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Old Media Neither Credible, Trustworthy nor Relevant

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 12:00 AM

In its May 23 edition, Newsweek writers Michael Isikoff and John Barry reported that American military personnel at Guantanamo Bay had flushed the Muslim world's holiest book, the Quran, down the toilet – a report that led to blistering condemnations and a call for a holy war in the Arab world, violent anti-American protests in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, et al., and 17 deaths and over 100 injuries so far.

Mark Whitaker, the magazine's editor, wrote in a follow-up issue that he regretted "we got any part of our story wrong," but

Reuters reported that the magazine's managing editor, Jon Meacham, responded to the expose by saying, incredibly: "This was reported very carefully, with great sensitivity and concern, and we'll continue to report on it."

Right. Newsweek's definition of "very" careful reporting is an untrue story that was investigated with no care at all, and its definition of "sensitive" is a story that savages the American military and inflames an already incendiary part of the world.

Meacham went on to say that in terms of the bogus story, "we leave it to the readers to judge us."

Right again. The American public

The president of the Media Research Center and founder of Cybercast News Service, Brent Bozell, said, "Newsweek is guilty of pushing a false story they knew was unconfirmed but wanted to believe was true, and this time the result was tragic."

It was the same kind of "gotcha" journalism, "only this time with riots and deaths. … This is the painful legacy of news organizations whose anti-Bush agenda predisposes them to running negative stories they want to believe are true, even if they have no evidence of their veracity."

Journalist Rich Lowry agrees. "How many stories has Newsweek magazine written about the Bush administration allegedly ‘skewing intelligence' by relying on raw, insufficiently sourced data? How many times has it lamented that these mistakes have hurt the U.S. abroad? Too many to count."

Lowry goes on to say that many of those stories were written by Isikoff and Barry – "the very duo that has itself dealt the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan a blow by stretching poorly sourced information into a false report. ..."

In a recent article entitled "Is U.S. media a ‘partner' with Al-Jazeera?" journalist James P. Pinkerton asks, "Does showing bloody and violent video from Iraq encourage the killing of Americans, and increase the likelihood of American failure in that country?"

He cites an article in The Wall St. Journal authored by Dorrance Smith – formerly of ABC News and the Bush 41 White House, and recently a media adviser to U.S. forces in Iraq. Smith said that the U.S. media are guilty of "aiding and abetting" the enemy.

Smith explained the process, saying that when Al-Jazeera – the anti-American Middle East TV station – receives "advance knowledge of actions against coalition forces," it doesn't tell authorities but rather sends a camera crew to the site to "wait for the attack, record it and rush it on the air," then make inflammatory footage available to the American media, who are "addicted" to it.

Pinkerton concludes, "This is exactly what Newsweek did in its fraudulent story about the desecration of the [Quran]."

Pundit Michelle Malkin minces no words: "Newsweek has blood on its hands [and] blood on its desks," a point reinforced by Gary R. Assell (Vipers Vietnam Veterans Page, A Vietnam Veteran and Proud) who wrote that Newsweek "lending credence to this rumor has only strengthened the hands of our enemies, fanatics, and those who would undermine U.S. efforts to build democracy. This behavior is criminal. People died."

In fact, Starr's statement referred to the Democrats who are obstructing President Bush's appellate-court nominees by questioning their judicial philosophies. In other words, CBS manipulated the quote to fit its by-now famous leftist agenda, proving that the ghastly ghost of Dan Rather – Mr. Forged Documents himself – is alive but not so well, given its devolving ratings.

But Albom also wrote a column, Kurtz said, "before the final four playoff game between Michigan State and North Carolina as if the game had already taken place." But it hadn't! Albom was suspended, along with his publisher, Carole Leigh Hutton. Suspended, but not fired!

Nevertheless, his friend Tony Kornheiser, a Washington Post columnist, said that he didn't think Albom had "any malice" in making up the story or that his "intent was to defraud people." And John Feinstein of National Public Radio agreed, saying that Albom's fiction wasn't "a speeding ticket" and added, "It happens often."

Aha! At last an admission from a liberal that, indeed, lying to the public "happens often" in the old media!

In fact, the deportation never happened and Hannan is still here! A fact, by the way, that Shepardson apparently didn't know because he relied solely on Hannan's lawyer for information. When USA Today reporter Jack Kelley lied in an article, he and many of the paper's top officials were fired by the newspaper's parent company, Gannett News Service. But in response to Shepardson's lies, Gannett awarded him First Place in investigative reporting!

Moral: If you lie about seal slaughter, you'll get fired. But if you lie about trashing the Quran, if you purposefully misquote a former prosecutor, or if you invent out of whole cloth a sympathetic story about a terrorist, no consequences will be forthcoming. And, as in Shepardson's case, you might even get an award!

Or maybe Jay Leno is right when he said that an appropriate punishment for these old-media dissemblers might well be to work for CBS News!

In April, New York Times writer Adam Nagourney wrote an article for the Washington Post in which he said, "The growing tide of personal attacks by bloggers and e-mailers can make you really paranoid."

Translated, this means that independent researchers who care deeply about accuracy in news reporting have made the old media something they have never been before – accountable!

Nagourney and his left-leaning ilk

In fact, they resulted in the election of the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush.

The first knockout punch was the expose of CBS-TV's forged documents – a la liberal Dan Rather – that turned out to be so phony that they signaled the death knell and eternal ignominy of Rather and his producer Mary Mapes.

Bloggers also forced the resignation of liberal CNN chief Eason Jordan for his intemperate, partisan and inaccurate ranting about our country's military operations.

And the final blogger coup was forcing conservative, name-changing reporter Jeff Gannon out of commission and out of his privileged post in the White House press corps.

Writing in the New York Daily News in April, longtime columnist Jack Shafer exposed the New York Times for its egregious leftist bias. In reviewing the book "Buried in the Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper" by Laurel Leff, Shafer says: "The crimes committed against humanity and journalism by the New York Times in the 20th century are so huge and numerous they fill three new volumes. …"

Shafer concentrated heavily on Leff's book, revealing that Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger kept the Nazis' atrocities against the Jews off Page One during World War II and failed to explain to its readers that "Hitler was killing Jews because they were Jews."

Shafer said that he counted 1,186 stories about the Jews of Europe in the paper between the war's start in 1939 and its conclusion in 1945. Only 26 of those stories were published on the front page, and only six of them stated explicitly that Jews were the primary target of the Nazis.

In other words, the greatest genocide in human history was deemed non-news by the paper "of record," just as major stories today that don't fit the paper's leftist bias are either slanted to the left or relegated to its back pages.

But they couldn't hide everything. After the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal, in which a middling journalist and pathological liar had been elevated to celebrity status by the Times, the very "gray old lady" – as the paper was once affectionately called – hired Daniel Okrent as its ombudsman.

Okrent took his 18-month job so seriously that he had the audacity to state publicly that – yes – the Times had a liberal slant! Of course, this is exactly what Accuracy in Media (www.aim.org), The Village Voice (http://www.villagevoice.com.) and The Media Research Center (http://www.mediaresearch.org), among other critics, have been saying for decades.

But self-delusion, not to omit grandiosity, dies hard. In a panel discussion of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in April, journalists were questioned about any bias they detected in news coverage. The panel included, among others, liberal columnist Eric Alterman, who remarked: "I'm not so crazy about objectivity, or what is defined as objectivity. It seems to me that blue-state journalism tries to be objective. There is very little liberal journalism."

Thank you, Eric, for affirming why you and so many like-minded journalists are so clueless and why 60 million voters – for whom you have such contempt – rejected your brand of so-called journalism in the last election.

A recent Carnegie Corp. poll found that journalists who were surveyed picked Democrat John Kerry over George Bush in the 2004 election by a margin of over 2-to-1. And a recent University of Connecticut poll found that media professionals are frequently out of touch with an overwhelming number of Americans. For instance:

There is no way to misinterpret these numbers. The only conclusion is that the public have not been surprised by the latest Newsweek excesses, but rather disgusted and increasingly mistrustful of an old media whose obituary they have already written but whose members are too arrogant, self-important and defensive to see the writing on their tombstones.


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In its May 23 edition, Newsweek writers Michael Isikoff and John Barry reported that American military personnel at Guantanamo Bay had flushed the Muslim world's holiest book, the Quran, down the toilet - a report that led to blistering condemnations and a call for a holy...
Wednesday, 18 May 2005 12:00 AM
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