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Jimmie Bise Jr's blog

A Separate Separation?

Seemingly lost in the media controversy of the comments from both NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin and Senator Hilary Clinton is the issue of the religious nature and/or setting of their comments. 

Cathy Young covers that ground on Nagin today and concludes:

When a conservative minister says this kind of thing about George W. Bush, it's widely taken as a sign that America is sinking into a Dark Age of religious fanaticism. Somehow, the rhetoric of the "religious left" -- aside from an over-the-top rant like Nagin's -- is not met with the same condemnation.

I addressed the issue elsewhere Wednesday and noted:

The Importance of a Headline

Today's Washington Post features an article about the October employment numbers, which are planted firmly between humdrum and "house afire". The economy seems to have absorbed the hurricanes of the past two months, and high energy prices and posted 56,000 new jobs in October.

The Post, though, seems a bit confused about whether that's good news or bad.

Featured at the top of the page today is the headline "October's Job Growth Stalled". The same article is linked lower on the page, in the business section, with the headline "Payrolls Expand in October".

If you click on the Business section you'll find the same article with the headline, "Payrolls expand in Oct., Jobless Rate Dips".

The "M" Word

It is a fact that the majority of the "youths" and "gangs" who have been rioting outside Paris for a week now are Muslims.

You will not find that fact reported directly in this Washington Post story.

You will read the rioters called "gangs of youths", "rioters", "immigrants", and "poor" and that's it.

Yet, the article notes that what sparked the riots was the death of two Muslim youths who decided to hide from a police checkpoint in a power substation, where they electrocuted themselves to death. The article also notes that the Interior Minister, whom the French President is blaming for the riots because he has dared to crack down on a runaway crime problem in France's poor Muslim ghettos, has proposed using government buildings as mosques. The article also says that Muslim leaders are attempting "to persuade local youths -- particularly Muslims -- to refrain from violence".

Even when it's not about Cindy Sheehan, it's about Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan. Cindy Sheehan. Cindy Sheehan.

I only do that to satisfy what I assume is a "Cindy Sheehan name content quota" in place for any newspaper article written on any subject related to the War in Iraq, whether it's about her or not.

On the website for the Waco Tribune, you'll find an article about counter-protest to Cindy Sheehan's anti-war Crawford camporee (thanks to The Anchoress for the pointer) that's gearing up. Here's how the article describes the counter-protest:

Johnson alluded to a forthcoming caravan scheduled to arrive in Crawford next Saturday after snaking through the southwest from San Francisco. The event, called “You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy,” is being led by a mother who has a Marine son.

For the Wont of a Word

Today's Washington Post features one of those headlines that make people who want to have an honest debate on illegal immigration shake their heads ruefully.

The headline reads: "Ranch Turned Over to Immigrants"

Would you know, from reading that headline that the immigrants in question were illegal immigrants and they won the ranch in a civil lawsuit?

Neither would I.

Words are important, and for the newspaper to simply identify the lawbreakers as "immigrants" is plainly inaccurate, nor it is honest for the Post to say only that the ranch was "turned over" to them.

The facts of the story are important, I think, to the ongoing national debate about illegal immigration and the headline could have reflected the story far more accurately.. There are those who do not believe that the word "illegal" is in any way essential to the debate, but it's clear that reasonable people on either side of the issue disagree entirely. It's wrong for the Post to inject its own particular bias on the issue into this headline. More importantly, it does a great disservice to people who want to debate the issue honestly and openly, without resorting to distortion.

Did We Mention Already that it's a Conservative Group?

Would you think of the group Judicial Watch, do you think of it targeting any specific administration?

The New York Times certainly does. In an article today, the paper would lead us to believe that the group particularly vexed the Clinton Administration, and only criticized the current administration a little, and only on 9/11 matters. Interestingly enough, this characterization is made in the midst of an article that reflects very poorly on the last administration. Here's what the Times said:

"The declassified documents, obtained by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act request and provided to The New York Times..." [emphasis mine]

Missing the About-Face on Able Danger

Credit the New York Times for getting the biggest Able Danger interview to date.

The August 16th edition of the paper reveals allegations from one of Congressman Weldon's primary sources, a man now identified as Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer. Shaffer stepped forward to add weight to the story he had already told Weldon and staffers from the 9/11 Commission.

As interesting a story as it is, it's incomplete. The Times omits a very important details in the timeline.

In a statement issued last week, the leaders of the Sept. 11 commission said the panel had concluded that the intelligence program "did not turn out to be historically significant." The statement said that while the commission did learn about Able Danger in 2003 and immediately requested Pentagon files about the program, none of the documents turned over by the Defense Department referred to Mr. Atta or any of the other hijackers.

The Washington Post Distorts the Able Danger Story

Today's Washington Post carries a story by Dan Eggen that is rife with inaccuracies that paint the 9/11 Commission in a far better light than recent news would suggest. The article is headlines "Sept. 11 Panel Explores Allegations About Atta". Here are the first two paragraphs:

Staff members of the Sept. 11 commission are investigating allegations by a Republican congressman that lead hijacker Mohamed Atta had been identified as a potential threat by a highly classified Defense Department program a year or more before the attacks occurred.

Commission officials confirmed a report in yesterday's New York Times that two staff members interviewed a uniformed military officer, who alleged in July 2004 that a secret program called "Able Danger" had identified Atta as a potential terrorist threat in 1999 or early 2000.

I Guess They Couldn't Find a Democrat?

Today's Washington Post features an article on the "disconnect" between the booming economy and public opinion. The paper reports that, according to its own poll, 52 percent of those polled do not like how the President is handling the economy, as opposed to 42 percent who do. The article cites reasons for this dissatisfaction as anger over Iraq, high gas prices, and small wage increases and cites several statistics, all of which are positive except for that of gasoline prices.

The article quotes four of those people who answered the poll, and who agreed to comment on their answers to support the lead. Of the four, three are negative comments and only one of them cites Iraq as a reason. The sole positive quote is less than noteworthy, saying simply "the economy is good" and that the President needs to remain positive. Two of the four were identified as Republicans and two were identified as "political independent[s]". None were Democrats.

It Must Have Been Revenge

In today's Washington Post, reporter Neely Tucker has an article that is essentially an advertisement for an anti-war documentary called "Original Bomb Child" that airs tonight on the Sundance Channel. The documentary uses a great deal of footage from the National Archives that was shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the US dropped atomic bombs on both cities.

The doubt that this might be a straight news story can pretty much be dashed with this paragraph:

"To supporters, President Harry S. Truman hastened the end of a horrific war -- more than 50 million people died worldwide in six years -- by using the bomb to pacify a nation that had attacked Pearl Harbor, shown no mercy in the Bataan death march and committed any number of atrocities against the Chinese."

Though the litany of Japanese actions is true, Tucker entirely omits a far more important point. At the time, the White House and the War Department were considering the casualties that might result from invading the Japanese home islands. This operation, called Operation Downfall, would have resulted in roughly one million American casualties and, assuming the civilians fought as we have since learned they would have, upwards of ten million Japanese casualties.