Category Archives: Media Criticism

It’s Bush’s Fault

Jim Oberg points out in email that AP has a misleading statement in this story about the European Galileo positioning system:

The $4 billion Galileo project will eventually use about 30 satellites and is expected to more than double GPS coverage, providing satellite navigation for everyone from motorists to sailors to mapmakers. Because Galileo is under civilian control, the ESA also says it can guarantee operation at almost all times, unlike the American system.

Last year, President Bush ordered plans for temporarily disabling GPS satellites during national crises to prevent terrorists from using the navigational technology.

The juxtaposition of these two statements implies that it’s the Bush administration’s actions that have caused Europe to embark on this boondoggle. This is nutty, of course, because the program has been in planning for years, and could hardly be a response to something that the administration did a year ago–it’s almost a non-sequitur. In fact, as Jim points out, it was actually caused by the Clinton administration’s actions in not just planning to, but actually shutting down the system during the Balkans wars. But they can’t bring themselves to mention that, of course.

Jim notes:

Maybe it’s just me, but such omissions and slants in general
AP stories have gotten more and more noticeable.

It’s not just you, Jim.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Oh, and speaking of double standards, Michael Scheuer has admitted that Al Qaeda renditions began under the Clinton administration. But of course, it only made us into a police state when a Republican president is in office, and we’re at war.

I’d take a lot of these critics and fair-weather civil libertarians more seriously if I’d heard from them in the nineties, when Janet Reno was attacking churches with tanks, and snatching kids at gunpoint, the administration was collecting FBI files and leaking data against its political enemies, trumping up charges against innocent people so they could replace them with cronies, destroying evidence of wrongdoing in emails, threatening and libeling inconvenient women, etc.

You know, when we weren’t at war? Well, other than at war against the evil right wingers…


Well, the Justice Department is apparently looking into the leaks:

“We are opening an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified materials related to the NSA,” one official said.

I’m sure that the media will be cheering on the prosecutor to find the culprit(s), who care so little about our national security, just as they did in the notorious “outing” of “covert CIA agent” Valerie Plame.

Right? Right?

I wonder if they have any suspects? I’m thinking maybe someone over on the north side of the Hill. Last name Rockefeller? Or Hagel?

I hope we’ll see how long some other NYT and WaPo reporters/editors are willing to sit in the hoosegow to protect their sources.

Ho Hum

A couple friends were visiting on Christmas day, and asked me what I thought of the French riots, now that they were over and we had a little perspective. I replied that I wasn’t at all sure that they were over, just that they weren’t being reported much any more. Turns out I was right, if this report is correct.

It’s simply become part of the media background now, and is no longer news, any more than gang murders in the inner cities. In fact, if there weren’t such a need to continue to make Iraq look like an irremediable, unmitigated ongoing disaster for a hated Republican administration, the occasional terrorist bombings there wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) any longer be news either.

The Holy War Down Under

Continues. And yet they won’t call it by its true name:

Five men of Middle Eastern descent were yesterday arrested in Brighton-le-Sands after their mobile phones were confiscated and found to have messages that incited violence. Among the many phones confiscated yesterday one contained a text message which said: “Wake up, wake up oh lion of lebanon. Retaliate, take action … Show them we have awoken we will meet at Brighton and together exterminate the enemy of Cronulla. Send this to every lion of Lebanon.”

Well, at least they’re willing to say that they’re of Middle Eastern descent. But why can’t they use the “M” word? This is about “Arabs.” If I were a Lebanese Christian, I’d be outraged, and sending nasty letters to the editor about this broad-brush treatment.

Me, Too

I’ve also declined offers of money to write specific pieces, even though I agreed with the sentiment. I just didn’t feel comfortable with it. I’m disappointed to hear about Doug Bandow.

But what would be the problem with this: someone with an axe to grind approaches me to write a piece on a topic for compensation. I say that I don’t do that kind of quid pro quo, even though I agree with the subject. But I do have a tip jar, and can point it out to them. If I write the piece that I want to write (perhaps partially based on material provided to me by them), and they like it sufficiently to make a donation of an amount of their choosing, is there anything wrong with that? The only way I’ve been influenced is by the idea of writing the piece in the first place.

Where is the line crossed? Only when there’s an explicit quid pro quo, in which one is being a stenographer in exchange for an agreed-upon amount?

Compare And Contrast

I’m not a smart enough Googler to figure it out, but how did the press coverage of Saddam’s “election,” in which he won 99% of the vote, compare to today’s? Which did the MSM think the bigger story, and by how much?

[Update on Friday morning]

Little Green Footballs has an example.

[Update at 9 AM]

Here’s a roundup from last January of how credulous many in the media were about Saddam’s “election”:

While the network news gurus have spent weeks questioning whether Sunday