|October, 2003 link archive
Wednesday, October 1, 2003The Washington Post's lead leak story includes a reference to a column by Robert Novak, in which he says that he "did not receive a planned leak," called the information "an offhand revelation" and wrote that an "unofficial source" at the CIA said Valerie Plame "has been an analyst, not in covert operations."
Appearing on PBS' "NewsHour," former CIA counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson said Valerie Plame "is not as Bob Novak suggested a CIA analyst," and that "This is not about partisan politics. This is about a betrayal, a political smear of an individual with no relevance to the story... To pretend that it's something else and to get into this parsing of words, I tell you, it sickens me to be a Republican to see this."
Conflating 9/11 and Iraq, the Wall Street Journal editorializes that "The real intelligence scandal is how an open opponent of the U.S. war on terror such as Mr. Wilson was allowed to become one of that policy's investigators." The Washington Post profiles the man President George H.W. Bush called a "truly inspiring" diplomat.
"The greatest irony of all" writes Juan Cole, is that "Ms. Plame, who really was working to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, has been ruined by persons who only pretended to do so for political gain, and whose invasion of Iraq did nothing to make the US one whit safer." Plus: 'The Looking Glass War.'
Recounting the 96-hour intel pow wow leading up to Secretary of State Powell's U.N. speech, Newsweek's Richard Wolffe, says the scandal that "started out as just 16 words...lives on because it’s about a fundamental question: "Did the Bush administration mislead the world in going to war in Iraq?" Earlier: Former CIA analyst calls National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's trip to CIA headquarters five days before Powell's speech, "bizarre in the extreme."
The Daily Howler describes how Tim Russert "rolled over for Condi again" and FAIR takes ABC and the New York Times to task for not challenging Powell's claim that weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq in 1998.
Talking Points Memo talks presidential talking points.
Washington Post's leak FAQ shows the ease of catching up on a story that was barely covered for three months. But CBS.com's Dick Meyer weighed in early on, with a July 24 commentary headlined 'George W. Nixon.'
A Star Tribune editorial says of those calling for Attorney General Ashcroft to appoint a special counsel, "They're right: Ashcroft has no credibility in this, and neither does the White House, given its habitual effort to spin information, mislead the American people and smear anyone who disagrees with it." Plus: Those Devils at the White House.
In a just-released report, a panel appointed by the Bush administration has concluded that among Arabs and Muslims abroad, "hostility toward America has reached shocking levels." While recognizing "that American policies might well be the root of the problem," the panel also decried the U.S.' inadequate efforts at "public diplomacy." The head of the panel told the New York Times: "You know, Woody Allen said 90 percent of life is just showing up. In the Arab world, the United States just doesn't show up."
A correspondent for Le Monde reports on pro-Saddam demonstrations in Iraq.
A new Los Angeles Times poll of likely voters finds that 56% support recalling Gov. Gray Davis -- up from 50% in early September -- and that 40% favor Arnold Schwarzenneger to replace him, followed by 32% for Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and 15% for Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock.
A poll analysis says that Proposition 54, which would limit California's ability to collect and analyze racial data, is losing by 54% to 31%. The initiative is the work of Ward Connerly, whose American Civil Rights Institute receives millions of dollars in funding from conservative philanthropies, a fact that is ignored in most reporting on Proposition 54.
Advertising Age reports on a complaint filed by Commercial Alert with the FTC and the FCC, charging that TV networks are deceiving the public by failing to disclose product placements.
Commercial Alert has the complaint, a press release and links to more than 25 earlier articles about product placement here.
Southern California freeway bloggers serve as inspiration for new Web site.
The editor of a Wisconsin weekly explains why the photo of a murder suspect giving the finger to reporters is for Web eyes only, and editors at the Kansas State Collegian describe how a page one photo came to identify Osama bin Laden as the school's dean of student life.
Thursday, October 2, 2003
Uncle Sam's Club In a Washington Post article headlined 'Lobbyists Set Sights On Money-Making Opportunities in Iraq,' a partner at New Bridge Strategies, a company headed by Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush's 2000 campaign manager and the former director of FEMA, said: "Getting the rights to distribute Procter & Gamble products would be a gold mine. One well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out 30 Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country."
The White House reportedly wants an additional $600 million to hunt for WMD in Iraq, an amount that would put the tab near $1 billion.
'Brain' Drained? "George '$87 billion' Bush. What was Karl Rove thinking," asks William Greider, "when he let his guy go on TV and utter that magic number?"
The Los Angeles Times airs allegations by six women who say that Arnold Schwarzenegger groped them and made other unwanted sexual advances.
According to an Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted on September 30, 69% of respondents think that a special counsel should investigate the alleged White House disclosure of a CIA operative's identity, including 52% of those who describe themselves as Republicans. Plus: Some dare call it treason.
"Democracy Now!" interviews James Moore, co-author of "Bush's Brain," who discusses Karl Rove's political career, including his work on Attorney General Ashcroft's political campaigns, dating back to the mid-80s, as well as his relationship with President Bush, who, says Moore, "has always wanted to be oblivious to Karl's dirty tricks."
The New York Times reports on the Bush administration's two-track political strategy: "'It's slime and defend,' said one Republican aide... describing the White House's effort to raise questions about Mr. Wilson's motivations and its simultaneous effort to shore up support in the Republican ranks."
A Washington Times article on Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame's "tight ties" to Democrats, cites a piece he wrote "in the far-left Nation magazine," but makes no mention of their $2,000 contribution to the Bush-Cheney campaign. Wilson tells Maureen Dowd that the contribution was made "before South Carolina, which was a real rude awakening about the way Ralph Reed & Co. went after John McCain's wife and kid."
Salon's Eric Boehlert on 'Robert Novak's Desperate Damage Control' and why Novak "should have quit while he was ahead."
Friday, October 3, 2003
Knight Ridder reports that in polls conducted between January and September 2003, by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, 60% of Americans held at least one of the following views: U.S. forces found WMD in Iraq. There's clear evidence that Saddam Hussein worked closely with the 9/11 terrorists. People in foreign countries generally either backed the U.S.-led war or were evenly split between supporting and opposing it.
The Washington Post follows Iraq Survey Group (ISG) head David Kay's statement that "To date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material," with a reminder that on Oct. 7, 2002, President Bush said: "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. . ."
Losing Her Religion? CNN's Aaron Brown asks New York Times reporter Judith Miller: "Do you think that the administration was snookered by people who had an agenda? Do you think it was just old intelligence that was improperly analyzed? Or do you think that they just haven't found the stuff that is there somewhere?" Miller replied that "It could be all of the above or none of the above. I mean, I think we have to remain truly agnostic about this, because the ISG itself has come to no conclusions."
Road to Surfdom revisits a Robert Novak column from early August, in which he wrote that David Kay, "...now seeking Iraqi weapons of mass destruction for the Pentagon, has privately reported successes that are planned to be revealed to the public in mid-September." Plus: Carl Bernstein on Novak.
The Washington Post reports that "Several Republican officials said they have concluded it is in Bush's interest to portray the accusations as exaggerated by Democrats. 'If you make it a partisan squabble, it casts doubt on the whole story and people tune it out,' a House Republican aide said."
During an interview on MSNBC's 'Buchanan and Press,' former CIA analyst Larry Johnson said: "I know the name of the person that spoke with Bob Novak." Johnson didn't give a name, but added that, "I think if I’m the FBI, I start by having a discussion with Mr. Libby," Vice President Cheney's chief of staff.
Al Franken told CNN 's Paula Zahn that the ESPN affair is further proof that Limbaugh "can't succeed in the mainstream media because of who he is...but within his own radio empire, I don't think this affects him at all. The drug addict stuff might. Right-wing listeners, conservative listeners tend to be anti-drug ring." Plus: "Franken was right."
Earlier, Zahn asked Sen. Pat Roberts: "for the Americans who are very cynical about the reasons why the United States went to war in Iraq, when you hear Mr. Kay ask, additionally, for millions of dollars, how do you justify that expense, if they believe this is sort of good money chasing bad?" The "millions of dollars" was actually $600 million.
The New York Times reports from Chechnya, where there's little doubt about the outcome of Sunday's vote in the presidential election, which the Kremlin's hand-picked candidate has been conducting "with all the subtlety of a military campaign."
Richard Blow says that the allegations against Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Los Angeles Times article "constitute a pattern of behavior that would almost certainly disqualify any non-celebrity candidate for higher office."
Twisted Sister's Dee Snider is scheduled to perform the Schwarzenegger campaign's official song, "We're Not Gonna Take It," at a campaign rally on Sunday.
In early 2002, Snider served as the official voice of MSNBC, as it promoted its "uniquely American and fiercely independent" position as "America's NewsChannel." An MSNBC executive explained the fit with Snider, by saying that "What we're trying to create are news anthems."
Monday, October 6, 2003
Pumped It Up The New York Times reports that statements by Bush administration officials that oil revenue would cover most of Iraq's rebuilding costs, were at odds with the findings of a U.S. government task force that was secretly established last fall to study the country's oil industry.
White House orders major reorganization of Iraq and Afghan missions, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to head "Iraq Stabilization Group."
The Washington Post reports that Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai is facing an "open political revolt," as the Northern Alliance considers backing an alternative for the country's presidency. Plus: 'Afghanistan Revisited.'
Venezuela's ambassador responds to a U.S. News and World Report article charging that President Hugo Chavez has provided assistance to Islamic fundamentalists and that Venezuela is emerging as "a potential hub of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere."
Installation of new Palestinian prime minister accompanied by declaration of a state of emergency in the West Bank and Gaza.
Newsweek cites a July 22 Newsday article as an example of the "few reporters" who "raised a fuss" after Novak's column was published, but doesn't even mention Corn, who was the first to report that the column was evidence of a possible White House crime.
Corn notes press secretary Scott McClellan's claim that Bush "has been the one speaking out front on this," but a chronology of President Bush's efforts to bring the coverblowers to justice tells a different story. Plus: Debating what they knew, and when they knew it.
Josh Marshall says it's absolutely certain that Bush has known about it since September 27: "And what has he done about it? Nothing."
In its "Leaking With a Vengeance" cover story, Time reports that Attorney General Ashcroft paid Rove's Texas firm $746,000 for direct-mail services in two gubernatorial campaigns and one Senate race from 1984 through 1994.
Time notes that some have christened the scandal "Intimigate." While the term has yet to gain widespread currency in news reports, Watergate hand William Safire has endorsed it, the number of Google citations is up from 50 last Thursday, and it's competing in a scandal naming contest.
Internal Enron e-mails confirm Arnold Schwarzenegger's attendance at a May 2001 meeting with energy industry executives, including Ken Lay, to gain business community support for Enron's proposed solution California's energy crisis. Schwarzenegger has said that he doesn't remember the meeting. Plus: Ken and Arnold in recall cahoots?
The Times' editor and a reporter say that charges by former staffer Jill Stewart that it was sitting on the story for two weeks aren't true. Stewart also accuses the Times of sitting on information that Gov. Gray Davis is an "office batterer."
Katha Pollitt argues that Schwarzenegger is getting a pass in the media, and the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he told NBC's Tom Brokaw that he will get into the specifics of the allegations "As soon as the campaign is over..." Plus: The PR muscle of the 'Teflon Groper.'
The Sacramento Bee's Daniel Weintraub blogs reporters' reaction to the campaign trail appearance of a mysterious 'Woman In Red,' and the Schwarzenegger campaign's day of railing against the Times. Earlier: Weintraub's blog becomes the story.
Tuesday, October 7, 2003
'The Great Energy Scam' Time's Donald Barlett and James Steele report on how a plan to cut oil imports by fostering the development of synthetic fuels, turned into a $1 billion-a-year giveaway to companies that spray "newly mined coal with diesel fuel, pine-tar resin, limestone, acid or other substances," to qualify for a "synthetic fuel" tax credit.
High Crimes? The head of the Iraq police force's anti-drugs squad tells the BBC that an influx of hallucinogens and other drugs, combined with the pre-war release of criminals from prisons, is fueling a Baghdad crime wave: "Most of our criminals take these tablets before they act. It stops them feeling any scruples or fear. When the effects wear off, they forget what they did."
The Washington Post interviews political prisoners who were held at Abu Ghraib, "the Iraqi gulag."
In his new book, "Winning Modern Wars," Wesley Clark says that he was told by Pentagon sources in November 2001, that planning for war in Iraq was already underway and that the Bush administration had drawn up a list of six other nations to be targeted in a five-year military campaign. Sidney Schanberg wonders why Clark didn't share that information with the public.
Mark Kleiman says that there were "two bombshell announcements" on Monday in the CIA leak probe, with one of them -- President Bush calling the outing of Valerie Plame a "criminal action" -- seemingly designed to distract attention from the other -- that the documents the White House staff has been ordered to come up with by 5 p.m. Tuesday will not be going to the Justice Department, but to the White House Counsel.
Last week, NPR's Nina Totenberg reported that the Justice Department granted the White House's request for a one day delay in ordering records in the probe, but for some reason, NPR scrubbed the paragraph from its transcript of the segment.
Dana Milbank examines the history of leaking to Robert Novak, dating back to the 1970s when one of his prime sources was Richard Perle.
What kind of news is President Bush getting from his aides?
California election officials warn that the large number of absentee ballots could mean no clear winner for weeks.
"There's no hypocrisy in having opposed impeachment but believing now that Schwarzenegger's behavior should disqualify him from becoming governor," argues Salon's Joan Walsh. "The hypocrites are Republicans who impeached a president over his sex life, but now try to argue that Schwarzenegger's shouldn't matter -- and supposed feminists like Dowd and Estrich, who defend the whole charade..."
Reuters reports that Schwarzenegger staffers told supporters to discard signs they had brought with them and to collect new and official signs like "Remarkable Women Join Arnold" and "Democratic Women Love Arnold."
Hullabaloo's Digby counters the argument that the actor's alleged behavior towards women isn't relevant to whether or not he should be governor: "But, if 'character' is not relevant as to whether one should vote for Schwarzenegger, what is? He has no public record on which to base an assessment."
CNN's Lou Dobbs, who has been criticized for blurring the line between commentary and reporting, asked a correspondent: "Did the Los Angeles Times assign attack teams to cover Gray Davis as well at the same time as Arnold Schwarzenegger?"
Fox News Channel has no comment on the study showing that heavy viewers of Fox were nearly four times as likely to hold untrue positions about the war in Iraq as people who relied on NPR or PBS. Plus: "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart on mocking Fox.
A Sky News correspondent who lost his job for faking a report of a missile being fired by a British submarine during the Iraq war, has been found hanged.
Wednesday, October 8, 2003
Economists for Dean looks at California's economic picture and how it may affect the national economy.
Will the media call on Schwarzenegger to honor a last-minute campaign pledge that he made in an interview with Tom Brokaw?
The Washington Post profiles "The Spy Next Door."
On MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olberman," former Justice Department prosecutor John Loftus said that by outing both "superspy" Valerie Plame and her front company, Robert Novak could be prosecuted under Section C of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, for engaging in a pattern of leaks and publishing them. Plus: 'Exposing CIA Agents Not Murder.'
Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency slammed for Nerf ball game on shooting down of missiles.
As the Turkish parliament okays a plan to send up to 10,000 troops from the country's mostly conscript army to Iraq, the New York Times reports that the Bush administration has run into such stiff opposition at the U.N. Security Council that it may shelve plans for a vote on an Iraq resolution.
Slate's Fred Kaplan says the Iraq Survey Group's interim report shows that "Saddam wanted and, in some cases, tried to resurrect the weapons programs that he had built in the 1980s, but that the U.N. sanctions and inspections prevented him from doing so." Plus: 'A tribute to weapons inspectors.'
The Times corrects an Iraq inspections myth following FAIR criticism.
Bush Administration launches PR offensive to defend invasion of Iraq and cite progress being made there.
See the two animated political cartoons that Al-Jazeera reportedly pulled from its Web site after a U.S. State Department official complained that they were "inflammatory."
A Palestinian official tells the Guardian that a mild heart attack suffered by Yasser Arafat last week was not made public at the time because it would "have created panic at a critical time when the Israelis are threatening Arafat's life."
Brendan O'Neill on how Israel namechecks the 'war against terror' to justify everything from incursions into Palestinian territory to the bombing of Syria.
Premier of "Jesse Ventura's America" attracts 194,000 viewers, compared to Fox News Channel's 841,000 and CNN's 553,000 in the same time slot. Plus: How Ventura went "from savior to small fry" at MSNBC.
Elton John has two words for Americans who ask: "Why do they hate us?"
Thursday, October 9, 2003
Hillary Johnson's "Is The Pentagon Giving Our Soldiers Cancer?", examines the use of depleted uranium and its effects on U.S.' troops and civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. She puncuates her reporting with accounts from Gulf War vets who were exposed to the radioactive ammo. Johnson is also the author of 'Osler's Web,' a book about chronic fatigue syndrome.
A UPI investigation finds that unexplained blood clots have caused the sudden death of a number of apparently healthy U.S. soldiers.
"The United States may spend a billion dollars to find phantom weapons," writes Newsweek's Christopher Dickey. "What about laying to rest the ghosts of Iraqi civilians?"
Italy's Corriere della Sera is stoking speculation that John Paul II will become the first pope to win the Nobel Peace Prize, for his opposition to the Iraq war.
"Fresh Air's" Terry Gross interviews Martin Smith, whose "Frontline" documentary "Truth, War and Consequences," examines the pre-war political infighting among the Pentagon, State Department, and White House, and how it led to the current situation in Iraq.
A Washington Post review of the documentary begins: "As the White House launches its latest PR blitz to convince Americans that all is going well in Iraq -- no matter what the media say -- along comes 'Frontline' to spoil things."
On Tuesday, Bill O'Reilly abruptly halted an interview on "Fresh Air," when Terry Gross started to read a People magazine pan of his new book. O'Reilly had said "I'm getting the feeling that this is a hatchet job," after Gross admitted that she was tougher on O'Reilly than she had been on Al Franken. Her reason being that Franken's book is a satire.
Scroll down for response to the interview, including 'O'Reilly's Good Timing': "Nice little PR move by Bill O'Reilly, isn't it? I notice that he 'walked out' and 'ended the interview' at 49 minutes after the hour...which is exactly when interviews on 'Fresh Air' always end. Interesting."
On Tuesday, O'Reilly used the flap for his TV show's "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day" segment. On Wednesday he used it again: "why did National Public Radio's Terry Gross ambush O'Reilly? Wait till you hear what happened!" The interview also gets heavy play at BillOReilly.com, where it's promoed for O'Reilly's radio show: "You won't believe how it turned out!"
'Get it, Grover?' Robert Weissman and Russell Mokhiber transcribe and respond to the main points of the interview.
'Scottie & Me' Mokhiber asks White House spokesman Scott McClellan: "Why do you refuse to answer the question whether Karl Rove said that Joseph Wilson's wife was 'fair game'?"
Editor & Publisher samples morning-after editorials: "Most viewed his election as a product of Davis's bland character, Schwarzenegger's 'action-hero' star power, and a general populist unrest. Oddly, not a single major paper expressed concern that recent sexual harassment allegations against Schwarzenegger indicated a serious flaw or warned that they will dog him in office or affect his ability to govern."
On election day, Daniel Weintraub wrote that if Schwarzenegger wins, he might want to thank the Los Angeles Times for doing him a favor by publishing groping allegations against him before the election.
Schwarzenegger supporter Rep. Dana Rohrbacher dodged the question when "Crossfire's" Paul Begala asked: "Well, the campaign is over. Is Mr. Schwarzenegger now going to go through the details of these allegations and tell us which are true and which are false, as he promised?"
The politainment recall came full circle when Jay Leno introduced Schwarzenegger's victory speech. On Wednesday, Schawarzenegger dropped by "The Tonight Show" to thank Leno for the introduction. Among the scheduled guests was MSNBC's Chris Matthews, "the muscleman's chief shill in the media."
Friday, October 10, 2003
What Ailes Him As Al Gore attempts to finalize a deal to acquire Newsworld International, a digital channel that can reach about 20 million U.S. homes, the New York Observer looks at how Gore TV might play in the current cable environment.
In 'How I broke the CIA-leak story, and why nobody noticed,' David Corn recounts his run in with the Republican spin machine during an appearance on the Fox News Channel.
Josh Marshall presents evidence that Robert Novak -- and his sources -- may have known Valerie Plame was working undercover. Plus: Novak language "suggests he was getting his spin at the same place he was getting his information."
Michelangelo Signorile blames careerism for journalists' refusal to report in July that the White House was leaking, as well as their unwillingness to name the leakers. Plus: Joseph Wilson to turn leak story into book.
U.S. State Department not taking kindly to comments by Pat Robertson, suggesting that its Foggy Bottom headquarters be destroyed with nuclear weapons.
Robertson made the comments in an interview with conservative columnist Joel Mowbray, who raised the prospect in his book, "Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Endangers America's Security."
Hanger On The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg finds that six months after Saddam's statue fell, the U.S. authority has not extinguished his legacy. She also reports on plans to dismantle Iraq's food distribution system and Fox News' hiring of the second-in-command at Saddam's information ministry.
New York Times reporters discuss the Bush administration's Iraq reorganization, and the bureaucratic battle that one says has left Defense Secretary Rumsfeld looking "slapped down." Plus: 'It's policy nanny versus grumpy gramps.'
The Washington Post reports that in 1971, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger thought of Rumsfeld as an "incorrigible peacenik and an annoying White House dove," according to an Atlantic Monthly excerpt from "Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet." Read an interview on 'Rumsfeld's Roots' with author James Mann.
'The Quiet Guy' Members of Peace Fresno say its meetings were infiltrated by an undercover sheriff's detective whose true identity was revealed to them through an obituary picture, published after he died in a late-August motorcycle accident. "Democracy Now!" interviews a member of the group and an attorney representing it.
As Schwarzenegger left the stage after Thursday's press conference, he was asked about the sexual-harassment allegations that he had pledged to look into "as soon as the campaign is over." The widely reported exchange included this New York Post account: "An agitated Schwarzenegger shot back, 'Old news!' Several reporters yelled back, 'No it's not," as Schwarzenegger ducked backstage."
Nikki Finke writes that "CNN called it 'Leno's big political moment.' Now, he's a big political target."
'Fearless' Iranian lawyer and human rights activist wins Nobel Peace Prize. Pope John Paul II was a 5-2 favorite according to a spokesman for Australian-based online sports book, Centrebet, who said that while "We've had a lot of interest in the Pope. We're offering George Bush and Tony Blair at 200/1 but haven't had a single bet."
Monday, October 13, 2003
A Jane's editor and a former Israeli defense official dismiss a Los Angeles Times report that Israel has modified submarine-based missiles to carry nuclear warheads, saying that it's technically impossible.
Ha'aretz reports on the controversy surrounding the Geneva Accord, a draft peace agreement worked out between unofficial Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. The Israeli negotiators on the draft, which has no official status, were left-wing members of the political opposition.
The U.S. Justice Department's leak investigation is initially focusing more on how Valerie Plame's name got around, than who leaked it, reports the Washington Post, in what Josh Marshall calls yet another Post article with "precise and story-advancing detail."
Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel reports that the leak "may have damaged U.S. national security to a much greater extent than generally realized," and Nicholas Kristof, in 'Secrets of the Scandal,' accuses Democrats of exaggerating the damage to Plame's career and to her personal security, and Republicans of playing down the security breach and the danger to the assets she worked with.
Bill Maher thinks someone needs to school President Bush -- Condi? -- on how Iraqis and other people in Muslim nations are "Really Not Like Us!" And Atrios boils down the administration's problems to one word.
Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus compare assertions made by Vice President Cheney -- during his "acerbic" speech to the Heritage Foundation -- with the findings of U.S. weapons inspector David Kay. Plus: 'The New Agnew.'
Who's Your Daddy? Maureen Dowd says that "Bush I officials are nonplused by the apocalyptic and rash Cheney of Bush II."
Justin Raimondo has more on what he calls the "Fake 'Good News' From Iraq," as well as a survey of the b-level comedic talent being sent to entertain U.S. troops there.
The Arnold Show Frank Rich says that while Schwarzenegger's celebrity got him on the political stage, it was "the discipline of his campaign that made him fly. Its scrupulously bogus depiction of an actual political candidacy... resembled a genuine democratic phenomenon in the same way that Disneyland's Main Street resembles an actual Main Street."
In 'The Day of the Locust,' Mike Davis writes that "the Schwarzenegger blitzkrieg seemed to suck anger out of the clear blue sky."
Los Angeles Times editor John Carroll defends the publication of allegations of sexual impropriety against Schwarzenegger, calling the charge that the paper sat on the story one of "several lulus cranked out by local journalists." Earlier: FAIR debunks lulu about Times cranked out by Bill O'Reilly.
Deficit Attention Disorder Read how pundits followed the mis-lead of the Schwarzenegger campaign, consistently inflating the state's $8 billion shortfall by citing the pre-budget deficit figure of $38 billion. "Hardball's" Chris Matthews was still spinning it up after the election. Plus: 'Media tips for the next recall.'
DeLaying Tactics Bill Moyers says that while there are enough votes in the U.S. House to reverse the FCC's decision to relax media ownership rules, House Majority Leader Tom Delay won't allow a vote to happen: "The effort to reverse the FCC is dead in the water — taking democracy with it." Find out who owns what in your city.
CalPundit spams the globe in his report on how blog comment threads are being targeted by porn sites.
In response to President Bush's appointment of William O. DeWitt Jr. to serve on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Project on Government Oversight's Eric Miller tells the Cincinnati Enquirer: "We're not sure qualities for appointment to the board include being a rich guy, financial supporter and close friend of the president."
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Weapons of Mass Distribution The New York Times reports that explosives and matériel for virtually every attack on American soldiers and Iraqis has come from Saddam's former weapons dumps, which "are much larger than previously estimated and remain, for the most part, unguarded by American troops."
The Times says that Iraqi officials insist that Iraqis aren't carrying out the suicide bombings, but a journalist who interviewed members of the Iraqi resistance, says they are, and that the resistance movement's diverse strands -- nationalists, Saddam loyalists and Islamists -- are forging an alliance.
The Christian Science Monitor reports on the U.S.' targeting of second-tier threats -- Syria, Libya and Cuba -- that one former U.S. official calls "the ladies' auxiliary of the axis of evil."
The Washington Post reports that bin Laden's son Saad is rising in the ranks, and is part of a small group managing al-Qaeda operations from Iran. The group is reportedly being protected by the Jerusalem Force, "an elite, radical Iranian security force loyal to the nation's clerics and beyond the control of the central government."
The commander of the U.S. 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry, "The Rock," tells ABC news that the astroturf "letter-writing initiative" was his idea, and that his staff drafted the letter, he edited it and reviewed it and then offered it to the soldiers.
Gallup finds eager survey participants in Baghdad, but interviewers avoid disclosing that an American company is behind the polling.
Cradle Doesn't Rock A U.S. Army soldier returning to Iraq after two weeks of stateside R & R said: "I'm surrounded by civilization and beautiful girls. And in 14 hours I'll be in Baghdad surrounded by sand and filth and garbage. It's quite an adjustment."
One of the world's poorest countries gets into the oil game, with the formal inauguration of a 650-mile pipeline from southern Chad to a port in neighboring Cameroon. The World Bank-backed project includes a plan designed to cut average Chadians in on the wealth.
Filipino President Gloria Arroyo denies allegations that the country's top terror suspect, Jemaah Islamiah bomb-maker Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, was executed in cold blood to present a publicity coup ahead of President Bush's weekend visit to Manila.
"You don't play dirty tricks on the folks who invented them," writes Ben Tripp. "Whether or not a special prosecutor is appointed to oversee the [leak] investigation, there's a pissed-off CIA stomping around town at the moment with a 55-gallon drum (that's 208.45 liters) of whupass."
NPR's ombudsman explains why a key paragraph was deleted from the transcript of a report by Nina Totenberg on the Justice Department's leak investigation, and calls the network's policy of not naming Valerie Plame, "unnecessarily high-minded."
Wyeth Wire resurrects Ronald Reagan's comments on the difference between overseas and stateside covert agents.
Mine Your Own Business Prosecutors in some Latin American countries that were targeted for post-9/11 data mining by ChoicePoint, the Georgia company under contract to the U.S. Justice Department, have opened investigations into the practice. Earlier: 'Mexican Data Grab.'
Salon looks into Enron's e-mail archives, that include "Ken Lay's livin'-large heyday, the political schemes of his minions, and hate mail that employees sent their CEO when the company collapsed."
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Three Americans killed in Gaza blast that followed what international aid organizations are calling Israel's most destructive incursion into Gaza since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising three years ago.
Joe Sacco illustrated the situation in Rafah, in "The Underground War in Gaza."
Ha'aretz asks: Can Prime Minister Sharon "bring the Israeli left back from the dead?"
Watchdog group calls on Arnold Schwarzenegger to come clean about his May 2001 meeting with Ken Lay, saying in a letter that if he doesn't do so by his inauguration, it will ask state lawmakers to open an investigation to uncover the substance of the meeting. Plus: 'Arnie already shows his Enron side.'
Who's the one politician capable of breaking President Bush's campaign fund-raising record?
Bush's campaign manager said that the $83.9 million raised so far, came from 262,000 contributors. The Washington Post reports that at least $38.5 million --45% of the total take -- was collected by 285 "Rangers" and "Pioneers" who raised at least $100,000 each.
Army battalion commander in Iraq sent out 500 identical form letters to U.S. newspapers with different signatures!
Mother touted letter to Boston Globe as being from son, even though she knew he didn't write it.
James Pinkerton says that the Bush administration's "truth" offensive is based on the 'Orwell Sales Strategy.'
A U.N. weapons inspector who watched Secretary of State Powell's Iraq presentation at the U.N., along with a dozen other inspectors in Iraq, tells CBS that "Various people would laugh at various times because the information he was presenting was just, you know, didn't mean anything -- had no meaning."
The Washington Post reports from Karbala, on "the first serious armed clash between Shiite factions since the Iraq war," which prompted a warning from the U.S. that it may move militarily against one of the factions, followers of Moqtada Sadr.
U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, who recently visited Iraq, said the reconstruction story is "a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day." After saying that, reports the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, "He added that he did not want any more soldiers to be killed."
Texas hustler leaves Iraq with empty carpetbag.
'Fact-Free News' Harold Meyerson says that a question raised by the series of polls showing that Fox News' viewers had the most misperceptions about the war in Iraq, "is whether Fox News is failing or succeeding."
Bill O'Reilly on why he put himself through "the ordeal" of appearing on "Fresh Air," which provided him with an "Impact" segment and two installments (1, 2) of "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." Plus: What's really driving O'Reilly?
O'Reilly "responds" to FAIR's charge that he smeared the Los Angeles Times, and U.S. newspaper editors and Times' readers weigh in on the paper's publication of sexual harassment allegations against Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Marshaling the Evidence In his column for The Hill, Josh Marshall makes the case that "All the available evidence points to the conclusion that Novak and his sources knew full well that Plame was a clandestine agent." Plus: 'Wilson adds ammo to hit war credibility gap.'
Thursday, October 16, 2003
An Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter who traveled to Gaza following Wednesday's bombing of an American Embassy vehicle, writes that "I waited for hours to get into Gaza, but once I arrived, I wanted out pretty quickly."
The three security guards who were killed worked for DynCorp, which has a $50 million State Department contract to send up to 1,000 former police officers to Iraq. More on DynCorp from Wired and CorpWatch.
Privatized military industry has 'Wall Street bullish on the spoils of war.'
Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman and John Dingell claim that Halliburton is overcharging to transport gas from a refinery in Kuwait to Baghdad. "We are paying -- taxpayers are paying -- $1.70 a gallon for gas" said Waxman, while "Iraqis are paying a nickel." Plus: Tigris in their tanks.
Was Vice President Dick Cheney bad for Hallliburton?
Pay to Play! Thomas Friedman says he wishes that his paper would have told Cheney: "If you're going to give a major speech on Iraq to an audience limited to your own supporters and not allow any questions, that's not news -- that's an advertisement, and you should buy an ad on the Op-Ed page."
Why i contributed $1.84 to President Bush's re-election campaign and why you should too.
'I Am No Novak' David Corn explains why he isn't going public with the identity of a current National Security Council staffer who once worked with Valerie Plame at the CIA, and who might play a role in the leak scandal.
'No Pain, No Gain' The head of the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) responds to Mark Bowden's Atlantic Monthly article, "The Art of Interrogation: A Survey of the Landscape of Persuasion," in which he characterizes American techniques as "torture lite."
The BBC's "Inside Guantanamo" comes with a transcript that includes interviews with former Guantanamo detainees now living in Afghanistan. One man claims that interrogators at Bagram Airbase, where he was held before being transferred to Cuba, did not go lite on him. Plus: 'The American Prison Camp.'
Clearing the Air Sen. Richard Lugar wants $100 million that is currently earmarked for the Iraq TV and radio network -- the priciest foreign media program in U.S. government history -- taken out of the hands of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and put towards funding a national newspaper.
Helen Thomas on President Bush's news-gathering habits.
Sen. Hillary Clinton slammed for lousy campaign she isn't running!
As Media Whores Online returns from hiatus, flagging a Georgia Boy Scouts' "American Freedom Rally" featuring Ann Coulter and Oliver North, Narco News and The Daily Howler announce plans to suspend publication.
Friday, October 17, 2003
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defend Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, following reports from the Los Angeles Times and NBC on Boykin's remarks casting the war on terrorism in religious terms.
In a commentary headlined 'The Pentagon Unleashes a Holy Warrior,' military analyst William Arkin writes that "Boykin has made it clear that he takes his orders not from his Army superiors but from God -- which is a worrisome line of command."
'Onward Christian Soldiers' In April, The Nation's Matt Bivens wrote about a special forces/evangelical Christian motivational retreat featuring Boykin.
In "The fence that 'peace' built," Brendan O'Neill argues that Israel's security barrier "is merely a physical, brutal expression of the politics" of a peace process that calls for the permanent separation of Palestine and Israel. Plus: Expulsion threat boosts Arafat's popularity.
The New York Times editorializes that the U.N. resolution "leaves the Bush administration free to shape Iraq's new constitution and steer contracts toward favored companies. But the price of exclusive control is that most of the costs of occupying Iraq will still have to be borne by the American people."
Cheney cited David Kay's finding of "Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons." But the Los Angeles Times reports that it "probably was purchased legally from a U.S. organization in the 1980s and...has never been successfully used to produce a weapon," according to experts.
An intelligence source tells Newsday that the CIA swatted down a story about uranium in Iraq, that was being pushed by Iran-Contra figure Manucher Ghorbanifar, and Ghorbanifar's "staunch American supporter," Michael Ledeen, a neocon pundit affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
In the mid-80s, Ledeen attempted to gain the release of U.S. hostages in Beirut through Ghorbanifar, reports Jim Lobe, who says that while Ledeen considered the middleman "one of the most honest, educated, honorable men I have ever known," Ghorbanifar flunked four lie detector tests administered by the CIA, which considered him "an intelligence fabricator and a nuisance."
PR Watch says to expect lots of media hype soon over a book by the Iraqi who reportedly tipped off U.S. Marines to the location of Pvt. Jessica Lynch. "Because Each Life Is Precious," is being promoted by the same PR person who helped sell the phony 1990 story about Iraqi soldiers murdering Kuwaiti babies.
More from the Independent's Andrew Buncombe in 'Gulf War disinformation PR promotes Private Jessica memoir.'
Spinsanity fact checks Michael Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country?"
Salon's Eric Boehlert says the 9/11 commission's decision to issue subpoenas against the FAA, "may signal a new get-tough phase for the inquiry." The White House missed an Oct. 6 deadline for turning over documents, one of which, Boehlert reports, is assumed to be the Aug. 6, 2001, daily presidential briefing.
MIA on CIA Leak Michael Tomasky looks at how the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post have addressed the Valerie Plame scandal.
Paul Krugman advises Democratic candidates to propose leaving middle-class tax cuts in place, which would still allow for the recapture of most of the revenue lost, "while making the job of the administration propagandists that much harder."
"Howard 'Fritz' Dean" The Republican's fund-raising head compared Dean to Walter Mondale, after Dean repeated his pledge to repeal all of the tax cuts. In an interview with USA Today, Dean accused Republicans of running up the budget deficit so they can undermine the fiscal underpinnings of Medicare and Social Security.
Filtered Tips "Every president lives in a cocoon of advisers who filter reality for him," writes Michael Kinsley, "but it's stunning that this president actually seems to prefer getting his take on reality that way." Plus: Historian Robert Dallek calls Bush's blaming of the media "reminiscent of Johnson and Vietnam."
The Chicago Tribune reports that following his meeting with President Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger said "There is no greater ally that this golden state has in Washington than my dear friend." According to the president's aides, "Bush and Schwarzenegger have met before, but don't know each other well."
The head of a news service that syndicates political stories says "It's wonderful" that California TV stations are setting up bureaus in Sacramento, "but it's sad that they're coming for the wrong reason. They should be here to cover important news. But they're coming to cover a movie star."
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
In 'The Stovepipe,' The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh reports on how Bush administration officials "circumvented the usual procedures of vetting and transparency," allowing unfiltered intelligence information about Iraq to be "stovepiped" to people at the top.
In an interview with NPR, Hersh discusses the article, which also includes a former senior CIA officer's claim that the Niger forgeries were produced by "a small group of disgruntled retired CIA clandestine operators," in an attempt to embarrass the Bush administration. Plus: Hersh does it again.
Hersh notes a November 2001 speech by Richard Perle, in which he cited testimony from Dr. Khidhir Hamza, author of "Saddam's Bombmaker." Hamza critic and former Iraqi nuclear scientist, Imad Khadduri, wonders why no one in the media is asking Hamza about his pre-war claim that Saddam had rejuvenated his nuclear weapons program.
As Turkey's Prime Minister says the country may reverse its decision to send troops to Iraq, the Washington Post reports that military commanders have developed a plan to cut back the number of U.S. troops there -- currently 130,000 -- to fewer than 100,000 by next summer and then to 50,000 by mid-2005.
Human Rights Watch charges the U.S. military with failing to conduct proper investigations into civilian deaths resulting from the excessive or indiscriminate use of force, claiming that it has collected credible reports of 94 deaths in Baghdad that warrant investigation.
BBC Online responds to a question asking why it's not reporting casualties as killed/wounded/captured: "We use U.S. Central Command's definition of casualties in the war in Iraq, which only refers to those who have been killed."
Sen. Jim Jeffords, the sole dissenter on a vote urging President Bush to give War on Terrorism Medals to soldiers fighting in Iraq, said: "Those who support giving this medal to our troops in Iraq are once again trying to make a connection between Sept. 11 and Iraq that simply does not exist."
Talitubies The Associated Press reports on a media blitz by the Taliban, designed to win money and support from Muslim militants outside Afghanistan.
Some Dare Call It Hate Howard Kurtz uses Jonathan Chait's New Republic article, 'Mad About You,' as a jumping off point for an examination of Democratic animus toward President Bush. Plus: Kurtz' 'lazy analysis' of what Democrats and Republicans can agree on.
This Modern Dilemma In an interview with BuzzFlash, Tom Tomorrow talks about the difficulties facing a satirist "when real life has become satire, when that guy with that deer-in-the-headlights look on his face is the most powerful man in the world."
In a Washington Post report on the Burger King at Baghdad International Airport, which is among the top 10 in sales for all Burger King franchises, one soldier who bought $84 worth of food laments that "We're lucky if we can get over here once a month, we're so busy raiding houses and kicking down doors in the middle of the night."
The Post notes that "The restaurant workers are originally from Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Nepal, though most now live in Kuwait." Last week the Financial Times reported that U.S. sub-contractors are being criticized for importing cheap migrant labor from south Asia to Iraq.
North Korea, Burma and Cuba bring up the rear in Reporters Without Borders' world press freedom ranking. The report calls Cuba the world's biggest prison for journalists and accuses Israel and the U.S. of unacceptable behavior toward reporters in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Iraq.
No Kobe All the Time Aspen Daily News' editor says "We are removing ourselves from the pack. The story just doesn't warrant the coverage it's getting. It's just gossip."
After watching the first two episodes of "Jesse Ventura's America," City Pages' Mike Mosedale says that he had an unanticipated reaction: "I felt sorry for the big lug."
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
The New York Times reports on the offering up by Israelis and Palestinians of "concrete, if conflicting, evidence" on Monday's air strikes. Plus: 'Israel to keep building barrier despite U.N. censure.'
Israeli war gamers consider post-Arafat scenarios.
NPR adds free transcripts of its Israel/Palestine coverage.
The Washington Post's Anthony Shadid reports on the debate over Iraq's future taking place on Mutanabi Street, "a narrow stretch of bookstores and shops in old Baghdad that serves as the capital's intellectual entrepot."
TomPaine.com's Steven Rosenfeld says that conditions for soldiers at Ft. Stewart, Ga., as described by UPI, are "part of a pattern of lapses in military health policies that have occurred during the course of the Iraq War," that includes the Army and Air Force largely ignoring a 1997 law requiring that all soldiers sent to war zones be given extensive pre- and post-deployment medical exams.
In a segment on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," Dana Milbank takes questions and discusses his article on the Bush administration's decision to enforce a policy banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers' homecomings on all U.S. military bases.
Slate's Fred Kaplan calls President Bush's likening of the democratic prospects of modern Iraq to those of the early 20th-century Philippines, "so discomfiting... that it's hard to imagine Bush would have made such a remark if he'd understood its full implications." Plus: James Pinkerton on Bush's "howler."
Treasury Secretary John Snow predicts that the U.S. economy will generate about 200,000 additional jobs per month before next year's election. In February, reports the Economic Policy Institute's JobWatch, the Council of Economic Advisers projected 344,000 per month job growth starting in mid-2003 if the tax cuts were passed and about 250,000 per month without the tax cuts.
David Neiwert debunks the claim made by Howard Kurtz in his article on "Bush-hatred," that during Bill Clinton's presidency, "the press was filled with stories about Clinton-haters."
In 'Al Franken and Al-Shifa,' Tom Gorman challenges Franken's defense of the Clinton administration's 1998 bombing of Sudan's al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant.
'Sleeping With the Enemy' Brendan O'Neill asks: "Why don't President Bush and Osama bin Laden just get a room? Judging from events over the weekend, they need each other as much as they despise each other."
The Washington Times reports that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have struck a secret "nuclear cooperation" deal that will provide the Saudis with nuclear-weapons technology in exchange for cheap oil.
The article refers to a policy paper by an analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israeli think tank that PR Watch's "Disinfopedia" says has been outflanked on the right during the Bush administration.
In a February interview on "Now," Seymour Hersh discussed Pakistan and his article on the country's nuclear dealings with North Korea. The New Yorker has also posted a Q & A with Hersh about his latest article, "The Stovepipe."
Pakistan "is likely to stand out in the years ahead as the single most dangerous place in today's world," writes former New Yorker reporter John Newhouse, in his new book "Imperial America: The Bush Assault on the World Order." Review and excerpt.
Jim Lobe profiles David Wurmser, a "favored protege" of Richard Perle, who was recently appointed Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, and has long called for the U.S. and Israel to work together to 'roll back' the Ba'ath-led government in Syria. Plus: Rumsfeld memo asks "Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror?"
A nonproliferation expert tells PBS "NewsHour" that a key issue in Iran agreeing to suspend its uranium enrichment is that "Suspend isn't defined. We don't know how long that suspension lasts."
University of Tehran tops list of activist campuses.
According to a Human Rights Watch study, one in six U.S. prisoners is mentally ill, triple the number of mentally ill patients in U.S. mental hospitals.
Michelangelo Signorile checks out Sierra Tucson, the Arizona treatment center that Rush Limbaugh has reportedly entered: "From 'psychodynamic role-playing and yoga' to 'adventure therapy,' 'Climbing Wall,' 'the desert experience" and 'equine-assisted therapy' (yes, bonding with horses), Limbaugh may just think he died and went to 'feminazi' hell."
Thursday, October 23, 2003
As U.S. Senate Democrats block legislation limiting class action lawsuits, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights releases "Class Action Cabinet," a report showing that 13 of 16 Bush administration cabinet members have ties to companies that have been targeted by consumer class-action lawsuits.
In July, Senate Democrats also derailed a bill to limit damages in medical malpractice cases. In 'Malpractice Makes Perfect,' the Washington Monthly looks at the GOP's attempts to link rising health-care costs to frivolous medical lawsuits.
'Operation Garden Storm' The New York Observer reports on plans for media management at the 2004 Republican National Convention. The person in charge is Jim Wilkinson, director of strategic communications for the U.S. Central Command's Qatar media operation during the Iraq war. Earlier: 'My Big Fat Question.'
In a New York Times op-ed, this month's president of the Iraqi Governing Council said the U.S. must recall the disbanded Iraqi army. But U.S. officials say that's not possible, in an AP article that also describes how the Pentagon's pre-war plan to turn captured Iraqi soldiers into construction and security workers, went south when the soldiers went home.
Josh Marshall lays the blame for formally dissolving the Iraqi army at the feet of Vice President Dick Cheney, calling it one more piece of evidence for "the great open secret of the Bush era: the serial poor judgment and, in many cases, manifest incompetence of the vice president."
Newsweek diplomatic correspondent Richard Wolffe writes that in Iraq, President Bush is on the wrong side of the expectations game that has served him so well throughout his political career.
'A Better Body Count' Billmon says that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's memo, with its expression of a need "to be able to quantify the conflict," almost makes Rumsfeld and his Vietnam War predecessor, Robert McNamara, "seem like one and the same person."
"NewsHour" panelists say progress in the war on terror in Southeast Asia is being hampered by widespread resentment toward the U.S. A Pew Research survey, published in June, 2003, found that "Since last summer, favorable ratings for the U.S. have fallen from 61% to 15% in Indonesia."
According to the political newsletter The Nelson Report, the story about a nuclear weapons technology for oil deal between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, is "Sexy as hell, but false."
New York Times executive editor Bill Keller says the paper has no objection if the Pulitzer Prize board wants to revoke the 1932 award it gave to Times' reporter Walter Duranty for his reporting on the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.
TV execs finger Nielsen as viewers go missing.
Friday, October 24, 2003
Hey Senator! Listen to Mason Jennings sing his "Ballad of Paul and Sheila Wellstone," and hear musicians, writers and artists, including documentary photographer Terry Gydesen, talk about honoring the Wellstone's legacy. Gydesen has a slide show of photos from her book, "Twelve Years and Thirteen Days."
"What we hope to identify here is a dreaded media malady we seek to christen 'Ontheonehandism,'" writes Eric Alterman, introducing his 'Think Again' column for the Center for American Progress, which was recently profiled in the New York Times, 'Notion Building,' and the Washington Post, 'Liberals Get A Think Tank Of Their Own."
An AP article on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's ridiculing of the court's ruling on gay sex, provides some unusually in-depth background, reporting that the group he spoke to -- the Intercollegiate Studies Institute -- "draws much of its funding from conservative foundations, including three controlled by or associated with billionaire philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife, a vehement critic of former President Clinton."
The Washington Post reports that while a Senate Intelligence Committee's report on prewar Iraq intelligence will be critical of CIA Director Tenet and other intelligence officials for overstating the case against Saddam, "the committee is deeply divided over investigating how the Bush administration used intelligence in its public statements about Iraq."
Gallup's director of international polling, who recently returned from Baghdad, tells the Omaha World-Herald that "The media are doing what they're supposed to do. There's a shooting, there's a killing - those are all valid stories." He says that what hasn't been adequately covered "is the question of what kind of government people want." Plus: 'Life safer for Iraqis, more dangerous for troops.'
Editor & Publisher says that most newspapers are underreporting on U.S. troops wounded in Iraq.
David Corn has "A simple question for the president of the United States: If you don’t read the newspapers, how can you criticize the media coverage of Iraq?" Plus: 'The politics of media filtration.'
Corn says that when Defense Secretary Rumsfeld asked in his memo if the U.S. should "create a private foundation to entice radical madrassas to a more moderate course," he "veered dangerously close to becoming one of those root - cause - symps who routinely are derided by hawks for arguing that the U.S. and other nations need to address the forces that fuel anti-Americanism overseas..."
The New York Times reports that Rumsfeld's recent "steps and missteps...have drawn increasing Republican ire," including being criticized by senior Republican Congressional officials for "high-handedness and lack of respect." Plus: New York Daily News reporter is go to guy for White House's anti-Rumsfeld leaks.
U.S. Senate joins House in voting to end the ban on travel to Cuba.
Paul Krugman on the Bush administration's "huge climb-down" on job growth predictions.
Monday, October 27, 2003
Terrorism analysts call Sunday's attack on Baghdad's al-Rashid hotel a media coup for the Iraqi resistance, and USA Today reports on why the guerrillas are in no danger of running out of arms, in an article citing two U.S. intelligence officials who predict "that Iraqi forces will be able to sustain their ambush-style attacks indefinitely."
The Christian Science Monitor says the plan to send up to 10,000 Turkish troops to Iraq has effectively been shelved due to vehement opposition in Iraq.
The USA Today article also debunks a widely reported claim made by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. In an October 10 speech he said that only about one-tenth of one percent of 1,700 daily patrols encounter violence: "In fact, at that time, there were about 20-25 attacks per day, or a little more than 1% of the patrols." Plus: 'Rumsfeld's Pentagon Papers.'
Boxed In In an essay on the Bush administration's "new anti-media media campaign," Frank Rich writes that "However spurious any analogy between the two wars themselves may be, you can tell that the administration itself now fears that Iraq is becoming a Vietnam by the way it has started to fear TV news."
Memo from Halliburton head urges company workers to assist in PR effort by writing letters to news organizations to "show pride in your work and your co-workers."
'Where to Start?' Josh Marshall introduces Sunday's Washington Post article, which reported that "Among the closely held internal judgments of the Iraq Survey Group...are that Iraq's nuclear weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991."
The head of the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks says he is prepared to subpoena the White House for several highly classified intelligence documents, and Der Spiegel reports that the U.S. Capitol, not the White House was the fourth target of operation "Porsche 911."
A New York Times analysis looks at how the White House caters to the international human rights concerns of religious constituencies, including white evangelicals, who accounted for about 40 percent of the votes that President Bush received in 2000: "Mr. Rove is now tending to the constituency with great care."
Undocumented workers arrested in the raid on Wal-Mart were reportedly making as little as $2 per day. According to this year's Forbes 400, five of the 10 richest people in America are Waltons, each of whom have a net worth of $20.5 billion.
In an interview with Bill Moyers on the growing gap between America's rich and poor, theologian Joseph C. Hough said: "If Tom Delay is acting out of his Born Again Christian convictions in pushing legislation that disadvantages the poor every time he opens his mouth, I'm not saying he's not a Born Again Christian, but as the Lord's humble fruit inspector, it sure looks suspicious to me." Plus: 'Ready to pick your jaw up?'
The Los Angeles Times profiles Robin Leach, who has chosen Las Vegas as the venue for elbowing himself back onto the national stage. Leach, described by one observer as "the quintessential branded human being," tells the Times that "There's nothing wrong with being rich. Capitalism can do what governments can't."
A Palestinian official tells Reuters that Israel's demolition of three unoccupied apartment towers left at least 156 nearby families homeless. Israel said the towers served as staging points for militants who killed three soldiers at a nearby Jewish settlement on Friday.
Slate's Chris Suellentrop says that Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton were the winners of Sunday's lackluster debate among Democratic presidential candidates, that was co-sponsored by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus.
The Black Commentator reported that during an earlier debate, also co-sponsored by Fox and the Congressional Black Caucus, GOP leadership in the U.S. House staged a surprise vote on vouchers for D.C. schools. Scroll down to 'Thieves in the Night.'
Hallucinogens proved to be wrong drug for covering presidential debate.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
The Guardian reports that the Israeli military has ordered about 12,000 Palestinians living near the West Bank security barrier to obtain special permits to live in their own homes. The number is expected to increase by at least 40,000 within months, as more of the barrier is completed.
Ha'aretz reports on a heated debate over a position paper -- "The Political and Social Significance of Evacuating Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza" -- that treats evacuation as just a matter of time.
The Star Tribune editorializes that Secretary of State Powell let America down, citing as evidence a Knight Ridder article on the lack of planning for postwar Iraq, and a State Department study that foresaw occupation-related problems. Powell said the study was made available to the Pentagon, but "How they used it...I can't answer."
Another Star Tribune editorial tells the White House to stop stonewalling the 9/11 probe.
The former chief counsel of the Senate Watergate Committee, Samuel Dash, says that whoever leaked the identity of Valerie Plame may have committed an act of domestic terrorism as defined in Section 802 of the Patriot Act.
A Fatal Leak? St. Petersburg Times' columnist Robyn Blumner writes that one of three new Patriot Act powers that President Bush is asking Congress for, is to expand the reach of the federal death penalty by making it applicable to "domestic terrorism."
Josh Marshall hints at forthcoming information on who forged the Niger documents, and Dennis Hans thinks Seymour Hersh bought a tall tale from a former CIA official who suggested that retired CIAers forged the documents to embarrass the White House.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Rep. Jim McDermott recently took to the floor of the U.S. House and "sought to attach very large asterisks to the State of the Union address President Bush delivered Jan. 28, charging sections were stuffed with known falsehoods."
The Senate campaign of Washington Rep. George Nethercutt is being dogged by remarks he made about how success in Iraq was "a bigger and better and more important story" than daily casualty counts.
Billmon rounds up talking point examples from President Bush, on how progress in Iraq is making insurgents more desperate. Plus: "The Iraqi people understand that there's a handful of people who don't want to live in freedom..."
In an article headlined 'Bush Says Attacks Are Reflection of U.S. Gains,' a "senior intelligence official" tells the Washington Post that the U.S. "has not devoted enough attention to understanding the anti-American groups in Iraq because intelligence resources have been devoted to locating weapons of mass destruction."
Influential Lebanese politician triggers U.S. outrage by expressing regret that U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was unharmed in Baghdad hotel attack.
Robert Fisk reports on being under fire while waiting to take off from Baghdad International airport.
Cher calls C-Span to discuss her visit with the hidden wounded at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
Homespun The Media Channel's Danny Schechter looks at how the Bush administration is "bringing the war home -- by using wartime methods to manage domestic media during the elections, and turn American hearts and minds in favor of their war." Earlier: "Everyone on the Bus."
In a critique of Iraq war reporting, in which The Globalist's Stephan Richter wonders if U.S. journalists could learn something from auto mechanics, he asks: "How, in this increasingly complex world, can you write news stories without providing strong doses of analysis?"
In an interview with BuzzFlash, Bill Moyers refers to another example of pay to play. The Washington Post recently reported that "Daytime," a show airing on NBC's Tampa affiliate, WFLA-TV, sells four to six minute sponsored segments for $2,500.
WFLA's general manager, noting that an out-of-state advertiser had inquired about appearing on the show after reading the Post article, told the St. Petersburg Times that "I think the attention and promotion is beneficial to the ongoing promotion of the concept."
Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell responds to Fox News chairman Roger Ailes' interview claim, that Fox has forced the media elite to see the light on correcting its liberal bias: "The problem is -- and this is nothing out of the ordinary for Ailes and Fox News -- this is a wild, politically-driven exaggeration."
Blow-ups prompt question: Is Bill O'Reilly losing it?
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Spinsanity chronicles the epidemic of misinformation that infected the California recall campaign, throughout which the state's $8 billion budget deficit was consistently reported to be $38 billion.
The Washington Times reports on an Alliance for Better Campaigns study of local television stations in seven media markets, that found local public affairs shows accounted for less than one half of one percent of all programming.
Seen But Not Heard "On the Media" interviews PR Watch's John Stauber and others on a subject that TV news directors don't like to talk about.
A FAIR Media Advisory asks if critics of Iraq coverage are "complaining about bad press, or simply bad news?"
The Washington Post's Walter Pincus reports on the difficulties facing the Pentagon-run television network in Iraq, including weekly addresses by Paul Bremer that are widely seen as propaganda. More transcripts at the CPA press room.
The newly retired head of State Dept. intelligence tells the Los Angeles Times that the U.S. intelligence community "has to bear the major responsibility for WMD information in Iraq," but former deputy Greg Thielmann said "The intelligence community spun things to make [the Iraqi threat] a little more sensational than I would have ... but then the administration took that spin and put it into hypervelocity."
In a Salon interview, Camille Paglia lets fly on the war in Iraq, "a political, cultural and moral disaster," President Bush, "out of his depth" and "surrounded by manipulators," and the takeover of the Democratic Party, by a "whole venal machinery of political consultants."
Elisabeth Bumiller reports on President Bush's tenth press conference, which was announced an hour and a half in advance and included his dodging of her "trick question" about Iraq troop commitments. Plus: White House admits producing "Mission Accomplished" banner for Navy.
Prisoners of War Captive laborers work behind the scenes to clothe and arm U.S. military.
The New York Times reports on the controversy over a Norwegian journalist's profile of an Afghan bookseller and his family, "The Bookseller of Kabul." Read a review and an excerpt. Plus: Kabul's "returnees without a refuge."
Not in Kansas Anymore Family of anti-gay crusaders gets rude reception at Long Island high school where football team members were accused of sodomizing younger players with objects as part of a hazing ritual. Plus: All about Fred Phelps and his church.
Halloween at the White House becomes 'Nightmare on Pennsylvania Ave.'
Thursday, October 30, 2003
U.S. fingers a longtime confidant of Saddam, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, for helping to coordinate attacks on American forces, and puts a $25 million bounty on the head of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian who was offered up as evidence of an al-Qaeda/Saddam connection in the run up to war, based on his having received medical treatment in Baghdad.
Although neither man was named last week when a U.S. general called Ansar al-Islam "our principal organized terrorist adversary in Iraq right now," Al-Douri is being linked to Ansar and Zarqawi to both Ansar and al-Qaeda. "It's like being a member of the Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce," a U.S. official told NBC. "Being a member of one doesn't preclude membership in the other."
Robert Fisk tells "Democracy Now!" that the people fighting Americans "are not, for the most part, people who were born outside Iraq, which most Americans were. They are people who are called Iraqis. This is a resistance movement, whether we like it or not."
Sen. Trent Lott offered what The Hill termed an "unorthodox military solution" for Iraq: "If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You're dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people, and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out."
Riverbend critiques the site that aped her Baghdad Burning.
A U.S. soldier checks in with Chico's News & Review: "If we're going to fight for a cause that isn't known, get fired on by our own weapons, and get screwed out of our benefits, then at least for God's sake give us something concrete to say we fought for -- even if it's as trivial as being able to fill our gas tanks for 98 cents a gallon."
New survey prompts head of U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime to warn that "Either major surgical drug-control measures are taken now or the drug cancer in Afghanistan will keep spreading and metastasise into corruption, violence and terrorism."
Although a Pentagon spokesman backed the White House's claim that the "Mission Accomplished" banner was the crew's idea, a May 4 Washington Post editorial suggests that the words may not have been: "Aides say the slogan was chosen in part to mark a presidential turn toward domestic affairs as his campaign for reelection approaches."
White House employs robots to prevent search engines from indexing and archiving Web site's Iraq-related material.
The New York Observer reports that according to a CNN employee, the network is pursuing legal action against the creators of a fake Web page that carried a story about how "Fellatio may significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer in women."
A former Fox News producer writes that "the roots of FNC's day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come in the form of an executive memo distributed electronically each morning... If, on any given day, you notice that the Fox anchors seem to be trying to drive a particular point home, you can bet The Memo is behind it."
Michelangelo Signorile asks: "why does Fox only out the freaks?"
The attorney for Donald Luskin a self-described stalker of Paul Krugman, is threatening legal action against Atrios, for calling Luskin a stalker and for encouraging posters' "false assertions that Mr. Luskin has committed the crime of stalking." Atrios calls it "a nuisance suit without any legal merit, with the not veiled threat to 'out' me as the real purpose." (Scroll down for the letter.) Read responses from other bloggers.
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Friday, October 31, 2003
In March, the New York Times reported on how the White House adopted LuntzSpeak: "President Bush's speeches on the environment show that the terms 'global warming' and 'environmentalist' had largely disappeared by late last summer... now the White House fairly consistently uses 'climate change' and 'conservationist.'" Plus: 'A Roadmap of Spin.'
The bio for Luntz's weekly MSNBC show, "America's Voices," gives no hint of his partisanship.
The Center for Public Integrity's "Windfalls of War," shows that more than 70 U.S. companies and individuals have won up to $8 billion in contracts for work in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan, and they've donated more money to George W. Bush's presidential campaigns -- a little over $500,000 -- than to any other politician over the last twelve years. Earlier: 'Bush's Golden Vision.'
In remarks to the press, CPI head Charles Lewis said: "A few times, when the government stiffed us, we found that the companies actually had bragged about landing the contracts on their Web sites or to investors in the industry trade press. We would then forward this useful information to federal officials, and lo and behold, they suddenly found the contracts."
Coalition of the Billing The AP reports that "No one is sure how many private workers have been killed, or, indeed, even how many are toiling in Iraq for the U.S. government. Estimates range from under 10,000 to more than 20,000 -- which could make private contractors the largest U.S. coalition partner ahead of Britain's 11,000 troops."
The Los Angeles Times reports that many Iraqis think Israel was behind Monday's suicide bombings.
International Atomic Energy Agency director estimates that "35 or 40" countries are believed to be capable of manufacturing nuclear weapons.
'A Big Quarter' Paul Krugman says that despite yesterday's good economic news, President Bush still seems likely to pull off quite a trick: "run the biggest budget deficit in the history of the planet, and still end a presidential term with fewer jobs than when you started." Krugman also notes a peculiar pattern in reporting jobless claims.
Photo Finished Microsoft copy shop worker claims he was canned from temp firm job for blog posting that showed Apple computers being offloaded at a Microsoft dock. Plus: Microsoft reportedly spurned by Google.
After an arsonist set fire to a Virginia home that was displaying a sign with Iraq casualty figures, residents decided to show solidarity by putting up their own signs. Read the local newspaper's 'Arson Assault' editorial.
Rep. John Dingell writes to the president of CBS, demanding that the upcoming miniseries on Ronald Reagan be "fair and balanced," and include: "ketchup as a vegetable; union busting; firing striking air traffic controllers; Iran-Contra; selling arms to terrorist nations; trading arms for hostages; financing an illegal war in Nicaragua," and much more.
David Corn says that for all its truth-bending, the Bush administration is rarely placed on the defensive, but David Lindorff thinks that the "little lie" that President Bush told about the "Mission Accomplished" banner, could prove to be his undoing. Plus: A banner statement and 'Bright Shining Lies.'
A White House spokesman tells the New York Daily News that "Hardball's" Chris Matthews "has lost touch with reality," following Matthews' speech at Brown University, in which he called the administration's war rationale "nonsense," and said of Vice President Cheney: "The whole neo-conservative power vortex, it all goes through his office. He has become the chief executive. He's not the chief operating officer, he's running the place. It's scary."
The White House proclaimed "Protection From Pornography Week" has been virtually ignored by the media, but Friday on Hardball: "Porn hits mainstream — and President Bush is fighting back. The White House plan to wipe out easy-access porno. 7 p.m. ET."
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