Category Archives: Media Criticism

He’s No Jimmy Carter

Unlike Jimmy Carter, Obama apparently will lie to us.

Of course, I’m not aware that Obama has ever made a Carter-like pledge.

By the way, I don’t mean to imply that Carter doesn’t speak falsehoods. I just think that he’s delusional enough to believe them.

[Update in the early afternoon]

Here’s more on Obama’s campaign-finance hypocrisy.

…public financing and lobbyist money are yet additional examples of how Obama is on both sides of every issue — Iraq, the Cuban embargo, a divided Jerusalem, NAFTA et al. Is the press at all interested in pointing this out?

That was a rhetorical question, right?

[Update a few minutes later]

Just to be clear, I’m not criticizing Obama for declining public financing per se. I think that public financing is an ugly chancre on the body politic, and I cheer when it’s foregone. I wish that McCain would do the same thing. Unfortunately, he’d look even more hypocritical if he did so, due to his having become the point man for all of these idiotic and unconstitutional campaign finance laws. He could use this as an excuse to follow suit, saying that he had no choice, given Obama’s going back on his word, but we all know that if he did, the howls from the media would be deafening.

Well, according to the BBC, he didn’t lie. He just “reversed his promise.”

Well, that’s all right then.

It’s only fair to note that technically, they’re correct. If Obama said it while having no intention of doing it at the time, it would be a lie, but we can’t get into his mind. Sometimes promises aren’t kept, but that doesn’t mean that they were a lie at the time they were made. I was always annoyed when people told me that George H. W. Bush lied when he said “read my lips, no new taxes.” A broken promise is, in fact, not the same as a lie. But it’s a reason to not consider voting for someone.

Just A Coincidence, I’m Sure

RIchard Fernandez connects some dots that may account for Senator Obama’s shifts in Iraq policy:

The shifts in Barack Obama’s policy toward Iraq show a remarkable correlation with the rise and fall of Tony Rezko’s business prospects in the Chamchamal Power Plant. As the story of the Rezko syndicate is exposed in his Chicago trial, the subject of its Iraqi commercial interests will come under a brighter light. Barack Obama has already said of his convicted ex-fundraiser, “this is not the Tony Rezko I used to know.”

For some reason, the MSM doesn’t seem interested in this kind of stuff.

Just A Coincidence, I’m Sure

RIchard Fernandez connects some dots that may account for Senator Obama’s shifts in Iraq policy:

The shifts in Barack Obama’s policy toward Iraq show a remarkable correlation with the rise and fall of Tony Rezko’s business prospects in the Chamchamal Power Plant. As the story of the Rezko syndicate is exposed in his Chicago trial, the subject of its Iraqi commercial interests will come under a brighter light. Barack Obama has already said of his convicted ex-fundraiser, “this is not the Tony Rezko I used to know.”

For some reason, the MSM doesn’t seem interested in this kind of stuff.

The George Romney Democrats

James Kirchick writes that the Democrats are trying to lie their party to victory, and the country to defeat in Iraq:

In 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously approved a report acknowledging that it “did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments.” The following year, the bipartisan Robb-Silberman report similarly found “no indication that the intelligence community distorted the evidence regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”

Contrast those conclusions with the Senate Intelligence Committee report issued June 5, the production of which excluded Republican staffers and which only two GOP senators endorsed. In a news release announcing the report, committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV got in this familiar shot: “Sadly, the Bush administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.”

Yet Rockefeller’s highly partisan report does not substantiate its most explosive claims. Rockefeller, for instance, charges that “top administration officials made repeated statements that falsely linked Iraq and Al Qaeda as a single threat and insinuated that Iraq played a role in 9/11.” Yet what did his report actually find? That Iraq-Al Qaeda links were “substantiated by intelligence information.” The same goes for claims about Hussein’s possession of biological and chemical weapons, as well as his alleged operation of a nuclear weapons program.

Four years on from the first Senate Intelligence Committee report, war critics, old and newfangled, still don’t get that a lie is an act of deliberate, not unwitting, deception. If Democrats wish to contend they were “misled” into war, they should vent their spleen at the CIA.

Yes. Bill Clinton’s CIA, since George Bush foolishly left George Tenant in charge of it, even after 911, and never even seriously attempted to clean house, other than the failed attempt by Porter Goss. The president got bad intelligence. But the Democrats are being mendacious in their selective memory and rewriting of history.

I loved this:

A journalist who accompanied Romney on his 1965 foray to Vietnam remarked that if the governor had indeed been brainwashed, it was not because of American propaganda but because he had “brought so light a load to the laundromat.” Given the similarity between Romney’s explanation and the protestations of Democrats 40 years later, one wonders why the news media aren’t saying the same thing today.

I assume that the last phrase is simply a rhetorical flourish. There’s no reason to wonder at all.

What’s Wrong With Redneck?

Andrea Mitchell felt compelled to apologize for calling southwest Virginia “real redneck country.”

Well, she’s right, it is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I think that what she should be apologizing for (which perhaps she is, obliquely) is the insinuation that that’s a bad thing. While I understand that a lot of southerners take umbrage at the word, it’s really just a synonym for Scots-Irish, and it came over with them from England (and no, it has nothing to do with working in the hot sun). It was a phrase used to describe Presbyterians from northern England, who wore red collars. They were the people who settled Appalachia (and other regions). Eastern Virginia (and Maryland and Delaware) was settled by the so-called Cavaliers of southwest England, who had lost the Civil War to the Roundheads.

I think, though, that in the mind of east (and west) coast media elites like Andrea Mitchell, “redneck” is synonymous with “hillbilly,” which is unquestionably an uncomplimentary term, and why the apology was necessary. It’s also a mark of the cultural ignorance of those same media elite about flyover country.

What’s Wrong With Redneck?

Andrea Mitchell felt compelled to apologize for calling southwest Virginia “real redneck country.”

Well, she’s right, it is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I think that what she should be apologizing for (which perhaps she is, obliquely) is the insinuation that that’s a bad thing. While I understand that a lot of southerners take umbrage at the word, it’s really just a synonym for Scots-Irish, and it came over with them from England (and no, it has nothing to do with working in the hot sun). It was a phrase used to describe Presbyterians from northern England, who wore red collars. They were the people who settled Appalachia (and other regions). Eastern Virginia (and Maryland and Delaware) was settled by the so-called Cavaliers of southwest England, who had lost the Civil War to the Roundheads.

I think, though, that in the mind of east (and west) coast media elites like Andrea Mitchell, “redneck” is synonymous with “hillbilly,” which is unquestionably an uncomplimentary term, and why the apology was necessary. It’s also a mark of the cultural ignorance of those same media elite about flyover country.

Clintonian

The headline of this story is that “Obama denies a rumor,” but he doesn’t really, at least from what I can tell from the reporting:

Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday batted down rumors circulating on the Internet and mentioned on some cable news shows of the existence of a video of his wife using a derogatory term for white people, and criticized a reporter for asking him about the rumor, which has not a shred of evidence to support it.

“We have seen this before. There is dirt and lies that are circulated in e-mails and they pump them out long enough until finally you, a mainstream reporter, asks me about it,” Obama said to the McClatchy reporter during a press conference aboard his campaign plane. “That gives legs to the story. If somebody has evidence that myself or Michelle or anybody has said something inappropriate, let them do it.”

Asked whether he knew it not to be true, Obama said he had answered the question.

But as far as I can see, he hadn’t, unless there were words spoken that were not reported.

Let us parse.

“We have seen this before. There is dirt and lies that are circulated in e-mails and they pump them out long enough until finally you, a mainstream reporter, asks me about it.”

True enough. Who can deny that there is dirt and lies circulated in emails? But that doesn’t necessarily imply that the particular topic under discussion is a lie (though it’s arguably “dirt,” regardless of its truth value).

“If somebody has evidence that myself or Michelle or anybody has said something inappropriate, let them do it.”

Again, this is not a denial. It’s simply a challenge to produce proof (or at least evidence). And in the follow up, he apparently refused, once again, to deny it. It was what is called in the business a “non-denial denial.”

This is the game that Bill Clinton used to play a lot. When confronted about something, he would feign outrage, and attack the questioner, and say something like “I’m not going to even dignify that with a response.” But he wouldn’t actually deny it. The most classic case was the Juanita Broaddrick rape accusation. He never denied it. If anyone thinks that he did, provide a transcript. He sent out his lawyer to deny it, but his lawyer has no knowledge of whether it is true or not, other than hearsay from Bill. He wasn’t in the room with them.

This looks like exactly the same behavior. Of course, part of the problem is that he’s not sure what it is he should be denying, because the rumors are all over the place as to what she said or did. But it would have been better to say something like, “I’ve seen all these rumors running around on the Internet about some imminent bombshell concerning my wife, and I can tell you categorically that they are not true.”

That would be a denial. But he didn’t say that. I wonder why?

[Update a few minutes later]

I agree with the commenters that he shouldn’t be put in a position of denying non-specific rumors (as I noted in the last paragraph above). My main point, actually, is simply that the Politico headline is wrong, and misleading, because he hasn’t denied them (though he obviously hopes that we, like the reporter, thinks that he has).

Why I Like Reading Blogs

I hadn’t thought about it before until I saw this post by Kate Woodbury, but it’s because blog posts contain a lot of the words “I” and “me.”

Since “no first-person” inevitably results in bad writing (an overabundance of passive voice; the use of “one” or “student” instead of “I”), I always tell my students, “You may use first-person in my class. In other classes, check with the instructor.”

I never thought much about WHY teachers were telling students this. I vaguely remember someone telling me not to use first-person, and I vaguely remember ignoring that someone; other than that, it didn’t seem like an important issue.

However, I recently discovered at least one reason teachers ban first-person: prevented from using first-person, students will set aside me-centered thinking and use credible evidence; that is, rather than saying, “I think this, thus it is true,” students will write, “According to expert X . . .”

I don’t buy this argument; in fact, I think banning first-person usage ends up doing more damage than good. If the problem is the lack of expert/credible sources in students’ writing, not using first-person doesn’t solve the problem; it just covers it up. After all, a first-person’s account could be more credible than an “expert’s” account. I’d much rather read a student’s personal/eyewitness account of 9/11 than a thousand third-person conspiracy theories.

The key is in the first sentence. Being forced to write in third person often results in stilted, boring prose. Unfortunately, the modern journalistic ethos, probably hammered into them in J-School, is that “objective” news stories must be written third person. This is why good bloggers (even taking away the bias) write far better and more readable pieces, than most conventional journalists. They don’t have to do it with one “I” tied behind their back.

[Via her post on liberal fascism and Calvinism]

Sixty-Four Years On

Some thoughts on D-Day, from Jennifer Rubin.

One of the reasons that I do my WW II reporting parodies is to show that, over half a century after the achievements of the “greatest generation,” modern Americans and modern journalists have no concept of the losses and sacrifice of a real war, as demonstrated by all the whining about Iraq.

[Update mid afternoon]

Roger Kimball has received an early report of the progress on the beaches:

June 6, 1944. -NORMANDY- Three hundred French civilians were killed and thousands more wounded today in the first hours of America’s invasion of continental Europe. Casualties were heaviest among women and children.

Most of the French casualties were the result of the artillery fire from American ships attempting to knock out German fortifications prior to the landing of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops. Reports from a makeshift hospital in the French town of St. Mere Eglise said the carnage was far worse than the French had anticipated and reaction against the American invasion was running high. “We are dying for no reason,” said a Frenchman speaking on condition of anonymity. “Americans can’t even shoot straight. I never thought I’d say this, but life was better under Adolph Hitler.”

The invasion also caused severe environmental damage. American troops, tanks, trucks and machinery destroyed miles of pristine shoreline and thousands of acres of ecologically sensitive wetlands. It was believed that the habitat of the spineless French crab was completely wiped out, threatening the species with extinction.

Of course, they bungled the occupation, too.