Thursday, September 30, 2004

What Is Going On In Russia?

From Nezavisimaya Gazeta:

"I have already written, and I'll venture to say it again that the power struggle between Gusinsky's empire and the Kremlin is not a conflict between an authoritarian state and a media group opposed to that regime. Nor, so far, has any evidence of the Kremlin's intentions to curb the freedom of speech, or coral Russia's-already obsequious-mass media, been produced. Up to now, all the evidence has been that this is a conflict between two oligarchic clans-the Kremlin's, which includes many top officials, including elected ones-and thus has at least a shred of legitimacy in the eyes of Russians, and that of Gusinsky-which does not."

Have the Palestinians Lost their Intifada?

From Haaretz :

"If, in a political conflict, victory is perception, then in some quarters the war the Palestinians couldn't lose is already over. Some seasoned observers have begun speaking of a Palestinian defeat in the past tense. Remarked Laura King of the Los Angeles Times this week, 'many Palestinians fear that what has been, in effect, their military defeat at the hands of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has left them without leverage to extract political and territorial concessions that would help lay the groundwork for their hoped-for state.' Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post observed in a column this week that it is 'now undeniable that the 'military solution' that so manybelieved could not work has brought Israelis an interlude of relative peace.'"

Absolutely Majnoon

From Athena's Terrorism Unveiled, a blog written by an American student living in Amman, Jordan [link from]:

"Out of the blue, my host mother asks, 'Who do you think was behind 9-11?' And of course I knew she was expecting me to say 'Osama bin Laden,' so instead I responded, 'Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had a lot to do with the operational planning.' She gave me a quizzical look so I gave her the, 'of course he was one of the top people in Al-Qaida under Bin Laden.' To this she told me that was all a lie and that 'the Israelis are behind this, it's all the Israeli Mossad who did this.' "

After Hurricanes, Miami Braces for Presidential Debate

From The Miami Herald:

"The first of three debates, tonight's matchup at the University of Miami opens against the backdrop of hurricane-wracked Florida, where politics has been on hold since mid-August in the largest of the up-for-grabs states. Bush's campaign scrapped two post-debate campaign events in Florida on Friday in deference to hurricane recovery efforts. Karl Rove, his chief strategist, told Florida reporters Wednesday that the campaign is making adjustments to deal with the unknown factors of the hurricanes -- which have left Floridians without electricity, homes, and perhaps, voter registration cards.

'''We're flying sort of blind,' Rove told reporters at a briefing at Bush's Miami hotel. 'Since Aug. 13 we've not been able to get consistent polling.' 'Homes and condos are wrecked, we don't know how long it's going to take people to get home,' he added. For the president, however, the hurricanes have given him opportunity to appear as the comforter in chief, a role he relished Wednesday as he walked through a Lake Wales citrus grove hammered by three of the four hurricanes that tore across the state in six weeks.

"Kerry's campaign, which was all but forced to stop campaigning in the state, says it is undaunted by the storms, planning a two-day, post-debate campaign swing in Florida."

Glenn Reynolds on "Southern Strategy"

Instapundit is now writing for The Guardian about the American elections (congratulations Glenn!):

"In my lifetime, only one Democrat who was not from the American south has won the presidency. And the Democrat who did so, John F Kennedy, accomplished this feat when I was two months old. Since then, many have concluded that it's impossible for a Democrat to win the south unless - like Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter - he has southern roots. (Al Gore, who hails from Carthage, Tennessee but who spent much of his childhood in a posh Washington hotel, apparently wasn't southern enough.) But why would that be? It can't be because southerners won't vote for people from outside the south. After all, they happily voted in droves for Ronald Reagan, a Californian transplanted from the midwest. Nor is it likely to be because of 'traditional values', since southerners also voted for Bill Clinton, a Democrat whose commitment to monogamy was famously shaky...

"...So what is it about the south? I think it's defence. Some time between the election of John F Kennedy, and the ignominious defeat of 1972 Democratic nominee George McGovern, the Democrats lost credibility on national defence. From Kennedy's stirring "bear any burden, pay any price" language, to the "peace at any price" slogans of the anti-war left in 1972, the Democrats lost their traditional stature as the internationalist and interventionist war party. Instead, they became identified with the welfare-state liberalism of the north-east and west coast, and with the anti-military sentiments of the anti-Vietnam war movement."

CBS News' Latest Fake Story

From INDC Journal:

"What is beyond question is that CBS failed to achieve common journalistic standards by failing to disclose Ms. Cocco's position and activism, failing to disclose the Selective Service's explicit statement denying the impending possibility of the draft and failing to disclose that the circulated e-mails in the story contained false and misleading information. These omissions - along with the story's questionable timing and dramatic tone - combine to create a blatantly misleading piece."

Ann Coulter on Bush's Lead


"Amid a solid stream of bad news, the New York Times reported on its own poll -- showing Kerry 8 points behind Bush -- in an article titled: 'Bush Opens Lead Despite Unease Voiced in Survey.' The Times bases its 'unease' conclusion on some secret documents recently given to them by Bill Burkett. This would seem to go against the 80 percent likeability rating among Bush supporters I cited previously -- but hey, it's good to see Jayson Blair working again. In fact, the only 'unease' expressed by voters in the Times poll seems to center on the possibility that Kerry could be elected president. Sixty percent of respondents to the Times poll said they do not have confidence that Kerry could deal wisely with an international crisis. Only 26 percent of respondents said they had 'a lot' of confidence in Kerry's ability to stop another terrorist attack, compared to 51 percent who have a lot of confidence in Bush's ability to do so. How about that for the next Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker? 'Three-quarters of us don't trust him on terror, but only 60 percent of us think he'd be incompetent in any international crisis.' And yet Times reporters Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder reasoned 'there are signs that the election remains competitive ...' Most of these 'signs' can be found posted on the website.

"After reading the Times' peculiar interpretation of its poll, I thought it might be fun to see how the Times reported on the polls preceding the largest electoral landslide in U.S. history: Ronald Reagan's 1984 a**-whipping of Walter Mondale. For the voters and other ignorant teenagers, in the end, Reagan would win that election 59 percent to 40 percent. But in August 1984, the Times wrote about Reagan's massive lead over Mondale after the Republican Convention in an article titled: 'Convention in Dallas: The Republicans, the Dangers Ahead."

"Among the "dangers" for Reagan astutely noted by the Times was "the very fact that he appears so far ahead of Mr. Mondale." (Of course, the principal "danger" as far as the Times was concerned was that Reagan might win the Cold War and dispatch the left's favorite country.)

Is Newsweek Championing Extremists?


"Whenever you see the mainstream media referring to someone as 'Sheikh', you're duty bound to do a search for that person on MEMRI and LGF. I'll show you why. Tonight in Loseweek [ed. note: Newsweek], Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball warn that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is radicalizing moderate Muslims. Moderate Muslims like 'Sheik' Yusuf al-Qaradawi. To be sure, say M&M, Qaradawi isn't a moderate on every issue. For instance, he doesn't have a big problem with blowing up Jews. He's also suspected of having ties to terrorist financing networks. And yes, sure, he happens to be the 'spiritual leader' of Egypt's most prominent fundamentalist group, the Muslim Brotherhood. But that doesn't mean he's not a moderate at heart..."

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson on Bush Hatred

From VDH's Private Papers:

"The 2002 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Nicholson Baker, just published Checkpoint. It is an extended dialogue about killing (in a variety of strange ways) George Bush. Jay, the protagonist of the novel, characterizes the potential targeted President as a “drunken oilman. "Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld are portrayed as 'bog creatures' with 'grubs scurrying out of their noses.' Such venom filters down. Sue Niederer, the mother of a soldier recently killed in Iraq, recently scoffed in an interview: 'I think if I had him in front of me I would shoot him in the groined area. Let him suffer. And just continue shooting him there.'"

A Hollywood Happy Ending

We saw Vanity Fair at the recently restored Avalon Theatre. When we left a couple of years ago, there were fears that it would be closed down after the Loew's lease expired. But the neighborhood rallied, we signed a petition, and amazingly, developer Douglas Jemal agreed to restore the theatre as an art house. Now it is much fancier than it ever was, at least in the 13 years we've been in the area. Beautiful wood carvings, murals, indirect lighting, an excellent projection and sound system. Better than a home entertainment center! If you are ever in Washington, you can see what a little neighborhood can do to preserve a landmark.

Vanity Fair

Last weekend, we finally saw Mira Nair's version of Vanity Fair. It wasn't bad. A little long, a little trouble telling the story in places, some problems with the actors, but overall, well worth seeing. Nair lays on the "India is England" subtext with a trowel. Lots of saris, peacocks, hot and spicy food. Not quite the Britain we remember from Stanley Kubrick's version of Thackeray's Barry Lyndon. But why not? The opening credit, "London 1812," the clip-clop of horses hooves on the soundtrack, the carriage riding down the cobblestone street, it's all right out of Masterpiece Theatre.

Unlike Bettye Davis' Becky Sharp in Rouben Mamoulian's 1935 version, Reese Witherspoon somehow avoids coming across as a conniving, calculating, immoral climber. Things seem to happen to her almost by accident, perhaps because she is blonde, while Davis was a brunette? Nair's storyline resonates with Gone with the Wind, Becky Sharp like Scarlett O'Hara; Amelia, Melanie. You can tell us who is Rhett Butler and who is Ashley Wilkes, after you've seen it. The battle of Waterloo parallels Sherman's burning of Atlanta.

In real life, according to our handy companion Who Was Really Who In Fiction Thackeray was Dobbin, and Amelia was Jane Brookfield, the wife of his best friend, for whom he burned an unrequited torch. Lord Steyne was Lord Hertford. And there was a real Becky Sharp, too, but her name escapes us, at the moment...She also came to a bad end.

The CIA v. Bush

From The Wall Street Journal:

"Congratulations to Porter Goss for being confirmed last week as the new Director of Central Intelligence. We hope he appreciates that he now has two insurgencies to defeat: the one that the CIA is struggling to help put down in Iraq, and the other inside Langley against the Bush Administration. We wish we were exaggerating. It's become obvious over the past couple of years that large swaths of the CIA oppose U.S. anti-terror policy, especially toward Iraq. But rather than keep this dispute in-house, the dissenters have taken their objections to the public, albeit usually through calculated and anonymous leaks that are always spun to make the agency look good and the Bush Administration look bad. Their latest improvised explosive political device blew up yesterday on the front page of the New York Times, in a story proclaiming that the agency had warned back in January 2003 of a possible insurgency in Iraq. This highly selective leak (more on that below) was conveniently timed for two days before the first Presidential debate."

Bush Bounce Now Solid Lead

From Charlie Cook:

"The irony, of course, is that while the war in Iraq may either re-elect or defeat Bush, Kerry has not handled the topic well. Whoever coined the joke about Kerry's having 57 varieties of answers on Iraq should be earning substantial royalty payments, because it is continually repeated -- and all too true. My hunch is that Kerry cast his vote in support of giving Bush authority to go to war for reasons of political expedience, not principle, and that he has been having a devil of a time defending that position because it is not one he truly believed -- or believes -- in."

Artem Tarasov's Russian Expose


"Artem Tarasov, a Russian entrepreneur, oligarch, and participant of some of the most dubious chapters of Russian history, has done something that in the West would have been done ages ago -- he has aired the dirty laundry of some of Russia's most public figures, including those still in a position of power. His book, The Millionaire, has gone on sale in Russia. Tarasov isn't the first name that springs to mind when you think of Russian billionaires. Many of them gained permanent public attention after being jailed, exiled, or announced wanted, while Tarasov made his escape to England far in advance of the Kremlin's war on the oligarchs. In the late 80s, he was among the first people to take advantage of the door to opportunity, offered by Gorbachev's perestroika, which was just beginning to crack open. In 1989, Tarasov, a card-carrying Communist, handed over 90,000 rubles in party dues. Knowing that the party asked for 3% of member incomes, the math is simple: Tarasov had made at least 3 million rubles that year. Money took Tarasov places -- high and low. He was friends with government officials and bandits alike. A businessman, he specialized in transactions and negotiations and was partially responsible for the coming to power of first Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Now the stories of how swing voters were lured by free beer and how much less Margaret Thatcher charged per personal visit than Russian PM Victor Chernomyrdin are available in hard cover. MosNews is publishing some of the excerpts from The Millionaire."

Chechen Gunmen Killed Russian Forbes Editor


"Moscow policemen have solved the murder of the chief editor of the Russian edition of the Forbes magazine Paul Klebnikov, the head of the Russian Interior Ministry's Main Directorate for Moscow City, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Pronin told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday. The general said that on Monday night Moscow policemen detained two Chechens who were involved in Klebnikov's killing. Three pistols were seized from the detained suspects, Pronin said. He also added that the same two Chechens had been holding a man hostage some time earlier. The RIA-Novosti news agency quoted a police source close as saying that the detained Chechens had kidnapped two men for ransom. After the kidnappers were detained on Monday night, a pistol was seized from them and the initial ballistic expertise has shown that this is the gun with which Paul Klebnikov was shot, the source said. "

Palestinian Captors Free CNN Producer

From Haaretz:

"Palestinian gunmen freed an Israeli Druze producer for CNN television unharmed yesterday, a day after kidnapping him in the Gaza Strip. Riad Ali said his captors told him they were members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which is linked to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. But the Brigades issued a statement saying they had no connection to the abduction and condemning it as an act of chaos that hurt the Palestinian cause."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Cited in Holland!

Very excited to see my article on the Blogosphere has been cited in Weblog: een doe-het-zelf medium— Ordening in de informatiechaos? —Albert Benschop, in Dutch:

"Internet is een informatie- en communicatiemedium met een enorm bereik dat door honderden miljoenen mensen wordt gebruikt. Wie informatie op het internet wil plaatsen moest aanvankelijk eerst speciale hypertekstuele taal leren (de HyperText Markup Language: HTML) om vervolgens zijn producten met een programma voor bestandsoverdracht op een server te plaatsen (het File Transport Protocol: FTP). Later werd het publiceren op internet vergemakkelijkt door de opkomst van speciale webeditors. Sinds de opkomst van de weblog-technologie is publiceren op internet kinderwerk geworden. In weblogs kan iedereen die dat wil een chronologisch verslag doen van zijn persoonlijke besognes of interesses in bepaalde onderwerpen. Een weblog is een laagdrempelige publicatievorm met een maximaal bereik. En het is gratis. Geen wonder dat miljoenen mensen inmiddels via een weblog hun eigen plekje op het internet hebben ingericht.

"Wat is een weblog? Hoe gaan webloggers te werk? Wat voor soorten weblogs bestaan er? Welke functies kunnen weblogs vervullen? Waarom zijn weblogs zo populair geworden? En wat dragen weblogs bij aan de informatie- en communicatievoorziening via het internet?"

Uzbekistan's Persian Literary Heritage

The Teheran Times announces a new book on the impact of Persian writers Hafez and Sa'di on Alisher Navoi, the Pushkin of Uzbekistan:

"'The national poet of Uzbekistan, Ali Shir Nava'i, showed his great respect for Sa'di in his Persian language divan,' continues the introduction. The book 'Impression of Hafez on Uzbek Literature' consists of articles about Hafez and poems of Hafez translated into the Uzbek language. The book was written by Dr. Mahmud Azimov. In the introduction he wrote, 'The impression of Hafez's poetry on Uzbek literature is quite outstanding and there was a time in the past when the Divan of Hafez was taught at schools of Uzbekistan and the old poets used to compose poetry in the style of Hafez in olden times.'"

Is CBS Tampering with Evidence of a Crime?

Scylla & Charybdis thinks so [link from]:

"You want preponderance, Dan? OK.

"I’ll start here a checklist of CBS Legal Department Evidence Tampering, which I will update from time to time.

"I am defining evidence tampering in two ways: 1) the alteration of a thing with intent to change the thing in a manner material to a foreseeable investigation, or 2) tampering with the likely testimony of someone who is fairly identifiable as a material witness in a foreseeable criminal or official investigation..."

The Texas crimes:

Texas Penal Code 32.21 – Forgery
Penal 36.05 – Tampering with Witness
Penal 37.09 – Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence

The Federal crimes:

18 USC Sec. 1341. - Frauds and swindles
18 USC Sec. 1342. -Fictitious name or address
18 USC Sec. 1349. - Attempt and conspiracy
18 USC Sec. 1343. - Fraud by wire, radio, or television
47 USC Sec. 508 – [Payola] Disclosure of payments connected with broadcasts
18 USC Sec. 1512. - Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant

Israel Working to Free Kidnapped CNN Reporter

From Haaretz:

"Palestinian Authority security officials Tuesday told the Israel Defense Forces officers in the Gaza Strip that they are holding talks with the group behind the abduction of an Israeli citizen working for CNN, and expressed hope that he will be released within a matter of hours.

"Riad Ali, an Israeli Druze employed by the American news network as a producer and translator, was taken at gunpoint from his car in Gaza City on Monday night.

"The Palestinian security officials also said that the Palestinian Authority has information on Ali's whereabouts. They added that Ali has not been hurt in any way and that the abduction did not a have nationalist motive. They said, however, that the abductors are in touch with Hamas activists. Israeli and Palestinian security officials believe that he is being held by either Hamas or Islamic Jihad. "

Iraq Slide Shows

Just found this website featuring photographs from military combat photographers in Iraq,CombatCamera

World War II Weekend at the Eisenhower Farm

While in Gettysburg, we chanced upon this World War II Weekend at Eisenhower Farm.

The former President's pastures, located right by the scene of battle in the Gettysburg cyclorama, had been transformed into a WWII base camp for both Allies and Germans. There were middle-aged "re-enactors" playing everyone from medics to MPs. Lots of old jeeps, tents, medical equipment, too.

Mud was everywhere from a torrential downpour the night before (a remnant of the Florida hurricanes). The British had the only tent which didn't blow down--it was round. No tanks, but lots of guns, guts, and glory. The Germans seemed to have snazzier and scarier uniforms plus fancier weapons. There was even an old ex-Nazi giving a speech on behalf of world peace inside the barn. It made us very happy that the Allies had won, and just seeing the equipment revealed how close the outcome really was. The German "Panzer-Fast" was really scary, a huge anti-tank explosive carried on an infantryman's shoulder. Our American bazookas looked like BB-guns by contrast.

This event takes place every year, and judging from the reaction of the young man who accompanied us, it is great fun for children who like to play with toy soldiers--and videogames.

The Gettysburg Cyclorama

A week or so ago, I went with my college roommate and his son to visit the site of the Gettysburg address. Among the impressive monuments and battlefields, we had a chance to see The Gettysburg Cyclorama in its 1963 building--a monument to the 1960s that looked like it landed from The Jetsons, which opened on the 100th anniversary of the battle. Unfortunately, this World's Fair-style pavillion is slated for demolition in the near future, which is a shame, because it had a real nostalgia-value for at least a couple of middle-aged visitors.

Although a portion of the painting had been removed "for conservation", the display was still impressive, with a 1960s-style sound and light show, the cyclorama illuminated in the darkness, almost like a 70-mm IMAX movie from the 19th Century.

The painting depicts "Pickett's charge" of July 3rd, 1863. It was painted by Paul Philippoteaux, who visited battlefield almost 20 years later. The cyclorama, in the best Beaux Arts style, features some very French-looking haystacks, and a small portrait of the artist by a tree observing the battle. It is definitely worth a detour, as the Guide Michelin might say.

The Most Famous Writer You've Never Heard Of...

Also from The Washington Post, this profile of Paulo Coehlo:

"MONTPELLIER, France -- 'I'm a very famous author all over the world, totally unknown in America,' says Paulo Coelho. True. He's one of the most successful writers on the planet, yet virtually unrecognized in the United States. According to the industry newsletter Publishing Trends, Coelho's latest novel, Eleven Minutes, appeared at the top of more best-selling fiction lists around the world last year than any other novel, including the Harry Potter volumes and John Grisham's King of Torts.

"In the United States it's another story. Published in the spring by HarperCollins, 'Eleven Minutes' has not landed on the top-selling fiction lists of either The Washington Post or the New York Times."

Interestingly, when I lived in Uzbekistan, Coehlo's The Alchemist seemed to be everyone's favorite novel. It had been translated into Uzbek by a literary journal, and was taken very seriously.

How Washington Works

A fascinating profile of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff in The Washington Post:

"The foundation's brief history -- now the subject of a federal investigation -- charts how Abramoff attached himself to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and, in so doing, became a magnet for large sums of money from business interests. It also demonstrates how easily large amounts of such cash flowed through a nonprofit advocacy group to support the interests of a director. "

Bush 51%, Kerry 45%

According to this Washington Post Poll

Monday, September 27, 2004

Dan Rather on Dan Rather

From the Media Research Center [link from Little Green Footballs]:

"A serious journalist can't run with a story without confirmation. Two sources at the absolute minimum....This is how your narrator made it through Watergate. If I'd gone off half-cocked, if I'd gotten my facts scrambled, if I'd run with unconfirmed leads, I'd be selling insurance right now.-- Dan Rather in his 1994 memoir, The Camera Never Blinks Twice, page 97."

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Will White House Debates Fumble Help CBS?

From INDC Journal: A Very Brief Interview with Bob Schieffer:

"INDC: 'Has this scandal affected you personally, with your impending moderation of one of the (Presidential) debates?'

SCHIEFFER: 'Well, there's been some e-mail that says that I should excuse myself, uh, but both the White House and the Kerry campaign have said that they think that I can do a fair and honest job. [emphasisis added] So as long as it's ok with them, I think it's ok.'"

The Diplomad v. Europe (continued)

From The Diplomad:

"We drew fire from those who took offense from our claim that educated Americans -- such as we humble Diplomads -- know more about Europe, than educated Europeans -- notably Euro diplomats -- know about the USA. We don't know why some got upset about that. It happens to be true. Various emailers challenged us to recite all the kings of Lower Saxony or some such thing to prove we know European history. That's a very European approach to history: dry recitation of relatively insignificant facts that can be looked up in a reference book (or now on the internet) without any context or analysis of why a particular fact is important to the way the world is today. You would think that the USA being the world's most important country, the richest and most powerful country that has ever existed, would be an object of serious study, at least by the European foreign policy elite. Not so. They seem to get what knowledge they have (and it's not much) from BBC, CNN, Hollywood, and the shoddy and demented news media organizations that dominate the EU. America, 'the land of McDonalds' as one email charmingly put it, has more bookstores, libraries, museums, theaters, orchestras, music and art schools, and high quality technical and educational institutions (private and public) than any other country in the world, including any European country. The New York City public school system probably has produced more Nobel prize-winners than any other educational institution in the world.

Let us also not forget that the USA is actually older as a nation than many European countries (Germany and Italy, to name just two.) We are also the world's oldest democracy. You would think that Europeans would be dying to read up on the American Revolution and the principles that founded such a successful Republic. But, no. They blather on about the French Revolution, a ludicrous and horrific event that produced empty slogans, mass murder, chaos, dictatorship, years of warfare, defeats galore for France, the installation of one of the world's most absurd monarchies, and decades upon decades of political instability."

Chris Hitchens on Dan Rather

From INDC Journal:

"But for journalism and its standards do matter, not just to me. I don't think of myself now as in the same profession of Dan Rather. And Dan Rather showed himself, it seems to me, to be--not for the first time actually--a very poor specimen of a showbiz type. He's not in journalism at all anymore. It's an absolute scandal that this stuff ever got on the air.

And it's wrong for us to call it forgery, even. A forgery is an attempt to fake something that's worth having. If I could get my printer to give me a $100 bill and I handed it to you and you took it, the handshake between us would be of that kind. But if I printed a $99 bill and handed it to you, you would be a fool and I would be a crook twice. This is not a forgery. This is fabrication.
And we help Rather out, it seems to me, every time we say forgery. Forgery is the cover story now. That's what they're back to. They're saying, well, it's essentially true. All the documents are fake, but the story is true. This is unpardonable.
I don't think it could fall any lower than this, in other words. And whether there is collusion with the DNC or not, I don't know. But there really had better not be, because I can't think'having said it couldn't go any lower, that's as low as it could then go. "

Charles Johnson on The New York Times

From Little Green Footballs :

"Matthew Klam, with whom I spoke on the phone for 43 minutes of my life that I'll never get back, writes a story for the New York Times Magazine about political blogs. And in a 10-page article, covers only the left wing blogs, including the worst, most virulent centers of lunacy. In glowing terms. Featuring a photo of Markos Zuniga, the owner of Daily Kos.

"There is not one word about the anti-idiotarian blogosphere. No LGF. No Roger L. Simon. No Michael Totten. No Allah. No Belmont Club. No Power Line. No INDC Journal. No Command Post. No Michele. No Cox & Forkum. No Rantburg.

"Nobody but Atrios, Josh Marshall, Daily Kos, Wonkette, and the other New York Times-approved left-wing drones. Not one word. Ten pages.

"The New York Times, with help from Matthew Klam, is trying to make us all disappear.

"I don't trust myself to write what I really feel about Klam's outrageously slanted piece. Read it for yourself: Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail. The mainstream media's shameful, arrogant bias, up there for all to see.

"UPDATE at 9/25/04 8:00:33 pm:
Matthew Klam will be on C-Span's Washington Journal tomorrow, talking about his article and taking calls."

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Agustin Blazquez and the 'Bad Word' by Belkis Cuza Male

(Published by El Nuevo Herald, Friday, Sept. 24, 2004)

When I saw him at the door of my house I thought he was a resurrection of Fujita, because he was the living likeness of the Japanese painter living in Paris in the 1920s. His hair was evenly falling over his forehead making his eyes look oriental--everything about him reminded me of the painter. Well, these are the first impressions that later on vanish, deconstructing that person the next time our eyes focus on them.

In the case of Agustin Blazquez it is easy to realize that he was not Fujita, but a different being, emanating from himself, who knows if he is a relative of the famous Spaniard writer, nonagenarian Blasco IbaƱez, but I could more accurately present him as a tenor, because that very special voice of his presides as a visiting card.

I am not far off; Agustin Blazquez was an actor and a singer in Cuba, he mentioned to me, and many years ago worked in theatrical companies in Havana. For sure, everybody knows him now for what he is, a film director with three fantastic documentaries, the most recent, Covering Cuba 3, about the case of the boy Elian Gonzalez, which was a success at the American Film Renaissance Film Festival in Dallas, Texas.

Agustin traveled from the Washington, DC area to participate with his film as a guest of the festival and while in Texas, on Sunday, September 12 he came to La Casa Azul in Fort Worth and presented Covering Cuba 3: Elian. He was accompanied by Jaums Sutton, his assistant and interviewer in his various films and co-editor of his articles and books.

The impression you receive when you see Covering Cuba 3: Elian is totally new and surprising, although the Elian theme by itself is too well known and could result in a hard to do piece when you want to create art. But Agustin has done it. He achieved the emotion and made us shed tears with his true-cinema and his denunciations.

But it is here, in this word – denunciation – where I want to pause and call your attention. Because I want you to understand that it seems there are “denunciations” and “denunciations.”

When Communists use propaganda to denounce something, immediately there are receptive ears, there are mouths multiplying, cameras that work, newspapers giving all types of coverage and front page exposure. But when someone that is categorized a “conservative” makes a denunciation about a situation, makes art with this denunciation, the result is an immense void, a profound silence, an unhealthy indifference.

If you could talk with Agustin Blazquez, he could tell you better than myself of the frustrations of his experiences. First as a painter and sculptor - for years he tried to make it as such – and later his uncountable efforts to show his films in this country. To date all would have been negatives. For example, recently the American Film Institute (AFI) and a film festival associated with the AFI in Maryland as well as the Maryland State Arts Council rejected Covering Cuba 3: Elian. It did not fit the political taste of the sponsors.

So when he was invited by the Dallas film festival, which intended to show the other side of the coin, the filmmaker and painter (former actor and singer) packed his bags and drove all the way to far away Texas, where his presence and his art were being requested. Indeed Covering Cuba 3 received all the deserving applause.

However, these days have been a non-stop roller coaster of emotions for Agustin Blazquez, who – thanks to the rudeness in Maryland – received a reaction from some in the media. A wonderful editorial in the Wall Street Journal about him and his work set him in orbit followed by a live interview at the Fox News Channel. And while in Dallas, the local CBS did the same in relation to his Elian film.

But for example, when we sent a press release to the Star Telegram in Fort Worth announcing Covering Cuba 3 and his presence at La Casa Azul (Heberto Padilla Cultural Center), what we got was a four-line ad among the ethnic activities on the calendar celebrating Hispanic Month. That in spite of the photos of the film and the director they requested which were promptly sent.

Everybody knows that conservative is a “bad word” and the Dallas film festival seemed to be such, so the newspapers appear to use that classification to treat as junk all of the participants. So, that’s why Agustin Blazquez and La Casa Azul didn’t deserve anything better from the Star Telegram nor La Estrella, their Spanish counterpart (that totally ignored the press release).

Could it be in fashion someday--the word “conservative”? A friend asked me, What’s wrong with being a conservative? I mean, to believe in God, in the family, in some moral values, to believe that abortion is a crime and of course don’t play with the Communists?

There are dictatorships of the right and the left? Of course, but the first type you can almost always can get rid of, but the Communist ones, as we say in Cuba, fall only by “holding the tin cup to the fire til the bottom melts.”

The real “conservative” is the one that of course is loyal to the traditional values of justice and rejects outright any dictatorship.

Truly, for me, the word conservative equally defines anyone from the right or the left who grasps at his ideas (sometimes with the extreme stubbornness of the liberals and the anti-imperialists). The ultraconservatives and fundamentalists are Fidel Castro himself and his Latin American associates, as well as all these characters of the horrible left and that Hollywood “star” fauna giving their stupid opinions and those that don’t want to see any other documentaries than the one of the pathetic Michael Moore.

Agustin Blazquez is a complete artist, a renaissance man, a character that breaks the parameters of the definitions, so it’s better that we don’t classify him but in the place where he belongs, in the landscape of the great creators and Covering Cuba 3 is a good sample of what I mean. If you haven’t seen it, run and do it and tell me about it.

I am sure you are going to agree with Bill, a humble American and a neighbor of La Casa Azul, who thinks that all the youngsters in this country must see Agustin Blazquez’s film.

(The film is available on DVD at

Dan Rather, the Blogosphere, and Me...

All this fuss about the role of blogs in the Dan Rather Forgery Scandal reminded me of an article about blogs from couple of years ago, which discussed the significance of the Blogosphere:

"It was rewarding to google 'bloggers accounts of The Idler's June 28th panel at the National Press Club: 'Inside the Blogosphere: The Weblog Phenomenon.' While it was naturally disappointing that Glenn Reynolds and James Lileks cancelled due to thunderstorms, airlines, and scratched flights, it was gratifying that they wrote about their experience in their blogs, because that is the Blogosphere in action -- self-referential, self-reflexive, self-analytical, self-correcting, universal, instaneous, decentralized, emotional, rational, and available for continuous updating, response, and review. It shows the strength of the Blogosphere as a network of responses.

In the words of William Quick's January, 2002 posting on DailyPundit:

'I PROPOSE A NAME for the intellectual cyberspace we bloggers occupy: the Blogosphere. Simple enough; the root word is logos, from the Greek meaning, variously: In pre-Socratic philosophy, the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos; Among the Sophists, the topics of rational argument or the arguments themselves. ..' "

Mark Steyn on John Kerry's Latest Gaffe

Mark Steyn says John Kerry is "finished."

Nonie Darwish on the Jewish New Year

From Kesher Talk [link from]:

"At a time when most religions struggle to explain evil in the world, radical Islam found the answer. Without hesitation, they say it is the Jews. Just listen to most Friday sermons in mosques all around the Muslim world. In these sermons week after week, there is one theme that keeps repeating itself: The Jews are responsible for all that is wrong in Arab society, and Arabs are not responsible for their failures. Blame the Jews, is what ends every mosque sermon. For that I personally want to apologize to Jews around the world on their holiest time of the year.

"Jews do not wish each other a “Happy New Year” on Rosh Hashana, the way we are all used to on every January 1. The traditional Hebrew greeting is “Shanah Tovah”, which means a “good year” or “a year of goodness.” The greeting stresses the yearning for goodness and the desire of living a good life; a life committed to improving the world and relationships. I am in awe when I hear my Jewish friends speak and explain the teachings of their faith.

"During these “10 days of Repentance” I want to repent and personally apologize to Jews around the world on their High Holidays. I also want to thank them and their culture for their many contributions to humanity. I am grateful for their teaching me this great tradition that so many of us non-Jews need to reflect upon. We all need to examine ourselves from inside, bring out the good and see what we have accomplished as members of the human race. We all learn from each other on this small planet of ours, and that is good. Much of the early Islamic thought and practices were based on what the Prophet Mohammed observed from the Jewish tribes of Mecca and Medina, who were a significant part of the life and culture of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century. Let us revive a gracious cultural exchange, a time of appreciation and understanding. May the New Year bring to our reality some of our expectations and may it bring us more together."

Madonna's Israeli Pilgrimmage

From Haaretz :

"After midnight prayers at the grave of a rabbinical sage, songstress Madonna on Sunday called for world peace at a conference on Jewish mysticism, a highlight of her five-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Israel hopes the star - the biggest pop celebrity to visit in years - will revive tourism battered by four years of violence, and government officials were on hand at a Tel Aviv hotel to share the spotlight, the glory and the photographs.

"Madonna, wearing a low-cut dress with a black and white leopard pattern, said she was hesitant to come to Israel 'after seeing so many news reports about terror attacks' and reading State Department travel warnings. 'I realize now that it is no more dangerous to be here than it is to be in New York,' she told the gathering of more than 1,000 people.

"Speaking without notes, Madonna said the people she met during her five-day Holy Land trip 'have one thing in common - we want to create peace in the world.' "

Ann Coulter on Dan Rather's Forgeries


"CBS was forced to run a fake story so early in the campaign that it was exposed as a fraud – only because of the Swift Boat vets. These brave men, many of them decorated war heroes, have now not only won the election for Bush, they have ended Dan Rather's career.

"It's often said that we never lost a battle in Vietnam, but that the war was lost at home by a seditious media demoralizing the American people. Ironically, the leader of that effort was Rather's predecessor at CBS News, Walter Cronkite, president of the Ho Chi Minh Admiration Society.

"It was Cronkite who went on air and lied about the Tet offensive, claiming it was a defeat for the Americans. He told the American people the war was over and we had lost. Ronald Reagan said CBS News officials should have been tried for treason for those broadcasts.

"CBS has already lost one war for America. The Swift Boat Vets weren't going to let CBS lose another one."

Colbert King on Kerry's Latest Critics

From The Washington Post:

"Two weeks later, another e-mail arrived on the same topic. It was from a Howard University classmate, a friend of 47 years, former assistant secretary of the Air Force Rodney Coleman. A Democrat, Coleman has local roots, having worked for the D.C. Council and later the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp. Bill Clinton appointed Coleman to the Pentagon post, in which he served from 1994 to 1998. Somehow, despite our running into each other over the years at various social occasions, Vietnam was never a serious topic of conversation between us. Until now. Coleman, who served in Vietnam for 13 months in 1971-72, wrote that he found disheartening the protracted mudslinging between Bush and Kerry and their respective camps about military records. But the favorable conclusion I drew about Kerry's service was, he stated, 'with all due respect, not mine!'

'Some of those 58,000 who died [in Vietnam] were at DaNang with me, and some were under my command, in the 366th Air Force engineering squadron,' Coleman wrote. Then he got to the heart of the matter.

'I vividly recall Kerry's antiwar testimony in April 1971. I was a White House fellow at the time, on a leave of absence from active duty, as were five of the 17 fellows selected. Two of them had Vietnam experience with Silver and Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts awarded for their heroism. In early April 1971, I volunteered to go to Vietnam after my year as a White House fellow. I could have very easily taken steps to forgo a tour in 'Nam, but as an Air Force captain committed to the ideals of the oath of office I took, Vietnam was the only game in town.' The oath of office was a serious matter for products of Howard's ROTC programs. I know. I was commissioned in the Army; Coleman joined the Air Force. Unlike some college campuses, Howard's ROTC programs were a source of pride, having produced, according to the school, more African American general officers than any other university in the country.

"When Kerry made those critical statements of the war," Coleman wrote, "my parents, God bless them, went ballistic about their son going in harm's way. My military colleagues in the fellows program who had been there and were shot up were incensed that a so-called military man would engage in such insubordinate actions. At the time Kerry made those unfortunate remarks, America had POWs and MIAs, among them my friend, Colonel Fred Cherry, the longest-held black POW of the Vietnam War. How could a true American fighting man throw away his medals, while thousands he fought alongside of were in the midst of another example of man's inhumanity to man?"

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ballerina on the Boat

Last night we watched a DVD called Masters Of Russian Animation, featuring Brezhnev-era cartoons. It was a mixed bag, generally the films for children based on fairy-tales were more appealing than the propagandistic adult-oriented Soviet animation. Can't recommend the DVD overall, but a few short films really were excellent.

Ideya Granina's "Crane Feathers" is striking, Japanese dolls tell a sad story of trapped lives. Yuri Norstein's three shorts were also super: "Fox and Rabbit," about courage, "Heron and Crane," about marriage, and "Hedgehog in the Fog", about life. These are charming Aesop's-fable like morality tales, sweet for children, while bittersweet for adults.

My favorite was Lev Atamanov's "Ballerina on the Boat." A beautiful ballerina comes onto a boat, transforming everyone she meets, rescuing the vessel from a dangerous storm, literally floating away. It reminded me of "Steamroller and Violin," how much art and culture meant to people as an escape from the grim realities of the "Worker's State."

France Promises Israel Support

FromHaaretz :

"NEW YORK - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier promised U.S. Jewish leaders Thursday that his country would wage an intransigent battle against anti-Semitic violence and improve its relations with Israel. Barnier met a group of U.S. Jewish community leaders to explain government measures to counter a surge of attacks on Jewish targets in the Paris region and the provinces. 'I told them of the total determination of the president [Jacques Chirac] and the government to fight all forms of anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia,' Barnier told reporters."

Russia Atones for Stalin's Anti-Jewish Purge


"One of the skeletons rattling in the former Soviet Union's closet was finally put to rest with honors on September 21--it even happened at a cemetery. A newly unveiled memorial at Moscow's Donskoye Cemetery commemorates the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. The committee had been created to further Jewish culture in the USSR, but in the 1950s its members, including renowned artists and writers, were eliminated during Stalin's anti-Semitic purge. The story of the committee's end has been unraveled by historians as a stark, chilling testimony of Stalin-era horrors. The committee had been formed in 1942 to create support for the Soviet Union among Jewish communities in the West. Solomon Mykhoels, a well-known Jewish actor, was chosen to head the committee. Many other famous Jewish cultural icons of the time were also active in the committee, including actors, poets, writers, scientists, and others. The committee published a newspaper in Yiddish. It was the first Soviet organization of this kind. Obviously, in the Soviet Union, an atheist state, the uniting factor was Jewish culture, since religion was discouraged. After the war, the committee revived Jewish culture in the Soviet Union, helping preserve Soviet Jews as an ethnicity. The ties it established with Western Jews helped assemble and spread information about the persecution of Jews and the Holocaust. After WWII, when the Soviet Union was becoming the center of one of two warring camps in a bipolar world, these ties to the West, which were the very reason the Committee was established, became a threat to the secretive, policing Soviet government."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Belmont Club on Terror Networks

Thanks to Instapundit again, here's an interesting link at Belmont Club:

"Vladis Krebs has a case study page examining how mapping social networks and understanding their properties can be used to take down of terrorist networks. Network analysis was used to take down Saddam Hussein. The Washington Post has some of the details."

Iranian Bloggers v.the Mullahs

From the BBC [tip from]:

"Hundreds of Iranian online journals have been protesting against media censorship by renaming their websites after pro-reformist newspapers and websites that have been banned or shut down by the authorities. Many of the websites, known as blogs or weblogs, have also posted news items from the banned publications on their websites. The protest was started by blogger Hossein Derakhshan, a student at Toronto university in Canada. He told the BBC that although he felt the action was symbolic, he wanted to show Iranian authorities 'that they would not be able to censor the internet in the same way as they have managed to control other media.'"

Samuel Marshak

In our Russian class yesterday, we read a short poem by Samuel Marshak, a renowned poet of the Soviet era, best known as author of a number of children's books. His collaboration with Vladimir Lebedev was legendary, resulting in some 50 works for young readers. Marshak translated Shakespeare, Keats, Blake, Wordsworth, and Kipling for Russian readers, as well.

From Marshak and Lebedev's 1928 About a Foolish Mouse.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Mark Steyn on John Kerry

From SteynOnLine:

"If it weren't for the small matter of the war for civilization, I'd find it hard to resist a Kerry Presidency. Groucho Marx once observed that an audience will laugh at an actress playing an old lady pretending to fall downstairs, but, for a professional comic to laugh, it has to be a real old lady. That's how I feel about the Kerry campaign. For the professional political analyst, watching Mondale or Dukakis or Howard Dean stuck in the part of the guy who falls downstairs is never very satisfying: they're average, unexceptional fellows whom circumstances have conspired to transform into walking disasters. But Senator Kerry was made for the role, a vain thin-skinned droning blueblood with an indestructible sense of his own status but none at all of his own ridiculousness. If Karl Rove had labored for a decade to produce a walking parody of the contemporary Democratic Party's remoteness, condescension, sense of entitlement, public evasiveness and tortured relationship with military matters, he couldn't have improved on John F Kerry."

DiploMad on the USA v. Europe

From The Diplomad:

"Among the features of EU anti-Americanism is lecturing the US about how superior Europe is because of its doles and pensions and, of course, because it's, well, not the USA. We poor American Diplomads have to sit through endless bloviating from Euro colleagues about how Europe has high taxes but excellent public services, unlike in the USA. Of course, that the reality is far different doesn't bother them. OK, yes, we'll gladly grant them that Europe has taxes that are higher than in the US, but, sorry, they don't get much for them: European public services are much, much worse than ours. This statement comes as a shock not only to Europeans, but also to many Americans of the NY Times variety who see high taxes as the answer to every question. Don't believe it? Go to Europe, get sick or hurt, call an ambulance. Then, wait and wait and wait. If that's not the week the ambulance drivers are on strike, when (if) the ambulance comes, you quickly will learn that an American hearse has more life support equipment, and that European paramedics couldn't teach a Boy Scout first aid course. The ambulance, however, will look good compared to the public hospital where you'll be delivered, and, if still alive, you will wish that you were in the hands of American Boy Scouts.

"Our 'friends' the French get upset when we say this, and immediately retort that their medical system is considered (by whom?) the best in the world. Yes, that's the very same system that when the temperature went up a few degrees in the summer let 15,000 people die. Imagine the scandal in the USA if 15,000 people died because the temperature 'shot up' to 95 degrees Fahrenheit! Imagine if we couldn't handle 95 degrees: LA would be a ghost town; Vegas never would have happened; Texas would be a howling wilderness.

"Don't want to get sick? OK, then get robbed on the street, and if you stay in Europe for more than a couple of weeks, there is a very good chance that will happen as crime is skyrocketing -- and the EU solution is to lie about the stats. Then deal with the cops. See where that gets you. See if you don't have the experience one Diplomad's mother-in-law had when her purse was ripped out of her hands in a Madrid street. At the police station bored, listless, unionized cops grumpily took her statement; one then asked, 'So what do you want us to do? Poor people have to live, too.'"

Sayings of V.S. Naipaul

From his profile and interview in The Observer, last Sunday:

"On becoming a writer: 'It is mysterious that the ambition should have come first - the wish to be a writer, to have that distinction, that fame - and that this ambition should have come long before I could think of anything to write about.'
On multiculturalism: 'A man can't say, 'I want the country, I want the laws and protection, but I want to live in my own way.' It's become a kind of racket, this multiculturalism.'
On Hindu nationalism in India: 'Dangerous or not, it's a necessary corrective to history and will continue to remain so.'
On the fatwa against Salman Rushdie: 'An extreme form of literary criticism.'"

V.S. Naipaul: Destroy Saudi Arabia and Iran

From The Hindu thanks to Prashant Kothari's blog, this little reported statement from Nobel-prize winning author V.S. Naipaul:

"London, Sept 12. (PTI): Raking up a controversy, Nobel prize winning author Sir Vidia Naipaul has said countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran which foment religious war must be destroyed. The 72-year-old India-born author, in an interview published in 'The Observer' today, however had a word of advise to the people: 'hate oppression, but fear the oppressed.' Naipaul said the thing he saw in the current terrorism was the exulting in other people's death."

I met Prashant Kothari a couple of years ago at the National Press Club. He had a successful business publishing corporate newsletters online. Now he has his own blog, and it is interesting. His company is String Technologies, which has an ad on the site, in case you need some work done...

Nikolai Getman Remembered

An obituary of the Soviet painter and former Gulag prisoner, by Robert Conquest, in The Wall Street Journal:

"Mr. Getman's death comes soon after that of Czeslaw Milosz, with whom I had warm, though not close, relations. He too, though stressing that his own experiences in Communist Poland were not at the Kolyma level, was very concerned that the Westerners he encountered should understand, should really understand, the extreme negativity of the Communist phenomenon. The implication was that the Western vision was still blurred. Mr. Getman has added what one would hope to be a final touch to our understanding."

Our First Tip

We just processed our first donation via the tip jar (down below the links in the left-hand column), and would like to say our "Thank You!" to our contributor.

Daniel Wiener on CBS and the Presidential Debates

From Wienerlog:

"The Drudge Report claims that Bush officials want CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer removed as the moderator for the final (Oct. 13th) Presidential debate. If true, this would appear to be a clever move to keep the story about the CBS forged document scandal in the public eye, while simultaneously punishing CBS for it's biased and shoddy journalism. But characterizing it as merely a 'clever move' misses the underlying genius. It would be a BRILLIANT political move, simultaneously skewering CBS and the Kerry campaign..."

[link from]

Bruce Feirstein on Dan Rather's Forgeries

From The New York Observer:

"Yes sir, Dan-O: The "essential truth" is that your credibility is now lower than a piece of armadillo road kill, flattened by a blogger driving an 18-wheeler out on I-20 somewhere west of Abilene.

"Or, to use one of your more colorful Dan-isms from the last Presidential election: The chances of CBS and Dan Rather coming out of this with their reputations intact are somewhere between slim and none--and Slim just left the state.

"And with all due respect here, sir: All this--for what? To prove that a Congressman's kid got special treatment in the National Guard? Hell, that's not criminal. It's practically the American Way. Look at the news business, publishing, movies, union jobs in Detroit--even most of our recent Presidential candidates."

[link via Romanesko]

Dan Rather's Forgeries = Journalism's Watergate

Says Eric Fettmann:

"LAST week, as the furor over Dan Rather's National Guard memos grew more and more intense, media critic Ken Auletta, appearing on PBS, criticized Fox News Channel for having 'treated this story as if it were Watergate. It's not Watergate.' Actually, in many respects, it is indeed broadcast journalism's Watergate."

[tip from]

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Ernest Miller on CBS's Fraudulent Response

From Corante > The Importance of... > Incompetent or Unethical? The Story of CBS News' Response to Criticism Over the Killian Memos:

"I should also note that this isn't about Dan Rather. I couldn't care less about Dan Rather. This is about CBS News as an organization. Although Dan Rather has been the focus for attention for many, the majority of my criticisms are directed at CBS News as a whole.

"Whether you agree that the documents are forged, clearly credible and legitimate questions about their authenticity have been raised. CBS News has not responded to criticisms with transparency and responsibility we should expect from any news organization, let alone such a large and important one.

"The following is an analysis and timeline of CBS's response to their critics. It is abundantly clear that CBS's actions when questioned about the validity of their reporting are a breach of what should be fundamental journalistic practice. Either that, or CBS News is hopelessly incompetent.

If I've missed something or erred, please let me know."

Who Checks the Bloggers?

Power Line: "But who checks the bloggers?"

Roger L. Simon Calls Dan Rather A Liar

There, someone's finally said it, Roger L. Simon:

"But the question remains, had the anchorman done so, would he have had the intellectual capacity to have understood what he read. Maybe that's the secret to being a good liar. You can't comprehend what your critics are saying."

Memo to the RNC: Replace Bob Schieffer with Brit Hume as Presidential Debate Moderator

Hugh Hewitt says it best:

"Why would anyone believe anything from CBS or Team Kerry, including denials and committee reports? . . . At the j-schools there will be a brisk business in seminars for years to come: How Did It Happen! Save a lot of time: It happened because the fever swamp lives in the newsroom. Drain the swamp and people will begin to believe the big 3 again. In the meantime, they are watching Fox. You can believe Hume."

Which leads to the suggestion that the RNC demand Fox's Brit Hume moderate the Presidential Debates instead of disgraced CBS's Bob Schieffer. Fox right now is the most ethical news operation: CNN had "Tailwind," NBC had "Dateline", ABC had "Red Lion," and CBS has "Dan Rather". That leaves Fox as the lowest-scandal news network.

Allahpundit on Dan Rather

Allahpundit has an excellent analysis of the latest nonsensical story in the Dan Rather affair, which appeared in USA Today.

Power Line Questions CBS's Fraudulent "Apology"

From Power Line, in an item also called "Modified Limited Hangout" (file under Great Minds Think Alike):

"Yesterday you stated that CBS originally approached Burkett for the story, that Burkett did not seek you out. Who directed you to Burkett? Was it a member of the Kerry campaign? Why have you not identified the name of the person who directed you to Burkett?

"Did any member of the Kerry campaign have a hand in the story? Did the campaign direct you to any of the 'unimpeachable sources' you used for the story? What members of the Kerry campaign did CBS speak with about the story before it aired? Is it a sheer coincidence that the Kerry campaign unrolled its 'Operation Fortunate Son' attacking President Bush's Air National Guard service the same week that you broadcast the 60 Minutes story?

"The answers to these basic questions are within your knowledge. Will you please answer them publicly now? Why not?"

From Our Great Minds Think Alike Department (continued)

Today's editorial in The Wall Street Journal also sees Rather-Nixon parallels, calling CBS's latest statement a "Modified Limited Hangout":

"All of this raises the question of whether CBS was a vessel for, if not a willing participant in, a partisan dirty trick two months before a closely contested Presidential election. Last week Mr. Rather told the Washington Post that "if the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story." It was too late for that; Web writers and other news organizations had beaten him to it. But if CBS wants to restore the credibility it enjoyed back in the era of Edward R. Murrow, it will now get to the bottom of the story behind Mr. Rather's discredited story."

Monday, September 20, 2004

HughHewitt on Rather's Continuing Watergate Parallels


"Gee, I may be old fashioned, but it seems to me that a third rate burglary is less threatening to the outcome of an election than fraud broadcast into millions of homes."

Dan Rather Owes Viewers a Confession

Not an investigation, as Dan Rather fraudulently promised, because Rather and CBS News already know exactly what happened. An "investigation" by CBS is likely to continue the cover-up, providing an excuse for CBS News to gag employees until after Election Day, "due to the investigation." This would have the effect of silencing sources, rather than providing full disclosure.

To put this matter to rest, all Rather and his accomplices really need to do is tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth--in a venue not controlled by CBS video editors.

For example, lets start with a live press conference, where Dan Rather answers questions, instead of asking them. It could be televised on PBS or C-Span, if CBS doesn't want to carry it.

Is CBS Part of the Kerry Campaign?

From Power Line, on links between Joe Lockhart, Burkett, and CBS:

"Okay, Joe, did Burkett tell you what they said? Okay, Mary, is CBS an adjunct of the Kerry campaign?"

Sorry He Got Caught...

Here's the transcript of Dan Rather's non-apology from tonight's CBS News, which followed a red-herring "interview" that seems scripted and fake, itself, from the Mudville Gazette:
RATHER: The failure of CBS News to do just that, to properly, fully, scrutinize the documents and their source, led to our airing the documents when we should not have done so. It was a mistake. CBS News deeply regrets it. Also I want to say personally and directly, I'm sorry.

But even this "apology" is a fraud, because CBS knowingly presented forged documents as the basis of a false story. Remember, while they were standing by their story last week--a delaying action designed to buy time to get all the principals on the same page for a cover story--they publicly declared that CBS had a system of "checks and balances" and "careful vetting." That was what separated their network news operation from "bloggers in pajamas." Remember also, CBS admitted that the producers asked experts to vouch for the authenticity of the documents.

The charade continues. Rather has not admitted his documents are forgeries and is still treating them as authentic, although not "authenticated." He did not report that they have been exposed as crude forgeries, easily detected when compared to original documents of the period. Rather didn't ask any tough questions of Burkett, either. He didn't ask for the original documents, or explain why CBS doesn't have them, or didn't seem to want them at any point. He didn't ask Burkett to reveal his sources. He didn't seem interested in pursuing the story at all, with good reason. He doesn't have to do any further investigation, for Rather knows exactly what happened, because he was at the center of the fraud.

The interview's supposed news content, that CBS came to Burkett rather than the other way around, makes no material difference. It is a red herring, designed to distract people from the real story: Dan Rather is perpetrator of a fraud, a peddler of forged documents, and is now orchestrating a cover-up. Like Watergate, there is probably "hush-money" involved. No "independent investigation" answering to Andrew Heyward--so far, one of the unindicted co-conspirators, to continue the Watergate analogy--is going to get at the truth.

This isn't an apology, it is an insult to the CBS audience. Especially all the viewers who believed that CBS News was an honest outfit, at least once upon a time.

From this interview, as Richard Nixon might say, Dan Rather has made one thing perfectly clear: The only thing Dan Rather is sorry about is getting caught.

Why Americans Hate Foreign Policy

P.J. O'Rourke says it is because Americans are all foreigners themselves. [hat tip, DiploMad]

Memo to the RNC: CBS Didn't Apologize...

From RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie Statement on CBS:

"We accept CBS's apology for a breach of the journalistic standards that provide the American people confidence in news organizations, but some disturbing questions remain unanswered."

Actually, Rather is sticking to his guns, and has not apologized for peddling forgeries, or misleading the public, so there isn't a real apology for the Republican National Committee to accept.

This kind of weak and bureaucratic response by the RNC is pretty good evidence that the bloggers who discovered Rather's forgeries were not working for the RNC, which would do much better to stay quiet than give Rather an "exit strategy" with his "limited modified hangout."

From Our Great Minds Think Alike Department...

HughHewitt has also just called Rather's statement a "limited, modified hangout."

Rather's "Modified Limited Hangout"

Under stress, Dan Rather appears to be morphing into Richard Nixon. For evidence, just take a look at Dan Rather's Statement on Ernest Miller's website:

Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question--and their source--vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.

Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where--if I knew then what I know now--I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.

But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.

Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

The tone is pure Nixon. "Mistakes were made." Sanctimonious self-righteousness combined with self-pity and the portrayal of himself as a victim, ending with an outrageous howler that the CBS fraud was perpetrated "in good faith" based on "our commitment to report fairly and truthfully." And Rather's mother was a saint, too, no doubt.

Tactically, it looks like Rather is using Nixonian damage control strategies taken directly from the Watergate playbook, as well. This means the above statement may be classified as a "Modified Limited Hangout." This was Nixon's next step after "Stonewall" during Watergate. Rather even seems to have his own "Palace Guard" (aka Haldeman & Ehrlichmann) in CBS News executives Andrew Heyward and Josh Howard, who will say or do anything to protect him, no matter how absurd or dishonest it may seem. The next step, if Rather follows Nixon's footsteps a little longer, will be to release a partial set of documents while claiming it is full disclosure.

CBS's "Smoking Gun"?

It is a truism from detective novels that every criminal leaves a piece of self-incriminating evidence. Reading Ernest Miller's summary, one comes across this quote from CBS spokesperson Kelli Edwards on September 8th:

'CBS verified the authenticity of the documents by talking to individuals who had seen the documents at the time they were written. These individuals were close associates of [Bush commander] Colonel Jerry Killian and confirm that the documents reflect his opinions at the time the documents were written.'

Note the phrases: "individuals who had seen the documents," "at the time they were written," and "reflect his opinions at the time the documents were written." These are evidence of the "accurate but fake" line taken by CBS and its apologists, that the documents were concocted at a later date to illustrate opinions that Killian supposedly held. CBS does not state the documents came from the author, does not give a date certain (say 1972) for the creation of the documents, and has the peculiar weasel-words about "reflecting opinions."

The attitude towards the White House reaction to the forged documents, expressed by producer Josh Howard in the New York Times today, is a proper response only to a premeditated a confidence trick. Why, if CBS did not have an ulterior motive, would executives point to the White House's acceptance of the documents as evidence of anything at all? Had the White House denounced the documents as the forgeries they are, CBS would not have accepted that statement. They admit to pre-recording an interview with a so-called "expert" to rebut such a claim. So, it would have proved nothing.

Likewise, that the White House responded to the forgeries faxed to them, proved nothing--other than that the press secretary doesn't have a licensed document examiner on staff. There is no way the President could know what a private individual had in his personal files. It is not up to the victim of a hoax to prove fraud.

Accounts of CBS's broadcast have referred to a "rush" to put the program on the air. But why the "rush"? One reason would be to put fraudulent documents on the air before the trick could be discovered. This is why CBS never really confirmed the authenticity of its own documents from an examination of the originals, since it never had any originals--as there were no originals. The documents could not be confirmed as genuine by any credible examiner, and CBS knew it, before, during and after the broadcast.

A "fake but accurate" defense fits into this scheme, as it treats the forgeries as a "reconstruction" or later documentation of a prior state of mind, so their authenticity is not relevant. And that only makes sense if they were concocted in the first place, to smear the White House. It also indicates that CBS News as a corporate entity was deeply involved, and that executives of the network approved the fraud prior to air.

The scheme might have worked, had CBS News not posted the fake documents on the internet, for no one might have checked them. That the crude forgeries didn't work, was due to the efforts of bloggers, who pointed out the fraud.

These forged memos, utilized by CBS as a "smoking gun" against President Bush, turned out to be a "smoking gun" all right--proving that CBS perpetrated deliberate fraud.

Mark Steyn on Dan Rather's Forgeries

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

"By now just about everybody on the planet also thinks they're junk, except for that dwindling number of misguided people who watch the ''CBS Evening News'' under the misapprehension that it's a news broadcast rather than a new unreality show in which a cocooned anchor, his floundering news division and some feeble executives are trapped on their own isle of delusion and can't figure out a way to vote themselves off it."

Sunday, September 19, 2004

EDITORIAL: Until Dan Rather Apologizes, Bush Should Not Cooperate With CBS News

Simply as a matter of human decency, the White House might refuse to do business with CBS News until Dan Rather apologizes on the air for peddling his crude forgeries.

There is no reason to do business with con men or fraudsters. It would set a good example for the rest of the country, indeed the rest of the world, if the White House declares CBS News off-limits until this matter is resolved.

Once apologies are made, and measures taken to guarantee this sort of thing never happens again, normal relations could resume, with lessons learned on all sides.

Ernest Miller on Dan Rather's Forgeries

A fascinating, detailed recap of the major events, by a US Naval Academy and Yale Law School graduate, Ernest Miller, on his Corante blog The Importance of...:

"By this past Monday evening, however, the story had clearly become one involving serious questions about the future of news reporting and I decided to join the conversation on this blog. This story is important because the blatant flouting of basic and fundamental journalistic practices by one of the largest and prominent news organizations in the country is undermining the credibility of journalism as a whole. Jay Rosen has asked how the press can 'win' during this election season (Campaign Puzzler: How the Press Comes Out with a Win). Well, I think that right now, the press is falling farther and farther behind in points. If major news organizations think that their credibility is not tarnished by a rogue CBS, they are sadly mistaken.

"It is disappointing to me that the major media has been mostly silent in their condemnation of CBS's response to this scandal. Even granting, against reason, that there remains a serious debate about the authenticity of the documents, and that CBS's 'checks and balances' for vetting this story were sufficient, the response of CBS to its critics has been outrageous. Where are the outraged calls for more transparency on the part of CBS News from the editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune or Wall Street Journal? Why haven't anchors of the other networks called for CBS to establish an internal, or better yet, an external investigation into the issue? Any profession that won't police its own when members egregiously violate the fundamental tenets of that profession will very quickly lose all credibility.

"More importantly, the press plays a vital and critical role in forcing transparency on government. How effectively will the press be able to play that role if it adopts the stonewalling tactics of the government when it is subject to criticism? If our watchdogs cannot even watch themselves, the Fourth Estate will become ever more ineffective.

"Many of my most important criticisms aren't about content, but about process. Many stories will lead to valid disagreements over nuance, omissions, and etc. However, there are fundamental aspects of process that virtually all can agree upon. CBS News has violated many of these. And, even where I criticize CBS News content, it is generally with the belief that a news organizations should be especially fair and even-handed in responding to criticism.

"I should also note that this isn't about Dan Rather. I couldn't care less about Dan Rather. This is about CBS News as an organization. Although Dan Rather has been the focus for attention for many, the majority of my criticisms are directed at CBS News as a whole.

"Whether you agree that the documents are forged, clearly credible and legitimate questions about their authenticity have been raised. CBS News has not responded to criticisms with transparency and responsibility we should expect from any news organization, let alone such a large and important one.

"The following is an analysis and timeline of CBS's response to their critics. It is abundantly clear that CBS's actions when questioned about the validity of their reporting are a breach of what should be fundamental journalistic practice. Either that, or CBS News is hopelessly incompetent."

Power Line on the Washington Post on Dan Rather's Forgeries

Power Line:

"What jumps out at me is that Dan Rather, Mary Mapes and the 60 Minutes staff behaved not as objective journalists, but as opposition researchers for the Kerry campaign. They had been trying for years to dig up dirt on President Bush so as to prevent his re-election, and were beside themselves with glee when Bill Burkett, or whoever it turns out to be, gave them the opportunity to use forged documents as a pretense to air their anti-Bush story."

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Friday, September 17, 2004

Scott Johnson on Dan Rather on Fox News

From Johnny Dollar's Place:

A transcript of a Fox News program with Powerlineblog's Scott Johnson, who says: "And CBS now has gone from being perhaps the willing dupe of a hoaxer to a participant in a fraud."

Meet Alexander Fainberg, People's Poet of Uzbekistan

From [thanks to for the link]:

"Alexander Fainberg, author of 12 books of poems, 4 scripts for full-length movies and 18 cartoons, translations of Uzbek poets into Russian, publications in Uzbek, Russian, American, and Israeli media became a People's Poet of Uzbekistan. This correspondent met with Fainberg, the patriarch of Tashkent poetry extremely popular with the Russian-reading general public in Uzbekistan for the last 25 years or so, on Saiilgokh Street, the so called Tashkent Broadway, in company of his friends - local journalists."

PBS Covers for Dan Rather

In a ridiculous segment, The Newshour last night featured Terence Smith, a former CBS employee, discussing Dan Rather's forgeries with Susan Tifft, a press aide for the 1980 Democratic National Convention and speechwriter for the Carter-Mondale campaign and Ken Auletta, a liberal writer for The New Yorker who claims that PBS is right-wing. The introductory taped "package" actually altered the typography and format of CBS's forged memos, displaying computer-generated documents different from the ones on the CBS website. So misleading, so transparently dishonest, one had to laugh--the producers perhaps realized that showing the actual documents, as they appeared on sites like or LittleGreenFootballs would illustrate that they are obvious fakes.

The discussion was as ludicrous as the backgrounder. In response to Smith's softball questions, Auletta and Tifft soft-peddled the CBS fraud, clinging to a "Fake but Accurate" line. For example, Auletta's explanation: "Sometimes you race too fast. You don't pin your facts down."

But according to The Wall Street Journal, CBS was working on this story for several years, and had contacted multiple document experts.

Thus, Auletta's explantation is false. Yet, Smith didn't question it, even though as a CBS News veteran, he ought to know better. All he did was go to Tifft, the former paid Democratic party operative, who supported Auletta's line: "I think it's important to think about the atmosphere in which this occurred, which is obviously very partisan atmosphere, but as Ken said, there really has been a race and rush on this story."

So, instead of a balanced debate between two sides, The Newshour offered rationalizations and excuses from partisans on the side of Dan Rather and CBS. It was simply laughable, and can't be taken seriously. A fraud,itself--transparently not balanced, not objective, and not true.

To save his own reputation, and that of his program, maybe Jim Lehrer might invite one of the pajama-clad bloggers on the show to talk about how he discovered the fakes, instead of CBS apologists and political operatives? Or if that is a bridge too far, an articulate commentator who knows something about the internet side of the story, like Andrew Sullivan or Glenn Reynolds?

Until something like that happens, PBS's Newshour reputation is damaged goods, victim of self-inflicted wounds.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Dan Rather and "Credo Quia Absurdam"

How can people believe things that are clearly false?

The Dan Rather story led us to this article by Robert D. Sider on Tertullian. Although renowned for the phrase, apparently Tertullian didn't really say "credo quia absurdam" (I believe because it is absurd), rather "certum quia impossibile" (I am certain because it is impossible).

Either phrase is about the power of religious faith to overcome logic, as in the case of miracles.

That is what the CBS forgeries represent in the faithful mind of Dan Rather--the documents are miracles from on high to destroy the "Evil Bush." They have provided the 'smoking gun' of Bush's guilt in shirking National Guard duty. Like a relic of the Holy Grail, to doubt them is to challenge an entire faith. Thus, to preserve their own faith they must ignore the facts of this case. This religious impulse to believe the absurd is what lies at the heart of Rather-gate. Rather is a true believer. And in a form of religious fanaticism he places his faith in things which are clearly impossible. The greater the absurdity, the greater the faith. Thus, Dan Rather is demonstrating his fideism by sticking to his absurd story.

However, unlike Rather, Tertullian actually accepted the authority of reason--Logos:

"In the second and third centuries Christians of both East and West generally accepted a common mythos about God and the world. They believed that the world was rationally ordered, because it was created by God through his reason, his Logos. The same Logos spoke to man through rational terms in the Revelation embodied in the Bible and in Jesus. Even apart from Christ, men have caught glimpses of the truth, whether borrowed from the Bible or gathered from the order of nature. Unfortunately, the demonic, in one form or another, has entered to distort the vision of man, so that pagan philosophy never attained the wholeness and integrity of truth. Such integrity can be found only in Christ, the Logos; but because he is the Logos the integrity of truth implies the necessity of rational perception. Differences in apologetic aims, in individual style, and in personal temperament led to formulations of the relationships between faith and reason, and Christianity and philosophy which undoubtedly varied in tone and emphasis, but the common commitment on the part of all the major Christian thinkers of the second and third centuries, including Tertullian, to a belief in Christ, the Logos, eliminated fideism as a possible mode of Christian self-understanding."

Dan Rather's actions in this case reveal that he doesn't recognize the authority of Logos, only Mythos.

Rush Limbaugh: Rathergate is Media's Gettysburg


"All right, now something interesting is happening with this CBS story, the Forgery Story, beyond what CBS is going to do today. Nobody really has any idea what they're going to say, but the Wall Street Journal, as I say, says that CBS is going to offer further evidence here of what they believe to be true. Uh, you just... There's a part of me hates to see this and another part of me that loves to see this. I mean, it's just an amazing thing to watch these giant institutions tumble. You might be able to say, ladies and gentlemen, that we are in the midst of re-fighting the Civil War again here in terms of the left versus the right and the media and this CBS may represent Gettysburg for the mainstream press. "

AllahPundit on Dan Rather

"If Edward R. Murrow wasn't already dead, he'd kill himself..."

Hugh Hewitt Calls for Congressional Hearings on the CBS-Dan Rather Forgery Scandal

In theWeekly Standard:

"...all we need are some timely Congressional hearings, best conducted by the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, or the Subcommittee on Communications of the Senate's Commerce Committee, chaired by Senator Conrad Burns of Montana. CBS president Les Moonves would be a wonderful witness, as would Rather, and while the subject of 'sources' would be a touchy one, either subcommittee could provide some information on the workings of a major broadcast network confronted with a juicy story that has been discovered to have been cooked.

"Hearings such as these would benefit the Bush campaign, just as the forgery scandal has, because it brings into sharp focus the ethics of the Bush opponents and the anti-Bush bias of the mainstream media. If a Deep Throat or two were to develop from within CBS, the revelations could be explosive, and the ratings for the cable shows wouldn't be bad either. The sacrifice of a few execs, producers, and, of course, Rather might be good for the industry all told. Certainly very, very few people have rushed to Rather's defense, and those few are just now finding convenient excuses to leave the front lines.

"The hearings would serve one additional important role beyond immediate accountability, a role far more crucial than any played by the Howard Stern-Janet Jackson hearings, or even those hearings which conducted the post-mortem on the election night network fiasco of calling Florida for Gore in 2000. Hearings now, immediately, would signal broadcasters and news executives everywhere that partisan maneuverings under the guise of news gathering--especially those that occur late in an election season--would be subject to close Congressional scrutiny..."

A Post From Little Green Footballs

To all our Jewish readers: best wishes for a very happy Rosh Hashanah. L'shanah tovah!

AndrewSullivan Says "Off With Their Heads!"


"RATHER AND HEYWARD MUST GO: I have to say that the risible statement given by CBS News last night finally did it for me. Who do these people think they are? They have failed to find a single expert who will back the authenticity of the memos; their own experts say they warned CBS not to go with the story; Killian's secretary thinks they're fakes ... and yet Rather and Heyward say they stand by their story and will continue to investigate the provenance and dubiousness of the forgeries! This beggars belief. How do I put this to Rather: it doesn't matter if the underlying story is true. All that matters is that CBS's evidence is fake. Get it? End of story. For what it's worth: I believe Bush got into the Guard because of his dad's connections. I believe he probably didn't perform his duties adequately in his final two years. When I first read the CBS story, I thought the docs were 'devastating.' I'm not backing this president for re-election. But all that is completely beside the frigging point. Journalists are supposed to provide accurate evidence for their claims. CBS didn't. And its response to the critics is to stonewall and try and change the subject. The correct response - the one they'd teach you in kindergarten journalism class - is immediately to check the authenticity of the documents as best you can, and if the doubts persist, to apologize immediately and yank the story. Can you imagine what CBS News would do if a government official found to be peddling fake documents refused to acknowledge it? And kept repeating his story nonetheless? They'd be all over it. But, you see, they are above politicians. They are above criticism. And they are stratospheres above bloggers who caught them red-handed.

THE COUP DE GRACE: And then this astonishing statement from Rather to Howie Kurtz:

'If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story. Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.''
Memo to Rather: you can't break that story, because someone else in pajamas already did. Check the frequency, Kenneth. You are so far from being out front on this, you are leagues behind in the dust. Have you heard of the Internet? You can find it on that weird machine in your office they call a computer. All this proves is the fathomless cocooning of Rather and Heyward. They still think this is the 1980s. They have no idea what media world they are living in. Like Howell Raines, they are so out of it, they don't even know they're finished. Above all, they are not acting as journalists. They are acting as political operators, determined to win a news cycle, to inflict as much damage on their opponents as possible, while stonewalling on their own glaring, obvious errors. So this is a test of the blogosphere. We have to keep at these guys day and night to force them to live up to the most basic ethical requirements of their profession. After all this stonewalling and arrogance, an apology and retraction will no longer suffice. These guys have to resign or be fired. "

Protein-Wisdom's Humorous Take on Dan Rather's Forgeries and CBS's Cover-Up

A friendly reminder to the folks at CBS and their apologists...:

"If they were done in Word, your defense is absurd...

"If the reporter is Rather,
then the news is pure blather....

"Rather lied...
CBS died ."

Power Line's Class Act

They've shown a lot of class in their responses to Dan Rather and CBS. Here's a sample fromPower Line:

"Every morning another batch of op-eds credits us, along with other bloggers like Charles Johnson and the Freepers, with bringing down the CBS News empire. I'm told that tonight they were showing screen shots of Power Line on the NBC Nightly News. That's fun and gratifying, of course, but we don't want you to think that it's going to our heads. I was on the Hugh Hewitt show tonight, and Hugh asked whether I was surprised at the hate we were getting from the establishment media. I said not at all; on the other hand, I was surprised at how much credit we were getting from so many sources. Too much credit: as I told Hugh, the real credit belongs to our readers, not us. We knew nothing about military protocol, type fonts of the '70s, when General Staudt retired, and so on. The power of the blogosphere (more properly, the internet) does not lie in a handful of bloggers with well-read sites. It resides in the hundreds of thousands, or millions, of smart, well-informed, engaged readers who, collectively, have amazing knowledge and expertise in just about any area you can think of. What is new is the ability to bring together these disparate sources of knowledge, analyze them, and disseminate them in real time. We help to do this, but on a big, fast-breaking story like this one, the real impetus comes from our readers--a point we make in every interview we give.

Along with the thanks, an apology. Over the last week, we have been absolutely inundated with emails. This was great, and we were able to use some of them to push the CBS story forward. But they overflowed our inbox, and at times stopped coming in until we could clear out more space. We tried to read them all, but I'm sure we missed some, and we couldn't begin to respond to more than a handful. Our site was actually down, briefly, yesterday because of the bottleneck in our email account. So please don't be offended if you've emailed us and we haven't responded; it just hasn't been humanly possible. At the same time, don't stop sending us your thoughts and information, as emails from our readers are where we get lots of our best stuff.

So, thanks again to the people who make the blogosphere the powerful force it has become: our readers."

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Wall Street Journal v. The New York Times

From OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today:

"All the News That's Fake but Accurate: Today's New York Times has an update on the scandal over Dan Rather's use of fraudulent documents in last week's hit piece on President Bush. Oddly, the Times piece lacks a byline, but it has what may be the greatest headline ever: 'Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate, Typist Says.' Fake but accurate! If this is the New York Times' new standard of journalism, does it apply to all stories, or only the ones that seek to make President Bush look bad?"

Here's a website devoted entirely to Dan Rather's forgery scandal:

Andrew Sullivan on Dan Rather's Forgeries (cont'd)

From - Daily Dish:

"RATHER IS GOING DOWN: This new story seems to me to show reckless indifference to the truth in the pursuit of political pay-dirt. Honestly, you can't make this stuff up. If a couple of years back, someone had predicted that a) Howell Raines would be brought down by a fabricating affirmative action hire; b) the BBC would lose its director-general because of shoddy anti-war propaganda tarted up as journalism; and c) that Dan Rather would flame out over forged documents designed to wreak revenge on the Bush family; then I would think it was Brent Bozell having a wet dream. But it's all true. Bernie Goldberg, pour yourself a drink. Eric Alterman, just go home and cry. "