Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sun paid U.S. official for Saddam Hussein photos

Sun paid U.S. official for Saddam Hussein photos

The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch, confirmed that they’d paid a U.S. official about $900 for the pictures of Saddam in his underwear. The tabloid says it was a U.S. military official, but it did not identify him. The official had allegedly hoped the release of the photo would deal a "body blow" to 'the rebels'.

That's right. Keep blaming Isikoff and Newsweek for sparking a wave of anti-Americanism....and yet American officials shove this kind of thing - these nearly-naked Saddam photos - in the Muslim world's faces like brave, Fox News-ish, Murdoch-ish, official he-men. (No girly-men are they!) Will anyone be held accountable for this cheap Saddam photo sale? I'll bet not.

Musing's Musings in WaPo

Musing's Musings in WaPo

Congratulations go out to my Liberal Coalition colleague Michael (Musings Musings) for being quoted by Howard Kurtz in the WaPo

I particularly enjoyed Michael's 14 non-random CD tracks in honor of the "Felonious Fourteen".

Newsweek and Afghanistan Deaths

Newsweek and Afghanistan Deaths

World Net Daily is calling upon all reasonably skeptical readers to wonder: Who are the 15-to-18 rioters killed in Afghanistan for their alleged anger over the Koran toilet-flushing incident? No U.S. officials contacted can provide any corroboration for any deaths. Every search turns up to be a dead-end and it is insinuated that these rioters had planned their riot long before the information from the infamous Newsweek story could have reached them.

I think it was very convenient for the Bush administration and the pundits who love them to push emotional buttons with those right-wingers who are paranoid about what they call "liberal media". I suspect that Newsweek got a raw deal on the PR end of all of this. I'm not saying that news sources should not be named when possible, but when journalists are intimidated into being judge and jury about some non-existent 'ironclad truth' before writing anything down for the public, it will limit the ability of free and critical thinkers to decide what is true for themselves. After washing information gained in anonymity from news pieces, all that is left is propaganda.

Blaming Newsweek for anti-Americanism is just another way for the Bush administration to escape accountability for decisions they have freely and proudly made themselves.

I'd like to know who those Afghanistanis were myself - and the full circumstances surrounding their deaths. How about you? Until we know the truth, I don't think we should shoot our mouths off about blaming Isikoff.


Related - Ben Bradlee on Newsweek/Isikoff

A past blogpost from Rhetorica about the concepts of "discipline of verification" and "custodian of fact", which I think we can easily relate to the Newsweek situation:
"...as long as professional standards of verification are followed, I believe we may begin to accept that reporters, as players in the game, can and should tell what they know on the authority of the news organization. Yes, there are a thousand things that could go wrong here. I am asserting only a shift in the rhetoric of journalism that I believe is well underway. What the best practices should be in this regard must be debated....Information (statements about facts in the world) does not exist without a human intention. Every little bit of information relayed by the media everyday springs from some human intention to communicate it. And, I would further argue, that those intentions are rhetorical, i.e. to move hearts and minds. For information to become knowledge (information embedded in a context), news consumers must know something of its origin, context and purpose. Whether information is cited from anonymous sources or stated on the authority of the news organization, it is politically useless without trust, accuracy, and an understanding of its origin, context and purpose. To be good, journalism, whether it relies on anonymous sources or not, must meet these needs."

Pat Tillman/Liar-Pentagon Scandal Unfolds

Pat Tillman/Liar-Pentagon
Scandal Unfolds

Yesterday's WaPo front page told the story of Pat Tillman's family and how they resent having been lied to by the military about the circumstances surrounding their son's death. They are angry, knowing that politicians used their son's memory and the false circumstances surrounding his unfortunate death to bolster themselves and their agenda.

Today at Editor and Publisher, Greg Mitchell asks why the recent Newsweek (decided) error was so horrendous, while the Pentagon's lying to the Tillman family (and America) is acceptable? Where is the outrage in the mainstream media? In the blogosphere?

BradBlog is talking. So is Rachel Campbell. Bill Gallagher is talking.

The question should be: Who's listening?

In January 2004, Rush Limbaugh used Pat Tillman to blast the NY Times, accusing them of using "subtle ways" to impugn Tillman's motives for joining the military.

How subtle was the Pentagon when they deliberately lied to Pat Tillman's family about the circumstances of his death? Will Rush Limbaugh talk about the not-at-all-subtle ways the Bush administration used the persona of Pat Tillman to promote their their foreign policy?

Burlington Blast: Greensboro Citizens Report Last of Landmark

Burlington Blast:
Greensboro Citizens Report Last of Landmark

photo credit: Lenslinger

Greensboro's former Burlington Industries building was imploded yesterday to make room for a new shopping center. People gathered to see the building come down.

This blogpiece by Lenslinger, in my opinion, is a great example of citizen reporting as it should be.

David Wharton, Chewie and Weaver contribute to the story as well.

I had such a great time in Greensboro last week - I thank y'all for your hospitality and I plan to blog about it for this week's Tar Heel Tavern, which I'll be hosting here at Iddybud. I can clearly see how the LA Times would conclude that we may soon be calling Greensboro "Blogsboro".

Frist Loses in Battle for GOP Soul

Republican Moderates Win Battle for the Soul of the GOP

Frist loses.

I'm not sure that Democrats came out of this any better for the battle. Somehow, I am not jumping for joy at the fact that the Democrats offered any deal whatsoever, because look at the result - Pryor, Brown, and Owen are far right ideologues, unqualified by the bar, who will benefit from these "moderate Democrats" trying to look like heroes. I think they wind up looking like suckers who have facilitated "The Battle for the Soul of the GOP" and who sold out the moderate-left faction of the Democratic party in the process.

All that for a feather in John McCain's 2008 cap. Was it worth it?

(See the actual Compromise Agreement here).

"All that for a feather in John McCain's 2008 cap. Was it worth it?"

Listen to Russ Feingold:
"This is not a good deal for the U.S. Senate or for the American people. Democrats should have stood together firmly against the bullying tactics of the Republican leadership abusing their power as they control both houses of Congress and the White House. Confirming unacceptable judicial nominations is simply a green light for the Bush administration to send more nominees who lack the judicial temperament or record to serve in these lifetime positions. I value the many traditions of the Senate, including the tradition of bipartisanship to forge consensus. I do not, however, value threatening to disregard an important Senate tradition, like occasional unlimited debate, when necessary. I respect all my colleagues very much who thought to end this playground squabble over judges, but I am disappointed in this deal."
I'm with Senator Feingold on this one. I think this "compromise" was of no real benefit to the People, other than to protect the filibuster. But really - was the filibuster ever in any true danger? Do you think moderate Republicans would have gone for the Nuclear Option, if only the Democrats would have stood their ground with conviction - and had it come down to the nitty-gritty? I almost wish the Democrats would have left the GOP out there flying on their witch's broomstick a while longer. I was rather enjoying watching Frist play the whining baby who doesn't get his way.


Mad Kane offers a clever song parody, "The Don't Compromise Song", which can be sung to Let's Twist Again, by Hank Ballard and made famous by Chubby Checker.

Mad had hoped there would be no compromising. She added:
Bill Scher over at Liberal Oasis explains why compromise is such a bad idea for Democrats, but Josh Marshall isn't nearly as horrified by the idea. Meanwhile, Political Wire (Taegan) has some info on the "moderates'" attempts to conjure up a deal, and Hunter at the Daily Kos gives us a mini history lesson on the background of the filibuster fight. And these two Lean Left posts provide more essential background and insights on the subject.

My favorite line from Josh Marshall's post is:
"If the Republicans, either as a whole or because of a few defectors, let the filibuster stand, the Dobsonites will simply go nuts, though I admit in one sense of the word that may seem redundant."

E.J. Dionne has a column in today's WaPo about those wacky dudes from the far right and this battle for the soul of the GOP. (The battle that has cost left-to-moderate Democrats a price, in lost-ground, which I believe is too large.)


Read Harry Reid's statement and contemplate:
"The integrity of future Supreme Courts has been protected from the undue influences of a vocal, radical faction of the right that is completely out of step with mainstream America. That was the intent of the Republican "nuclear option" from the beginning. Tonight, the Senate has worked its will on behalf of reason, responsibility and the greater good.

We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the radical arm of the Republican base an undeniable message: Abuse of power will not be tolerated, and attempts to trample the Constitution and grab absolute control are over. We are a separate and equal branch of government. That is our founding fathers' vision, and one we hold dear.

I offered Senator Frist several options similar to this compromise, and while he was not able to agree, I am pleased that some responsible Republicans and my colleagues were able to put aside there differences and work from the center."

Reid's statement is one of relief in the notion of compromise. I can't help but see, in that statement of relief, how much power the Democrats have lost over these past four years - and just how much ground the moderate left has lost.

"The message may have to come in a revolutionary format, such as a citizen's press which will effectively compete with the mainstream media for advertising dollars. I'm sick and tired of our message being watered down and buried on page sixteen by the "old press"."

The public needs to understand what has happened here. The fact that most citizens have no clue what a filibuster IS, let alone why it is such an important tradition, leads me to understand how easily they can be manipulated by politicians and that we must become more confident and honest ideological communicators if we ever expect to actually win any of these battles with the extreme right. If we Democrats do not improve on the message we send to American citizens, I shudder to think about the types of "compromises" the centrist-left will be making in another four years.

The message may have to come in a revolutionary format, such as a citizen's press which will effectively compete with the mainstream media for advertising dollars. I'm sick and tired of our message being watered down and buried on page sixteen by the "old press".

Related: See Mahablog's summary of opinions on "the deal" throughout the blogosphere.