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Unfortunately, journalists haven’t accurately reported the data involved.

Catastrophic events in America’s cities have a tendency to generate discussions about race, class, and poverty. The Watts riots in 1965, as well as the Rodney King riots in 1992 are fine examples. Hurricane Katrina has sparked another such debate. Unfortunately, America’s media are relying on consistently questionable or out-of-date statistics to not only exaggerate the problem, but to blame President Bush.

No, this is not about the Rev. Louis Farrakhan and his march in D.C. Instead, it’s about an article today (15 October) in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer entitled, “ 'Slave syndrome' may still affect black behavior.” The thesis of the professor appears in the early paragraphs:

“The troubling images of African Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans' impoverished neighborhoods didn't startle researcher Joy DeGruy-Leary. ‘All Katrina did was reveal what was already there. I wasn't confused, wasn't surprised,’ she said....

CNN runs an AP article on King Midas, a 300-pound sea turtle from Louisiana. In one of the photo captions it says King Midas is "in his watery home with other fish at the aquarium in New Orleans."

They don't know fish from turtles and they want to preach to us about global warming and the environment?

A follow-up, with Friday morning coverage, to the Thursday night NewsBusters posting, “Shocked, Just Shocked Network Reporters Hype 'Staged’ Bush Event with Troops,” which detailed how the NBC Nightly News LED with the supposed scandal and how the other networks devoted full stories to it. The network obsession, with the ordinary preparation for a presidential event involving nervous participants, continued on Friday morning. Plugging upcoming stories at the top of Good Morning America, ABC’s Charles Gibson referred to “an embarrassing, staged photo-op.” Diane Sawyer soon cited the event as a “new embarrassment” for the administration and reporter Claire Shipman asserted that “an embarrassing White House blunder lifted the veil on the Bush administration's meticulously managed photo-ops." With “WAS TALK WITH TROOPS SCRIPTED?” plastered on-screen, NBC’s Today made the incident its story of the day as Katie Couric announced: "On Close-Up this morning, is the Bush administration using staged events to sell the war in Iraq?”

Over on CNN’s American Morning, co-host Miles O’Brien insisted to Major General Rick Lynch in Iraq that the participating soldiers were “coached.” Though Lynch repeatedly denied the soldiers were told what to say, O’Brien stuck to his claim they were “coached,” citing how the Pentagon official told them, “here's what he's going to say, here's what you might want to say in response, right?" Lynch maintained that “those soldiers yesterday were giving their opinion." To which an oblivious O’Brien replied: “Well, I guess it's too bad, if that's true, that people would have another impression this morning, because of the way they were coached." But the best O’Brien could come up with was how the Pentagon’s Allison Barber suggested how to segue to another soldier for an answer and that “a few smiles wouldn't hurt back here on the TV.” When news reader Carol Costello wondered: "Is anything spontaneous in politics, really? I don't think so," O'Brien heralded a left-winger: "Jeez. Dennis Kucinich, maybe?" O'Brien also had the gall to contend that “truth be told, if they were not coached, they would have said things that the administration would have liked to hear, I'm convinced. Because they are, you know, these troops are gung ho about their mission. And so it's a shame that they have cast this cloud." Wow, that’s chutzpah given it was O’Brien and the media which cast the “cloud.” (Full transcripts follow.)

Published just hours apart, but by journalists separated by thousands of miles and a huge cultural divide, articles at the Boston Globe and al-Jazeera concerning the voting just finished in Iraq had striking similarities in their views. In fact, the tenor of both reports was quite negative.

The key points raised in the al-Jazeera article were:

“In what the American President George W. Bush claims to be another milestone on Iraq’s road to democracy, Iraqi headed to polling stations today to give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the proposed draft constitution, expected to further divide the country into three mini-states.”

On this issue, the Globe stated:

AP reporter John Solomon publicizes Tom DeLay's congressional-campaign website, especially its page on The Facts about Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle. It's fairly straightforward until it talks to "the experts" about it.  There's this expert claim:

The Washington Post sent its ace reporter, Dana Milbank, to cover yesterday’s grand jury appearance by chief White House aide, Karl Rove. Milbank gave the reader a fascinating blow-by-blow of the proceedings, including letting the curious know that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald does indeed use public restrooms:

“Almost three hours after Karl Rove entered the grand jury chambers yesterday morning, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald walked hurriedly from the room and toward the waiting reporters.

“‘Just going to the men's room,’ he announced, continuing past the media pack. ‘Don't want to create any buzz.’"

Yet, never one to miss an opportunity to belittle a member of the Bush administration, Milbank relayed a vision of female protestors from Code Pink standing in front of the courthouse dressed as condoms:

In the midst of the feeding frenzy concerning contentions that the video teleconference between President Bush and soldiers stationed in Iraq was staged (video link to follow), most of America’s media forgot to tell the public what actually happened during the event. In fact, there was a lot of great news offered by these soldiers that has largely gone unreported as a result.

For instance, as reported by Gerry Gilmore of the American Forces Press Service:

Just before 5pm EDT Friday, during The Situation Room's review of blog postings, CNN's Jacki Schechner recited examples of blog sites critical of the media's hyping of the so-called “staged” live tele-conference Thursday between President Bush and soldiers in Iraq. With a shot of the NewsBusters posting, “Shocked, Just Shocked Network Reporters Hype 'Staged' Bush Event with Troops” on screen, Schechner relayed: “From NewsBusters, this is a group site that was put together to combat what they call the liberal media bias, saying there is nothing wrong with figuring out 'who should answer which question' or telling soldiers, who aren't familiar with media interviews, to 'take a breath' before answering.”

Video clip: Real or Windows Media

So a preacher, a comedian, and a scientist walk into a bar...

Okay, I'll spare you that joke, but all of the above comprised Harry Smith's theological roundtable in the second half hour of today's Early Show. The question for Jerry Falwell, Andy Borowitz, and Bill Nye "the Science Guy," was, "Is God mad at us," given all the natural disasters---tsunami, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides---that have beset the planet since last December.

     CBS reporter Kelly Cobiella’s reaction to flooding in the northeast United States was to call for federal aid. All she needed to do to understand that wasn’t a good idea was to watch her own news show.

     Cobiella’s call came during the October 13 “Evening News,” which did a two-part segment on flooding in the northeast. Cobiella was in New Hampshire and Claire Duvall reported from New Jersey. Cobiella began the report and after surveying the New Hampshire flood damage she declared “There is a real need for federal help here.”

CBS reporter calls for government aid to assist Northeast flood victims.

The free weekly tabloid Washington City Paper recently started a new feature, Service Industry, its purpose, "rating D.C.'s houses of worship." Religious readers, however, may sense a bit of condescension, intended or not, in the notion of rating a church service much like it were a play, concert, or film, especially if the church rated by the City Paper's reviewer seems to give it bad marks for its conservative or traditional Christian theology.

The "mainstream" media today, in a stunning display of left-wing bias, engaged in a coordinated anti-war propaganda campaign designed to overshadow an attempt by President Bush on Thursday to rally America's troops. The effort was so gratuitously spiteful, partisan, and transparent that Joseph Goebbels himself would have applauded it.

Staff writers Robert E. Pierre and Hamil Harris report today in the Metro section of the Washington Post on Louis "Farrakhan's Message of Defiance and Unity"* in his march planned for tomorrow in Washington, D.C., commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March.