November 29, 2004

The ACLU War Against the Boy Scouts

The WSJ has a story on the continued attacks by the ACLU on the Boy Scouts. Interesting, isn't it, that attacking the Boy Scouts is so popular with liberals? (And that other evil, the Salvation Army?) The Boy Scouts are against homosexuality (in the mild sense of not wanting homosexuals to go camping with boys) and for religion. Those "bads" trump the good the organization does-- yet another example of how liberals, despite their protestations, really don't value children (a provocative statement, I know, but how many liberals like large families? How many bother to homeschool? How many think it is nobler for a woman to be a mother than an office worker?)
Ever since the Supreme Court upheld the Scouts' First Amendment right to bar Scoutmasters who are openly gay, the ACLU has looked for softer targets. The suit against the military is one of a series aimed at getting communities to deny access to public facilities. The original lawsuit also challenged the city of Chicago's sponsorship of troops in public schools, another venue where sponsors aren't always easy to find. The city settled.

In Connecticut the ACLU has succeeded in getting the state to remove the Scouts from the list of charitable institutions to which public employees may make voluntary contributions. And earlier this year it settled a suit against the city of San Diego, which agreed to evict the Scouts from a public park they have been using since 1918. The Scouts countersued, lost, and the case is now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.

The question no one seems to be asking is, who's better off as a result of these lawsuits? Surely not the 3.2 million Boy Scouts, whose venerable organization is part of the web of voluntary associations once considered the bedrock of American life. If anything, the purpose of the ACLU attacks is to paint Scouts as religious bigots. Other losers are communities themselves, which are forced to sever ties to an organization that helps to build character in young men.

It's been 20 years since the ACLU brought its first suit against the Scouts. If there's one thing we've learned by now, it's that the ACLU offensive says more about the degraded status of the civil liberties group than it does about the Boy Scouts.

Permalink: 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 27, 2004

The Despicable Jimmy Carter Attacks American Elections

I usually don't write posts just to "vent", but the latest outrage from Jimmy Carter seems to call for an exception. Mere weeks after certifiying a fraudulent election in Columbia, our national champion in the category of self-righteous hypocrisy (a highly competitive category, including, remember, buffoons such as Dan Rather), says that Florida's elections are fraudulent. There can be no doubt that the word "anti-American" applies to Carter. Not only did he accept a Nobel Prize which was publicly stated to be a criticism of U.S. policy; he says that the U.S. government, unlike that of the many dictatorships he has cuddled up to over the years, is illegitimate.

If I were in Congress, I would make a motion to censure the ex-President. Even though he is private life now, he still has a duty not to embarass his country. Here is what he says in the Washington Post

Still Seeking a Fair Florida Vote

So Florida's vote was not fair? That is a pretty serious charge. You were president some 30 years ago, and governor of a state neighboring Florida. Why weren't you making these charges then, when procedures were the same but before there was a dispute involving your candidate?

By Jimmy Carter

Monday, September 27, 2004; Page A19

After the debacle in Florida four years ago, former president Gerald Ford and I were asked to lead a blue-ribbon commission to recommend changes in the American electoral process. After months of concerted effort by a dedicated and bipartisan group of experts, we presented unanimous recommendations to the president and Congress. The government responded with the Help America Vote Act of October 2002. Unfortunately, however, many of the act's key provisions have not been implemented because of inadequate funding or political disputes.

What debacle? If you went into details, your readers would discover that any problems were due to Democrat judges making partisan interventions, illegal voting by Democrats, and, perhaps, ballot design and technology choices by Democrats that ended up costing their own party votes. The big question of 2000 is: How can we keep activist judges from trying to rig elections?

The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely, even as many other nations are conducting elections that are internationally certified to be transparent, honest and fair.

Nations such as Venezuala, whose rigged elections you just certified as fair because a leftist won them. It takes a lot of gall for you to write an op-ed on this subject weeks after it was shown that Chavez fooled you into sampling only selected voting machines (though it might be that Chavez just gave you the political cover you needed to help him certify his election, and you knew full well it was rigged.)

The Carter Center has monitored more than 50 elections, all of them held under contentious, troubled or dangerous conditions. When I describe these activities, either in the United States or in foreign forums, the almost inevitable questions are: "Why don't you observe the election in Florida?" and "How do you explain the serious problems with elections there?"

Yes. I'm sure you especially get asked those questions in places such as Syria, Egypt, and China. Don't you see that those question are rhetorical, meant to imply that American elections are meaningless and thus Americans should not promote democracy elsewhere?

The answer to the first question is that we can monitor only about five elections each year, and meeting crucial needs in other nations is our top priority. (Our most recent ones were in Venezuela and Indonesia, and the next will be in Mozambique.) A partial answer to the other question is that some basic international requirements for a fair election are missing in Florida.

Here you say it: America's government is illegitimate. I hope you realize this applies to your own Presidency too. Aren't you ashamed of taking office after what you say was an unfair election?

The most significant of these requirements are:

A nonpartisan electoral commission or a trusted and nonpartisan official who will be responsible for organizing and conducting the electoral process before, during and after the actual voting takes place. Although rarely perfect in their objectivity, such top administrators are at least subject to public scrutiny and responsible for the integrity of their decisions. Florida voting officials have proved to be highly partisan, brazenly violating a basic need for an unbiased and universally trusted authority to manage all elements of the electoral process.

"Nonpartisan electoral commission" anbd" unbiased and universally trusted authority" mean "Let liberal lawyers decide, and make sure the voters have no recourse against them". Here Carter shows his distaste for democracy. He doesn't want elected officials determining policy-- he wants some sort of unelected officials as in the EU or in dictatorships. Voting is good-- but not if it might affect who wins the elections.

Uniformity in voting procedures, so that all citizens, regardless of their social or financial status, have equal assurance that their votes are cast in the same way and will be tabulated with equal accuracy. Modern technology is already in use that makes electronic voting possible, with accurate and almost immediate tabulation and with paper ballot printouts so all voters can have confidence in the integrity of the process. There is no reason these proven techniques, used overseas and in some U.S. states, could not be used in Florida.

This is an attack on federalism. He doesn't like Florida's policy of letting each county choose its own voting machines. Indeed, he doesn't even like Florida getting to choose its own procedures, as opposed to Congress doing it, or perhaps the Carter Center.

Also, despite the studies that show that electronic voting results in more voter error, not less (those computers are tricky to use), and that they do not eliminate fraud and may well make it easier (think Venezuala again-- or just think about which is easier to rig, computers or pieces of paper) he is still pushing it.

It was obvious that in 2000 these basic standards were not met in Florida, and there are disturbing signs that once again, as we prepare for a presidential election, some of the state's leading officials hold strong political biases that prevent necessary reforms.

I.e., Carter doesn't like Republicans, whom those pesky Floridians keep electing to office.

Four years ago, the top election official, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, was also the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney state campaign committee. The same strong bias has become evident in her successor, Glenda Hood, who was a highly partisan elector for George W. Bush in 2000. Several thousand ballots of African Americans were thrown out on technicalities in 2000, and a fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons.

Don't look at affiliations, look at deeds. Carter is here using a common trick: say that elected officials are partisan, and then replace them with equally partisan unelected officials such as the members of the Florida Supreme Court. But don't look at whether the officials are actually changing rules midsteram to help their candidates-- then the judges come out looking a lot worse.

Rather wild accusations. As I recall, Florida law says felons can't vote, but the Republicans gave up enforcing the law because of attacks from people like Carter. Carter doesn't mind voting laws being broken so long as Democrats are helped.

This was a background issue in the 2000 elections in Florida too-- felons and people registered in more than one state were improperly voting.

The top election official has also played a leading role in qualifying Ralph Nader as a candidate, knowing that two-thirds of his votes in the previous election came at the expense of Al Gore. She ordered Nader's name be included on absentee ballots even before the state Supreme Court ruled on the controversial issue.

Now Carter gets a bit obvious: it's anti-democratic to allow a third party candidate onto the ballot.

Florida's governor, Jeb Bush, naturally a strong supporter of his brother, has taken no steps to correct these departures from principles of fair and equal treatment or to prevent them in the future.

It is unconscionable to perpetuate fraudulent or biased electoral practices in any nation. It is especially objectionable among us Americans, who have prided ourselves on setting a global example for pure democracy. With reforms unlikely at this late stage of the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious process in Florida.

In conclusion, Carter says that American elections are "unconscionable" and "fraudulent or biased". If he says that, I don't know how he expects anybody elsewhere in the world to listen to him as an election advisor, except as an expert on how to win using fraud. Has he repented of his own participation in those unconscionable, fraudulent, biased elections? Has he been "born-again", and sworn off his old election fraud? Has he shown this by giving up the Presidential pension he obtained through fraud?

Permalink: 10:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 19, 2004

The Republican Party: More Rockefeller than Goldwater; Neumayr's Article

"Arnie's Party" in the American Spectator gets things depressingly right. As my wife said to me one night, it really doesn't seem possible to get away from the median voter on domestic policy. Foreign policy, interestingly, is different, perhaps because moderate policies so often clearly are worse than either extreme (e.g., invade Iraq, but not with enough troops to win). At any rate, the Republican Party of 2004 is closer to Rockefeller's policies than to Goldwater's, even if Rockefeller's political descendants have all become Democrats. Here's Neumayr on the liberal's victory in the Republican Party: ....

...The media can't take yes for an answer. Journalists grumble about the "moderate fašade" of the GOP convention in New York City, yet that moderation is exactly what they have long lobbied the Republican Party to embrace. At the Democratic convention, journalists wanted the true believers to speak so that they could build them up. At the Republican convention they want the true believers to speak so that they can tear them down.

And is it a moderate GOP fašade? Would that it were merely a facade. Unfortunately, the PC moderation is real. Would that George Bush was as conservative as the media's hyperventilations. It is no wonder the Democrats have become so radical: As Bush moved to the middle, they had to move farther and farther to the left in order to sustain their critique of him as a radical conservative. Only a party that gravitates to socialism, for example, would regard Bush's prescription drug benefit as dangerously conservative. If they had any perspective, the Democrats would claim victory, having pulled the debate so far to the left that the conservative position on prescription drugs became the liberal position of a few years ago.

... A hodgepodge of pragmatism -- as illustrated by Arnold Schwarzenegger saying that he learned free-market economics from Richard Nixon, the president who gave us price controls -- has replaced any sort of philosophical coherence. ...

On domestic issues, the difference between the two parties amounts to the Democrats' liberalism versus the Republicans' liberalism in slow motion . On foreign policy matters, the difference amounts to no common sense (the Democrats) versus some common sense. Schwarzenegger's speech was about a foreigner who dreamed of running America; the Democratic convention speeches were about Americans who dreamed of foreigners running America.


The mixture of conservative and liberal currents at the convention was conveyed by Schwarzenegger laughing about "girlie men," then Laura Bush extolling them. She spoke of a "dad whose wife is deployed in Iraq recently" and his "struggles to rear his three children alone," one of which is that he is turning his childrens' clothing pink through laundering mishaps. Shouldn't this story warm the hearts of Democrats?

Permalink: 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2004

Andrew Appel and New Jersey Support for Kerry

Todd Zywicki surprised me with

"DOES IT SURPRISE ME THAT SMART PEOPLE SHOULD BE SUPPORTING KERRY? NO." The words of Princeton computer science professor Andrew Appel, in an article in the Daily Princetonian regarding the heavy pro-Kerry tilt in giving by Princeton faculty and employees. The sole donor to the Bush campaign isn't even a professor, but an employee of the government relations office. Perhaps even more astounding, donations to "Other" (Nader, presumably) amounted to $12,850, outpacing both Bush (a paltry $250) and the RNC ($500) by a substantial margin.

Professor Appel was one of my Uni classmates. Neither one of us has changed our politics, it seems! I'd have given the same quote if I were asked why smart people supported Bush. But if we wanted to embarass him, we might ask why so many (all?) of those same smart Princetonians supported Governor McGreevey, and why New Jersey remains one of the most corrupt states in the nation.

Permalink: 03:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 09, 2004

Kerry, Studds, Crane, Frank, Gingrich, Livingston, Clinton...

James Taranto writes

Here's something else you might not have known about John Kerry. According to a page on his U.S. Senate Web site that lists his "accomplishments," in 2001 he received the "Gerry Studds Stewardship Award from the Boston Harbor Island Alliance for his work to preserve the Boston Harbor Islands."

Gerry Studds was the Massachusetts U.S. Representative who was censured for homosexual relations with a congressional page and said that seducing pages was entirely proper for a Congressman:....


What the investigators discovered that despite being one of the hardest working members of Congress, Studds had somehow managed to find the time to have an affair with a male page. It was the evidence they needed.

Finally he was accused of inappropriate behaviour and censured.

As his colleagues in the House read their censure of him, he turned his back and ignored them.

Later, he held a press conference. Standing beside him was the male page with whom he had the relationship. And instead of apologizing, both Studds and the page said that what had happened between them was nobody's business but their own. The twosome pointed out that they had been consenting adults acting in private. And if people had a problem with that it was just too bad, because it was none of their business.

Thus, in his perverse way he blazed the trail for Bill Clinton.

It is noteworthy that on the same day Studds was censured, so was Republican Dan Crane, though Crane's page was a girl, not a boy. They were two of the only 5 Representatives censured in the 20th century. Republican girl-seducer Dan Crane left Congress; Democrat boy-seducer Gerry Studds was re-elected about 5 more times.

It's interesting that the same source tells us that only one Representative was expelled in the 20th century (for bribery), and eight received the lesser penalty of "reprimand".

One of the eight reprimanded was Republican Newt Gingrich-- for allowing a tax-exempt organization to be used for political purposes. He left Congress shortly afterwards. A second one was another of the three (if I recall rightly) homosexuals in the House, Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts, for for fixing parking tickets and pressuring a probation officer to help a friend. Barney Frank has been re-elected ever since, and remains an influential Congressman.

Notice a pattern?

Just to reinforce it, I might add Republican Bob Livingston. He was Speaker-Elect, ready to succeed Newt Gingrich, when it came to light he'd cheated on his wife. He resigned from being Speaker and from the House. It was notable that this occurred at the same time as Democrat President Clinton's perjury and infidelities were being defended by almost every Democrat in Congress.

Please remember this when anyone charges Republicans with being hypocrites. Republicans not only tend to support morality, but Republicans with ethical problems don't last. The same cannot be said of Democrats.

Permalink: 04:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 07, 2004

Poll Histories: Kerry and Dukakis

Instapundit has been collecting Dukakis-Kerry parallels, e.g. here and here. This is, of course, a fun subject for conservatives at the moment. My electoral college map and prediction are looking better all the time, though now I'm starting to wonder whether maybe Bush will take California (see also

(for a better display, click

Here's my take on Kerry versus Dukakis. The similarity is that both were extreme liberals facing somewhat unpopular moderate conservatives in good economic times, but both were perceived as moderates and the press, heavily on their side, did all it could to preserve the moderate image. Both therefore had a strategy of not talking about issues, but that strategy ran into trouble when their opponents adopted the simple expedient of pointing out their liberalism using ads with specific, undisputable examples. At that point, their advantage in the polls started evaporating, as the diagram in this post shows. I've noted in a previous post the Rasmussen Reports polling data that shows that middle-of= the-road (i.e., wishy-washy) voters wrongly think Kerry is not a liberal. Kerry has a lot of support to lose still, when they learn more about him. Note what must be disturbing for him: Dukakis was in much better shape than Kerry until August, when they both started declining, but by September 1, Dukakis and Kerry were about even. Dukakis then fell even further-- and he didn't have Swiftvets to worry about.

Soxblog talks about "DUKAKISIZATION": how a candidate becomes a laughingstock. Kerry is an easy target for that, unlike Dukakis, who wasn't particularly goofy in appearance and manner until his campaign people told him to do things like drive tanks.

There are two big differences, I think. First, Kerry has a foreign policy records that can only be described as pro-communist, while Dukakis, a governor, had no foreign policy record.

Second, Kerry is highly vulnerable on character issues. His military record is fraudulent. He lied about American atrocities when he returned to America. He won't release his wife's income tax returns, an unprecedented secrecy in the recent history of presidential campaigns, which tells me there is something rotten hidden there (though it might be as simple as, say, not having any charitable deductions). He divorced his first wife under conditions as yet unexplored. He has lived extravagantly using the money of his second wife's dead husband. I don't recall anything in Dukakis's personal life that was as distasteful as any one of these Kerry defects.

What can Kerry do? If he wants to win, I think his best strategy is to keep on obfuscating and denying, and hope that somehow Bush self-destructs. That strategy is not likely to win, but that doesn't mean it isn't his best strategy. He is just not playing a strong hand. Or, if he wants to serve the public, he could imitate Goldwater and say all the extreme things he really believes, in the hope of moving public opinion in the long run even though he would lose the 2004 election.

It's time to bring back an old joke, I think, though it doesn't work as well as it did for Dukakis:

QUESTION: What does "Kerry" mean in the original French?

ANSWER: "McGovern".

By the way, on Dukakis vs. Kerry polling trends see also the Free Republic of July 17. One interesting comment there was:

I think another KEY point is the MEDIA BIAS factor, where polling data during the 'non-attention' time of the voters

Can someone run an analysis of the July/August #s versus the final numbers?

I think if you go all the way back to 1976, in every single race, the
Republicans improved on their July/August polling numbers:
- 1976 (large Carter lead -> small Carter win)
- 1980 (Reagan behind/even race -> big Reagan win)
- 1984 (small Reagan lead -> Reagan landslide)
- 1988 (Bush behind/Dukakis ahead -> Bush wins)
- 1992 (Clinton lead -> Clinton win smaller than Aug lead)
- 1996 (Clinton large lead -> Clinton wins by 7pts)
- 2000 (no change? Bush/Gore even in summer, then close election)

This is something worth exploring, perhaps even in a scholarly paper. Gallup has the data at the site I link to below.

Here is the explanation for my graph above. It uses Gallup poll data, recorded a bit sloppily because each date is actually from about 3 days of polling taken from here and here from I converted calendar dates to digital dates, and my Dukakis data is eyeballed from a strangely drawn Gallup graph. The poll is of "likely voters", in a two way race plus Neither, Other, and No Opinion, where I eliminated the Neither, Other, and No Opinion and show a candidates proportion of what remains. I graphed the data in STATA using the command

graph kerry dukakis date, xscale(3, 11.5) yscale(40, 60)xlab(3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11) ylab( 40, 45, 50, 55, 60) yline (50) connect(l[.] l[l]) symbol([kerry] [dukakis]) psize(200)

Then I saved it as a *.wmf file and converted to *.jpg. I couldn't figure out how to keep the Stata colors when I saved it, though.

Permalink: 11:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 31, 2004

Murder and the Middle-Aged Ladies in Cambridge

Via The Right Coast, The
reports on the London Review of Books's sympathy for the 9-11 terrorists:...


In the aftermath of September 11, the magazine ran a series of essays,
Reflections on the Present Crisis, from 29 leading writers - or the "usual
suspects", depending on your point of view. One contributor, Mary Beard, a
Cambridge classics don, provoked much complaint with her view that the World
Trade Centre bombers had committed "an extraordinary act of bravery", and
suggested that "however tactfully you dress it up, the United States had it
coming". She concluded: "World bullies, even if their heart is in the right
place, will in the end pay the price."

This provoked an outraged response - even a boycott, ....

All this in a magazine that, on its website, meekly devotes itself to "carrying
on the tradition of the English essay". Its editor, Mary-Kay Wilmers, is still
somewhat bemused. (One gets the impression that she lives in a permanent state of bemusement, but then, that's bookish types for you.) "I'm amazed. Only a psychopathic lunatic would think that a middle-aged woman sitting in Cambridge would think that 5,000 people deserved to die.

No-- that is precisely the lesson of this magazine issue. The middle-aged
woman sitting in Cambridge, in a carefully crafted essay, did say she thought
the 5,000 people deserved to die. I think she said it because she believed it.
We usually underestimate the viciousness of the Culture War, just as we
underestimated the viciousness of the Cold War-- or, more generally the Struggle
Against Communism from 1870 to the present. It's hard to believe it, but there
are nice, middle-aged people with advanced degrees who want to take away all my
property and kill me, because they think I am a bad person. This was quite
clearly the Communist line, and it is, less overtly, still the line of many on
the left today. My weblog-on-homosexuality episode in Fall 2003 showed a bit of
this feeling, but most of us don't get attacked personally, so it is hard for us
to believe. Yet it follows logically from commonly held positions. Is inequality
evil? Then you who own more property than average are evil and the government
should take away your property-- as, indeed, it does to a small extent with the
progressive income tax. Is it evil to say that homosexuality is a sin? Then
those who say such evil things ought to be punished. Is it evil that Israelis
live where only Arabs once did? Then Israel ought to be eliminated.

Americans are so bourgeois, ethnocentric, and ignorant of history that they
have a hard time grasping that respect for human life and property in general
(as opposed to the life and property of one's comrades) is not the norm in human
morality. Communism and Nazism had the courage to break away from bourgeois
Christian morality, and thus we had Stalin and Hitler killing millions of
people. I don't know if Hitler had middle-aged women from Cambridge supporting
him in this endeavor, but Stalin certainly had numerous genteel Cambridge grads
who hoped that the Soviet Union would conquer Britain and murder its leaders,
and they put themselves in great personal danger to betray their country to him.
We must remember that sincerity, courage, and charm are evils, not goods, if put
to bad use, and just because somebody smiles nicely does not mean he does not
wish you to die.

Permalink: 10:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2004

Tom Smith on Oliphant and the Mainstream Press as Dem Shills

Tom Smith at the Right Coast has a classic post on how Thomas Oliphant said that the mainstream press is a shill for the Democratic party.

Thomas Oliphant (whom I can never look at without imagining him in one of those propeller beanies) was there to uphold the honor of the daily press. I thought he was pathetic, but my lovely wife Jeanne thought he did OK.

Most annoying was Oliphant's repeating, over and over, that O'Neill's allegations simply did not live up to the standards of evidence required by the legitimate press. Oh please. It's rather late in the day to stand on the daily papers' claim to journalistic objectivity. O'Neill says he has sworn statements from eight officers and four sailors to the effect that Kerry left the scene of the incident of the action for which Kerry got his bronze star, and only came back later. The testimony of 12 eyewitnesses is evidence, and a lot more than the one or two anonymous sources behind many stories in the regular press.


JOHN O'NEILL: Jim, one other thing, they can look at, which is the web site that has a great deal of information on it.
JIM LEHRER: Is there a web site that's comparable to that? I'm sure the Kerry --
TOM OLIPHANT: Yes, it's called the daily press, which is the most difficult thing for these guys to deal with.

Too, too funny. Oliphant says that what the Swiftvets are for Bush, the daily papers are for Kerry. Meaning what? Surrogates? That's correct, but Oliphant probably didn't mean to say it quite that way.

Take a look at the PBS Transcript of the Oliphant-O'Neill exchange. O'Neill is extremely persuasive, and his tone is utterly reasonable.

(See my Kerry in Vietnam archives for more posts)

Permalink: 11:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 26, 2004

Numerical analysis of Media Bias: Joe Wilson IV, Broaddrick, Hemings

Captain's Quarters has a good entry of numerical measurement of the media bias in the initial Joe Wilson IV story and the reporting of how it turned out to be based on lies. He describes a Howard Kurtz story from the Washington Post.

This is another in my collection of stories on how the Washington Post beats out the NY Times and the TV networks as far as accuracy. (See my Sandy Burglar story of NY Times vs. Wash.Post.) This one has the nice feature that it originates with the Washington Post. That paper seems to be smart enough to realize that it could eliminate the NY Times as a rival if it shows liberals how much news they miss by reading the NY Times.

This difference came up in my 1999 web study, "Broaddrick and Hemings" too. There, I do some numerical study of how newspapers reported on Clinton's rape of Juanita Broaddrick compared to their treatment of the rumors about President Bush and some woman (*very* flimy rumors) and how they treated the misreporting of the story of Thomas Jefferson and the slave Sally Hemings (where the DNA discovery actually exonerated him more than anything else).

Permalink: 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2004

How to Write Distorted News: NYTimes v. Washington Post

Via Instapundit, I discover that Belgravia Dispatch has a wonderful dissection of the amazingly biased New York Times July 22 story on Sandy Berger. It is a good post to read for two reasons: (1) To see how a journalist carefully twists facts, and (2) To see yet another example of the liberal bias at the New York Times has wrecked the paper while the liberal bias at the Washington Post has not stopped it from being a reliable news source.

The Washington Post July 22 story is " Archives Staff Was Suspicious of Berger, Why Documents Were Missing Is Disputed." Here are the first three paragraphs.

Last Oct. 2, former Clinton national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger stayed huddled over papers at the National Archives until 8 p.m.

What he did not know as he labored through that long Thursday was that the same Archives employees who were solicitously retrieving documents for him were also watching their important visitor with a suspicious eye.

After Berger's previous visit, in September, Archives officials believed documents were missing. This time, they specially coded the papers to more easily tell whether some disappeared, said government officials and legal sources familiar with the case.

The New York Times July 22 story is "White House Knew of Inquiry on Aide; Kerry Camp Irked." It does not actually say what Berger did until the 14th paragraph (up to then, the story is about his persecution by Republicans) and then only vaguely:

The Justice Department declined to comment. The department is investigating whether Mr. Berger broke federal law on the handling of classified material by removing from a secure government reading room a handful of documents related to an after-action report on the 1999 millennium plots, as well as notes he took during his review.

In preparing for testimony before the Sept. 11 commission, Mr. Berger viewed thousands of pages of intelligence documents. He said he removed the documents by mistake, but Republicans accused him of stashing the material in his clothes on purpose. They have offered theories about what that purpose may have been, like an effort to withhold information that reflected badly on the Clinton administration.

Notice the sentence I put in red. It's not just deceptive writing, but poor writing that has crept into the Times. In the old days, a Times reporter would have written They have offered theories about what that purpose may have been, such as an effort to withhold information , to at least get the grammar correct, or They say the purpose may have been to withhold information , to make it less verbose and clearer. In the old days, if one reporter had written so badly, his co-author would have caught it and rewritten it. In the old days, if two reporters had written so badly together, especially on a major story, their editor would have caught it and rewritten it. Not today, though.

Permalink: 10:40 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 21, 2004

Mark Steyn on Joe Wilson

Mark Steyn , as usual, writes a situation up with insight and style:

What do Joe Wilson's lies mean? And what does it say about the Democrats and the media that so many high-ranking figures took him at his word?

First, contrary to what Wilson wrote in the New York Times, Saddam Hussein was trying to acquire uranium from Niger. In support of that proposition are a Senate report in Washington, Lord Butler's report in London, MI6, French intelligence, other European agencies -- and, as we now know, the CIA report, based on Joe Wilson's original briefing to them. Against that proposition is Joe Wilson's revised version of events for the Times.

This isn't difficult. In 1999, a senior Iraqi "trade" delegation went to Niger. Uranium accounts for 75 percent of Niger's exports. The rest is goats, cowpeas and onions. So who sends senior trade missions to Niger? Maybe Saddam dispatched his Baathist big shots all the way to the dusty capital of Niamy because he had a sudden yen for goat and onion stew with a side order of black-eyed peas, and Major Wanke, the then-president, had offered him a great three-for-one deal.

But that's not what Joe Wilson found. Major Wanke's prime minister, among others, told Ambassador Wilson that he believed Iraq wanted yellowcake. And Ambassador Wilson told the CIA. And the CIA's report agreed with the British and the Europeans that "Iraq was attempting to procure uranium from Africa."


That's what lying is, by the way: intentional deceit, not unreliable intelligence. And I'm not usually the sort to bandy the liar-liar-pants-on-fire charge beloved by so many in our politics today, but I'll make an exception in the case of Wilson, who's never been shy about the term. He called Bush a "liar" and he called Cheney a "lying sonofabitch," on stage at a John Kerry rally in Iowa.


The obvious explanation for Wilson's deceit about what he found in Africa is that his hatred of Bush outweighed everything else. Or as the novelist and Internet maestro Roger L. Simon put it, "He is a deeply evil human being willing to lie and obfuscate for temporary political gain about a homicidal dictator's search for weapons-grade uranium."

Permalink: 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vaclav Klaus on Michael Moore

From World Magazine:

"We were used to such things in the communist days."

Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, after watching the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. He predicted that the film would have little impact on public opinion in the nation: "Everybody has open eyes and can understand that this is propaganda."

Permalink: 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack