York. He used the funds to buy cars for his wife and mistress and, bizarrely, forced union members to kill rats in his basement, dog sit and hang Christmas lights without pay. The only mention of the Dem's political career was an unclear second paragraph (all bold mine):