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Despite all the claims of standing by their stories, the AP now admits to the use of unauthorized sources.  The infamous Qais al-Bashir posted another sectarian violence story via AP this morning. Al-Bashir offered up the typical Sunni-Shiite blood-letting but this time he was honest about his sources:



Let's be generous and chalk it up to the early-morning hour. Otherwise we'd have to come down hard on radio host Mike Gallagher, who as a guest on this morning's Fox & Friends Weekend went ga-ga for Barack Obama. It's one thing to acknowledge as did Mike that Obama has appeal as a candidate. But, interviewed by Keran Chetry, it was Gallagher's praise for Obama's substance that shocked, coming as it did from a putative conservative. Said Gallagher:

"He's got some pretty solid ideas. He's a moderate."

Obama - moderate? If Mike would check Obama's record, as we did here, he'd find that in addition to having received a perfect 100% rating last year from the paleo-liberals at Americans for Democratic Action, a host of other ratings Barack has received screams "cookie-cutter left-wing Democrat":



Original caption:



How does Jimmy Carter know when he's outstayed his welcome on the international stage? When even Jane Hall, the genial liberal of Fox News Watch, suggests it's time to turn him out to pasture. Carter's latest book, an anti-Israel diatribe incitingly entitled "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" brought this evening's panel together - in criticism of the 39th president.



Arianna Huffington really needs to rethink access to her blog. Lately, the nonsensical ravings of her guests would be much more appropriate at Daily Kos than the Huffington Post.

This abomination by actor Alec Baldwin is a perfect example. On the day America learned it had lost one of the classiest people to ever represent our country at the United Nations, Baldwin chose to disparage her in a way that either questioned her femininity, or insinuated she was a warmonger:

I heard William Bennett on CNN, eulogizing Jean [sic] Kirkpatrick. He referred to her as the GOP's Thatcher and called her "our Iron Lady." What is it about these people that they can never talk of peace? (Even their women have to come across like Vince Lombardi.)

How thoroughly disgraceful. Huffington should either request Baldwin apologize for this detritus, or do it herself.

Yet, that wasn’t Baldwin’s only absurdity (emphasis mine):



Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, who passed away Friday morning, adapted a 1983 speech on the influence of the news media, into the forward for the Media Research Center's 1990 book, And That's the Way It Isn't: A Reference Guide to Media Bias. She proposed: “Some people believe, and I am among them, that the power of the media today constitutes the most significant exercise of unaccountable power in our society. It is unaccountable to anyone, except for those who exercise the power. I believe that the domain of culture is as important as the domain of government or the economy.”

More than two decades ago, she warned: “It is very important to realize that the electronic media, which provide mass audiences, have made our culture much more manipulable than it ever was in the past. Typically, historically, cultures have been slow to change. Ideas about what's real, what's important, and what causes what, change very slowly in history. They are grounded in the experience of peoples, and respond only to additional, cumulative experiences of peoples. With the rise of electronic media, the possibility of deliberate manipulation of culture has been magnified ten zillion fold.” (Full text follows)



ANSWER: Nothing satisfactory, as far as the company is concerned. Google has responded, but generically, and poorly. Meanwhile, press releases that verge on being pure pap are routinely displayed in Google News results.

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Background: This post is the latest relating to attempts that began here to get to the bottom of why all but a very small portion of news items published at Centcom.mil and its affliated sites are NOT being found or displayed by the Google News search engine. More background is here, here, here, and here, but this post should stand on its own for those who are new to the issue.

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I received this e-mail from Google News early Thursday evening (link supplied by Google News was made clickable for this post):

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your note about Google News. We apologize for our delayed response. Dan passed your email on to our User Support team so we can assist you. Please be assured that Google News currently includes the news site you mention. You can find articles from this publication in our results at the following link:

HERE

Additionally, please be aware that Google News doesn't currently include multimedia content, such as audio or video files. Google News offers a news service compiled solely by computer algorithms without human intervention. There aren't human editors at Google selecting or grouping the headlines, and no individual decides which stories get top placement. While our news sources vary in perspective and editorial approach, their selection for inclusion is done without regard to political viewpoint or ideology.

While we aim to include as many sources as possible in Google News, we can’t guarantee the addition of all articles and sources that are submitted to us. We appreciate your taking the time to send us your suggestions for how we can improve this service.

If you'd like more information about Google News, please check out our Help Center at http://www.google.com/support/news/. Thanks again for taking the time to write.

Regards,
The Google Team

"The Google Team" totally missed and failed to respond to this very clear e-mail's main points, which were:



Last year, I sensed that journalists in general prefer to call this time of the year in commerce that of "holiday shopping" instead of "Christmas shopping," but that when it came to people losing their jobs, they preferred to describe layoffs as relating to "Christmas."

My instincts were proven correct, as you can see below from the results of three different sets of Google News searches in November and December (links to last year's related posts are here, here, and here):

ChristmasSearch2005Results

I've decided to track the same items this year to see if there is any noticeable change or trend.

Here are the first two of the three sets of Google News searches during this Christmas season, compared to last year (the Dec. 9, 2006 searches were done shortly after midnight; the post on the Nov. 26, 2006 searches is here):



Fox News correspondent and comedian Dennis Miller was at it again Friday night. In his “Real Free Speech” segment, Miller took on Iraq War defeatism, and wisely explained why winning over there is important for America’s future (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated). As always, this works best if you read along while watching or you will miss the marvelous sight gags:

Hey there, folks. Tonight I'm going to talk about defeatism about the war here on the home front. Ah, but what good would it do me to talk about defeatism? It's not like it's going to change anything. You see how whiney that tone sounds? You think our enemy loves hearing that? Of course they do.



I don’t know about you, but almost nothing can make my Friday evening better than a guest on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” smacking around the loony liberal host. Such was the case on December 8 when California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher was invited on to discuss an interesting border patrol case. For a little background, Colmes set the segment up (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated):

Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were convicted of shooting an admitted drug smuggler in the buttocks as he ran away from them near the Rio Grande River in February of 2005. They're now both sentenced to up to 12 years in jail, in which they will begin to serve next month. And now, 48 lawmakers are asking President Bush to pardon the agents, because they believe their actions stopped more than $1 million in illegal drugs from being sold in the U.S. Joining us now, the lawmaker leading the campaign for the pardon of California -- for this particular pardon, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Sounds reasonable, right? However, after introducing the Congressman, Colmes chose to add the following thereby immediately turning what should have been an informative interview about this subject into an argument:



Talk amongst yourselves...


How is it journalism is supposed to go: "Who, What, Where, When"?

Isn't that the purported standard for "reporting" on a story? So, should that be true, the just-the-facts-ma'am style of reporting, informing the reader so that he may decide, is obviously as rare as a white Unicorn appearing every 13th month on a blue moon in the newsroom of the Washington Post -- or the Washington comPost as it is lovingly referred to by so many.



Sure, the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group might be largely useless. But hey, check out all the wonderful consensus - and cue another chorus of Kumbaya! That, in a nutshell, is the message of the Boston Globe's editorial of this morning, Presidential Ingratitude.

Excerpts:

  • "Whatever might be questioned in any particular recommendation of the report, the bipartisan spirit and consensus-building purpose of the Iraq Study Group deserve grateful praise from the president, not a defensive rejection."
  • "The Iraq Study Group may not have come up with all the right answers; in their pursuit of unanimity, they may have settled for split-the-difference compromises where only one straight path makes sense. But in their bipartisan spirit of cooperation, they gave Americans a much-needed reminder of how statecraft once was conducted."


You can sense that when the liberal media covers the pregnancy of Mary Cheney, there’s a glee there, like when they find an evangelical preacher with a crystal meth problem (although it must be said that in their current glee, Mary is the heroine, and again, the religious right is wrong). Some conservatives have argued that Mary Cheney probably just wants her privacy, and it’s the activists who’ve hijacked the story. But do we know that to be true?



"The expanding outbreak of E. coli poisonings in New York, New Jersey and several other states underscores the need for more rigorous regulation of the whole supply chain for fresh produce . . .