Category Archives: Media Criticism

In The Limelight

Glenn Reynolds just mentioned this post of mine on CNN’s Reliable Sources. Roger Simon (the journalist, not the smart blogger), whined in response (and completely missed the point) that WW II was nothing like Iraq.

[Update in the afternoon]

Here’s the rush transcript (in which they manage to misspell my name in a new and unusual way):

KURTZ: Glenn Reynolds, is this 2,000 deaths just a bloody milestone that naturally was going to get some media attention, or is there an anti-war tinge to the sudden focus on 2,000 deaths, the press’s way of saying, see, this just isn’t working out?

GLENN REYNOLDS, INSTAPUNDIT.COM: Well, it’s more than that. It’s a manufactured event by a press that has largely been anti-war from the beginning, and I think is dogpiling on the Bush administration for as many opportunities as it can find.

Ran Siemberg (ph), who is a blogger, had an amusing parody from World War II of the media making a big deal out of another milestone, the 250,000th death. And I think that provides all kind of perspective, on the difference between the two wars, and the difference between the press’ treatment of the two wars.

Too often, war coverage now is just another opportunity to try to go after Bush, who the press has disliked from day one. And I think that’s very, very unfortunate.

KURTZ: Roger Simon, you are shaking your head.

SIMON: I just don’t find much comparison between World War II, in which we were fighting predatory fascism that was trying to take over the globe, and invading Iraq for reasons that the administration now admits were false.

“…predatory fascism that was trying to take over the globe…”

I guess he’s never bothered to read any statements of intent from Al Qaeda.

Which part does he think is untrue of the enemy? That they aren’t fascists? Well, admittedly, the term has lost much of its currency from overuse by much of the left to be applied to everyone who disagrees with them on almost any conceivable subject, so let’s call it totalitarianism instead (a term that I would hope that Mr. Simon would agree also applies to our enemies in the second world war). If that word can’t be applied to people who want to run every aspect of everyone’s daily existence, will brook no dissent, and have no apparent value for human life, as the Jihadis objectively do, then to whom does it apply? And even if you want to imagine that the “secular” Saddam didn’t support the “terrorists” (one would have to disregard the Salman Pak training camp and the bounties offered for attacks on the Israelis to buy that one), he was as totalitarian (and fascist) as they come.

And part of the totalitarian ideology of Al Qaeda is that there shall be no ideology before theirs–ultimately, all the infidels must convert or die. That we aren’t first on the list is a matter of political and military necessity, not an indication of any solicitude toward our ultimate fate. Does he really believe that it isn’t their goal to “take over the globe”? From the standpoint of the threat, if they (and Saddam) are not the Hitler of the MSM mind, it’s because they’re Hitler in 1935, instead of Hitler in 1941. But while he made many strategic mistakes (which were his ultimate undoing, as hopefully will be the case for our new totalitarian adversaries), he didn’t make the strategic mistake of attacking New York in 1935, as Osama did in 2001.

It would have been a lot easier to deal with Hitler in 1935, which is one reason why our casualties are counted only in the low thousands after over four years of war, instead of the large fractions of a million that it took to defeat our totalitarian enemies six decades ago, for all that the media would make of them.

Still Crazy After All These Years

Or at least after one year. And maybe it isn’t crazy–just, mentally challenged. Mary Mapes still doesn’t get it:

Within a few minutes, I was online visiting Web sites I had never heard of before: Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, Power Line.

This is the first hint of her cluelessness. The fact that she’d never heard of these sites before shows how insulated she was. Free Republic has been around for many years now, and was instrumental in bringing out many of the Clinton scandals. It’s one thing to say (as I’d expect a hard-core Democrat to) that they have no credibility, but to claim ignorance of their very existence?

They were hard-core, politically angry, hyperconservative sites loaded with vitriol about Dan Rather and CBS.

Contemplate the possibility, Mary, at least for a moment, that said vitriol was justified and prompted by your vicious partisan hit pieces and shoddy journalism.

Our work was being compared to that of Jayson Blair, the discredited New York Times reporter who had fabricated and plagiarized stories.

Hey, this isn’t fair. At least Jayson Blair didn’t fabricate actual evidence. And of course, given that they’re “hard-core, politically angry, hyperconservatives,” there’s no need to pay any attention to what they say, right, even if they are smart lawyers, and that in the case of Charles Johnson, proprieter of Little Green Footballs and web site designer, he has forgotten more about typography than Mary is ever likely to learn or (on the available evidence) be able to comprehend?

All these Web sites had extensive write-ups on the documents: on typeface, font style, and peripheral spacing,

“Peripheral spacing”? I think that she means proportional spacing. This demonstrates again, just how little she has learned from this experience, when she doesn’t even seem to possess the reasoning skills to understand the arguments against her.

…material that seemed to spring up overnight. It was phenomenal. It had taken our analysts hours of careful work to make comparisons. It seemed that these analysts or commentators—or whatever they were—were coming up with long treatises in minutes. They were all linking to one another, creating an echo chamber of outraged agreement.

Maybe because they had facts and logic on their side?

I was told that the first posting claiming the documents were fakes had gone up on Free Republic before our broadcast was even off the air! How had the Web site even gotten copies of the documents? We hadn

The Fog Of War

…and of hurricane reporting. To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the demise of the many murder victims in the Superdome were greatly exaggerated:

“I think 99 percent of it is bulls—,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Lachney, who played a key role in security and humanitarian work inside the Dome. “Don’t get me wrong, bad things happened, but I didn’t see any killing and raping and cutting of throats or anything. … Ninety-nine percent of the people in the Dome were very well-behaved.”

…Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan said authorities had confirmed only four murders in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina – making it a typical week in a city that anticipated more than 200 homicides this year. Jordan expressed outrage at reports from many national media outlets that suffering flood victims had turned into mobs of unchecked savages.

We Don’t Cancel the Fact Check

Mike Griffin defended the budget averaging $8 billion/year for a Moon return (0.05% of 2018 GDP) by saying, “We Don’t Cancel the Navy” as MSNBC headlined. Actually we did cancel the Navy after the Revolutionary War and didn’t start it up again until 1794.

I spoke to my dad, the pre-civil war American History Professor Emeritus and he had forgotten that the Navy had been cancelled. I respectfully withdraw my media criticism. I guess it needs to be refiled under media witticism.
Update 2005-09-21-10:55:00