Does Osama bin Laden read the work of left-wing media figures and bloggers? It's quite possible, argues Brendan O'Neill:
When Al Jazeera broadcast Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape in January, it provoked the same sense of déjà vu as Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, recently published by the leftist publishing house Verso.
The book is a collection of every public utterance made by the Al Qaeda leader from 1994 to 2004. According to The Observer's excitable reviewer, it shows that he is a "charismatic man of action, an eloquent preacher, a teacher of literature and a resilient, cunning, wonderfully briefed politician." To me, however, there was something irritatingly familiar rather than surprisingly eloquent about his tone and turns of phrase.
Then it struck me: Bin Laden is a blogger. Not literally, of course, but he certainly speaks the language of the blogosphere. He references Robert Fisk and Michael Moore, those darlings of the anti-war Web. His latest statement recommends that people read Rogue State by William Blum, whose e-mail newsletter, Anti-Empire Report, is frequently republished and discussed in the left-wing blogosphere.
It got a little crazy in the 8:30 half hour of "The Early Show" on CBS as co-host Harry Smith, hosted a segment on "organic furniture." Smith interviewed Susanna Salk, a special projects editor for "House and Garden" magazine. The segment focused on "green" fashion and the benefits of hemp. Why is this a big deal?
Last week the press was full of reports on Senator Hillary Clinton's "major speech on energy." A typical report was carried in the Columbus Ledger-Inquirer, picked up from the wire service of the New York Post. But from the evidence in the national press coverage, it does not seem that a single reporter leaned back in his chair and actually thought about what she said on the critical issue of nuclear energy.
Over the weekend, Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zibari, and Iran's foreign affairs chief held a meeting to discuss, among other things, Iran's nuclear program. Afterward, the two held a press conference. CNN reported on the conference but instead of reporting that Iraq wanted Iran to guarantee its program was for peaceful purposes, the network implied that Iraq was backing its neighbor entirely.
Omar at Iraq the Model caught CNN in its error. Here's what CNN claimed Zibari said:
Iran doesn't claim that they want to obtain a nuclear weapon or a nuclear bomb, so there is no need that we ask them for any guarantee now.
Here's what he actually said, as translated by Omar from the Arabic original:
We respect Iran's and every other nation's right to pursue nuclear technology for research purposes and peaceful use given they accept [giving] the internationally required guarantees that this will not lead to an armament race in the region.
The Sunday before Memorial Day, reporter Kate Zernike allowed Sen. John Kerry to refight his own personal Vietnam War against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ("Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss"). The Times puts the battle on the front page, and judging by the respectful tone of the story, seems to think the pro-Kerry forces vanquish the Swift Boat Veterans.
Liberal bias is nothing new to the weekly PBS program, This Week in California. When reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle typically represent the right side of the political spectrum on the show's panel, viewers pretty much know what they're in for.
A bit of political gender-bending on this morning's Today, as ostensibly conservative radio talk show host Michael Smerconish called for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq while the normally hyper-partisan James Carville did anything but ride to the defense of his fellow Democrat, Congressman William Jefferson, apparently caught with his hand in a $100G cookie jar.
"The Da Vinci Code" made $102,481,037 in the first week. But says Kendall:
If he’s a believer, Tony Snow should be taking Bush’s case to the world, and seeking opportunities to make that case. That means more briefings. Not cutting back but building on.
Reporters like to think of themselves as brave truth-tellers who can cut through the rhetoric and evasive maneuvering of politicians. But sometimes, they sound like they're trying to assist politicians in their evasive manuevering. Exhibit A is Tuesday's front-page Hillary article in the Washington Post.
Yet, when the Associated Press mentions the subject, what it says is: Global warming boosts poison ivy.
The AP report, as published May 29 by the Boston Globe, begins:
Still wondering if there really is a liberal media bias? Not convinced yet? Well, a recently released story by Ron Fournier of the Associated Press may change your mind.
In an article entitled “Democrats Eye November Landslide,” Fournier comes across more as a professional Democratic pollster than a supposedly impartial journalist. As amazing as it might seem, the article began: “Republicans are three steps from a November shellacking each a grim possibility if habitually divided Democrats get their acts together.”
Unfortunately, the cheerleading was just beginning:
“First step: Voters must focus on the national landscape on Nov. 7 rather than local issues and personalities that usually dominate midterm elections.
“That would sting Republicans, who trail badly in national polls.”
Convinced yet? Well, here are paragraphs four and five:
Since it was Memorial Day, the day on which America honors its war dead, it was natural that The Washington Post saw this as the perfect day for...a big profile of a hard-left "anti-war" activist, Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out. Reporter David Montgomery chronicled her marriage to a National Guard soldier, "the warrior and the antiwarrior," and she won. The husband, back from Iraq, asked: "Soldiers are dying for what reason again?"