During Monday's State Department press briefing, Associated Press State Department Correspondent Matthew Lee posed the most pointed question about the conflict in Gaza and the Bush administration's position: "What’s wrong with an immediate cease-fire that doesn’t have to be sustainable and durable if, during the pause that you get from an immediate cease-fire, something longer-term can be negotiated?" Lee didn't tread lightly either when Deputy Secretary of State Sean McCormack failed to provide a sufficient answer and continued to challenge McCormack on the same point in Tuesday's press briefing.
Yet a funny thing happened on the way to print: the substance of these exchanges never made it into Lee's corresponding articles...
From the aftermath of the 2003 "shock and awe" bombing campaign all the way through Thanksgiving Day 2008, major US news outlets have nearly uniformly blacked out or downplayed reports of the Iraqi death toll. But a recent Associated Press article reveals the depths to which these outlets are still willing to delve to censor this information.
In the November 27 article "Iraqi Parliament OKs US Troops for 3 More Years," by Christopher Torchia and Qassim Abdul-Zahra, AP editors approved the following characterization of Iraqi deaths suffered since the US invasion:
The war has claimed more than 4,200 American lives and killed a far greater, untold number of Iraqis, consumed huge reserves of money and resources and eroded the global stature of the United States, even among its closest allies.
How's that for a statistically rigorous accounting? With the exactitude of a third-grader's book report cribbed from a novel's dust jacket copy, the AP --- America's #1 wire news service --- blankets US news outlets with a quantification of Iraqi casualties that would've made Stalin proud.
Glenn Greenwald returns from his vacation rested and ready to keep up his devastating work on the anthrax beat over at Salon. On Monday, he noted how the FBI's timeline for the supposed Anthrax Killer, Bruce Ivans' trip to mail deadly letters in Princeton, NJ, was literally impossible. So the FBI just leaked a different theory to the Washington Post, who had uncritically reported their first one. Again, the new theory was dutifully passed on uncritically, without the reporters even bothering to note that their first reported theory was wholly debunked.
Writes Greenwald (in reference to the Post here, but feel free to replace its name with virtually any other MSM outlet of your choice):
That's because The Post's role here has been and continues to be what the establishment media's role generally is --- to serve government sources and amplify their claims, not to investigate their veracity. That's how it was Saddam Hussein who was the original anthrax culprit, followed by Steven Hatfill, and now Bruce Ivins. It's how Jessica Lynch heroically fought off Iraqi goons in a firefight, how Pat Tillman stood down Al Qaeda monsters until they murdered him, how Iraq possessed mountains of WMDs, and now, how Russia has assaulted the consensus values of the Western World by invading a sovereign country and occupying parts of it for a whole week, etc. etc. All of those narratives came from the Government directly into the pages of The Washington Post, which then uncritically conveyed them, often (as in the case of the Jessica Lynch lies and WMD claims) playing a leading role in doing so.
He then follows up with this eerily all-too familiar refrain, at least for me and likely most long time BRAD BLOG readers:
Similarly, here is an Associated Press article from last week, by AP's Matt Apuzzo, purporting to report on what it admits are many "meticulously researched" questions that have been raised (including by me) about the FBI's case, yet repeatedly demonizes such skepticism with these phrases, laced throughout the article: "the ingredients for a good conspiracy theory"; "skeptics and conspiracy theorists"; "armchair investigators, bloggers and scientists"; "one of the great conspiracy theories, like whether we landed on the moon or whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone"; "anti-Jewish writers blame the attack on a Zionist plot"; "You can't prove aliens didn't mail the letters."
Welcome to my world, Glenn.
As always, in Establishment Media World, nothing is more insane or radical than refusing to believe every word the Government says. Even after Iraqi mushroom clouds and the whole litany of Government falsehoods, the establishment hallmark of Seriousness and Sanity is accepting the Government's word. When it says Iraq was behind the attacks, then it was. When they said Hatfill was the culprit, he was. Now that they say that Ivins is, he is, and only "conspiracy theorists" --- comparable to those who disbelieve we landed on the moon --- would question that or demand to see the actual evidence. The FBI is relying, understandably so, on their mindless allies in the media to depict its case against Ivins as so airtight that no real investigation is necessary.
Glad to hear it's not just us. Apparently, we're now in very good company, even as our Outlaw Nation continues to crumble around us. To the corporate MSM, however, everything is just fine.
The case against the supposed "Anthrax Killer," Bruce E. Ivins, a researcher who worked at the Army lab confirmed by the government as being the source for the dry, powdered anthrax used in the letters targeted mainly at Democrats and other perceived "liberals," is going from bad to worse. At least the coverage of it from mainstream outlets such as AP is.
We noted, when we first jumped into this horrendous beat last Friday, that AP and many of the other corporate outlets failed to even bother noting the perceived "liberals" who made up the targets of the post-9/11 terrorist attacks. Today, Glenn Greenwald (who's been doing yeoman's work on this beat) notes AP's latest unnamed government source-based buffoonery.
Offering a fresh new bizarre angle in the anthrax case --- as per their wont, from "Multiple U.S. officials," all unnamed and all who "spoke on condition of anonymity" --- AP purports to explain Ivins' supposed seven-hour round-trip drive from Frederick, MD, to Princeton, NJ, to mail his letters, by describing a long-term obsession he supposedly had with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
"The bizarre link to the sorority," AP's report proffers based on leaks from those unnamed officials, "may indirectly explain one of the biggest mysteries in the case: why the anthrax was mailed from Princeton, 195 miles from the Army biological weapons lab the anthrax is believed to have been smuggled out of."
Oookay...we'll bite. But then, with the unsubstantiated genie out of the bottle, a few problems appeared as AP's initial report then morphed shortly thereafter, and an update was filed...
The Election Integrity advocate gets quoted in graf 3 of an AP story on Election Integrity. Go figure...
DENVER - With the presidential race in full swing, some U.S. states have found critical flaws in the accuracy and security of their electronic voting machines, forcing officials to scramble to return to the paper ballots they abandoned after the 2000 Florida debacle.
In December alone, top election officials in Ohio and Colorado declared that widely used voting equipment is unfit for elections.
"Every system that is out there, one state or another has found that they are no good," said John Gideon of the advocacy group Voters Unite. "Everybody is starting to look at this now and starting to realize that there is something wrong."
Nice. That, as opposed to the EI expert showing up, maybe, in the penultimate graf, only to be finally countered at the end by the voting machine company spokeshole or election official who then lies: "Everything's just fine! Our machines work great!"
What runs via AP matters, as its picked up by, um, everybody. So it's good to see them covering this issue finally, with our buddy John Gideon getting the featured prominence he deserves, in a story which will likely be widely read.
And now to be both beggar and chooser: there's a minor error or two, a couple of dubious points in the story, and, most notably, a quote or two (one from the CO SoS) that underscores the failure of AP, and the rest of the corporate media, to adequately report on this issue, at least up until now...
Asociated Press and ABC both cover the Judiciary Hearings with John Tanner today, leading with his tepid apology: "I want to apologize for the comments I made at the recent meeting of the National Latino Congress about the impact of voter identification laws on elderly and minority voters … My explanation of the data came across in a hurtful way, which I deeply regret."
His data were fine (they weren't), just that his explanation was hurtful.
The head of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division Voting Section's apologia comes in response to comments made on a video tape that, according to both AP and ABC, apparently created itself, reported itself, and then posted itself on YouTube.
In the statement they released yesterday from Howard Dean and Donna Brazile, calling for Tanner to be fired, they attributed the comments to FoxNews.com. Very thoughtful.
Luckily, we are so well off here at The BRAD BLOG, so flush with overflowing resources, as based on the world-wide MSM recognition of the credibility of our work, we don't need the DNC to recognize us for having handed them Tanner's head on a silver platter via our elbow grease at our own expense.
Rupert Murdoch, on the other hand, can use all the help he can get. If we're able to raise enough for this month's rent on our latest premium offer, we'll be sure to send whatever is left over to him. Happy DNC?
(Can you tell I'm rolling on little more than 3 hours' sleep today? Okay, done with my whining for tonight. Maybe.)
UPDATE:The Hill reports "CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) members pummel Department of Justice official" and NPR covers as well. They credit no one for the original reporting. Which is preferred to crediting "a Youtube video."
Here's NPR's coverage, with audio of some of the best Tanner spankings today (appx 4 mins)...
UPDATE: 10/31/07: PBS News Hour covered last night as well. And includes an appropriate attribution. In case it's not clear, the attribution is not because we need ego strokes or pats on the back. It's so that bad guys, in the future, are less able to say "Oh, that explosive report exposing us came from a blog, and we all know that blogs aren't credible." When said blog has been credited as credible by folks such as AP, ABC, and yes, even the DNC, it makes it much more difficult for those bad guys to duck accountability using the "just an Internet blog" defense.
Here's the PBS News Hour's coverage (thanks to Alan Breslauer!) from last night:
"That's a shame, you know, creating problems for elderly persons just is not good under any circumstance," Tanner said, according to video posted on YouTube. "Of course, that also ties into the racial aspect because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."
Setting aside the de rigueurBRAD BLOG slight, AP received a response to Obama's call for Tanner's head from DoJ spokesman Erik Ablin:
"Mr. Tanner is an attorney who works to protect civil rights on a daily basis," Ablin said, adding that the official had won numerous awards from African-American groups. "Nothing in his comments deviated from his firm commitment to enforce the law, and it is unfortunate that they have been so grossly misconstrued."
"Grossly misconstrued"? AP does not detail in what way Ablin believes the comments to have been "grossly misconstrued," but quotes him as saying the department "continues to have full confidence" in Tanner.
Former colleagues of Tanner's, however, don't seem to agree that the comments were misconstrued...
And speaking of credit where it's due, the New York Times and several other outlets today confirm the story of secret US prisons in Poland and Romania which our friend and courageous investigative journalist, Larisa Alexandrovna, reported exclusively long ago with former Polish intelligence officer David Dastych over at the news site RAW STORY.
As usual, the Times, Washington Post, AP, and the Guardian all failed to acknowledge or recognize RAW in any way, despite that the fact that RAW "provided each of the four news organizations with the" report that they are today reporting on.
It's a continuing pattern, for which those outlets always have some form of excuse ("we verified it independently, we didn't know about the 'Internet reporting' on it previously, we don't credit 'blogs'," etc.) Meanwhile, RAW, ourselves, and virtually every other Internet reporting outlet routinely credit such MSM sources when we follow up on their reporting.
Anyway, none of them credited RAW, so we won't bother linking to any of them. Here's RAW STORY's coverage --- the ones who had the story and had it right in the first place --- instead.
[Ed Note: Story updated with additional details. Brian Skoloff, of AP's Florida bureau was later revealed as the writer of the article in question. See end of this item for details.]
OATH: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that...All information on this form is true. I understand that if it is not true, I can be convicted of a felony of the third degree and fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years.
-- Oath signed by Ann Coulter when she fraudulently lied about her address on her Florida Voter Registration Form
AP never fails to fail. Incredible.
Their unbylined report, out this afternoon, is surely good news for Ann Coulter! And we'll bet their headline is currently scrolling by on the Fox "News" and CNN crawls, it's certainly everywhere else. Here's the headline:
Coulter Cleared in Florida Vote Probe Commentator Coulter Cleared of Wrongdoing in Investigation of Her Vote in Wrong Fla. Precinct
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. May 11, 2007 (AP)
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter was cleared of wrongdoing after an investigation into whether she violated Florida law by voting in the wrong precinct.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office closed the case April 12, concluding "there was insufficient probable cause to determine that Ann Coulter willfully or deliberately" violated any laws.
We guess the fact that an FBI agent --- who, as we reported earlier today, is apparently her former boyfriend --- interceded inappropriately in the case to claim she was being "stalked" (without evidence apparently) isn't noteworthy enough to include in AP's report.
No, instead, the AP reports --- in an unbylined article! --- Coulter's wet dream headline that she's been "cleared."
And despite the fact that her Loyal Bushie attorney didn't even bother to respond to AP's request for comment, AP passed on his wet dream by reporting completely unsubstantiated horseshit to the effect of: "Her attorney, Marcos Daniel Jimenez, told the detective Coulter may have not changed a previous address because of a stalking incident."
That's a bald-faced lie. Coulter didn't "not change" anything....
This one is just incredible. Fox "News'" Rightwing owner/idealogue Rupert Murdoch's NY Post may have hit an all-time nadir for corporate mainstream media "reporting" in this remarkable historical period. Greg Sargent has the scoop...
[Dobson] touched on the uproar over former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, D-Florida, who resigned Friday in a scandal over electronic messages he sent to former teenage male congressional pages.
The party affiliation that dare not speak its name.
Late Update: As of about 12:18 PM, the version of the AP story I linked to at the San Jose Mercury News has been corrected. But it must have been what the AP sent out over the wire. So I'm sure there are million more examples of it still out there.
Indeed Josh would appear to be correct. As of a quick Google search moments ago, there were still several articles indexed as showing Foley as a "(D-Florida)":
The stories listed by Google above now seem to have corrected the text in their online versions. No clue how many actually made it into newsprint that way.
Several of the outlets who ran AP's original "Foley is a Dem" version now have this correction notice at the bottom of their articles:
Correction: This story originally referenced Rep. Mark Foley as a Democrat. He is a Republican. The AP ran a similar correction 3 hours after it first moved on the wire.
To our knowledge, no such admission has been issued by either O'Reilly or Fox "News", despite having run the most egregious version of this "error" (three times in total) during the initial primetime broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor last night as we originally reported just after it aired. They simply scrubbed the "error" by removing that title card during the later re-broadcasts of the program (the ones with the smaller viewerships).
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In light of our recent reports that California's special run-off election to fill the seat of disgraced former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in the 50th congressional was carried out on voting machines tainted by massive security breaches --- having been sent home with poll workers in the weeks prior to the election in violation of several state and federal directives --- Republicans have rushed to swear in the "winner" Brian Bilbray in Washington D.C. this morning, despite the election results being unverified, ballots still being counted and the "winner" not even certified in the state.
The Associated Press, who ran a photo today of a "mock swearing-in ceremony" in House Speaker Dennis Haster's office, also ran a story, widely carried unquestioningly around the country, describing Bilbray's official first day in the U.S. House, as if the election results had been legitimized. They haven't been.
"Bilbray sworn in to replace Rep. Cunningham," says the headline accompanying a story written by AP's Erica Warner and picked up widely. The story gives no indication that the questionable results of the election have yet to be certified by the state of California.
And yet, four sources in the CA-50's San Diego County Registrar of Voters office, including the Registrar himself, Michael Haas, along with two officials in the CA Secretary of State's office have confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that there are thousands of votes still be counted in the closely watched race, which has yet to be officially certified by either the county or the state...
In case you missed it, AP recently lifted an article as researched and written by RAW STORY and published a version of it as their own. Along the way, they seem to have forgotten to give RAW the attribution they deserved for the many hours of research and work they put into the story in order to file the piece in the first place.
RAW's Larisa Alexandrovna originally discovered the gem after plowing through a bunch of Bush Administration policy statements on National Security Clearance policies and comparing the most recent version to previous versions of that same policy side-by-side. One of the RAW researchers confirmed her work and the subtle, but important changes she found, and then Larisa, along with RAW's Executive Editor John Byrne finally filed the piece at RawStory.com.
After all of that hard work, a human rights group shared RAW's story with AP who eventually filed their own very familiar story using the work as originally unearthed by RAW. They've since admitted to being given RAW's article and using it as the starting point for their own work, which walks a dangerously close line towards plagarism.
But even as they now admit that their story originated with RAW's reporting, they still refuse to give credit where credit's due. They've now given several lame and still-changing reasons for failing to acknowledge the "oversight" including "we do not credit blogs" and later, "we only credit blogs we know."
Larisa writes about the matter at Huff Po here and here, and John Byrne wrote an article covering AP's comments and comparing both articles directly for RAW here.
Setting aside the fact that RAW STORY is NOT EVEN A BLOG --- apparently any independent news source which originates on the Internet is now considered a "blog" by some in the MSM...all the easier to dismiss them by, we suppose --- The BRAD BLOGis a blog and yet we find the practice of failing to give us due credit equally objectionable for the many stories we have broken which were later picked up by the MSM as well.
Though most "blogs" do not do the sort of original reporting that we do here, it's certainly harder to argue that we're not one --- what with the word "BLOG" in our name and all. And yet, I'm forced to ask: What the hell does the word "blog" have to do with anything anyway?
Journalism is journalism is journalism. The quality of the reporting and the journalism therein is what matters no matter the name given to the media originating the work.
The reason that all of this matters is not so that Larisa or RAW or even myself or The BRAD BLOG receives some form of personal adulation or ego stroke for our hard work.
So if not for the good of our own personal self-esteem, why does proper credit to such sources really matter?...