The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Those of you who read my blog regularly know that my opinion of the main stream media (MSM) is very negative. To be clear, when I use the acronym MSM, I mean: the wire services (Reuters and AP), broadcast television networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC), cable networks (CNN, MSNBC, Fox), major national news magazines (Time and Newsweek, among others) and a significant number of major US newspapers (NYT, LAT, WaPO and many, many others).

In the 21st century the MSM has stopped performing its intended function. As I see it, the MSM should report domestic and international events in a manner that enables the reader to understand those events, the context in which the events occur, and the important ramifications of the events. The MSM should relegate advocacy to its editorial pages, to work hard, very hard, to get the facts straight, to double and event triple check the credibility and credentials of sources. The MSM should never avoid reporting a story because it conflicts with its editorial narrative or the politics of the “journalist” who does the reporting.

In an in-depth study of the MSM reporting on the Iraq war and related events, Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom provides data that indicate undeniable media bias, “journalism (in Iraq) by remote control”, the use of stringers who are not only biased in favor of the “insurgents” but actively assist them, case after case of doctored photos (represented as real by the AP, Reuters, the networks, et al), agenda-based “journalism that reports as fact the unsubstantiated claims of “villagers” who report non-existent massacres perpetrated by US troops, and the same agenda-based “journalism” that chooses not to report clearly-documented cases of brutal massacres by Al Qaida in villages across Iraq.

It’s important to understand that I have no objection to reporting bad news coming out of Iraq. Lord knows, there’s been plenty. I have no objection to reporting poor administration decisions throughout the war—again, there have been many. But when Goldstein quotes James Wilson of City Journal :
When the Center for Media and Public Affairs made a nonpartisan evaluation of network news broadcasts, it found that during the active war against Saddam Hussein, 51 percent of the reports about the conflict were negative. Six months after the land battle ended, 77 percent were negative; in the 2004 general election, 89 percent were negative; by the spring of 2006, 94 percent were negative. This decline in media support was much faster than during Korea or Vietnam.

No one can deny that War is bad news, but unless you have become so ideological that you’ve lost the forest for the trees, you have to admit that the US is doing some good things in Iraq—certainly more than 6 percent.

Like Goldstein, I see no vast media conspiracy in all of this. I echo his sentiments when he states:
At this juncture, just to anticipate what more unhinged readers may want to read into this essay, I emphasize that I am not alleging some sort of conspiracy is involved in these phenomena. A conspiracy involves an agreement among those involved. The flaws in the establishment media’s Iraq coverage do not arise from some secret agreement but from their preexisting prejudices, misconceptions or ignorance of military history and theory, journalistic biases toward bad news, economic constraints, and so on.

And I might add, a degree of sloppiness that flies in the face of the media’s sanctimonious claims of professionalism and objectivity.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


CNN News reports:
"Islamophobia" and the defamation of Islam are the most conspicuous forms of racism and intolerance today, and a global U.N. conference on racism planned for 2009 should come up with practical solutions to deal with them, an Islamic bloc representative told a preparatory meeting in Geneva Monday.

The 2009 meeting is intended to review a U.N. conference on racism, held in Durban, South Africa, just days before 9/11, but the 56-nation Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC) wants Islam to be high on the agenda.

Hmmmm. The reality is that Western nations have contorted themselves not to offend Islam (think -- the UK’s recent policy against the phrase “Islamic terrorism”). Western media has self-censored in ways that sometimes threaten freedom of speech (think -- the Danish cartoon controversy). Western police have often looked the other way as Moslem “youths” have expressed their “outrage” through violence that has ranged from burned cars (think --Paris) to cold-blooded murder (think--Theo van Gogh). And the general public in Western nations — except for a relatively few incidents in which the perpetrators were arrested and prosecuted for hate crimes (is that ever done in, say Egypt)— has remained remarkably calm in the face of murderous Islamofascist terror attacks and virulently anti-Western speech emanating from Wahhabi mosques through the Western world.

Like many things about our modern world, we encounter another “through the looking glass” moment. Islam is the victim in all of this, and we in the West are the aggressor. And now, Islam expects the UN to do something about it. Yet Islam does absolutely nothing about the underlying actions that make many people uneasy. Business as usual.

Robert Spencer comments:
The coinage of the term "Islamophobia" is an exercise in blaming the victim. If Muslims want to end "Islamophobia" instantaneously, here's how:

1. Focus your indignation on Muslims committing violent acts in the name of Islam, not on non-Muslims reporting on those acts.

2. Renounce definitively not just "terrorism," but any intention to replace the U.S. Constitution (or the constitutions of any non-Muslim state) with Sharia even by peaceful means.

3. Teach Muslims the imperative of coexisting peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis.

4. Begin comprehensive international programs in mosques all over the world to teach against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.

5. Actively work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.

Do those five things, and voila! "Islamophobia" will vanish. No UN program needed.

We in the West are, of course, guilty of extreme indulgence. No western politician gives Islam tough love, probably the only kind of love that will save it. We tacitly assume that Islam is incapable of reforming itself, and as a consequence people in positions of responsible leadership make relatively few demands of those Moslems who claim that they abhor Jihadist Islam.

Why not ask for more aggressive action within the religion? Why not call organizations such as CAIR what they are—propaganda fronts for Islamofascists, not “moderate” advocacy groups? Why not suggest that free speech trumps religious sensitivity, and a culture of “outrage” does nothing to move Islam into the 21st century? Why not argue that religious education alone will keep Arab Moslems poverty stricken, living in crippled economies with no prospect of improvement?

Why not? Maybe it is Islamophobia after all.

Friday, August 17, 2007

By Definition

There’s a facetious quote that is generally attributed to Ben Franklin: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” That’s what is about to happen as Condi Rice and Tony Blair (otherwise smart, sane, and rational people) try to resurrect a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Over and over, the Israelis have been asked to make tangible concessions (e.g., giving back land, opening closed borders, dismantling settlements, etc., etc.) all in return for vague promises of peace by one Palestinian faction. Of course, the promises are broken almost immediately, and other Palestinian factions continue to lob rockets into Israel. But never mind, this time it will be different. Not.

In the best major foreign policy white paper developed by a presidential candidate to date, Rudy Guliani has the following to say on the subject:
The problem there [in Gaza and the West bank] is not the lack of statehood but corrupt and unaccountable governance. The Palestinian people need decent governance first, as a prerequisite for statehood. Too much emphasis has been placed on brokering negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians — negotiations that bring up the same issues again and again. It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism. Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel. America’s commitment to Israel’s security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy.

It’s encouraging to see a presidential candidate embrace a pragmatic and sane approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It would be even better if the current administration did the same.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

No News is Bad News

In the long term, Iran represents a significant security threat to the United States. The country is a model Islamofascist dictatorship—fanatical, brutual, repressive to women, gays, trade unionists, and any citizen who questions the Islamist philosophy of Iran’s leaders. One wonders why we don’t see more reporting on Iran’s repressive regime from the MSM, and why we don’t hear more criticism from groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others.

Amir Tahani reports on growing unrest in Iran among the young, protests by trade unionists and other demonstrations.
The [Iranian] authorities admit they've arrested almost a million people in the last four months, keeping them for anything from several hours to several weeks. Yet the news from Iran is focused on the mullahs' defiance of the U.N. on the nuclear issue.

In fact, even the reporting on Iran’s defiance is muted. The MSM wants nothing to do with any factual information that will refute the narrative that Tehani described in the following way:
Some Western editors are sympathetic to the Islamic Republic, which they see as a plucky Third World regime standing up against Western, especially American, "Imperialist bullying."

If the worldwide media reported events in Iran more fully, it might, just might, give those within Iran the confidence to proceed to the next steps that might, just might, lead to the overthrow of the Islamofascists who control the country. Is it likely? No. But it's the responsibility of the MSM to report what is happening in Iran.

There are 117 registered foreign correspondents in Iran including reporters from CNN, Reuters, AP, major newspapers, and other international media. Tahani comments:
Inside Iran, some see global conspiracy to keep international opinion in the dark about what is really happening in the Islamic Republic. They ask: Why is it that world media representatives in Iran never interview any of the thousands of trade unionists, teachers' leaders, journalists, student activists, women's-lib militants and dissident intellectuals? Why is the brutal repression in several provinces, which has already claimed scores of lives, never covered on the spot?

Because it doesn’t fit the existing narrative and meme, that’s why.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


When I was a young boy, probably about 9 or 10 years old, I watched a Walt Disney hour long TV show about man’s future trip to the moon. In black and white, the Disney animators showed a towering rocket, conical in shape, as it left an unnamed Florida space center to carry its crew to a space station and then on to the moon.

For months afterward, I drew pictures of the rocket, the launch, the space station and men landing on the moon. At some level, I wondered whether Disney’s futuristic predictions would ever come true and certainly whether they’d occur during my lifetime.

Of course, it all came to pass (although not quite the way Disney envisioned it).

At this moment I'm writing from Titusville Florida, 12.3 miles from the launch site of Space Shuttle STS-118. The launch occurred about 30 minutes ago and as I watched the shuttle lift-off, followed by an orange-white trail of flame, I thought back to the Disney show and actually got choked up. The human race in general and our country in particular can and does accomplish great things.

The shuttle is, of course, old news, but when you see it lift off for the first time, up close and personal, you cannot help but be awe struck. I know it sounds hokey, but watching this magnificent technological achievement gives me hope. That's a benefit that NASA never mentions.