August 9, 2007

"First Father: Tough Times on Sidelines."

Is there any substance to this front-page NYT article about George H.W. Bush?

84 comments:

From Inwood said...

No.

Tim said...

No. The closing quote, "“I think he understood he was going to have a national audience, and I think he wanted to send an unmistakable signal,” Mr. McGrath said. “There had been a couple of these kind of pop psychology pieces (like this NY Times thumbsucker) — you know, the father, is he trying to send a message? I think he wanted to say none of that malarkey matters. I just want to support my son." said it best. All the rest is dross.

MadisonMan said...

Well, the NYT had to fill the space, didn't they? Who's gonna buy a paper with blank spots on the front page?

Are you linking to these empty stories to justify stopping your subscription?

David said...

I assume that it's really about Bill and Hillary, mostly because I assume that anything in the NYT is really about Bill and Hillary.

EnigmatiCore said...

It's better than them writing about Barbara's tits.

ricpic said...

Standard NYT "concern" for Republicans.

Zeb Quinn said...

As if they ever really cared about the father either. What phonies.

SteveR said...

No

Luckyoldson said...

NYT's BAD...Republicans GOOD.

Duh.

Jeremy said...

No.

Katie said...

For some reason I absolutely LOVE the accompanying photo though. I can't explain why.

Luckyoldson said...

Katie,
He's asking G.W. if he knew Ford was a past President.

Trevor said...

Lemme get this straight: someone's cleavage is fair game and rife with interpretative potential, but the fact that the current president has a unique relationship with a former president isn't substance enough for an article?

Personally, I'm fascinated. I learned new things from this article. If you think it casts W. or H.W. in an unfair light, say so. But this psuedo-rhetorical question of whether the piece contains "substance" is kinda lame.

Or maybe your question has to do with why it's on the front page. I can't answer that, but that's a different question than the one you've posed.

Never Anonymous Person said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Never Anonymous Person said...

"Son, do you think Luckyoldson will ever retract his false statement, made yesterday, that Seymour Hersh 'broke' the story about Abu G, when in fact the military had publicized it's investigation months earlier?"

Henry said...

When the clan is in Kennebunkport, all the Bush children, the president included, stream into their parents’ bedroom at the crack of dawn for coffee.

That's a big bedroom.

Luckyoldson said...

Never Anonymous Person,
Actually I did exactly that, asshole.

I said that I had mistakenly said he broke the story, when in fact he wrote his article on May 10th.

Maybe if you knew how to read...

Luckyoldson said...

Trevor,
I read the article and found it to be "fair and balanced."

I always liked Bush the elder, respected his service and intellect, and found the article to be straight forward and not the least bit unfair to G.W.

I have no idea what the whining is all about.

My guess is that most here didn't even read the damn thing.

Luckyoldson said...

David,
Why are so many of the wingnuts obsessed with Bill & Hillary??

Here we have what I thought was a rather nice article about the Bush family...and you throw out a jab at Bill & Hillary.

Maybe if you...had a life?

MadisonMan said...

My guess is that most here didn't even read the damn thing.

It doesn't seem like front-page news to me. But then I'm not an editor -- what do I know?

Ann Althouse said...

Trevor: "Lemme get this straight: someone's cleavage is fair game and rife with interpretative potential, but the fact that the current president has a unique relationship with a former president isn't substance enough for an article? "

I didn't say the relationship wasn't fair game. I just questioned whether there was any substance in the story. I'll add that I didn't think there was. Seems like they made some phone calls and wanted to hear about the old President's anguish, but got nothing, then they put it on the front page with a headline that makes it look like they did. There's nothing of interest in the story. The two men talk on the phone. The old man supports his son, and as has been the case for years, won't say anything more.

"Personally, I'm fascinated. I learned new things from this article."

What? That old Bush called young Bush in the middle of having dinner with the king of Morocco?

"If you think it casts W. or H.W. in an unfair light, say so. But this psuedo-rhetorical question of whether the piece contains "substance" is kinda lame."

Lamer than that article, published there, with that headline?

"Or maybe your question has to do with why it's on the front page. I can't answer that, but that's a different question than the one you've posed."

No it isn't!

Fritz said...

Bush 41 is following proper Presidential protocol, not to publicly comment upon their successors. He has the fortitude to recognize that while the President is biologically his son, Bush 43 is the President of the United States and is entitled to all the deference of that Office. I wish the other 2 living Presidents had the class and grace to do the same rather than follow a narrow partisan agenda.

Jeff said...

"Actually I did exactly that, asshole."

Oh, right. Same story, different thread.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann asked if there is any substance to the NYT story:

The knee-jerk answer is highly doubtful. I wonder Ann if you will find New Yorkers oh so serious but oh so full of shit too vs. Wisconsinonians?

(FYI - this question was submitted by Maxine from California).

Palladian said...

"It doesn't seem like front-page news to me. But then I'm not an editor -- what do I know?"

Well, considering the judgment of editors lately, probably a hell of a lot more than they...

Trevor said...

You asked if there was substance in the article. I say there is for me, you say there isn't for you. The phone call from the king of Morocco is interesting. The fact that 41 meets with Karzai or talks to 43's chief of staff regularly is interesting. The fact that, for the first time in history, a president and father has watched a son tackle the same job from beginning to end is interesting. Isn't that substance? Isn't that news?

How 41 behaves "on the sidelines" while his son gets worse approval ratings than he got and makes decisions that 41 doesn't seem to approve of is interesting, is substance.

Again, I think whether it belongs on the front page is a different discussion than whether or not there is information of interest to the general public. Just saying "No, it's not!" isn't enough. The question of whether there is substance is different from whether the substance deserves front-page treatment.

As for the headline, that comes from 41 himself. "(O)ften, he likens himself to a Little League father whose kid is having a rough game." Wouldn't you say that 43 is having some "tough times"? It's certainly tougher for him now than it was a few years ago.

B said...

Ann, I have no doubt that I have been the sharpest critic of the New York Times in your comments section for the last 2 years.

You love the Times - you have said so in the past. You just, I'm certain, want it to be fair.

I respect much of the NYT. The overall depth and quality it's of writing is possibly matched only by the Wall Street Journal, and possibly Column One of the Los Angeles Times (another paper I generally detest for it's overt political slant).

It's not articles like this one on the Father and Son Bush that bother me. It's basically a throw-away, a filler. What bothers me is the attempt to frame the "news" to fit the publisher Sulzberger come-of-age-up-in-the-'60's, anti-war protesting, boy-weren't-those-the-days mentality that shows up in it'sw reporting.


To borrow from you, even on reporting on the important issues, they "got nothing, then they put it on the front page with a headline that makes it look like they did."


Which is the NYT's right. But when they seek to deny that they slant their reporting to the left - particularly when they give tons of newsprint to the charges about Fox News leaning right, causes one to wonder if even the "facts being reported in the Times are accurate.

Even worse, millions of Manhattanites read the paper uncritically everyday, taking their political marching points and view of the world from a paper put together by a staff that voted over 84% Democrat in the last Presidential election.

Remember New Yorker and daily New York Times reader Pauline Kael's famous quote: "I don't know how Nixon won. I don't know anyone who voted for him". She actually said that she knew 1 person who voted for him; Nixon won in a landslide.


I asked this 7 weeks ago in the comments, and it still stands:


Has anyone seen even one negatively worded headline or article in the NYT about Hillary since she decided to run?

Do you really expect one?


The New York Times does daily damage to our national fabric of citizenship.

Trevor said...

"New York Times reader Pauline Kael"

I think that was how she was described in her obituary. But this was the Times, so, you know: grain of salt.

Pogo said...

Re: "There had been a couple of these kind of pop psychology pieces..."

And now there are three.

Revenant said...

George W. Bush's approval rating is currently in the low 30s. George H.W. Bush bottomed out at 29% during his last months in office. I imagine Senior feels much the same way that Junior did back in the early 90s -- upset at how much people dislike one of his loved ones.

True, Junior's approval ratings have dipped lower than his father's -- but then, they also soared much higher than his father's ever did. George W. Bush has the widest spread of approval ratings of any President since Truman. This is probably just a reflection of how crazy the last few years have been.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Fritz,

Funny stuff! I think you're the best of the spoof commenters at Althouse.

The Exalted said...

True, Junior's approval ratings have dipped lower than his father's -- but then, they also soared much higher than his father's ever did. George W. Bush has the widest spread of approval ratings of any President since Truman. This is probably just a reflection of how crazy the last few years have been.

1:51 PM


h.w.'s approval ratings were once at 90% -- when were w's that high?

if you think you can chalk up the lowest sustained approval ratings for any president in modern times to "how crazy the last few years have been," as if the disapproval is related to outside events and is isolated from his presidenting, then more power to you

The Exalted said...

Fritz said...
Bush 41 is following proper Presidential protocol, not to publicly comment upon their successors. He has the fortitude to recognize that while the President is biologically his son, Bush 43 is the President of the United States and is entitled to all the deference of that Office. I wish the other 2 living Presidents had the class and grace to do the same rather than follow a narrow partisan agenda.

12:24 PM


carter and clinton have been fairly muted -- if they had cojones, the papers would be filled every day with their disapproval. and this is rich considering that 43 bashed his into office on the back of clinton, and his cronies recently attacked carter rather strongly

Wade Garrett said...

Is there any substance to George W. Bush?

EnigmatiCore said...

Carter expressing disapproval of Bush every day would be one of the only things imaginable that could rescue Bush's job approval ratings.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

"carter and clinton have been fairly muted -- if they had cojones, the papers would be filled every day with their disapproval. and this is rich considering that 43 bashed his into office on the back of clinton, and his cronies recently attacked carter rather strongly"

Fairly muted? Is that the new word for it now? Clinton hasn't been bad. Carter on the other hand, not only has not been "fairly muted" but hasn't shut his yap for the last 4 presidents. He screwed Clinton over just as much as he has Bush. You must not read any papers.

Roger said...

Given the fact that his wife is actively campaigning for President, I think President Clinton has done an excellent job of being an "ex-president." I am not a particularly fan of the "big dawg."

B said...

Trevor,

I remember an interview with Pauline Kael in which she waxed rhapsodically about the beauty and necessity of the New York Times and how she could not imagine life without it.

But one person doesn'tmatter. It's the millions of unquestioning readers that the Times still has that hurts America.

David53 said...

Don't you get it? The NYT is a front for the Council on Foreign Relations! Clinton, Cheney, Haliburton, etc are all on the council but NOT BUSH SENIOR! THEY TELL THE ROBOT-BOY BUSH JUNIOR WHAT TO DO AND SENIOR HASN'T BEEN A PART OF IT---YET! This is 41's way of letting them know he's onboard with the illegal war. He is not on the sidelines, he is front and center. In fact he may just BE Cheney since Cheney died of a heart attack in 2005. You never see senior and Cheney together in the same room do you?

Trevor said...

"It's the millions of unquestioning readers"

That's hilarious. Perhaps if a few more readers had questioned Judith Miller's sourcing a few years ago, the headline would now read "Proud Papa: Beaming From the Sidelines."

B said...

trevor

I'm a little dense perhaps.

What is your point?

Trevor said...

I guess I'm saying I agree with you, B. More people should question the Times. And every other media outlet. My point was that lots of people defended the Times in the run-up to the Iraq war who now see the Times as some liberal rag. That kind of dissonance is pretty annoying.

Jeff said...

I think he is saying that Judith Miller is the reason that we went to war with Iraq, and if the millions of liberal readers hadn't accepted her reporting without any questions, thereby fully buying into and supporting the war, we wouldn't be there and all would be sweetness and light, heaven on earth.
I think.

Jeff said...

"More people should question the Times. And every other media outlet."

Yes.

"....lots of people defended the Times in the run-up to the Iraq war who now see the Times as some liberal rag."

Who?

Roger said...

Hmmm--I have been steadfast in the view that the NYT is a liberal rag (at least since the 1960s, that is)

Revenant said...

if you think you can chalk up the lowest sustained approval ratings for any president in modern times to "how crazy the last few years have been," as if the disapproval is related to outside events and is isolated from his presidenting, then more power to you

Harry Truman's approval ratings were even lower, and he is now generally acknowledged as one of the better Presidents of the 20th century. So, yes, atrocious approval ratings can be due to things other than "presidenting".

Revenant said...

Oh, I forgot to answer your first question, Exalted -- his approval ratings got that in October and November of 2001.

And my point is that it is not possible to explain the full range of his approval ratings strictly in terms of his "presidenting". The majority of Americans have changed their minds about the quality of the job he's doing at at least twice.

SnowDahlia said...

In the style of many newspaper features, it doesn't answer any hard questions as much it simply poses a question for consideration: how tough is it to be the father of a president who's being so harshly criticized? Especially when that father's been president himself? An obvious question, no? Too bad so many of the commenters take the usual cynical position that anything in the NYT simply has to be biased. (Remember the paper's role in getting us into Iraq? Not too leftist then, was it?) Cynicism is soooo boring. We should all think a little more deeply.

B said...

trevor,
thanks for the explanation.

Roger, snowdahlia

Walter Duranty was the Times Pulitzer Prize winning reporter on the Soviet Union in the 1930's. His reporting was later revealed to be apologetics for the Soviets. A very left slant even then.

During the lead up to WWII, the Times chose to under report the atrocities of Hitler, the Nazis and most of the persecution of Jews. Because so many other news sources didn't have foreign bureaus and therefore relied on the Times, most if the public was in the dark.

Here's the problem - it has since become evident that the Times had multitudes of information on the evils of Soviet Communism and Nazism, but they chose to not report much of it.

Regarding Judith Miller and the War: you are asking the Times to be more skeptical about limited information. Fair enough. The difference with the Soviets and Hitler was that the Times had plenty of easily verifiable information that everyone in Europe already knew and experienced. The Times chose to underreport to the American public on those issues, as it does daily on so many others.

The Times slanted and fact cherry-picking reporting of the news still does damage to the American fabric of community to this day.

Fritz said...

Clinton silent? ROFL It is all about Bill. The sociopath thrives on the attention. Bill goes overseas and trashes the United States to the approval of his audience while Bush 41 defends the United States with the disapproval of his audience. I remember how 41 was jeered because he didn't tow that line that America is out to repress the people of the world. During the Balkans conflict I don't recall Republicans in Congress criticizing the EURO-US division on the conduct of the war, telling President Clinton he should listen to the French.

The United States exposes North Korean agreement violations, President Clinton had the audacity to mouth off how he threatened North Korea with total destruction when he was President. That was great Bill, I supported you back then, but you allowed Carter to water down that tough talk that gave us the agreement they were violating. You had your chance, it didn't work, shut up. Plus it is not in the interest of the United States as a FORMER PRESIDENT to saber rattle during a tenuous situation!

President Clinton has not only criticized his successor, but he has even as a former President falsely smeared his predecessor. "You know, it would be like me to blame that Blackhawk Down thing on Bush 43 because he was the President that entered that conflict." That is how sick Bill Clinton is. He was 100% responsible for the US involvement in Somalia. I already can hear the lefties claim the US entered in December of 1992 before Clinton was inaugurated. I guess it depends on the meaning of the policy decider is is. President-Elect Clinton asked President Bush to act and the departing President acquiesced to such a humanitarian undertaking.

SnowDahlia said...

B,

I certainly take your points. However, you must realize that a major reason for The Times' unwillingness to publicize news about the fate of the Jews during WWII was linked to the vivid anti-Semitism is this country at that time. The paper didn't want to seem "too Jewish," which of course, given the magnitude of Hitler's crimes, seems hardly an excuse. But that's from our vantage point so many decades later. To another point: are you unaware that all news organizations "cherry-pick" their news? That's what editors do; surely you understand that somebody has to make a calculated judgment about what matters most to the largest number of readers. They also need to turn readers away, if possible, from purely trivial interests toward news that's actually significant (such as, say, the national debt. We've got a country that would rather read about Lindsay Lohan.) Lastly, as a former journalist myself, I can tell you that discussions about fairness and objectivity happen all the time in newsrooms.

Trevor said...

"'....lots of people defended the Times in the run-up to the Iraq war who now see the Times as some liberal rag.'

Who?"

Dick Cheney.

Roger said...

B--I also take your point. While Duranty was egregious, historically the NYT has always been left of center, but far closer to the center than to the extreme left. Communism in the 20s and 30s, esp compared to fascism, was the movement that then liberals embraced. And the NYT times as a left of center paper, shared that view.

The NYT was, until in my judgment, it went off the rails, was also, along with the WAPO the paper that policy makers read. Lots of trial balloons and its op-ed pages were relatively balanced. It usually ran transcripts of press conferences and most major speeches of the day. It genuinely was the paper of record. It is really a loss IMO.
-

I guess the point probably is that labels such as liberal, progressive, etc simply arent useful in political discourse, and even less so in historical discourse.

dick said...

Snowdahlia,

I am sure discussions about fairness and balance happen all the time in newsrooms. Then the reporters snicker, say Right! and go back to following the LLL POV.

I find it interesting that Poynter Journalism School talks up their course on journalistic ethics. However, if you look at the blurbs they print about current news, there is one article about TNR and the Beauchamp story and it is the TNR article. No other opposing viewpoint is printed or even mentioned. What was that about ethics? Don't think they even know the word.

Jeff said...

Assuming for the moment that this is true, "lots = Dick Cheney?"

In what way did lots of Dick Cheney defend the Times?

B said...

snowdahlia,
Thanks for your response.

I'm certain that no one doubts that many editors constantly wrestle with what is fair.

I simply wish that the Times would own up and state that it is a left of center paper, the majority of the time. The problem with not doing that is that the cherry-picked facts (editing) always seem to be chosen to support a slant in the story. And frankly, you and I both don't believe in the "intelligence of the American people". We know that the majority don't have the time to sift through the bias of every article and compare it with other news sources. Therefore, the default position becomes - literally for millions - well, it was in the Times, therefore it must be true.

The article that Ann chose is an excellent example. The discussion is over whether or not:

1) the editor decided to word the headline in a way that would cast some negative light on either Bush.

2) the editor is too stupid to realize that most people reading the headline would see it as negative towards either Bush.

3) the headline should have been worded differently because the gist of the article bears little relationship to it's headline.

Editors are not stupid. They just fall into a default position led by the culture around them. And the NY Times is run by, written by and edited by those who, for example, voted overwhelmingly for Gore and Kerry, are pro-choice to the tune of over 90%, and are obviously left of center. Not as far to the left as the Nation, but far enough to see everything in a way that doesn't relate to easily over half of the poplulation of the Unioted States (flyover country).

Imagine what real reporting with no bias would do, SnowDahlia.

A much better world.

PatCA said...

"That's what editors do; surely you understand that somebody has to make a calculated judgment about what matters most to the largest number of readers."

I would agree with most of that, but IMO, and it's only my opinion, they make a calculated judgment about what matters most to them in their imagined position as moral teacher to the masses.

Read some papers from the '80s; you will see matter of fact recitation of facts. Today's NYT "news" is opinion, indoctrination.

SnowDahlia said...

Dick,

I sense that it will be impossible to convince you that journalists, especially those at their very pinnacle of their professions, are indeed personally invested in doing a good job, and that "good," to a journalist, means being as objective as possible. That said, let me just say that it's a sad thing that people who spend so much time and energy decrying the evil media so often fail to understand the service that it does the public. That's why journalism is called "the fourth estate." It's essentially the only thing standing between us and a corrupt goverment. Don't think so? Check out countries ruled by dictators. What's the first thing that's shut down? A free press. Note also the number of journalists killed in Iraq (not to mention in Colombia and countless other countries). The press is far from perfect, but then, if people insist on existing within isolated political camps where only their personal philosophy is tolerated, then what is perfect? Only thier own message, replayed again and again?

SnowDahlia said...

B,

You're obviously very thoughtful on this issue and I appreciated your last response. I would just say that, since times do objectively seem bad for the current Bush president (based on empirical data), suggesting in a headline that they are bad doesn't seem biased to me. Should The Times somehow "admit" that it is left-of-center? It surely is, on its editorial page; it wouldn't deny it. The Wall Street is equally (or more) right-of-center on its editorial page, but tries to maintain objectivity on its news pages. The only way quality newspapers can maintain this precarious balance is do a lot of second guessing and self-examination, which I believe The Times does.

Jeff said...

"The press is far from perfect, but then, if people insist on existing within isolated political camps where only their personal philosophy is tolerated, then what is perfect? Only thier own message, replayed again and again?"

What would it be like if the news was reported without bias, and the that bias was left on the editorial pages?

Having said that, I think a great many reporters would be surprised that their straight news articles are perceived to be slanted. While it may be deliberate from some, I would image most think they ARE leaving the bias out. Not sure what they teach in JSchool, but I would think this would be one of the jobs of an editor. To read objectively and strip out opinion.
I notice time and time again AP articles picked up in my local paper that should be in the editorial page, or at least tagged with Analyst. I would imagine most people don't notice this until a story is printed that they have intimate knowledge about and are shocked by the differences in the printed version.

Revenant said...

That's why journalism is called "the fourth estate." It's essentially the only thing standing between us and a corrupt goverment.

Journalism is called "the fourth estate" by journalists -- not because journalism is an important part of government, but because people who earn a living by telling others what to think tend to have inflated senses of their own self-importance.

Journalism used to be *a* barrier to governmental corruption, albeit seldom a good one, but that was back when peoples' only source of information about the larger world was the local paper. That was over half a century ago, and before any currently active journalist entered the field.

Revenant said...

I would just say that, since times do objectively seem bad for the current Bush president (based on empirical data), suggesting in a headline that they are bad doesn't seem biased to me.

I would question the purpose of a front-page article on Bush's low popularity when (a) his popularity has actually been rising for the past month or so and (b) basically every single person who reads the paper already knows that Bush has a low approval rating.

The likely explanation in this case, though, is not left-wing bias in the editors but the fact that the overwhelming majority of NYT subscribers are left-wing, and therefore likely interested in reading an article about how Bush and his relationships are personally suffering. When all is said and done, journalism is about selling ads, not conveying new information.

Luckyoldson said...

Ann Althouse responds to my question: "Ann, As an attorney, how can you say "somebody is lying" if you don't have the facts at hand?"

With this: "Logic."

Can we assume you don't do a whole lot of trial work?

And exactly what "logic" are you applying when you flatly state the following: "The New Republic said it also spoke to five members of Beauchamp's company, all of whom corroborated Beauchamp's anecdotes but requested anonymity. The boldface is mine. "All" is a strong word. Somebody is lying."

Based on what? Your "opinion?"

Luckyoldson said...

Trevor said..."'....lots of people defended the Times in the run-up to the Iraq war who now see the Times as some liberal rag.'

Who?"

Dick Cheney.

You're right, but of course one of his comments regarding the Times was a "planted" story he used, as if the Times had it first.

I guess people here forget about Judith Miller and her articles leading up to and supporting the invasion.

B said...

I remember Judith Miller well.
I didn't see them as specifically supporting the invasion.

Seven Machos said...

Snow -- There is no objectivity in journalism. Sorry. The whole edifice of journalistic objectivity is a sham.

You write a nice, cordial post but you are simply wrong.

Jeff said...

Luckyoldson said...
Ann Althouse responds to my question: "Ann, As an attorney, how can you say "somebody is lying" if you don't have the facts at hand?"
With this: "Logic."

More lucky logic:
Never Anonymous Person said...
"Son, do you think Luckyoldson will ever retract his false statement, made yesterday, that Seymour Hersh 'broke' the story about Abu G, when in fact the military had publicized it's investigation months earlier?"

Luckyoldson said...
Never Anonymous Person,
Actually I did exactly that, asshole. I said that I had mistakenly said he broke the story, when in fact he wrote his article on May 10th. Maybe if you knew how to read..

Stepping into the wayback time machine:
Luckyoldson said...
"As for Seymour Hersh's coverage of Abu Ghraib, I misspoke. I meant to say that he "broke the story" to the public before the military admitted it even existed...and would have never done so with a nudge from the press."



Luckyoldson said...
"The New Republic said it also spoke to five members of Beauchamp's company, all of whom corroborated Beauchamp's anecdotes but requested anonymity. The boldface is mine. "All" is a strong word. Somebody is lying."
Based on what? Your "opinion?"


Or possibly based on both TNR AND the military claiming to interview the same people and those same people giving two different stories.

What's that called in your world?

David said...

Lucky: If you think that was a jab, you've been hanging out with the wrong wingnuts.

One of Hillary's bigger worries is that people will hesitate over Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton. This story makes readers think about the benefits of having an ex-president as a trustworthy confidential adviser.

dick said...

Snowdahlia,

The problem with your statement is that while the journalists claim to be very involved and invested in fair and unbiased reporting, they are so far from attaining it and so uninterested in attaining it that we can for the most part disregard them.

Case in point from Iraq. The bureau head of the WaPo got permission to travel to one of the worst trouble spots in Iraq. The military took him there and the local press office made arrangements for him to have hours to talk with the local commanding general and the various sheiks. They took him all through the town and he was able to speak to the local shopowners and townspeople using his own interpreter. They even set him up to have time with the major dissident leader on his own with his interpreter. He was guarded to see that he was not shot but other than that he was free to ask anything he wanted. After it was over he was ferried back to Baghdad, again with guards to protect him. After all this was over, he wrote one story - his interview with the dissident. He never even bothered to thank the people who guarded him nor did he write anything that the general or the sheiks or the townspeople said to him, only the story from the point of view of the dissident. Is that what you consider a fair and unbiased job of reporting from all sides of the issues?

I go back to another point I made before. The media prints what it considers a major story, for example, that when Ambassador Bremer left Iraq he did not bother to speak to the Iraqi government at all. Another part of the media broadcasts Bremer's farewell address to the Iraqi Congress before he left Iraq. The media printing that he made no speech before leaving, in fact writing as if he snuck out of the country, has to this day not changed their story. Is that fair and unbiased reporting. In both these cases we are not talking about podunk media. One is the WaPo and the other is the LAT.

Another point not based on Iraq. The broadcast with Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace about whether the reporters should tell the American soldiers about the ambush they were walking into. These two eminence grise decided that they would not because they were - ta da - JOURNALISTS and had a higher calling. Is that the POV you want your media to have?

Still another. Eason Jordan and his statements that the American soldiers were targeting journalists made in an overseas speech. He tried to deny he said that and even Barney Frank took him to apart on that one. Is that the journalists you are talking about? He was head of CNN News at the time. He also told us, after we invaded Iraq, that he and the rest of CNN News had not told us the truth about Iraq because he wanted access to Saddam. Is that the standards you are talking about? Again we are not talking about Podunk Junction news media here.

There are competent and fair and unbiased reporters who do report the truth and some of the do so for the major media. By and large, however, we are seeing from AP and the other media these days that the truth is not in them nor is the verification of fact. If it fits their political view, print it. If it doesn't fit it, forget it. The examples are all over the place and in almost all the major media outlets. They are lying to us. They are telling us half truths and then not admitting this even after the truth has been provided. There are even examples when the media has admitted the truth in stories in one part of the paper and in another part of the same paper reported still again the false story. This happened a lot with the NYT when their op-ed writers kept repeating lies that the reporters had proven to be lies. Since the Times Select this has been hidden but I would bet it is still true.

The Exalted said...

i'd like to point out that fritz is officially the least informed postre here.

kudos.

and revenant, you said w. had "far higher" approval ratings than his father -- that is obviously not true.

Wade Garrett said...

B,

Hmmm, World War II. The Nazis. Are those the same people the Bush family made millions of dollars off of?

B said...

Wade, I think you have them confused with the Kennedys

Wade Garrett said...

B,

Don't worry, the Nazis made a lot of people rich.

My larger point is that you can't judge an institution today (and the Bushes and the Kennedys are institutions) based on what they did 65 years ago or more. If that was the case, then Democrats would be able to say things like "gee, isn't it funny that most of the red states hated black people until thirty-five years ago, therefore all of their politics opposing school busing and affirmative action in the present day are motivated by hated of African-Americans" and "forty years ago black people were given death penalties in the south for the crime of robbery, when less than $5 was stolen, when no white person was even given a life sentence for stealing anything less than $200, therefore perhaps the death penalty in the present day, which the red states tend to support, is racist in its effect, and arguably even in its intent" and get away with it.

That wouldn't be fair, would it? Would it?

Too many jims said...

Fritz said...
He was 100% responsible for the US involvement in Somalia. . . President-Elect Clinton asked President Bush to act and the departing President acquiesced to such a humanitarian undertaking.


Can you please provide a source fo this?

Revenant said...

you said w. had "far higher" approval ratings than his father -- that is obviously not true.

True, I mistakenly remembered GHWB had peaked around 80% (probably because I was one of the small minority that always though he was an asshole). Dubya only tied his high point, he didn't exceed it.

The bit about holding the post-Truman record for biggest gap between highs and lows is correct, though.

Revenant said...

The Nazis. Are those the same people the Bush family made millions of dollars off of?

That would be a no.

It would be accurate to say that Prescott Bush made "millions" (well, 1.5 million, anyway) off of his stock in Union Banking Corporation, and that one of the many wealthy people whose finances the bank managed had been a supporter of Hitler before turning anti-Nazi in response to Kristalnacht (he eventually landed in Dachau). But "made millions off of Nazis"? No.

It is particularly silly to grouse about the indirect Bush family ties to Nazi supporters when, as suggested above, Joe Kennedy was an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler right up to the point we went to war with Germany. If we're going to hint around the idea of familial blood guilt, lets start with the more deserving, eh?

B said...

Wade,
Thank you for your informative post.

My point about the Times coverage of the Soviets and the Nazi's in the 30's were meant to be examples of a New York Times that has always skewed left of center - that political slant in presenting the news in the Times didn't begin in the 60's or at Watergate.

I am not saying that the Times is peopled with anti-Americans or traitors or evil. I am simply saying that it has an over-sized influence in the world, and that the choices the Times makes in how to present the news is so often irresponsible that it leaves damaging effects to both the body politic and the informed citizenry in many cases.

Revenant said...

The observation that the mainstream Left used to be openly sympathetic to Communism isn't much of a defense of the New York Times, in my opinion.

Mainstream Germans used to be sympathetic to Nazism. We don't smile and nod at the old German habit of publishing Nazi propaganda in their newspapers and say "oh, that was normal back then". We condem it, as we rightly should.

Why should we give the Times a pass on bad behavior just because American left-wingers used to be much more heavily populated by bad people than it is today?

Fen said...

My point about the Times coverage of the Soviets and the Nazi's in the 30's were meant to be examples of a New York Times that has always skewed left of center... I am not saying that the Times is peopled with anti-Americans or traitors or evil.

But you have to wonder at their motives. As for our Leftist media during the Cold War, I would at least consider them enabling sheep. They were caught up in this, they even promoted the meme:

"Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels. This same strategy is at work today, but it is regarded as bad manners to point out the Soviet parallels."

"During the Vietnam War we spread vitriolic stories around the world, pretending that America's presidents sent Genghis Khan-style barbarian soldiers to Vietnam who raped at random, taped electrical wires to human genitals, cut off limbs, blew up bodies and razed entire villages. Those weren't facts. They were our tales, but some seven million Americans ended up being convinced their own president, not communism, was the enemy." - Ion Mihai Pacepa

Luckyoldson said...

B said..."I remember Judith Miller well. I didn't see them as specifically supporting the invasion."

This is exactly why I think most here do not read.

Anybody who follwed Miller's articles, etc. knows she was considered one of the prime time supporters of the administration's invasion policies.

Luckyoldson said...

Jeff,
As to my Hersh comments:

"to the public"...asshole.

Luckyoldson said...

David said..."Lucky: If you think that was a jab, you've been hanging out with the wrong wingnuts."

I don't hang out with wingnuts.

Too dumb.

jeff said...

Jeff,
As to my Hersh comments:

"to the public"...asshole.

Not in your original comment you didn't. When you were scrambling to move the goalposts to make yourself less idiotic (didn't work, btw) you came up with the second statement with the qualifier that you actually meant broke the story to the public, not before the military announce it, arrested those responsible and were in the middle of trying them.
Which, unfortunately, even with the after the fact qualifiers of yours, you were STILL wrong, which made you being called on that legitimate.
Your response was to misrepresent what you said, assume no one would go check, and call him an asshole. Much like you did in response to me. So essentially in your little word, anyone who quotes you or reminds you of your own words is a asshole. Silly little man/woman. Don't you remember? Your people have a word for that already. Swiftboater. The best thing about all this is that I don't even have to insult you. Anyone reading any of this can follow the comments and say to themselves. "Jesus, that lucky dude is SUCH a asshole".
You guys just make this too easy.