Investigation or inoculation?

John McCain has said he'll be taking a tougher line against Barack Obama and his associates, and reporter Scott Shane's front-page piece in Saturday's New York Times on the "sporadic" ties between Obama and William Ayers, a founder of the 1960s domestic terrorist group Weather Underground, serves as a 2,100-word inoculation, a long investigative piece that does little in the way of actual investigating, providing the appearance of due diligence while exonerating Obama.

The two men knew each other years in Chicago politics, most notably when Obama served as chief executive of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a school project co-founded by Ayers, while Ayers served on the board. Ayers and his wife, fellow Weather Underground member Bernardine Dohrn, hosted a gathering for their Hyde Park neighbor Barack Obama. It was Obama's "coming-out" party for politics.

Ayers has never repented from his domestic terrorism, which included a bomb attack on the Pentagon (a Weather Underground member planted a bomb in a Pentagon restroom). In a Times profile that coincidentally appeared the morning of September 11, 2001, Ayers said, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." In his memoir, "Fugitive Days," he wrote: ''Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon."

CNN’s Web site this morning tracked a developing story involving the stock market opening, by featuring a photo of an Iran anti-war protest. The photo, provided by our friends at the AP, was simply too perfect to pass up apparently. After all, any photo which includes a man brandishing a banner which reads ‘Jail Bush,’ is something that a biased news organization simply has to take. Pertinence be damned. Seriously, nothing says the economy quite like a placard reading ‘No attack on Iran.’ CNN probably could have found a photo that actually applied to the topic of a sliding stock market. Was a stock photo of a line graph with a red arrow pointing down not available at the most trusted name in news? No picture of someone ringing the opening bell? The story itself was titled ‘Wall Street Drops at Open,’ and to its credit, did not include the photo within the article. Oddly enough however, there was no mention of 'Iran' in the article that the above photo linked to either. Nor was there any mention of the word 'war.' Or 'protest.'

This is a story that could only happen in Berkeley---militant tree sitters accused of racism.

Back on September 3, the Detroit Free Press ran a feature asking local voters how they felt about Governor Sarah Palin's acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention. However, several of those identified as "independent" voters have turned out to be far from independent but are anti-war activists and members of the radical hate-group, Code Pink. Looks like the Detroit Free Press got snookered big time on this one.

The Free Press published the opinions of Ilene Beninson, 52, and Joellen Gilchrist, 64, as the opinion of "independents" and, naturally, they both hated Palin and her speech. But, as the days rolled onward, it has come to light that neither Beninson nor Gilchrist are as "independent" as they claimed. Even ABC's Jake Tapper got snared by the sham independents. Tapper later apologized for his error.

The Democratic National Convention hasn't even begun, and the protestors are out trying to Recreate 68.

For those unfamiliar, the group "was created for all the grassroots people who are tired of being sold out by the Democratic Party," and are gathering in Denver to "resist a two-party system that allows imperialism and racism to continue unrestrained."

High profile activists such as Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney have already joined the festivities.

On Sunday, Fox News's Griff Jenkins tried to speak to these folks as they marched in Denver, but was instead verbally assaulted (video embedded below the fold courtesy of our friend Johnny Dollar, vulgarity warning, photo courtesy Rocky Mountain News):

Could the NBC honchos be a tad touchy about criticism of the Beijing Olympics—especially when it comes from its own talent pool?  Was there a kernel of truth in Mika Brzezinski's light-hearted warning that MSNBC's Morning Joe crew would "get a call" if it persisted in its mocking of the games for whose broadcast rights the Peacock Network has over the years paid billions?

When the subject of the Olympics arose during the opening segment of today's show, the panel went into an extended coughing fit, coupled with cracks about tanks in Tiananmen Square.  Mika joined in the joshing for a while, before finally putting her foot down . . .

View video here.

Mika touched things off with a news item about the Olympic torch.

NBC’s Matt Lauer, broadcasting live from the Great Wall of China on Monday’s "Today" show, referred to the "double-edged sword" of the world’s attention being on China for the Summer Olympic Games and asked a Chinese professor about how that "spotlight" might be "co-opted by party crashers who have a bone to pick with this country. He then asked the professor, "How worried are the people here about that?" [audio available here]

Lauer, who will be in China during the next weeks for the Olympics, interviewed Professor Teng Dimeng of the Beijing Foreign Studies University 20 minutes into 7 am Eastern hour of the NBC program. According to the University’s own website, it is a "key university under the [Chinese] Ministry of Education" and that "since her initiation, the [Communist] Party Central Committee and the late Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, has provided great care and teachings for the development of the university." Therefore, Lauer, despite introducing Teng as a professor, was actually speaking to an employee of the Communist Chinese government.

Talk about a puff piece, this Associated Press short is a story with absolutely no substance. Not only that but after seeing the headline and then reading the story, one is hard pressed to believe they belong together. This Amy Forliti puffery is incongruously headlined "Protesters expected to transform the streets outside GOP convention into marketplace of ideas," yet there isn't any discussion at all of any such "marketplace" or about any real "ideas" in the story. In fact, the only "ideas" are ages old, stale and losing their grip among more Americans everyday.

Oh, Forliti talks about protests filled with prosaic anti-war sentiment, ages old oil protests, anarchists and 9/11 truthers, but there is no discussion of real "ideas" in this piece. Nor does the piece discuss exactly who is organizing these protests, people who are themselves filled with the dead ideas of another era -- just for instance the United For Peace And Justice (UFPJ) is mostly a socialist organization and they are always a part of these coalitions of misfits.

Whoops.  On the very day that the New York Times takes President Bush harshly to task for failing to promote human rights in China, the president meets at the White House . . . . with five Chinese human rights activists.

Railed the Times in this morning's editorial, Past Time for Speaking Out:
Two weeks before he goes to the Beijing Olympic Games, President Bush remains unacceptably silent about China’s crackdown on basic human rights.

[H]is refusal to speak out publicly and clearly about China’s repressive behavior is an abdication of leadership and a blot on his record.
But just hours later, the president was hosting the group of Chinese activists, in a meeting that had been planned in advance.  The White House press secretary put out this statement on the meeting:

The July 11 Second Amendment Freedom Rally in downtown Chicago was ignored by both of Chicago's major newspapers (Tribune search on "gun rally," not in quotes, is here [HT Say Uncle]; Sun-Times search on "gun" is here).

Pictures, audio, and video from rally supporters can be found here.

Focusing on the Tribune: Its editorial board last month advocated repealing the Second Amendment in the wake of the Supreme Court's Heller ruling, holding that the amendment confers an individual right. Perhaps not coincidentally, it has frequently covered anti-gun events with a similar number, or even fewer, participants, than were at Thursday's event.

At least one Chicago TV station did cover the Second Amendment Freedom Rally. Here is part of the report filed by Leah Hope at ABC affiliate WLS (video is also at the link; bold is mine):

Albany Times Union photoThe call to arms is emotional: ‘We need a President who will stand up to Big Oil!’

The impact is nationwide: ‘National Day of Action for an Oil Free President… At gas stations across the country…’

The movement is massive: ‘American people need an Oil-Free President!’

And the Albany Times Union took a photo-op to demonstrate the fury of the numerous protestors – all 7 of them.

Making the photo even more priceless is the second gentleman from the left, who had to hold up two signs at once, because an 8th protestor was not available.

Now, I had a good 10-12 people at a cookout last weekend, and a majority of them were protesting my overcooking of their burgers. Worse, I was probably wasting untold amounts of gas by serving well-done burgers to the guests - a costly mistake. Yet the Times Union was nowhere to be found.

At what point did it become newsworthy when 7 people gathered for a nationwide protest? You know the answer… When it promotes a liberal cause.

- Photo by James Goolsby/Albany Times Union

More anti-war figures are voicing their opinions about contradictory and confusing statements regarding Iraq made Thursday by presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama, and the news is clearly not good for his campaign.

One such concerned party is Tom Hayden, the famed ex-husband of Jane Fonda who, along with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, was part of the Chicago Seven that incited riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.