February 19, 2008

Fair and Balanced - AP Style

Hatched by Dafydd

I predicted this many years ago, but it still amazes me when a putative news source publishes an article on a controversial issue being pushed by the Left -- and doesn't even trouble to ask a single person on the right to comment.

The issue in this case is the Terrorist Surveillance Program, the NSA al-Qaeda intercept program that President Bush began shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The ACLU and various other anti-American activists brought suit against the federal government on the grounds that they were convinced the purpose was really to spy on American dissidents. They won at the district level, but the Sixth Circus tossed them out of court; and today, the Supreme Court denied certiorari:

The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to civil rights and privacy advocates who oppose the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. The justices, without comment, turned down an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union to let it pursue a lawsuit against the program that began shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The action underscored the difficulty of mounting a challenge to the eavesdropping, which remains classified and was confirmed by President Bush only after a newspaper article revealed its existence.

Their case has been dismissed by a federal appellate court, and now the Supreme Court has rejected it as well. I can understand why some might consider that "a setback" to pursuing it further... but thank goodness they're not giving up yet!

The ACLU is quoted defending its position; the ACLU's position is described (positively); the ACLU's position is argued. A similar lawsuit filed by an Islamist "charity" front group is sympathetically described, and the suits against the telecoms are mentioned without comment.

But not only do we find not a single argument, comment, or even encouraging word for the president's side... there isn't any indication they even tried to get any. There isn't even the pathetic excuse I see so often... that the spokesman for so-and-so "did not return the phone call from" or "get back to" the reporter in the fifteen minute window he allowed for rebuttal. It appears they never bothered asking a presidential spokesman or supporter of the TSP to defend it.

I doubt there was any discussion about this in the AP newsroom; in fact, I strongly suspect the thought never even occurred to either the (anonymous) reporter or the AP editors to find some Republican and ask him what he thought about the case, the program, or the plaintiffs. Were it suggested, the response would likely be the same blank stare as if someone had suggested they ask a spokesman for the American Nazi Party or the KKK what he thought about blacks and Jews being allowed to vote.

The New York Times is currently carrying the AP story without any changes; I'm sure they'll eventually write their own... we shall follow the progress of the Times' story with great interest. Interestingly, the Washington Post has an earlier version of this AP story that includes this feeble, half-hearted attempt on the part of the (still anonymous) writer to characterize the president's position:

The White House said the monitoring was necessary because the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act left dangerous gaps in the government's eavesdropping authority.

One can almost hear the snort of derision and see the eyeballs rolling as they wrote this. Yet even this single, grudging sentence of explanation -- which fortunately didn't require anyone at AP actually to talk to a Republican -- was dropped from the later story.

My prediction: More and more, this will become the norm. The elite media will finally drop the charade that they have any objectivity at all and sink, openly and brazenly, to the level of journalism in the 18th and 19th centuries... where newspapers attacked their political opponents with wanton abandon, without the slightest pretext of impartiality.

The difference, alas, is that back then, there was a fairly even mix of political opinion in these wildly partisan newspapers. Today, we have a sea of blue speckled here and there with dots of red. In this environment, such pugnacious press partisanship is not just a disservice to the country... it's actually dangerous to our continued existence.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 19, 2008, at the time of 3:05 PM

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The following hissed in response by: MTF

It just makes you sick, doesn't it? The level of outright propagandizing in witless support of those who want to destroy our society is astounding. I swear, I think the last writhing revenge of the dying newspaper business will be the attempted destruction of our country, purely out of spite at being ignored.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 19, 2008 3:27 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

The AP? Who is that?

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 19, 2008 3:51 PM

The following hissed in response by: PC14

As for Fair and Balanced how about the Robert Somma story out there? The guy gets caught cross dressing and the Boston Herald states that Somma was a federal Bankruptcy judge appointed by Bush in 2004. Only problem is, the President doesn't appoint bankruptcy judges.

So, now there are tons of stories claiming the guy is another sleazy Republican caught doing pervo stuff.

The MSM played this one real slick. The Boston Globe states he was appointed in 2004, leaving it open to infer that Bush appointed him. The Herald just incorrectly asserts that.

Nowhere in any story is his political affiliation stated, it's just assumed he's a Republican because of the misleading appointment statements.

The only political donations I can find for Robert Somma from MA are all to Democrats, all four donations.

So, bottom line. He could very well be a Democrat and he certainly wasn't appointed by Bush. But that's not the way that story went down.

The above hissed in response by: PC14 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 19, 2008 10:06 PM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman

The "domestic spying" issue has been consistently misreported by the media. Some of this is pure laziness, but a large percentage is simple hostility toward Bush.

Most people are unaware that much of the "domestic spying" being referred to is monitoring of nodes, i.e. transfer points where international communications from one country to another country passes briefly through the U.S. Theses are international communications, and there is nothing domestic about it other than the location of where the communication is being intercepted. These have been monitored, legally, for many years.

Also unreported - the assumption is that the Bush version of Boris Badinoff is listening on some big 70's style headphones to your personal conversations. What never gets explained is that large computers are impersonally scanning millions of communications, searching for code words that might indicate a terrorist threat. Only likely terrorist calls are being recorded and listened to by an actual human being.

What is not reported by the news media is more relevant than what is reported.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 20, 2008 9:48 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/20/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 20, 2008 10:50 AM

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