March 19, 2005

Again, my profession disgusts me

Editor and Publisher reports that 20 percent of surveyed news organizations self-censored Iraq coverage, editing stories, images or both for reasons other than length or style.

The complete story:
Of those who reported from Iraq, 15 percent said that on one or more occasions their organizations edited material for publication and they did not believe the final version accurately represented the story.

Of those involved in war coverage who were in newsrooms and not in Iraq, 20 percent said material was edited for reasons other than basic style and length.

Some 42 percent of those polled said they were discouraged from showing photographic images of dead Americans, while 17 percent said they were prohibited. Journalists were also discouraged from showing pictures of hostages, according to 36 percent of respondents, while only 3 percent reported being prohibited from showing them.
So, between discouragement and outright self-censorship, 60 percent of the organizations involved cut out pictures of dead Americans. Can you say boosterism?

We can show Saddam:
One journalist said a report with pictures from Saddam Hussein’s secret archive, showing beating and torture, was edited, “on the grounds that the pictures were sickening — my answer was that, Yes they were, but all the more important to show as much as possible.”
But not our own dead:
“We went in with no ground rules except those of the military, which prohibited photos that would show the faces of captives, and also which discouraged photos that would ID wounded or dead U.S. troops.” (Nice, military guidelines become self-imposed censorship.)

“Our rules are against anything which might offend our audience, i.e. we are in the realm of taste and decency, which is difficult to quantify. ... on the one hand, I don't want, say, my kids to turn on the TV after tea and see some of the things I have seen in the field. But on the other hand, the effect of this is to sanitize the coverage, and glamorize the conflict.” (What, are you afraid Michael Powell will fine you?)

“An American soldier who was injured during combat in 2003 was photographed alive, but before he died. After the soldier died, the paper ran the picture of him in his still-injured state. It caused a stir.” (That is what is is supposed to do, right?)

“We delayed or didn't even publish lots of information on which we had contradictory or incomplete reports.” (But that didn't stop you from running false WMD stories, did it?)
Contact Joe Strupp at Editor and Publisher.

March 17, 2005

More BushCo lies on Patriot Act

I want to learn how these guys can keep a straight face

The AP reports that the White House’s homeland security advisor want an “honest debate” on renewal of the Patriot Act.
Fran Townsend said White House support for extending the entire USA Patriot Act, which expires at the end of the year, is “unequivocal.”

“In the debate over the Patriot Act, we often hear about that delicate balance that we rightly must make between freedom and security,” Townsend told the American Bar Association. “I value that debate. The president values that debate. And it is important. What is equally important is that we not permit this valuable tool to be caught up in unnecessary rhetoric.

“I encourage you to keep that debate honest,” Townsend said. “...We really should try to divorce this from partisan politics.”
How can you have an “honest debate” when you’ve already made your mind up and are therefore, by definition, closed-minded?

“Spendthrift,” not “conservative”

The AP and other folks need to get their Republican Congressional terminology right.
By the narrowest of margins, the Senate protected one of President Bush’s top priorities (March 16) by rejecting a drive by Democrats and moderate Republicans to make it tougher to approve
future tax cuts.

The 50-50 vote — one shy of the majority needed — averted a major headache for congressional leaders and avoided a replay of the embarrassing setback they suffered a year ago. Then, the Republican-run Congress failed to complete a budget because the Senate approved the tax-cut limitations and the more conservative House refused to go along.
Why do people insist on calling the House “more conservative,” rather than “more spendthrift”? Russ Feingold gets it right.
”They have become openly hostile to balancing the budget,” one sponsor, Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., said of GOP leaders. “Openly hostile to anything that gets in the way of tax cuts, regardless of what the consequences are for our budget or the economy. That's a sad moment.
Sad indeed.

Will the meddling Religious Right never stop?

So now Religious Right do-gooders in the House want to play pastor or ethical counselor and “save” Terry Schiavo.

Haven’t such ethical Solons such as Tom DeLay got better things to do, like spending our government into oblivion or expanding their back pockets to hold more money from Indian gaming lobbyists?
“What’s going on in Florida regarding Terri Schiavo is nothing short of inhumane,” said House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc.
Wrong, Rep. Sensenbrenner. What you’re doing is inhumane.

March 16, 2005

Some GOP voters must believe in faith-based Soc. Sec. privatization

Yahoo reports on how many Republicans are sniffing the BushCo Kool-Aid before drinking, thinking it smells funny, and…

Still signing on the dotted line!
Republican Michael Cardwell, a land-use planner in Washington state, did the math. He would retire with $11,000 in his account, plus maybe $900 more in investment gains if all went well on the stock market.
"Wow," Cardwell, 50, said with a laugh. "I may get one additional paycheck, thank you very much." Nonetheless, he said he will support the president.

To borrow a term from Atrios, this guy’s my wanker of the day.

But he’s closely followed by Marilyn Donnelly.
Donnelly, a 46-year-old nurse on Florida's central Atlantic coast, said that with luck a personal account could grow substantially, and she relishes the opportunity to give it a try. (Emphasis added.)

These are the type of hanging-on-to the-middle-class by their fingernails folks, or dreaming bigger dreams folks, who never understand the laws of statistics, who think the slot machine on a dry run is “due” to win, who think that all lottery events are one big event so they’re eventually “due” to win, and so forth.