Category Archives: Media Criticism

Fifth Columnist Fired

I wonder why this story broke on a Friday afternoon?

In a rare occurrence, the CIA fired an officer who acknowledged giving classified information to a reporter, NBC News learned Friday.

The officer flunked a polygraph exam before being fired on Thursday and is now under investigation by the Justice Department, NBC has learned.

Intelligence sources tell NBC News the accused officer, Mary McCarthy, worked in the CIA

No Media Bias Here

For a textbook case, let’s dissect this story, from the San Francisco Chronicle. Start with the hed:

Democrat leads in bid to claim GOP House seat

Rep. Cunningham was convicted of taking bribes

Note that it’s a two parter. The first is about the election, the other is old news, but it never hurts to remind the readers that, you know, Republicans Are Corrupt. It’s that old “culture of corruption” thing (recall that this is Nancy Pelosi’s hometown rag).

Now while it’s true that the Democrat got more votes than anyone else in the race, it’s misleading, because it gives you no hint as to what will actually happen in the election in June, but you’d think from the headline that the Dem is the front runner. Here’s the real story, buried about halfway down:

Busby, a Cardiff school board member and daughter of an Italian sausagemaker, received 44 percent of the vote by spotlighting a proposed ethics policy that would bar lawmakers from secretly meeting, taking money or accepting gifts from lobbyists, “no exceptions.”

The Republican vote was divided among 14 GOP candidates, with Bilbray finishing with 15 percent of the vote, about 900 votes ahead of Roach, according to election-night figures.

Emphasis mine.

In other words, the one Democrat running in the race could only muster 44% of the vote. Unless she can somehow persuade seven percent of the district electorate (or at least of those voting in this election) that are Republicans to vote for her instead of the eventual Republican candidate, she doesn’t have a prayer of winning, despite the implication of the headline. That 44% is her max, unless they can somehow increase donkey turnout, and decrease Republican. But the readers of the Chron have to figure this out, because the paper is not only not going to tell them, it’s going to attempt to imply that she actually has a chance.

Of course, this kind of cocooning is exactly why the Dems continue to lose each election, and be chronically (pun intended) disappointed–they continue to overhype their chances to their base, both from the official party organization and from their accomplices in the newsrooms.

Yo, Idiot

Yeah, you, Pete Yost. I know you guys in the Washington press corps are leak happy, but here’s a free clue, for future stories of this nature: if the president authorizes it, it’s not a “leak.”

[Update a few minutes later]

Apparently the original version of this story claimed that the president authorized the “leak” of Valerie Plame’s name (a little wishful thinking, huh, guys?). That one has been changed to this one, which is still wrong in its terminology of “leak.” I’ll keep a screenshot to see if it changes again.

A Potential Waste

Zeyad is coming to the US. That’s good.

He’s going to study journalism. That, not so much.

Jeff says that he’s a “born journalist.” If so, why need he study journalism?

Will he learn things in journalism school that actually make him a better journalist? Will he learn things that make him a worse one? Will he have to unlearn some of them to find his full potential?

No secret–I’m not a big fan of the major of journalism. I think of it as a metadegree, a pseudodegree, and one that in fact is probably almost as damaging and counterproductive as a degree in education, in which all of the training is about how to convey information, whereas very little actual information to convey is learned. Were it up to me, neither of these would even exist as majors, or schools.

If he persists in this, I hope that he’ll be sure to take some classes that aren’t required in a journalism curriculum, like statistics, and history, and logic, and solid training in basic science. And for the history classes, I hope that he can find a non-leftist instructor.

Good luck to him.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Here’s a relevant piece in today’s Journal (sorry, subscribers only, but I think it goes free after a week):

…a band of Democratic-leaning thinkers wants to reclaim the issue. Their proposal, unveiled yesterday, is simple: Get rid of bad teachers and reward good ones.

Simple, in this case, is significant on two counts. First, the proposal publicly confronts teachers’ unions, an influential Democratic Party constituency, with the fact that bad teachers are part of the problem…

…[it] rests on several arguments: that the current practice of demanding certification based on teacher-training courses has outlived its usefulness, that routinely granting teachers lifetime tenure after two or three years is stupid, and that student test scores and other systemic ways to evaluate teachers are now good enough to act on.

Good for them. And good luck with that. I can already hear the howls and cries of “treason” from the NEA.

Find The Missing Word

Here’s a story about thousands of youths starting to attack protestors and others in Paris.

Pumped up by news coverage, these youths boast of trying to steal mobile phones and money and vow to take revenge for the daily humiliation they say they endure from the police…

…The police and independent analysts say that most of the vandalism and violence that has marred the protests has been by young men, largely immigrants or the children of immigrants, from tough, underprivileged suburbs, who roam in groups and have little else to keep them busy.

Funny, nowhere in the article can one determine the country from which these “youths” immigrated, or what their religious background might be. One might almost think it irrelevant to the story. But I suspect that it’s not…

And what kind of moral midgetry is at work here?

In live coverage of the mass protests in Paris, CNN compared the protests to the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing. What worries the authorities now is that the targets of anger are shifting, moving beyond attacks on property to attacks on people as well.

Let’s see, in one case we have throngs of peaceful protests of people seeking liberty, brutally put down by an army with tanks. In the other, we have rampaging young men, nihilistically smashing, stealing and burning property, and brutally attacking its owners, seeking nothing but gratification and destruction. That’s how I’d compare them, anyway. But then, I’m not CNN.

Pot And Kettle

Amidst exposing other media myths about Iraq, Victor Davis Hanson points out the irony of a press corps that repeatedly accuses the Bush administration of incompetence:

Weigh that success [in Iraq] against the behavior of the media that sees mostly American incompetence. At CBS, Dan Rather insisted to us that a clearly forged memo, but one that fit his own ideological agenda, was authentic. Michael Isikoff relied on one anonymous

“Mixed Messages”

Tim Graham has probably found the words that turned John Green’s stomach:

My concerns about the senator is that, in the course of this campaign, I’ve been listening very carefully to what he says, and he changes positions on the war in Iraq. He changes positions on something as fundamental as what you believe in your core, in your heart of hearts, is right in Iraq. You cannot lead if you send mixed messages. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our troops. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our allies. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to the Iraqi citizens.

I guess the truth hurts. Or at least makes you queasy, if you’re part of the liberal elite.

And speaking of the liberal elite, Victor Davis Hanson is appropriately hard on them, and Michael Ware in particular:

HH: So with this in mind…again, I stress he’s the Baghdad bureau chief of Time Magazine, at one time the most influential magazine in the West, I believe. What is the disease in the media? Where did it come from?

VDH: I think it came to be frank between the journalism schools, the academic training of a lot of the people, and this affluent, elite culture, to be frank, that comes out of the unversities on the left and right coasts, that’s divorced from the tragic view, because these people are not…they don’t open hardware stores. They don’t service cars. They’ve never worked physically with their hands. They have an idea in this international culture of the West that somehow, all of their affluence, all of their travel, all of their freedom came out of a head of Zeus, and it’s not dependent on the U.S. military, the United States role in the world. They have no appreciation for the very system that birthed and maintained them. And they’ve had this sort of sick cynicism, nihilism, skepticism, and the height of their affluence and leisure, that they don’t have any gratitude at all, which is really one of the most important human attributes. Humility to say you know, I’m very lucky to be a Westerner, and have certain freedoms. And that’s why he cannot appreciate what we’re trying to do in Iraq, because he has no appreciation of the very idea that he can jet out of Baghdad anytime he wants on a Western jet that’s going to get him safely to a Western country, where he’s going to be protected, that the people in Iraq want that same thing that he doesn’t seem to appreciate.