• The Red Scare Index: 33

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Here is today's daily Red Scare Index -- our search of CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and CNBC for uses of the following terms: Socialism, Socialist, Socialists, Socialistic, Communism, Communist, Communists, Communistic, Marxism, Marxist, Marxists, Marxistic, Fascism, Fascist, Fascists and Fascistic.

    Here are the numbers for last, Friday, May 15, 2009:

    TOTAL: 33
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 21
    Communism, Communist, Commnistic: 6
    Marxism/Marxist: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 6

    By Network:

    CNN: 3
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 3
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNN Headline News: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    Fox News Channel: 9
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 4
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 3
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 2

    Fox Business Network: 7
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 3
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 4

    MSNBC: 4
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 4
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNBC: 10
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 10
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    The above numbers are the result of a power search for these terms on these networks.

  • Christopher Hitchens and Slate editors play dumb

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Determined to be the last person to dissect in detail on the week-old (zzzz) story of Wanda Sykes' appearance at the White House Correspondents Association dinner nine days ago, Hitchens, in a very boring dispatch, explains why neither she, nor president Obama, were funny during the roast.

    The rather astonishing part though, is that Hitchens has already famously commented on Sykes' Corespondents performance, yet both he and his Slate editors play dumb and act like it never happened. Both Hitchens and the Slate editors pretend Hitchens, just hours after the performance, didn't tell the New York Observer that "the black dyke [Sykes] got it wrong."

    Does Hitchens have no memory of saying it? We don't know, simply becuase he never even acknowledges the slur in his column and Slate editors let him pretend it never happened, even though he's writing about Wanda Sykes.

    BTW, Hitchens complains that Sykes was too mean to Rush Limbaugh. Ironic, don't you think?

  • NYT claims MoDo is "eager" to give credit; Tucker disagrees

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    New York Times spokesperson Diane McNulty:

    There is no need to do anything further since there is no allegation, hint or anything else from Marshall that this was anything but an error. It was corrected. Journalists often use feeds from other staff journalists, free-lancers, stringers, a whole range of people. And from friends. Anyone with even the most passing acquaintance with Maureen's work knows that she is happy and eager to give people credit.

    As Politico's Michael Calderone notes, the fact that Marshall hasn't lodged any further complaints doesn't mean anything about anything. Whether or not Maureen Dowd did something wrong is not dependent upon whether Josh Marshall says she did.

    But that bit about Dowd being "happy and eager to give people credit" caught my eye, because just moments earlier, I read Tucker Carlson's comments during a Washington Post online discussion:

    [T]he whole thing is an interesting window into how her column is created. I knew someone once who was on her call rotation. Every week, she'd call and collect amusing lines from him, which she'd invariably use without attribution. Every writer does this to some extent -- I've made a lot of money over the years stealing from my conversations with Matt Labash -- but she seems to do it more than most.

    So which is it? Is Dowd "happy and eager to give people credit," or does she rely more than most writers on the attribution-free use of lines told to her by others?

    Earlier: How would the NYT react if Joe Biden gave an excuse this lame?

  • Media out of touch on Pelosi-CIA flap

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Two front-page Politico headlines, two hours apart:

    GOP keeps the heat on Pelosi over CIA
    By ANDY BARR | 5/18/09 9:27 AM
    Pelosi tried to quell the controversy over her CIA comments, but some aren't ready to let it go just yet.

    The Huddle: Changing conversation
    By MARTIN KADY II | 5/18/09 7:27 AM
    Recess can't come fast enough for Pelosi and her staff and Republicans are enjoying the implosion.

    Wow, this Nancy Pelosi-vs-CIA story must be really awful for Pelosi, huh? Sounds like people just aren't buying her statement that the CIA misled her.

    But wait, what's this? Polling shows that more people do think it's likely the CIA misled Pelosi?

    How likely is it that the CIA misled Pelosi about the use of waterboarding when interrogating prisoners?

    20% Very likely
    23% Somewhat likely
    19% Not very likely
    22% Not at all likely
    16% Not sure

    Greg Sargent explains:

    Strikingly, this is almost completely at odds with the way the traditional news orgs have covered this dispute. Most have focused almost entirely on the doubts the competing claims of Pelosi and the CIA cast on Pelosi's credibility, with very few giving anywhere near the same level of scrutiny to the ways in which the CIA's credibility is now in question.

    If this poll is to be believed, however, more people are focused on the latter, despite what the news orgs are telling them to think.

  • Politico, please define "public outcry"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    As in, Obama's appearance at Notre Dame sparked a "public outcry."

    From Politico:

    But if the White House once hoped the speech was another way for Obama to reach out to this key constituency, the address instead is likely to be overshadowed by the public outcry, and in a state that Obama carried in the fall, Indiana.

    Obviously there was an organized effort among some single-issue conservatives who opposed Obama's commencement invitation; who claimed the university had shamed itself by invited the President of the United State to address its graduates. But that in now way represented a "public outcry," a term which suggests a widespread reaction.

    In fact, in terms of the "public," most Americans, and yes even most Catholics, supported the selection of Obama as ND's graduation speaker. ND students overwhelmingly backed Obama's appearance.

    While we're at it, we'd ask CNN to define "backlash." Its online headline from May 15:

    Obama faces Notre Dame speech backlash

    And USA Today to clarify "mixed":

    Mixed reception at Notre Dame for Obama

    By all accounts Obama was greeted by the ND crowded with rapturous applause and an extended standing ovation, while three people heckled him. That's "mixed"?

    Like Politico, CNN and USA Today conflated a minority protest into something much bigger and more widespread than it really was.

  • If you call it "ice cream and cake" instead of "torture," people will support it.

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    The Washington Post reports on a new poll under the header: "Some Call It Torture. In One Poll, Most Call It Justified."

    The headline alone raises a flag: Most call what justified? Torture?

    No, as it turns out, the poll does not find that most people say torture is justified. It finds that most people think "harsh interrogation techniques of detainees" is justified. I'm sure if you conducted a poll that called it "safe, legal, and humane treatment of detainees," you'd find even higher approval. But that isn't what it was; it was torture.

    Eventually, in the fourth paragraph, the Post gets around to mentioning that the poll in question was conducted by Resurgent Republic, which, according to the Post, is "made up of Republican strategists." That's a bit of an understatement; Resurgent Republic is a Republican organization founded by former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie for the purpose of "shaping the debate over the proper role of government."

    Shaping the debate, not measuring it.

    Here's how Resurgent Republic summarized the pro-torture position:

    Congressman B says that, while harsh interrogation techniques of detainees should be used only rarely, they may be necessary in exceptional situations to protect the country. Those techniques are justified when they are the only way to stop the murder of another 3000 innocent Americans in another 9/11.

    Not only did Resurgent Republic use the euphamism "harsh interrogation" rather than torture, it pretended torture was used only rarely, and only to stop the murder of 3,000 innocent Americans. Had Resurgent Republic asked if people supported the use of torture in order to elicit a false confession of a link between Iraq and 9/11, I suspect public support would have been quite a bit lower. Had Resurgent Republic noted that, according to Bush administration officials, that torture could include crushing a child's testicles, support probably would have been lower still.

    But the Post didn't mention any of that; it just pretended that most people think torture is justified.

  • What did President Pelosi know, and when did she know it?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Today's Washington Post: "Boehner Says Pelosi Should Back Up Her CIA Allegations":

    Boehner's comments were the latest attempt by Republicans to focus on the speaker's knowledge of interrogation tactics in 2002, when she was the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee. Republicans have suggested that Pelosi, who has criticized the use of controversial interrogation tactics in recent years, did not object to them in private briefings at the time and has given inconsistent comments as to when she learned of the use of waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning.

    And today's Post article is the latest example of the media going along with that effort. Here's how the Post article concludes:

    Pelosi has acknowledged in recent weeks that she learned of the use of waterboarding from an aide who was briefed in 2003. But Pelosi says that by then she was no longer the senior Democrat on the intelligence committee and had little recourse to object to the tactics. The CIA says its records show Pelosi was briefed on the tactics in 2002, which the speaker has adamantly denied. She has asked that the CIA release the notes from that briefing, a request the agency has not granted.

    Boehner sidestepped questions about whether Congress should start a formal inquiry into what Pelosi knew in 2002, as some Republicans, including former speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), have sought.

    In the entire article, there is no mention of the fact that Pelosi supports a torture investigation, and the Republicans do not. Instead, the article suggests that the open question is whether there should be a "formal inquiry into what Pelosi knew in 2002" -- as opposed to an investigation into what the Bush administration did. The possibility of a "formal inquiry" with a broader focus than Pelosi isn't even hinted at.

    There were new indications last week that the Bush administration used torture to try to get people to "confess" a non-existant link between Iraq and 9/11 so they could justify the Iraq war. And the media is going along with the GOP's absurd efforts to focus on Nancy Pelosi.

  • How would the NYT react if Joe Biden gave an excuse this lame?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Here's Maureen Dowd's explanation for how her column came to contain a 42 word passage -- commas and all -- lifted without attribution from Josh Marshall:

    I didn't read his blog last week, and didn't have any idea he had made that point until you informed me just now.

    i was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing who suggested I make this point, expressing it in a cogent -- and I assumed spontaneous -- way and I wanted to weave the idea into my column.

    but, clearly, my friend must have read josh marshall without mentioning that to me.

    Here's what Marshall wrote:

    More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

    And here's what appeared in the New York Times under Maureen Dowd's byline:

    More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

    So, does it seem even remotely plausible that Maureen Dowd had a conversation with a friend in which the friend repeated 42 words written by Josh Marshall, and that Dowd later typed those 42 words perfectly, with the commas in the same place, from memory? Of course it doesn't. (And by the way: Even if you take Dowd's explanation at face value -- which you probably shouldn't -- she still has some explaining to do. Because based on Dowd's story, she didn't "weave" her friend's "idea" into her column; she passed her friend's thoughts off as her own, lifting them word-for-word.)

    So how do you think Maureen Dowd would react if, say, Joe Biden ripped off a few dozen of someone else's words, then offered up an excuse this lame? Or if Al Gore did?

  • "Nobody comes out cleanly"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Jason Linkins is stunned by David Gregory's disinterest in getting to the bottom of who knew (and authorized) what and when:

    David Gregory is talking about torture. He's talking about criminal behavior. He's talking about moral failings. And by his own admission, "nobody comes out cleanly." By his own admission, everyone was "told what was going on." Everyone "knew what was going on." You'd think that such a target-rich environment would lead a journalist to scramble all available resources to pin down all the wrongdoing, get to the bottom of everything, ensure that the whole matter comes out into the light. You will not be able to watch David Gregory in the above clip and feel like he is even remotely inspired to follow the story. All you get is shrugging, stooped, passivity.

    Linkins' whole piece is worth a read.

    But when it comes to the media's seeming disinterest in finding the truth, there's an explanation sitting right there in the middle of Gregory's comments: "nobody comes out cleanly."

    That includes the media.

    The elite media is stocked of people - many of them liberals, or sold as such - who supported torture.

    Once a week or so, Jonathan Alter appears on MSNBC to talk about investigating torture. Well, Jonathan Alter supported torture. (To his credit, Alter seems more interested than many of his peers in finding out what happened, if not in punishing wrongdoing.) Richard Cohen -- "liberal" columnist for the Washington Post - still supports torture. You could spend days compiling other examples.

    So, yes, last week's indications that the Bush administration employed torture in an effort to get people to say there was a tie between Iraq and 9/11 so they could justify their unnecessary war in Iraq should cause reporters to redouble their efforts to find out exactly what happened and who was involved.

    But many of those reporters supported torture, and many of them supported the Iraq war. And most of those who didn't support the war did little to challenge the Bush administration's lies*. That probably has at least something to do with their passivity in following the story now.

    * There are exceptions, of course. But the exceptions tend to be people you haven't heard of; people who end up on page A18, not NBC News.

  • Phil. Inquirer editor holds his readers to higher standard than columnist John Yoo

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Philadelphia Inquirer editorial page editor Harold Jackson:

    Unfortunately, most of the critics of our contract with Yoo have their facts wrong.

    But that happens when your information comes from those bloggers who never let the facts get in the way when they're trying to whip people into a frenzy to boost Web site hits.

    Jackson didn't address the fact that in his Inquirer columsn, Yoo hasn't let the facts get in the way of his partisanship.

    In his May 10 column, for example, Yoo attacked President Obama for citing empathy as a qualification he will seek in a Supreme Court nominee. But Yoo himself has praised Supreme Court justice Clarance Thomas - Yoo's former boss - for displaying that very quality.

    Yoo also argued against the appointment of an "activist" judge - a meaningless label that partisan conservatives like Yoo attach to anyone they don't like. Want proof? According to at least one assessment, the single most "activist" member of the high court is Clarence Thomas, for whom Yoo clerked, and whom Yoo praises enthusiastically.

    And Yoo falsely suggested that liberals want President Obama to make a pick "based solely on race or sex" -- something nobody is in favor of. That's just a flatly dishonest description of the opposing view; Yoo grossly exaggerated and distorted views with which he disagrees for the purpose of more easily discrediting them.

    It's like trying to discredit John Yoo's views on torture by saying "John Yoo thinks the President should be able to order the crushing of a child's testicles."

    Oh. Wait. That wouldn't be an exaggeration at all. John Yoo actually thinks the president should be able to order the crushing of a child's testicles.

    Anyway: Harold Jackson, so busy denouncing "bloggers who never let the facts get in the way," couldn't be bothered to address the hypocrisy and falsehoods found in Yoo's column. Apparently the Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial page editor think Inquirer readers should be held to a higher standard than Inquirer columnists.

    And he wonders why the Inquirer faces a "murky future."