October 07, 2011

Holder vs White House: Who Is Accountable?

Game on.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:23 AM | Comments (5)

August 19, 2011

Issa Demands Retraction of NY Times Hit Piece

I wrote earlier this week about the sorry excuse of a journalist Eric Litchblau, an ideologue that is one of the NY Times go-to writers who attacked Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee that is closing in on corruption in the Obama Administration like the Allies closed in on Berlin.

Issa is not taking the Litchblau hit piece laying down, and has demanded a retraction based upon 13—yes,THIRTEEN—erroneous statements (or as well call them, lies) in the front-page Times smear job.

Below is the formal request for a retraction sent by Rep. Issa’s office yesterday to editors of The New York Times:

On behalf of Rep. Darrell Issa, please accept this as a formal request for a full front page retraction, including the headline, "Helping His District, and Himself," that ran in the Monday, August 15 edition of the New York Times. The request for a full front page retraction is based on numerous errors that invalidate the primary assertions made in the story that is a false and sensationalized account Rep. Issa's efforts to conduct congressional oversight of the Obama Administration and other matters.

This request is being sent after New York Times reporter, Eric Lichtblau, who wrote the story, refused to share the contact information of his editors for a discussion of errors in the story as requested by Rep. Issa's congressional office.

The central claim in the New York Times story is an allegation of self-dealing on the part of Rep. Darrell Issa, as the story describes, "with at least some of the congressman's actions helping to make a rich man richer" and "specific actions that appear to have clearly benefited his businesses."

The New York Times story cites three central examples it believes justifies these allegations:

  • A medical complex purchased by Rep. Issa in 2008 that the Times story alleges enjoyed a 60 percent appreciation as it increased in value from $10.3 million to $16.6 million, "at least in part because of the government-sponsored road work" that Rep. Issa supported.
  • That he "went easy" on Toyota during 2010 hearings on unintended acceleration due to "his electronics company's role as a major supplier of alarms to Toyota."
  • An alleged 1900 percent profit Rep. Issa's charitable foundation made on an investment of "less that $19,000" that was sold seven months later for $357,000 "months before the stock market crashed."

All central examples, however, are wildly inaccurate, and the truth deserves to be told.

  • The medical complex the Times story alleges enjoyed a 60 percent appreciation since it was purchased for $10.3 million and is now valued at $16.6 million is a patently false claim. According to the buyer's final settlement statement, the property in question was not purchased for $10.3 million as the New York Times reported but for $16.6 million – the exact same figure of its current tax assessment. According to these numbers, the appreciation is not 60 percent but roughly zero. In addition, the government sponsored road work noted in the article has not even begun and Rep. Issa's requests for the project (which were publicly announced and made on behalf of and at the request of the City of Vista, and the San Diego Association of Governments which is the regional transportation planning authority) all came before the 2009 property purchase.
  • The allegation that Rep. Issa "went easy" on Toyota during 2010 hearings because of "his electronics company's role as a major supplier of alarms to Toyota" is again an example of a factual error in the Times story that lends no support to the story's central premise. While the Times story tells readers that Rep. Issa's former company, Directed Electronics, is a "major supplier of alarms to Toyota," the story offers no evidence, and Directed Electronics is, in fact, not a supplier to Toyota. The New York Times also fails to note that Rep. Issa does not have a personal financial interest in Directed Electronics.
  • The "1,900 percent" profit allegation is, again, based on reporting errors by the New York Times. This is assertion is based on an incorrect form obtained by the Times. According to a financial transaction record, the Issa Family Foundation's initial investment in the AIM Small Company fund was not $19,000 but $500,000. The asset was later sold for $375,000 resulting in a $125,000 loss – not a 1900 percent gain as was reported.

In other words, the claims leveled against Issa by Litchblau entirely fabricated. The writer and his editors totally failed to fact-check their claims. The real question here is, "Where did they get their information?"

I'm guessing the same place that plagiarist Sari Horwitz got her smear piece in Pravda on the Potomac, which was Barack Obama's White House.

Now back to the demand for retraction.

In addition, the lede line of the Times story – an attempt by the New York Times to foreshadow a corporate image of Rep. Issa's congressional office – contains a factual inaccuracy in introducing intentionally distorted imagery. The story begins, "Here on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course in the rugged foothills north of San Diego, Darrell Issa, the entrepreneur, oversees the hub of a growing financial empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars." As this video shows, however, the office building located at 1800 Thibodo Rd. in Vista does not overlook a golf course. Because of these errors, and another error the New York Times did correct that grossly exaggerated the value of some holdings held by Rep. Issa, the following lines in the New York Times original story that ran August 15 are incorrect or made on baseless assertions:
  • The title, "Helping His District and Himself" implies that Rep. Issa has engaged in self-dealing. The only evidence the story offers for this assertion are factually flawed assertions.
  • The lede, "Here on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course in the rugged foothills north of San Diego, Darrell Issa, the entrepreneur, oversees the hub of a growing financial empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars." The building where Rep. Issa's office is located does not overlook a golf course as the reporter Eric Lichtblau implies he personally observed.
  • "Mr. Issa has … split a holding company into separate multibillion-dollar businesses." Rep. Issa does not own a single multi-billion business (The Times has issued a correction for this error).
  • "As his private wealth and public power have grown, so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman's government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts." The only examples the New York Times raises of Rep. Issa's public actions benefiting his private holdings are the erroneous examples previously noted.
  • "In one case, more than $800,000 in earmarks he arranged will help widen a busy thoroughfare in front of a medical plaza he bought for $10.3 million." The story erroneously reports the property's purchase price which was, in fact, $16.6 million. It also fails to mention that at the time he sought funding for his district he did not own this property.
  • "At the same time, the value of the medical complex and other properties has soared, at least in part because of the government-sponsored roadwork." The roadwork in question has not begun and, as noted previously, the New York Times' assertion that the value of the medical complex has "soared" is based on false information. The Times' statement also conflicts with the statement of a quoted source in the story, Dean Tilton the local commercial property broker, who describes this as the worst market in twenty years. The Times suggests road projects miles away from those owned by Rep. Issa benefit him. By this logic, wouldn't the entire area be booming as a result of Rep. Issa's earmarks?
  • "But beyond specific actions that appear to have clearly benefited his businesses, Mr. Issa's interests are so varied that some of the biggest issues making their way through Congress affect him in some way." The New York Times fails to provide accurate examples of "specific actions that appear to have clearly benefited his businesses."
  • "After the forced sale of Merrill Lynch in 2008, for instance, he publicly attacked the Treasury Department's handling of the deal without mentioning that Merrill had handled hundreds of millions of dollars in investments for him and lent him many millions more." The New York Times fails to note that Rep. Issa's transactions with Merrill Lynch have been appropriately disclosed in his annual ethics filing.
  • "In Mr. Issa's case, it is sometimes difficult to separate the business of Congress from the business of Darrell Issa." Again, the New York Times story fails to provide factually accurate examples for this assertion.
  • "Then, Mr. Issa brushed aside suggestions that his electronics company’s role as a major supplier of alarms to Toyota made him go easy on the automaker as he led an investigation into the recalls." Rep. Issa's former company is not a supplier to Toyota.
  • "In one 2008 sale, months before the stock market crashed, his family foundation earned $357,000 on an initial investment of less than $19,000 — a return of nearly 1,900 percent in just seven months, the foundation reported to the Internal Revenue Service." This assertion is based on an incorrect document. The actual purchase price was not $19,000, but $500,000 and resulted in a $125,000 loss.
  • "That suggests the foundation may have acquired the shares from a third-party broker." This assertion is based on the false 1900 percent claim.
  • "Mr. Issa is keenly interested in Goldman's performance." This statement lacks a basis in fact as Rep. Issa does not have investments dependent on Goldman Sach's performance.

I appreciate your attention to these thirteen errors contained in the August 15 story and look forward to hearing your response to our request for a front-page retraction of the story due to the inaccuracies that fully undermine the premise of the article.

Thank you,

Frederick Hill
Director of Communications

According to journalistic ethics (not that the MSM uses them anymore), a retraction should go on the same page in roughly the same place as the original article. Considering the blatant and numerous failures in researching and editing this article, the New York Times clearly owes Congressman Issa a front-page, above-the-fold and detailed retraction, along with an explanation to their readers of how such a smear made it into print.

In an ethical paper, I'd also expect suspensions or firings for the writer and editors involved, but since we are talking about the Times, I have no expectation of such competence.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:54 AM | Comments (3)

August 17, 2011

At What Point Are There Consequences?

Far Left blowhard Ed Shultz deceptively edited video of Republican governor and Presidential candidate Rick Perry in order to provide "evidence" that Perry made a racist comment, calling Barack Obama a "black cloud hanging over America."

The problem is, Perry did nothing of the sort.

Perry was speaking to a crowd about the exploding national debt being a "black cloud hanging over America." The video in full context clearly shows that the candidate is clearly talking about the debt, and nothing but the debt.

Caught red-handed, Shultz apologizes for deceptively editing the video clip. He does not—in any way, shape, or form—apologize for doctoring the video footage to support his slander of Governor Perry as a racist.

At what point does NBC News and MSNBC display a modicum of journalistic integrity and respect for their audience by suspending or terminating firebrands that fabricate evidence and tell terrible lies to deceive their viewers?

Does NBC News and MSNBC have so little respect for their viewing audience that they feel it is acceptable to lie to them without care or consequence, other than the occasionally half-hearted "I'm sorry that I was caught" non-apology apology Shultz issues here?

The news media wonders why respect for their profession has plummeted. They can find their answer with a glance in the mirror.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:08 AM | Comments (2)

August 16, 2011

Think Progress Lies About Rick Perry's Response to Reporter's Question

If someone asks you an obtuse question about someone else, and you chose to answer by replying, "I dunno, you need to ask him," is that fairly characterized by saying that the person who was asked the question was the one doing the questioning?

In the community-based, radically-warped views of Think Progress the apparent answer is, "Yes! if we can get away with it."

Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of desperation, my friends, and it permeates the agenda-driven media space that demands Barack Obama be re-elected, no matter what.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:49 AM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2011

Times Reporter Eric Lichtblau's Hit Piece on Issa Full of Fact Errors, Reported Plagiarism. Bears Marks of Obama Administration Desperation

Eric Litchblau is not a reporter. He never has been.

What Eric Litchblau of the New york Times happens to be is a political ideologue with few scruples, and undeveloped sense of right and wrong, and honor... well, it simply was never in his DNA.

He was infamously part of the Times reporting team (along with James Risen)that leaked the existence of a NSA program that included intercepting terrorist communications in an attempt to politically hobble the Bush Administration. The disclosure served to tip off terrorist plotters to use other forms of communications, and was ultimately deemed legal by the federal court.

Before that final confirmation, however, Litchblau played fast and loose with the truth on more than one occasion, and even reversed the facts of stories so that he was essentially fabricating the news.

Old habits, unpunished by a rabid and unscrupulous editorial staff, once again surfaced today in a hit piece directed at Congressman Darrel Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee that has been ranging in the Obama Administration in the Gunwalker scandal and a number of other questionable activities.

Perhaps out of desperation, Litchblau's latest article simply makes up facts... those it doesn't apparently plagiarize from left wing blogs, that is. Even left wing radicals that are the Times biggest idolators are calling him out for his theft.

My big question regarding the Litchblau piece is whether or not it was even written by Litchblau. Actually, I suspect Litchblau wrote the story—at least the parts he didn't allegedly steal—but the question remains as to why he would put such a poorly researched, easily debunked and roundly condemned article, unless he was doing it as a political favor to the the Administration.

It was, after all, the White House that shopped a hit piece targeting Issa just months ago that had similarly desperate and sloppy details in a story so weak that a number of news organizations and even a left wing blog passed on it for being not credible.

The hit piece seems to confirm that Issa is damaging the Administration with his Oversight committee probes. As more federal agents, supervisors, and political appoints come forward to point out corruption and criminality, you can only expect the media to publish more manufactured smears in hopes of tarring the reputations of the men and women who just might make the 44th President of the United States the first one ever impeached, put on trial in a criminal court, and extradited to face even more criminal charges.

Update: An editorial in the Washington Examiner suggests that it is DHHS, and not DOJ and DHS that has spurred the White House attack dogs in the press to attack Issa, and they make the very accurate point that these are not just attacks, but in-kind contributions to the Obama campaign.

The simple fact of the matter is that Issa is determined and was released as chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform committee in the most target-rich environment in the history of American government... and that he is very good at his job.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:55 PM | Comments (2)

July 21, 2011

Politico Reporter Changes Venues, Works for Same Cause

He's just the latest of many reporters that have quit "journalism" in recent years to officially work for the same folks they've actually been working for the entire time:

A Politico reporter who often penned stories about Sarah Palin and other Republicans has quit journalism to work with the Democratic Party in Arizona, sources tell The Daily Caller.

That reporter, Andy Barr, has covered national politics for the publication since 2008. Barr leaving to help elect Democrats will likely fan the flames of critics who say Politico has a liberal bias.

It's not exactly clear what his new job duties are. Barr wouldn't say, but told FishbowlDC, which first reported that Barr was leaving, that he left Politico on "very good terms." That report said Barr, who is from Phoenix, is taking a "political job," but didn’t say where he is going.

The media would do the country a tremendous service if they could be relied upon to report upon stories objectively. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of reporters and editors in the media business have a strong leftward personal political slant, and that affects their reporting as well. It has just become more overt in recent years.

Of all the news outlets, it is unsurprisingly Rupert Murdock's News Corp that is the most politically balanced, with only a slight edge in donations to Democrats over Republicans (51%-49%). The balance carries over to news reporting in News Corp, which is why they are more trusted and viewed than many of their rabidly liberal counterparts.

How is Keith Olbermann these days, anyway?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:50 AM | Comments (2)

June 27, 2011

Gunwalker Goes Pravda

I did a total of six radio appearances last week related to "Gunwalker," and Mike did at least two (including one today).

Here's a fresh Youtube clip of my Friday night appearance on Cam and Company.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2011

Writer That Ran with Post Character Assassination Piece Shopped by the Adminstration Just Came Off 3 Month Suspension for Plagiarism

None dare call it journalism.

Washington Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli blocked all escape routes that his reporter Sari Horwitz might have mapped when he told Yahoo News reporter Michael Calderone yesterday, "There are no mitigating circumstances for plagiarism."

Horwitz stole from at least two Arizona Republic stories about the prosecution of Jared Lee Loughner earlier this month, the Post reports today. (Here's the Post editor's note on the matter.) Brauchli delivered his justice swiftly. Having learned of the plagiarism in a Monday e-mail from Randy Lovely, editor of the Republic, Brauchli had sentenced Horwitz to a three-month suspension by Wednesday.

If the 3-month suspension ran from March 16-June 16, Horwitz was back on the job less than a week before she ran this bogus story under her name. PJM sources claim someone in the Obama Administration allegedly shopped the article to various news outlets for a week in an attempt to try to stymie Congressman Darrell Issa's investigation in the Administration's role in the Gunwalker plot.

They weren't successful, but they are doing a damn good job of making the Administration look like guilty criminals flailing for a way out.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:52 PM | Comments (2)

June 15, 2011

Talking Gunwalker on NRA News

Just a quick programing note. I'll be on NRA News with Cam and Company tonight, (SiriusXM Satellite Radio Patriot 125) at about 10:20 EST to talk about BATF's Gunwalker fiasco.

We'll be discussing my recent article at Pajamas Media, Gunwalker under Fire.

Update: The video:

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2011

"Gay Girl From Damascus" Actually a Che-Loving, Jew-Hating Douche From Georgia

Didn't much care about it before and so I can't pretend to be outraged now, but is is funny that so many "educated" rubes got sucked into buying this.

"I'm not a government-abducted Syrian lesbian. I'm you."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:51 PM | Comments (2)

June 06, 2011

Breitbart Takes Over Weiner Press Conference, Stuns MSM

I would not have believed it if i wasn't watching it with my own two eyes.

Embattled Democrat Anthony Weiner was expected to take the stage at a 4:00 PM press conference, when Andrew Breitbart took over the stage and the message.

After providing his version of events reading the media the riot act for their biased coverage, Breitbart left the stunned journalists almost speechless in his wake as he strode off stage.

Update: Weiner joins his press conference a half hour later makes half-admissions of his guilt before and after his marriage.

"I haven't told the truth, and I've done things i deeply regret."

Admits his guilt, will not resign at this time.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:20 PM | Comments (2)

April 07, 2011

Media Suppresses Leftist Violence (Again)

Michael Thomas describes himself as a liberal Democrat and communist. The police say he's mentally unstable, but that's redundant.

A Portland man charged with sending threatening letters to Gov. Paul LePage admitted to agents that he sent those and other threatening letters to national political figures, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, according to testimony Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Authorities also found a gun and an ammunition clip in Michael Thomas' desk drawer when he was arrested Friday, FBI Special Agent Pamela Flick testified; and Thomas told her that if they had showed up later, he would have launched a shootout with police.

Thomas claims he would have carried out his death threats if he had the means. In other words, he had the intent of becoming the next Jared Lee Laughner, just not the ability to carry it out.

Because all of his targets were Republicans, and Thomas is a self-described Democrat and communist, the MSM won't give this story the front-page treatment they would if the situation was reversed.

It's far too important for them to protect the narrative.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:40 AM | Comments (3)

March 09, 2011

O'Keefe Wins Again: NPR CEO Vivian Schiller Resigns In Wake of Hate Speech Revelations

On Fox right now:

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller has resigned, the radio network announced Wednesday.

The announcement comes a day after a hidden-camera video was released showing a senior NPR executive criticizing the Tea Party as "racist."

NPR condemned the comments, but the company announced Wednesday that the Board of Directors just accepted Schiller's resignation, "effective immediately."

Schiller was a liberal elitist bigot who encouraged bigotry and hatred of conservatives while part of the organization. She resigns one day after controversial conservative activist James O'Keefe released video of a sting where NPR executive Ron Schiller (no relation) was filmed bashing conservatives as xenophobic, racist, and scary. Ron Schiller, who was leaving NPR for a position with the Aspen Institute on April 1, has now been terminated.

The Aspen Institute claims in their mission statement:

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.

His naked bigotry on full public display, I frankly have no confidence that Ron Schiller is capable of performing the job he was hired to do objectively, but whether or not to rescind his job offer is a decision Aspen Institute and it's benefactors must make, not I.

Update: Ron Shiller out at Aspen Institute. No word on whether he'll join Media Matters or Think Progress.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:00 AM | Comments (3)

February 28, 2011

Rolling Stone Owes U.S. Military an Apology and a Retraction

I called out Rolling Stone for this non-story last week.

Now that Michael Hastings' military-hatefest is being rapidly torn asunder, will Rolling Stone admit their incompetent editorial process and disdain for the military allowed a bogus story to be published?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2011

A Runaway Reporter

I've dealt with many different kind of communications mediums over the years, and have been tasked at various times to engage in persuasive communications. One of the most most basic kinds of communications, it simply seeks to win the favor, approval, and/or consent of the target audience. It is practiced in nearly every level of human interaction, from a parent convincing a young child to perform a task to a salesperson or marketer attempting to convince a client that "Solution X" will provide an answer or solve a problem. It's used by public officials trying to convince voters to select them, and it is used by journalists and propagandists to shape public opinion.

An article the Rolling Stone attempts to make this behavior into a major political scandal. It sounds quite nefarious; a military psychological operations team is tasked with creating presentations to convince visiting congressional representatives.

But when you read past the hyperbole and insinuation endemic throughout the article, you come realize that there isn't any "there," there.

A military unit normally tasked with understanding, targeting and persuading the local population was pressed into service to more or less Google the records and positions of visiting dignitaries in order to tweak boilerplate presentations to match the VIPs preferences and learning style, so that military briefers could more effectively communicate with them and then achieve a favorable response. Objectively, that appears to be all there is to this story.

Subjectively, this is the story of a disgruntled employee attempting to cast his former employer in the worst possible light, pounced upon by a journalist that has previously found fame and fortune sensationalizing a similar story. Both of these men have obvious motives. What is far less clear is their case that anything remotely unethical—much less illegal—took place in what were essentially corporate marketing operations that in an of themselves were utterly ordinary in execution.

Michael Hastings make his career when he interviewed General Stanley McCrystal and ultimately ended his career. He's trying so hard here to repeats his past success. It's too bad the apparent facts refuse to back his desire for more attention and fame.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2011

Big Time?

When Keith Olbermann moved to Al Gore's current TV, he joined a network that has just 18,000 primetime viewers. (h/t Drudge)

That's 841,372 viewers less than this almost four-year-old video of a Peter Gabriel song from 1986.

Rock it, Keith.

They think so small, they use small words
But not me, I'm smarter than that,
I worked it out
I'll be stretching my mouth to let those big words come right out
I've had enough, I'm getting out
To the city, the big big city
I'll be a big noise with all the big boys, so much stuff I will own...
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2011

To Boldly Go Where No One Has Watched Before

The buzz this morning is that ousted MSNBC host Keith Olbermann will be joining Al Gore's Current TV, a channel so obscure most of us had to look it up because most Americans don't even know it exists.

You know, kind of like the network Olbermann left.

I joked last night on twitter that it was kind of like a merger between a chain link fence company and a ship builder. You know their product is going down, the only question is how long it will take.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:36 AM | Comments (2)

January 28, 2011

Associated Press Falls For "Pallywood"-Style Stunt in Egypt

Glance at this gritty cellphone video from Egypt, and you might think you're watching video of protester being gunned down by riot police.

Now watch it again.

You'll note first that the shot does not come from the distance. Bullets fly far faster than sound, and yet this protester is dropping to the ground as the shot is going off. It also sounds to my ear like a pistol shot; one coming from the side of or behind the camera, at that.

Second, the man drops like a sack of potatoes. This suggests a central nervous system shot to the head or spine. He flopped back completely prostrate, where a through-and-though wound from the government forces to his front would dump substantial blood from an exit wound at the rear.

There is no blood.

This was a poorly staged scene, ladies and gentlemen.

And the media has shamefully fallen for it.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:59 AM | Comments (3)

January 22, 2011

Olby Out... But Why Should I Care?

The political blogosphere and Twitter have been in a uproar over Keith Olbermann's abrupt departure—some are saying a firing—from MSNBC.

The "highest-rated host on MSNBC"—which is damning with faint praise, indeed— will reportedly be off the air for some time as part of a contract buyout, but will soon be part of some sort of online venture.

I think it's great. He wasn't worth watching on television. He'll be even easier to ignore online.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:22 PM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2010

Horrors! Media Matters Freaks Over Email From Fox News Executive That Calls For Accuracy in Reporting on Climate Change

Lighten up, Francis:

In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."

Unless you've been living under a rock—or inhabit a cultish, community-based reality—you are well aware that the "science" of climate change science is being hotly debated, and has been for several years. This has been exacerbated by allegations of climate change scientists hiding and/or manipulating data, and of course the heavily-politicized nature of the subject.

Is it a scandal to point out that contested theories are, in fact, hotly contested?

It is for Media Matters, just one of along line of activist groups that has decided that using the near-certain threat of short-term ecological disaster is a great way to establish control over the general population in the service of their wider agenda.

Despite protestations to the contrary by those with vested political and financial interests, climate change science is a field of study in its infancy with significant room for debate.

Asking for reporters to note the controversial nature of climate science claims is the only responsible position for a news manager to take.

The real question Media Matters should be asked is why they refuse to push for that kind of transparency in other news agencies.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:31 PM | Comments (6)

December 09, 2010

The Spin Factory Shrieks

Think Progress—an organization built from the ground up to skew media coverage to the left—is complaining this morning because they were provided with a memo of a Fox News executive playing their game... and playing it just as well or better.

At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase "public option."

Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts.

Both sides play the spin game, and always have. Think Progress is particularly aggrieved at this particular example because (a), they had it, and (b) calling it the "government option" was both more effective and more accurate messaging than than their less-accurate "public option" construct.

There is nothing morally, ethically, or legally wrong in choosing the more accurate term "government option." We are, after all, talking about a government-run health-care law.

Think Progress is throwing a hissy-fit because Sammon sent out a memo because he wanted to make sure that his network used the more accurate and yes, more divisive description of Obamacare.

As much as these totalitarians would like to regulate the words we can use, they haven't managed to establish that level of control.

Then again, that is probably what irritates them the most.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:12 PM | Comments (11)

December 08, 2010

Aaron Sorkin is a Whiny Little Man-Bitch, Isn't He?

It's starting to feel like "all caribou, all the time" around here, but you take your litmus tests where you find them.

Sarah Palin's less-than-picture-perfect caribou hunt on her reality show has earned her some derision on both sides of the political spectrum.

On the right, critics find her gun handling and shooting skills suspect, as well as her decision to shoot a rifle that had been dropped earlier in the hunt. Not only did she fire it and complain about it missing high, she shot it five times before going to another rifle with which she finally dispatched what must have been one of the world's dumbest herbivores. Some doubt her authenticity as a hunter and shooter as a result of the episode, while some question her judgment as she continued to use a damaged weapon. By and large, these criticisms have all be rational.

And then there is the comically absurd commentary frothing forth from the Left.

I discussed Maureen Dowd's mangled attempt earlier, but shrill screenwriter Aaron Sorkin was so furious that he produced a self-parodying gem that simply must be read to be appreciated for it's stupidity.

Like 95% of the people I know, I don't have a visceral (look it up) problem eating meat or wearing a belt. But like absolutely everybody I know, I don't relish the idea of torturing animals. I don't enjoy the fact that they're dead and I certainly don't want to volunteer to be the one to kill them and if I were picked to be the one to kill them in some kind of Lottery-from-Hell, I wouldn't do a little dance of joy while I was slicing the animal apart.

"Torturing animals"?

I'd invite Mr. Sorkin to visit any commercial slaughterhouse of his choice, and compare the killing processes there against the taking of a game animal by a hunter. His belt and loafers lived a tortured life in a factory farm and died a tortured death in a commercial slaughterhouse. Palin's caribou lived free in nature, and died there.

I'm able to make a distinction between you and me without feeling the least bit hypocritical. I don't watch snuff films and you make them. You weren't killing that animal for food or shelter or even fashion, you were killing it for fun. You enjoy killing animals. I can make the distinction between the two of us but I've tried and tried and for the life of me, I can't make a distinction between what you get paid to do and what Michael Vick went to prison for doing.

Oh, what nutty goodness. As noted above, the commercially raised, slaughtered, and butchered animals that Sorkin exploits for his needs and comforts are done by others with cold efficiency, stripping the animals of their dignity along with their flesh. Palin's kill was explicitly made to fill her freezer. His argument that she, like millions of others in America and generations of mankind going back to the beginning of our species, should not find pride and an feeling of accomplish in one of mankind's oldest rituals merely shows how ignorant this pretender really is about the human condition... and it perhaps explains the thinned excrement he typically produces as entertainment.

Hunters hunt for many reasons, but the most common are to connect to our shared cultural past, to commune with nature, and feel the satisfaction of being self-sustaining. It shouldn't be a surprise that a parasite that derives his existence from mimicking the human condition is unable to relate to the authentic state.

I'm able to make the distinction with no pangs of hypocrisy even though I get happy every time one of you faux-macho shitheads accidentally shoots another one of you in the face.

Oh, the compassion of the faux compassionate. Sorkin, a cookie-cutter liberal, gives unrestricted sympathy to animals he finds adorable, exploits the ones that upholster his custom-made furniture and adorn his plate, and harbors hatred in his heart for those who can do what he cannot... provide for themselves. You can almost hear his testosterone-deprived raisins shriveling with anger as he rages.

So I don't think I will save my condemnation, you phony pioneer girl. (I'm in film and television, Cruella, and there was an insert close-up of your manicure while you were roughing it in God's country. I know exactly how many feet off camera your hair and make-up trailer was.)

And you didn't just do it for fun and you didn't just do it for money. That was the first moose ever murdered for political gain. You knew there'd be a protest from PETA and you knew that would be an opportunity to hate on some people, you witless bully. What a uniter you'd be -- bringing the right together with the far right.

I should not have to point out the fact that animals have been used for political gain since the very beginning of human history in the form of tribute, sacrifice, and of course, political symbolism, but Sorkin is off the rails on a rant; facts, reality, and the expanse of human history be damned. That Sorkin can't tell a moose from a caribou is also a symptom of the left. They want to pay lip service to environmentalism, but don't expect them to spend enough time in the natural environment to identify anything in it.

(Let me be the first to say that I abused cocaine and was arrested for it in April 2001. I want to be the first to say it so that when Palin's Army of Arrogant A$%holes, bereft of any reasonable rebuttal, write it all over the internet tomorrow they will at best be the second.)

I eat meat, there are leather chairs in my office, Sarah Palin is deranged and The Learning Channel should be ashamed of itself.

Sorkin thinks the distant past needs to be dredged up for us to mock him or find his perverse sense of morals and manhood cheap.

That he is a living parody simply wouldn't cross his mind.

Update: And can someone please explain to these idiot liberals the difference between a moose and a caribou?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:59 PM | Comments (17)

Dowd Inexpertly Slaughters and Guts a Metaphor

Bitter Maureen Dowd indulges in Palinism again, using the caribou hunting episode of Sarah Palin's reality show in order to... do something with words.

It appears to be a metaphor, but she pokes at it with uncertainty.

The caribou that waited too pliantly in the cross hairs is doomed to become stew for Palin and an allegory for politics. The elegant animal standing above the fray, dithering rather than charging at his foes or outmaneuvering them, is Obambi. Even with a rifle aimed at him, he's trying to be the most reasonable mammal in the scene, mammalian bipartisan, and rise above what he sees as empty distinctions between the species so that we can all unite at a higher level of being.

Palin's father advises her to warm up her trigger finger. And trigger-happy Sarah represents the Republicans, who have spent two years taking shots at the president, including potshots, and tormenting him in an effort to bring him down.

The Republicans think they have hurt their quarry on the tax-cut deal, making him look weak and at odds with his party. There's an argument to be made for what the president did, but he doesn’t look good doing it.

When all the Democrats are complaining and all the Republicans are happy, it just can't be a good deal for Democrats.

If it appears that Dowd was starting to make a comparison between our President and a caribou before boring herself with the subject by the end of the paragraph, then your reading is correct.

The next paragraph barely attempts to lift its head, muttering a bit about political potshots. The next after that only mentions quarry, but by then Dowd is spent, and the comparison fizzles out. It is the kind of pointless and random comparison we'd expect from substance abusers (a "methaphor?").

Dowd clearly doesn't understand the beast or the circumstances it faces. It is not "elegant animal standing above the fray, dithering rather than charging at his foes or outmaneuvering them."

The Obambi is instead a timid beast, unable to identify the clear threat standing out in the open in front of him or make the basic decisions that would save itself.

It isn't "a reasonable mammal." It isn't trying to "rise above" anything. It's simply too dumb to act in its own best interests. It cannot function apart from the herd.

It is perhaps that bitter and bloody realization that caused Dowd to abandon her her comparison. Any hunter can be successful when the game leads itself to slaughter.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:41 PM | Comments (4)

November 28, 2010

NPR, or the Onion?

Taxpayers should not be subsidizing NPR's second-rate liberal commentary or slanted news... we have for-profit corporations for that.

Neither should we be paying for absurd satire... and I sure hope this was satire.

The president played basketball yesterday with some friends in the gym of the Fort McNair Army Base, and reportedly took an elbow in the mouth from an opposing player who went up for a shot.

It took 12 stitches to close The First Fat Lip, if you please. I'm not sure that Joe Frazier needed 12 stitches after the Thrilla in Manila, though the White House stressed that a smaller filament was used, which increases the number of stitches, but leaves a smaller scar.

I wonder if having a larger scar wouldn't actually fortify President Obama's profile, as he contends with Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Vladimir Putin. Imagine a president with a gnarly, vivid scar telling the rulers of China, "Nice country ya' got here. I'd hate to see something happen to it if you didn't stop foolin' around with the value of your currency. Know what I mean?"

The problem is that in politics or in basketball Obama is a comically overrated amateur, and that never intimidates anyone.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:24 AM | Comments (3)

October 31, 2010

KTVA Reporters Deserve Firing For Attempts to Rig Election

There is not more accurate way to describe this story. Reporters and news managers at CBS News affiliate KTVA have been captured plotting a string of so-called "October surprises." They expressly discuss ways to fabricate news stories they hope will damage the campaign of Senate candidate Joe Miller.

This is a morally reprehensible and indefensible act of conspiracy to defraud the viewers of KTVA and any other citizen that may pick up these vulgar fictions.

The entire news staff of KTVA should be investigated by the appropriate authorities to determine if state and federal laws have been as badly broken as has been the public's trust.

As a news outlet, KTVA is now hopelessly compromised. They've utterly destroyed their credibility. Thee is little choice for the station owner but to fire the entire news staff. None of them can be trusted.

And they have no one to blame but themselves.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:31 PM | Comments (5)

October 01, 2010

CNN Provides Rick Sanchez the Opportunity to Do the Reich Thing

This whole thing happened so far I didn't ever get a chance to write the "whoa," much less the "gotta go."

Basically, one of CNN's lesser lights came out as a conspiracy-minded anti-Semite on a radio show yesterday afternoon, and was terminated today after the story got out.

I'd say I'm sorry to see him go, but quite frankly, he brought very little to the air in the first place.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:26 PM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2010

Unsigned WaPo Op-Ed: Where are the Republicans who will reject pandering and prejudice?

It is more than a little bit fascinating to see liberal "conventional wisdom" on display, especially when it is unsupported by reality.

This editorial, for example, is rife with deception and ignorance.

BROADLY SPEAKING, there seem to be three strands of argument against building a mosque or Muslim community center two blocks from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

The first is that the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center and killed almost 3,000 people there in 2001 really did represent Islam and that to pretend otherwise is a dangerous delusion. The second is that, no, al-Qaeda does not speak for Islam, but many people -- including survivors and relatives of the victims -- naturally associate the two, and therefore it would be insensitive to locate anything Islamic so close to the scene of the crime. The third, for many politicians, seems to be that most Americans oppose construction of the mosque, and therefore opposition is useful (for Republicans on the attack) or safe (for Democrats cowering in a corner).

All three of these are objectionable. It is true that more Muslims around the world than one might wish sympathize with some of Osama bin Laden's thinking, view America as an aggressor nation and accept as justified some of what Americans view as terrorism.

The writer of this unsigned piece provides little in the way of qualification here... "more Muslims around the world than one might wish" sympathize with the bin Laden's thinking. The writer might be interested to know that bin Laden's thinking is firmly rooted at the very core of Islamic theology, and his calls to wage jihad perfectly reflect that of his religions' primary prophet, Mohammed, who warred, killed, and took as slaves entire tribes during his lifetime as he spread his newly-created faith at the point of a sword.

The writer also seems to have forgotten the celebratory mood that erupted in many, if not most parts of the Arab world to the news that that thousands of Americans had been killed on 9/11. The fabled "Islamic street" was thrilled.

Almost a decade later, even our so-called Islamic allies are anything but. A clear super-majority of Pakistanis view the United States as the enemy. That view holds sway across Arab Islamic cultures.

But it's also true that many more Muslims reject such thinking, see Islam as a fundamentally peaceful religion and view al-Qaeda as foreign and repugnant.

Anyone who holds the view that Islam is a fundamentally peaceful religion simply choses to ignore the faith's origins, history, religious texts, and modern practitioners.

Islam is intractably linked to violence, as violence is the primary way the faith has been spread for the 1,400 years since it was founded. From early skirmishes to the Battle of Badr onward to today's wars and terrorists, Islam is rooted in forcing itself upon others. It it true that some Muslim cultures have declining support for al Qaeda and the Taliban, but that is only because fellow Muslims are the bulk of their victims. When al Qaeda and the Taliban kill non-Muslims, even those Muslims who disapprove of the groups as a whole find joy in the deaths of infidels.

As Muslims struggle with how to adapt their religion to the challenges of modernity, Americans should be showing respect for those in the second camp, not lumping them together with the terrorists and their supporters.

Here the writer either chooses to ignore key tenants of Islamic religion, or simply professes ignorance. Islam cannot be modernized. That is it based upon the unshakable and un-editable word of Allah is a key tenant of the faith. Author Salman Rushdie has had a fatwa (death sentence) on his head for decades for challenging that belief, by basing the title of his book The Satanic Verses on verses said to have been edited out of the early Koran. Islam cannot be modernized. It was designed from the outset to hold anyone attempting to modernize or change it as a blasphemer, worthy only of immediate and violent death. Islam requires philosophical stasis as a key element of it's controlling philosophy.

And if the Muslims who want to build a community center are no more responsible for, or supportive of, the attacks of Sept. 11 than any other Americans, how can their plans be "insensitive"? The hurt feelings must reflect misunderstanding or prejudice on the part of the objectors, and the right response to misunderstanding and prejudice is education, not appeasement.

This, like so much elitist pap, is based up self-congratulatory mental masturbation, as the writer congratulates him or herself for their tolerance. The imam pushing this project holds Americans to blame for the 9/11 terror attacks. Like many other mosques raised around the world, it would be purposefully constructed as a victory symbol, as Muslims have done at the sites of their conquests since the very beginning. It is no accident that many of the most revered mosques in Islam were once Christian churches or Jewish synagogues. Islam literally means "submission," and it demands that from all, whether they are Muslims or not.

The many Republicans and Democrats who have come out against the mosque—including the presiding Senate Majority leader and the recently retired Democratic National Committee chairman—are not bigots. They are realists. Opponents of this victory mosque are not prejudiced, but instead terribly aware of precisely what the mosque is meant to symbolize to the Islamic faith in every nation in which it is practiced.

This Washington Post op-ed serves only to expose the historical and theological ignorance of this declining newspaper's editorial board.

None of us should apologize for rejecting intolerance, especially intolerance in the guise of a suicidal multiculturalism.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:16 PM | Comments (14)

August 11, 2010

The Laredo Truthers Ride Again

The same folks that bought San Diego-based rumors of a Texas invasion by drug cartels several weeks ago are standing by their stories, and now attempting to claim vindication.

Kimberly Dvorak, the San Diego County Political Buzz Examiner that started the story, now claims to have evidence that her story is true.

Her evidence? An image that she claims is a a screen from a police blotter report.


Digger's Realm is now trumpeting this as absolution, as is Mondo Frazier from Death by an Thousand Papercuts and Big Journalism.

They choose to believe that a supposed computer screen, obtained (or fabricated) by unrevealed sources, that cites neither the name or address of the ranch or the person making the call to law enforcement, proves their case.

The want us to believe that the police officers and sheriffs units that weren't ID'd were deployed, and that the lack of any report of contact or observation by these unknown LEOs is justification for the claims that the various law enforcement agencies and named officials cited in the story who said it didn't happen, are lying.

We still don't have an address. We still don't have a victim. We still don't have anyone with any eyewitness accounts, or physical evidence that such an event took place.

People will believe what they want, regardless of facts. That is the only evidence of anything I've even been able to discern regarding this story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:37 PM | Comments (15)

July 22, 2010

You Were Duped, Rubes

Liberals love to think of themselves as better educated, more experienced free thinkers, too sophisticated to be conned or controlled.

I have a revelation for you, my friends.

The latest JournoList dump from the Daily Caller reveals the collusion of the liberal media as they worked together to find ways to attack Sarah Palin, right after the Alaskan governor was named John McCain's surprise pick to be the Republican Vice Presidential candidate.

Amidst this debate over how most effectively to destroy Palin's reputation, reporter Avi Zenilman, who was then writing about the campaign for Politico, chimed in to note that Palin had "openly backed" parts of Obama's energy plan. In an interview Wednesday, Zenilman said he was offering "typical offhand political analysis" and that Journolist was one of many online places he scoured for news to post to his blog.

Chris Hayes of the Nation wrote in with words of encouragement, and to ask for more talking points. "Keep the ideas coming! Have to go on TV to talk about this in a few min and need all the help I can get," Hayes wrote.

Suzanne Nossel, chief of operations for Human Rights Watch, added a novel take: "I think it is and can be spun as a profoundly sexist pick. Women should feel umbrage at the idea that their votes can be attracted just by putting a woman, any woman, on the ticket no matter her qualifications or views."

Mother Jones's Stein loved the idea. "That's excellent! If enough people – people on this list? – write that the pick is sexist, you’ll have the networks debating it for days. And that negates the SINGLE thing Palin brings to the ticket," he wrote.

Months of this shaped the narrative and the pop-culture view we have of Sarah Palin, a skilled politician that rose through the ranks of Alaskan politics based upon a foundation of integrity, grit, and courage to become—for a time—a governor with (I think) the highest approval ratings ever (please correct me if i am wrong).

This now-exposed collusion between members of the media, shared with their co-conspirator politicians and Hollywood allies, was used to create a purposely warped view of who Sarah Palin is, and what she represents.

How can you tell if you were affected by this orchestrated mischaracterization?

I'll leave that to you to discuss.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:05 AM | Comments (5)

July 20, 2010

Treason of the Press

The Daily Caller dropped an article today proving the collusion we've long suspected among members of the media. The article exposes the thoughts of some of the liberal writers that belonged to JournoList, a listserv of hundreds of left wing journalists, educators, and pundits, in relation to revelations about then-candidate Obama's relationship to his pastor Jeremiah Wright.

Wright was Obama's pastor for more than two decades at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, where he preached sermons steeped in black liberation theology, a cultish mix of liberation theology—a Marxist blend of religion and Marxism that originated in South America— and racial separatism/ black supremacist thought.

As you may suspect, it seems that every blogger on the center-right has an opinion about the revelation—for most Americans, actually just a confirmation—of the collusion among journalists in support of left wing Democratic politics, politicians, and policy.

But this collusion is more than just an example of media corruption. It is an example of these journalists and pundits using their positions, accumulated credibility, and power to thwart the freedom of speech from the inside.

Allow yourself just a few minutes to consider the ramifications of this surrender of ethics and their demand for conformity, and you will be terrified.

It isn't just that the roughly 400 JournoList members conspired behind a common cause. No, the far more alarming revelation exposed is that they conspired to support one political party and one candidate and sought to silence all that opposed them.

Michael Tomasky, a writer for the UK's Guardian accidentally hit the nail on the head, when he stated:

"Listen folks–in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have. This isn't about defending Obama. This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people."

While he meant that in a different context, he's entirely correct; this kind of collusion is about how the media, "kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people."

They are targeting not just a minor-league shock radio talker, or local news opinion columnist (though they are obviously in favor of that as well when they feel it is warranted). They are going after ABC News. They don't even want to attempt to convince ABC News to change their focus. They intend to use "power" to issue a "warning."

Even worse, Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones suggests using left wing propagandists at Media Matters to help facilitate the strong-arming attempt.

The conversation reveals that journalists are not only colluding to shape the news in favor of one political ideology, but more than willing to use their influence in an attempt to silence those they see as obstacles to their machinations.

It is journalistic oppression. It is an explicit betrayal of the free exchange of ideas that liberty depends upon like oxygen.

Americans have repeatedly risked their lives, fought and died, for the freedom of speech that the denizens of JournoList would steal away.

Fortunately we live in an age where such collusion cannot be kept secret, and there is a price to be paid for such treachery.

* * *

In entirely unrelated news, I'm hoping you'll consider hitting the big yellow "Donate" button in the right sidebar if you're a CY fan. I don't do fundraising very often, but I'd appreciate it if you would consider sending a few bucks to my gun bling and House cane fund.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:26 AM | Comments (43)

July 16, 2010

Think Progress Ripped Content From Tea Party Video To Create Fraudulent Racism Vid

You would have thought that the three separate entries I dedicated to exposing the lies yesterday in this article and video by the progressive propagandists at Think Progress, I would have said all there is to say.

But there is more... and it is shocking.

Remember "Activist 2," the Saint Louis Team Party infiltrator, that claimed "I'm a proud racist, I'm white?"

It seems that Think Progress used a clip from this video, a video entitled "Proof that the Tea Party is not racist."

The guys at SharpElbows.Net thwarted this infiltrator, heavily documenting his attempt to mingle with Tea Party protesters in Saint Louis.

Think Progress misrepresented everything this video and the Tea Party stands for, and against.

If staffers, including editor-in-chief Faiz Shakir should not be terminated for this behavior, I'd like to know why.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:55 AM | Comments (8)

July 15, 2010

Another Think Progress "Tea Pary Racist" Debunked

The selective editing and inherent dishonesty from Think Progress just keep getting worse.

At the beginning of the Think Progress video claiming that Tea Party protesters are racists is a man with his bi-racial son and black wife who claims that Barack Obama is "too black to be President."

Kind of an odd statement from the patriarch of a mixed race family, isn't it? I daresay it seems like something must have been taken out of context.

And it was!

Let Coast Rebel has the entire video clip... in context.

Barack Obama's just a bad guy. That's all I can say. He's... He's too black to be President.

And you look at the color of my wife, it's not the color of his skin that troubles me, it's not the blackness of his skin that troubles me.

It's the blackness inside... his heart.

He's a bad guy.

But not bad enough to take the proud father of a handsome bi-racial son and label him to all the world as a racist. For that you need a lower life form.

You need a Think Progress intern.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:24 AM | Comments (2)

Busted for Fraud, Think Progress Decides to Play Cover Up... Poorly

Oh, Think Progress... aren't you clever?

You apparently didn't like us promoting your video, and so you marked the version linked in that previous entry as "private", blocking access to most users.

Uh, guys?

Merely blocking that video and replicating it elsewere doesn't do you any favors, or save you any embarrassment. Amusingly, it it indicates that you know you have a problem, but that you simply don't care to correct your lies.

I'd feel sorry for you, if you had souls.

But your offending article is still online. Your video may change locations, but is easily relinked. The more often you do it, the more obvious your panic becomes.

About the only thing you can do at this point to save face is to issue a retraction, but we know that isn't likely to happen either, is it?

That wold require humility and integrity, two character traits that have rarely burdened you.

Keep playing games, my friends.

We'll keep busting you.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:24 AM | Comments (7)

Think Progress Caught Using Liberal-Manufactured Signs From "Crash the Tea Party" as Evidence of Tea Party Racism

Do you remember the abortive "Crash the Tea Party" movement? It was the brainchild of a liberal that explicitly called for progressives to commit fraud in order to attempt to discredit the Tea Party protests.

At Pajamas Media we covered the abortive effort extensively, and made note of the very real bigotry the Crashers unwittingly revealed... in themselves.

This morning, I came across this video from Think Progress:

Typical of the kind of dishonest effort Think Progress produces, the video heavily edits clips so that you have no idea what the context of a statement is or precisely what someone they've edited is trying to say.

Worse, the video "liberally" makes use of counter Tea Party protesters and infiltrators, including "Crash the Tea Party" drones, in order to fabricate their view.

The guy who claims "I'm a proud racist, I white" was actually driven out of the Tea Party protest he attempted to infiltrate.

Nice work, Think Progress!

Seconds later, Think Progress stitches together a series of posters they claim belong to Tea Party protesters.

Really, Think Progress?

Did you not think we'd remember the amusing signs your fellow liberals created for their little abortive "Crash the Tea Party" stunt in Boston? Let's just say that some were more amusing than others, and some just showed pathetic and angry progressives often are.

There is an old saying that you're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

At Think Progress, they're ready to make up the "facts," yet again.

Update: Oh, Think Progress... did you really think you'd get away with it?

Also, RightKlik discovers that another of the men featured in the video made his comments in 2006... well before the Tea Party was even a dream.

Update: Think Progress even tried to portray the father of a bi-racial boy as a racist as he speaks in front of his own son.

Seriously... is there anyone in this video who is what Think Progress says they are?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:03 AM | Comments (32)

June 16, 2010

Greatest Headline/Opening Line Combo in News History

Via Caleb Howe on Twitter:

Puppy thrown at German biker gang

A German student "mooned" a group of Hell's Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer, police have said.

I know it will surprise you to find out that this chap was off his meds.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:23 PM | Comments (5)

June 09, 2010

Blob Seeks to Envelope BP

No, we're not talking about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. We're talking about quarter-ton half-wit Rosie O'Donnell, calling for the U.S. government seizure of BP.

What good is the Constitution and Bill of Rights, or foreign policy, anyway? Just declare this foreign-based multi-national an enemy of the state, Rosie, and be done with it.

Hugo Chavez would be so proud...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:04 AM | Comments (8)

June 07, 2010

Shocking News From Truthout.Org

They're actually willing to publish Jason Leopold again.

Considering his previous history of less than credible reporting and what I'll gently refer to as "personal issues," they are taking a mighty big gamble.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:36 PM | Comments (1)

Bigot Retired

I must admit I like Drudge's take on this news, as he writes "Helen Sent to Poland."

She was a nasty bit of work, accepted by equally nasty peers for a half century. She simply made the mistake of getting caught.

Now that she has the free time, perhaps she'll join the next terrorist ship to Gaza. Hopefully she'll try out for the position of anchor.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:49 AM | Comments (5)

Reuters: On the side of Terrorists, Once Again

This time, they've been caught cropping a photo so that while you see the Israeli soldier lying wounded on the deck of the Gaza blockade runner Mavi Marmara , you don't see the Turkish mercenary standing over his body with a combat knife.

Reuters employees have a history of supporting terrorism via propaganda. We should not be surprised that they are up to their old tricks.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:02 AM | Comments (3)

May 28, 2010

But Invading His Privacy Is a Bad Thing

Joe McGinniss, the deranged/obsessed left wing author who rented the home next door to Sarah Palin while writing about her, has now threatened to call the police on a reporter that wanted to talk to him.

The charge? Trespassing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:09 PM | Comments (19)

May 12, 2010

Think Progress Duped By Class Project

And the sad thing is, the kids weren't even trying to fool anyone; Think Progress simply did it to themselves.

The Center for American Progress seemed to have blockbuster news on Tuesday: an expose titled "Telecoms' Secret Plan To Attack Net Neutrality."

On its Think Progress blog, the liberal advocacy group announced it had "obtained" a PowerPoint document "which reveals how the telecom industry is orchestrating the latest campaign against Net neutrality" through a pseudo-grassroots effort. The story was echoed on Slashdot, Boing Boing, and innumerable pro-regulation blogs.

There's just one problem with Think Progress' claim: It's not, well, accurate.

In a case of truth being stranger than astroturf, it turns out that the PowerPoint document was prepared as a class project for a competition in Florida last month. It cost the six students a grand total of $173.95, including $18 for clip art.

The "No Net Brutality" campaign idea was one of the four finalists created as an assignment for a two-and-a-half week "think tank MBA" program. The other finalists were a project promoting free speech in Venezuela, one supporting education reform in Poland, and one dealing with sales taxes rates in Washington, D.C. ("No Net Brutality" came in third. The Polish reform idea won.)

Not only was the PowerPoint document presentation no secret, but it was posted publicly on the competition's blog, along with an audio recording of the event in Miami where the student contestants presented their ideas to the judges.

The mastermind behind this SNAFU is Lee Fang, who some of you will recognize as a faithful but unimaginative Oliver Willis-grade drone.

(h/t/ Simon Owens)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

Great Moments in Copy Editing

Oh my:

It takes 14 keystrokes to type "(delete space)" and just one to actually, you know, do it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2010

Dana Milbank Caught with Live Boy, Dead Constitution

In his best work, his trenchant insights lead to thought-provoking articles that almost make you forget his insatiable lust for prepubescent boys and his heroin habit.

This is not Dana Milbank's best:

By George W. Bush's standard -- you're either with us or against us in the fight against terrorism -- NRA chief Wayne LaPierre should be just a few frequent-flier miles short of a free ticket to Gitmo right about now. Seems he and the rest of the gun lobby are fighting for terrorists' right to buy firearms.

The Bush administration urged Congress to pass a law barring people on the terrorist watch list from buying explosives and guns. The gun lobby objected. Now the Obama administration is urging Congress to pass the same legislation, and the gun lobby continues to object.

On Wednesday, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, using the star power they acquired in the apprehension of the Times Square bomb suspect, came to Capitol Hill to plead for Congress to change the absurdity in the law that keeps those with alleged terrorist ties off airplanes but enables them to legally buy guns and explosives.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, Dana Milbank railed against alleged civil rights violations he attributed to the various evil shamans of the Bush Administration. He seems to have gotten past that, now that a little inconsequential tyranny suits his peccadillos.

He now proclaims that faceless government bureaucrats should have the power to strip Americans of their constitutional rights, based upon nothing more than their name appearing on a list... a terrorist watch list so comically flawed that it contains the names of infants and nuns, Congressman and Senators. A list nearly impossible to appeal. A list that often seems utterly insane.

Still, Milbank feels comfortable denying the constitutional rights of citizens in this instance. It satisfies his gun control fetish, and allows him to slander the NRA, the group dedicated to defending the Second Amendment when no other civil liberties organization will. Milbank labels them terrorists. Milbank, the pedophile/addict, seems to enjoy slander and libel as it suits his needs.

Seems fair, doesn't it?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:02 AM | Comments (3)

April 26, 2010

Can Irony Be Fatal?

If it is, we'll be ignoring the funeral of Matthew Yglesias later this week.

Here's a free hint, kid: don't talk crap about someone being a shill for ideologically-driven publications and think tanks when that sums up your entire resume. Your bosses might find you ungrateful...or they may giggle over the fact you're a malleable idiot utterly lacking in self-awareness.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:19 AM | Comments (4)

April 21, 2010

Love Unrequited

Yesterday, six gay-and-out military veterans handcuffed themselves to the fence outside the White House as a way of protesting the Administration's handling of "don't ask, don't tell" provisions they'd like to see struck down. The police response was to bum rush the journalists covering the unfolding story, forcing them away from the protest in what appears to be a clear violating of First Amendment rights.

The outrage on left-wing blogs to this totalitarian behavior is as shrill as it is predictable, as is the blubbering of left-leaning new organizations. Both campaigned for Obama, championed him, fawned over him, and in return, they've been rejected and marginalized by his Administration time and again.

The sad thing is that you know they'll come crawling back for his approval like whipped dogs.

How pathetic.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:06 AM | Comments (1)

April 14, 2010

NY Times About To Put American Lives at Risk?

I sure hope that Brad Thor's tipster is wrong, but considering the recent track record of the leftist media giant, I won't be surprised if the New York Times really is considering publishing a list of names of Americans working to protect U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The release of this information serves no practical purpose other than to expose these individuals and their families to threats of violence. The intent can only be to undermine and distract those individuals. This puts the lives of our soldiers and Marines in greater danger.

How can they morally justify this?

Update: CIA Deputy Director suddenly "retires." Thor seems to think this was the man who leaked the names of DoD personnel to the press.

I would not want to be him.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:50 AM | Comments (6)

March 25, 2010

Breitbart Challenges Congressional Black Caucus Members to Offer Proof of Alleged Tea Party Racism

As video after video suggests that Democratic attempts to troll for racism among tens of thousands of Tea Party protesters was a failure that resulted in formerly respected Congressmen lying to the media, Andrew Breitbart has issued them a challenge:

It's time for the allegedly pristine character of Rep. John Lewis to put up or shut up. Therefore, I am offering $10,000 of my own money to provide hard evidence that the N- word was hurled at him not 15 times, as his colleague reported, but just once. Surely one of those two cameras wielded by members of his entourage will prove his point.

And surely if those cameras did not capture such abhorrence, then someone from the mainstream media — those who printed and broadcast his assertions without any reasonable questioning or investigation — must themselves surely have it on camera. Of course we already know they don’t. If they did, you'd have seen it by now.


Rep. Lewis, if you can't do that, I'll give him a backup plan: a lie detector test. If you provide verifiable video evidence showing that a single racist epithet was hurled as you walked among the tea partiers, or you pass a simple lie detector test, I will provide a $10K check to the United Negro College Fund.

I suspect Lewis will not collect one thin dime from Breitbart, and it's a shame, really. If Lewis has no evidence, and won't take a polygraph, and won't apologize for fabricating these slurs, it strongly suggests that a man who spent the early part of his life combating racism has been corrupted in his later years into embracing it himself.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:17 AM | Comments (8)

March 18, 2010

CBO Numbers Cited By Dem Leadership are Bogus; Could It Backfire?

Matthew Continetti notes that Steny Hoyer to various new organizations about the CBO's health care cost estimate are speculative, based upon preliminary numbers that does not take into the account reconciliation proposal, review, and refinement.

In other words, they're crap. The media ran with Hoyer's claims without having the evidence in-hand.

Will the media hold Hoyer and his Democratic allies accountable for this subterfuge, or are they in on the fix?

And will this lie damage already faltering Democratic efforts to force through a bill that the public clearly doesn't want passed?

Update: To lie was their goal all along:

If it kicked in right away, the decade-long estimate would obviously be well into the trillions. So they simply stalled it for four years, incurring just $17 billion in costs — or 1.8 percent of the total 10-year estimate — through 2013 so that wavering Democrats could go back to their districts and tell baldfaced lies to their constituents about the pricetag. A perfect ending to this travesty.

In what can only be cast as a desperate act, the Democratic leadership is trying to convince members of their Party to out-and-out- lie to their constituents.

I guess we'll find out Sunday if on-the-fence Dems are willing to make that lie.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:14 AM | Comments (2)

March 12, 2010

Howell Raines: Why Can't I Be You?

Howell Raines, who championed advocacy journalism in the name of liberalism at the Times during his brief stint as executive editor, is lamenting the fact that the kind of journalism he practiced hasn't succeeded in quashing all alternative viewpoints.

Of course, he phrases it a bit differently:

One question has tugged at my professional conscience throughout the year-long congressional debate over health-care reform, and it has nothing to do with the public option, portability or medical malpractice. It is this: Why haven't America's old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration -- a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?

Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II. Yet, many members of my profession seem to stand by in silence as Ailes tears up the rulebook that served this country well as we covered the major stories of the past three generations, from the civil rights revolution to Watergate to the Wall Street scandals.

If Raines had a "professional conscience" there is the distinct possibility that he would still be the executive editor of the New York Times instead of posting grouchy op-eds on the pages of his old competitors.

But Raines was by any measure a horrific editor with a fear-based leadership style, and a Stalinist penchant for purging those who did not bow down to him:

According to insiders, Raines is the kind of 1950s-style autocrat who manages through humiliation and fear. Aside from right-hand men Gerald Boyd and Andy Rosenthal and a core of loyalists, morale is said to be at a new low. There are many rooms in that palace and nobody sees the whole picture. But, says one source, "the old timers who lived through the worst of [former executive editor] Abe Rosenthal say they have never seen anyone be so arrogant, so petty, so mean. Vindictiveness is in." Another source says, "It's no longer about managing down. It's about paying obeisance to the king." Among cognoscenti, 43rd Street is now known as the "republic of fear."

It is very much in his nature for Raines to call for the heads of those who would have ideas that do not conform to his own, or those who do not bow down to his latest infatuation with a silver-tongued fraud. Luckily, America caught on to Barack Obama far faster than they did Jayson Blair.

As always, the autocratic Raines will be the last to figure it out.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:32 AM | Comments (5)

February 25, 2010

We're Not Canadians, Eh?

McDonald's used crowd shots from Carolina Hurricanes games to represent Canadians in their north-of-the-border Olympics ad, "Anticipation."

What... they can't find a crowd for them otherwise?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

I Thought He'd Be Greener

But how do the other Star Wars action figures feel?

In case you were wondering, this is CNN.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:27 AM | Comments (4)

February 24, 2010

L.A. Times Can't Tell Difference Between U.S. Army, NRA

Hey, they've all got guns, right?

A caption for the photo (bizarrely placed at the end of the article) notes that the photo was taken at a memorial service for those killed at Fort Hood by Muslim Major Nidal Malik Hasan in an apparent act of jihad... which also has nothing to do with the NRA.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:25 PM | Comments (12)

February 21, 2010

Andrew Breitbart Comes Out Swinging at CPAC

Andrew Breitbart had quite the time at CPAC, getting into verbal altercations with a black racist and a serial liar face-to-face, while taking down a another ignorant ideologue at the New York Times during a speech.

As others have noted, Darlye Jenkins of One People's Project is a left wing hate blogger without any expectation of standards or morals, and so he is hardly worth confronting, any more that it is worthwhile going after Amanda Marcotte or Oliver Willis for their wheezings.

Max Blumenthal, the limousine liberal offspring who has made a career out of attempting to destroy the reputations of individuals through lies, distortions, and innuendo also found himself downrange of Andrew, and scurried out in an embarrassed huff after being caught in another lie in the span of a few minutes.

And of course, Breitbart ripped into Kate Zernicke of the Times for lying about Jason Mattera in print, implying that Mattera was a racist for using his own normal speaking voice.

It was an interesting series of vingettes, as we saw progressive journalistic politics practices by dishonest individuals, biased online magazines, and ideologically-driven "news" organizations. All were exposed for using the same sort of tactics. These confrontations expose a simple truth: there is little difference in the ethics of rabble-rousing blogs, new media, and mainstream media outlets, with the only real difference being that the larger organizations have more reach and may face economic penalties if they are caught in a lie and do not retract it in a timely manner.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:48 AM | Comments (6)

February 19, 2010

Is Think Progress Capable of Publishing the Truth?

I'm a blogger, and have always worn my political views on my sleeve, and that seems to be the case for most political bloggers, right or left. We see the world through a certain point of view, and react to that news as we interpret it. I often disagree with how my peers on the left and right view things, but I can at least understand that their view—how ever much I disagree with it or view it to be distorted—is an honest one.

I can't say the same, however, about Media Matters or Think Progress, who like their nutty contemporaries at World Net Daily, seem intent on twisting even the most innocuous, innocent statement into something approaching an outright misrepresentation or lie. For a pair of sites that revel in painting their opposition as monsters in love with waterboarding, they seem far too comfortable with torturing reality.

Max Bergmanns' latest distortion targeting new Senator Scott Brown is a perfect example of the kind of willful deception that regularly oozes from , and Professor William Jacobson dissects the distortions with a surgeon's precision.

I almost feel sorry for them, individuals so wedded to an intellectually bankrupt ideology that they've given up all decency, integrity and honor in order to viciously cycle lies for a living. Anything to be relevant, I suppose. Even if that relevance is based upon habitual deception.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:30 AM | Comments (3)

February 12, 2010

Research Bleg for a Student

Good morning, bloggers and blog readers... have I got an assignment for you.

Last night a student contacted me because she is working on a paper for a class, and she needs our help:

Unfortunately my instructor is very strict and in my opinion attempting to push her political views on the class. Unfortunately for me, I have never been a conformist and I feel I am being set up to fail. My assigned topic was The Media and the Military. My stance is the media (American) does not support the troops as much as they should. (I have articles where journalists admit what they are allowed to write about and not, and most of it shows that the military's positive actions are shoved to the back burner while bad news about the wars are headlines.)


I completely understand that the in your face lying is not out there and that the rhetoric used by the mass news media is sneaky and takes someone with linguistic ability to differentiate. You mentioned "plausibly 'accidental' smears or misreporting." This is what I am interested in. I have read the reports on the laws saying that you need to prove it was reported falsely intentionally. (I think that's a crock!) This is how Newsweek got away with it's misreporting of the specific torture events in 2005. Do you know of any other stories like this?

Here's the problem: the instructor won't let her use blogs as a source, thereby forcing her to rely on the media to report when they lie.

If you can think of examples where the mainstream media, academics, or other acceptable sources have documented examples of their brethren lying about the U.S. military, please leave them (with links) in the comments.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:36 AM | Comments (23)

February 08, 2010

Selling Fear and Politics

Because she could not recite the alphabet, Joshua Tabor shoved his daughter face-down into a bowl of water. When authorities came for her, she was found cowering in a closet, covered in scratches and bruises.

Joshua Tabor is mentally ill and an unfit father. No sane person disputes that.

The UK Daily Mail, however, sensationalizes the brutality with the headline "U.S. soldier 'waterboarded his own daughter, 4, because she couldn't recite alphabet.'"

Tabor's sadistic act—as described by the Daily Mail itself—isn't waterboarding or remotely similar to it. Tabor's act of brutality was drowning. Waterboarding, as brutal as it is, only simulates drowning, and is done by professionals in controlled conditions. Tabor could have very easily killed his daughter.

By purposefully mis-characterizing Tabor's brutal act, the Daily Mail both minimized the life-threatening abuse of his daughter and simultaneously made an (as yet) unfounded correlation between his being a soldier and his suffering some sort of post-combat mental condition, when they did not know at press time if he was ever deployed.

It is cheap political grandstanding from a newspaper that has the obvious goal of warning UK readers that if their soldiers continue to fight in Afghanistan, their children could be next.

The Daily Mail should be ashamed of themselves, but they would have to be capable of feeling shame first.

A U.S.-based version of the story provides both more facts, and less editorializing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:24 PM | Comments (3)

January 26, 2010

Let There Be "Light"

My final word on the Trijicon fiasco, at Pajamas Media.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:11 AM | Comments (3)

January 22, 2010

Err America Goes Dark

I would have said they finally failed, but that would have erroneously implied that they were successful at some point, at some iteration, under some management. They never were.

The company, which was founded in 2004, never found a substantial audience or sound financial footing. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 2006, but managed to stay on the air at that time. The network churned through several owners and several attempted reinventions, with little to show for it.

&qout;The fact of the matter was, it was always a very challenging business proposition, and it never had the right management," said Sam Seder, who hosted programs on Air America until last year.

The headwinds were enormous, he said, adding, "Radio is a dying industry."

I suspect that the growing stable of conservative talk radio personalities that emerged over the same time period would scoff at Seder's self-denial. America doesn't seem to have the first problem supporting long-time talkers like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, and they've found that there is plenty of room for other center-right stars to emerge in recent years, such as Mark Levin. The simple fact of the matter is that the nation isn't nearly as liberal as the majority of the media/infotainment industry is, or as liberal as the media/infotainment industry would like America to be.

If they had ever been honest about that fact, Err America would have never gotten off the ground.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:55 AM | Comments (8)

January 18, 2010

Something Borrowed?

Did ABC News swipe photos from an internet forum and claim them as their own?

While working on an article about the latest sub-par hit piece investigative report from Brian Ross and his team at ABC News blog The Blotter, I ran across an accompanying slideshow of Trijicon weapons sights, which started out with these two captioned images.

Both photos are clearly credited to ABC News.

Interestingly enough, these two images appeared on the Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association (POFOA) forum a week ago... and they weren't the original source, either.

How do we know these came from images of the same optics?

The ACOG on the PAFOA sight is clearly the same one claimed by ABC News, with very distinctive scuff marks on the body of the scope tube.

The Reflex sight on the PAFOA sight is also clearly the same one claimed by ABC News, with a small dimple to the left of the NSN number.

So which is it?

Did the PAFOA contributor acquire a copy of ABC's images early,or did ABC claim images that came from another, earlier source?

Does ABC need to next investigate EX20:15?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:21 PM | Comments (6)

NY Times Apparently Planning To Commit Suicide Online With Paywall

I can't improve on that headline.

A significant number of people refuse to even register for news and opinion that they kind find elsewhere online with no strings attached. News is close to being public domain these days with exclusives becoming widely disseminated blog fodder within minutes, which means charging for the reporting of the Times is a non-starter, as they will simply be bypassed for free content and commentary.

Does the Times honestly think that their stable of Op-ed writers is sufficiently loved and admired enough for people to fork over their hard-earned dollars for them in enough numbers to offset the decrease in advertising eyeballs they will get when non-subscribers go elsewhere for equally competent writing?

I'm sure the Times likes to think that they are special and the cream of the crop, but the simple fact of the matter is that there is no shortage of pundits that write just as well, and many have far more interesting perspectives than the often formulaic missives being offered up by the Old Grey Lady.

The Times apparently thinks of itself as a super-premium product. One can only wonder how long it will be before they realize they are not nearly as special as they think.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:15 PM | Comments (12)

January 16, 2010

Our "Elite" Media: Anyone With a Gun is a Sniper

Just in case you haven't been paying attention for oh, your entire life, our media operates by creating fears, and then compelling you to tune in/buy a copy/listen to the next segment so that you can find the solution (and they can sell more advertising). That truth applies to the national media you likely despise, and the local newsmen and women you've come to " and trust."

A wonderful example of selling fear is the story of the so-called "Berea Sniper." Someone has been shooting at cars in this Ohio town since this past August. No one has been injured by the shooter, who police said is using a weapon that is "something in between" a BB gun and an assault rifle.

Well they have a suspect in custody now.

Check out what passes for a sniper's weapon in this day and age.

No, that isn't the wrong photo.

The suspect, Paul Hausmann, has been tooling around this Cleveland suburb plinking and his fellow citizens with a .22-caliber replica of an old cowboy six-gun.

But a story a story about what is essentially vandalism—even vandalism with a firearm—doesn't get the local chiropractor and car dealer to buy advertising. Heavily hyped stories that sell fear keep our local Ron Burgundy wannabes paid. We live in an age where any crank with any sort of a firearm (even BB guns) is a "sniper," because hyping fear is what sells advertising.

The truth only matters if it pays.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:35 PM | Comments (8)

January 14, 2010

Rather Denied

Dan Rather has lost his final appeal in his breach-of-contract suit against CBS that stemmed from the faked Bush Air National Guard records story:

His request for an appeal was declined today, putting the entire legal matter to bed, finally. "Naturally I am disappointed in today’s ruling because we know it is a grave miscarriage of justice, " he said in a statement to the Times. "Most of all I am disappointed that no court or jury studied the evidence and heard the actual facts of the case. The case was dismissed on purely technical grounds. My mission continues to be working to ensure that the media can gather and report news unfettered by the influence of government and major corporate interests."

To this day, Rather still believes in the story he reported.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:28 AM | Comments (3)

December 30, 2009

Limbaugh in HI Hospital With Chest Pains


Conservative radio talk host Rush Limbaugh was rushed to a Honolulu hospital on Wednesday afternoon with chest pains, sources told KITV.

Paramedics responded to the call at 2:41 p.m. at the Kahala Hotel and Resort.

Limbaugh suffered from chest pains, sources said. Paramedics treated him and took him to Queen's Medical Center in serious condition.

Sure, now Obama's motorcade isn't available as an ambulance service...

Update: Limbaugh now resting comfortably.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:24 PM | Comments (9)

You Know You're Screwed When Even Your Whores Stop Taking Your Calls

While the competition to verbally fellate Barack Obama has been intense in the op-ed section since he first started his presidential run, the various staffers of the New York Times have always been among the most reliable. From Krugman, Rich, Freidman, and Douthat, etc. when it came to the man who would become President, they always gave good ed. It is, after all, the service for which they are employed.

So it was a bit shocking to see one of the premier courtesans of the Times, Maureen Dowd, finally rip into the Administration for one of its characteristic failures:

If we can’t catch a Nigerian with a powerful explosive powder in his oddly feminine-looking underpants and a syringe full of acid, a man whose own father had alerted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a traveler whose ticket was paid for in cash and who didn’t check bags, whose visa renewal had been denied by the British, who had studied Arabic in Al Qaeda sanctuary Yemen, whose name was on a counterterrorism watch list, who can we catch?


Before he left for vacation, Obama tried to shed his Spock mien and juice up the empathy quotient on jobs. But in his usual inspiring/listless cycle, he once more appeared chilly in his response to the chilling episode on Flight 253, issuing bulletins through his press secretary and hitting the links. At least you have to seem concerned.


Citing the attempt of the Nigerian's father to warn U.S. authorities six months ago, the president intoned: "It now appears that weeks ago this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect's name on a no-fly list."

In his detached way, Spock was letting us know that our besieged starship was not speeding into a safer new future, and that we still have to be scared.

Heck of a job, Barry.

Now, if only Krugman will admit Obama is destroying the economy...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:45 PM | Comments (6)

December 10, 2009

Editor & Publisher Leads By Example

The unreadable and reliably-biased editorship of Greg Mitchell comes to an end.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:58 PM | Comments (1)

December 07, 2009

Did Obama Administration Try to Silence NPR Reporter?

Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network's top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network's political bias, two sources familiar with the effort said.

According to a source, Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR's executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and the network's supervising senior Washington editor, Ron Elving. The NPR executives said they had concerns that Fox’s programming had grown more partisan, and they asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network.

At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she'd seen no significant change in Fox's programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said.

NPR’s focus on Liasson's work as a commentator on Fox's "Special Report" and "Fox News Sunday" came at about the same time as a White House campaign launched in September to delegitimize the network by painting it as an extension of the Republican Party.

So NPR—a reliably left-leaning organization—has a problem with Liasson's appearances on Fox News—which she had been doing for a decade—at precisely the same time that the Obama Administration was trying to destroy the network's credibility.

The real question here is whether someone in the Obama Administration asked Elving and Meyer to pressure Liasson to leave Fox News, and if such influence is unethical or illegal.

I know... we can ask the Justice Department to investi—

Dang. Never mind.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:37 AM | Comments (4)

December 05, 2009

Earning the Reputation of a Bird-Cage Liner

What do you get when you let a ideologically driven sensationalist with an economic interest in rabble-rousing use a suspected fraud as his key source of information?

Why, an article in The Nation, of course.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:18 PM | Comments (1)

December 02, 2009

The Few. The Proud. The Frum.

Get your 'Hi, I'm a jackass' shirt today!

"The Marines are elitist too."

The Marines have a right to be.

From the oh-so-important

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:14 AM | Comments (4)

December 01, 2009

ASU Journalism Students Start Practicing Early

Today they're in the media; tomorrow they'll be writing for it:

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was asked by a panel of journalists Monday night to explain his relationship with the media, his various law enforcement policies and whether his office conducts racial profiling.

Arpaio told the panel that his office is an "equal opportunity law enforcement agency" that will arrest anyone who violates the law.

Later in the interview at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, protesters began singing a version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and chanting as Arpaio was asked about a federal investigation and his policies on illegal immigration.

Personally, I think Arpaio should have responded to these dunces with a drawling, "What we have heah is a fail-yah to communicate," but I doubt the protestors would have been bright enough to pick up on the reference.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:30 PM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2009

Politics of Eco-Terrorist from NJ Sentenced to Chinese Prison Strangely Absent from Times Reporting

Isn't it funny that any crime with even a hint of center-right political nuance is triumphantly paraded about by the media as an example of right wing extremism (and thereby justifying Obama Administration demagoguery), but verified left wing terrorism—even from known progressive terrorist organizations—is never cited as such?

Take for example, the story of Justin Franchi Solondz as reported in the New York Times.

Justin Franchi Solondz, an environmental activist from New Jersey who spent years evading charges of ecoterrorism in the United States by hiding out in China, was sentenced to three years in prison by a local court on Friday on charges of manufacturing drugs in this backpacker haven.

After serving his time, Mr. Solondz, 30, who is on the F.B.I.'s wanted list, will be deported to the United States, where he faces charges stemming from what the authorities say was his role in an arson rampage that destroyed buildings in three western states as a member of a group related to the environmental extremist organization Earth Liberation Front. He was indicted in absentia in 2006.

You don't get a much more direct link to left wing terrorism in the United States than the ELF (without joining the boards of directors of which our President has been a member), and yet, the Times just can't quite bring itself to recognize the political slant of the convicted terrorist/drug dealer in their story.

No bias here, folks.

Move along.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2009

CNN's "Militias are Crazy!" Day 2

After yesterday's report attempting to portray a militia group as borderline terrorists, CNN's Jim Acosta used today's report to try to portray the founder of the group as also being an unfit parent.

Lee Miracle may run training exercises for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia once a month in a rural area outside of Flint, but he's just as busy at home. He and his wife Katrina have eight kids, and there are more than 20 guns in the house. This explains why Lee refers to the family as "Lee and Kate plus eight plus a gun rack."

Make that several gun racks. The Miracle children are very much growing up in the militia. They take part in militia training exercises, including the weapons training.

We were there when 13-year-old Megan fired off her shotgun, but even the couple's six-year-old has had her share of target practice.

CNN's dimwitted followers obediently go where they are led, all but wetting themselves in the comments. One reader professes shock and outrage that a family has both children and guns in the same house, declaring that "somebody should do something" about that. The next poster down rhetorically asks if there is any difference between the militias and the Ku Klux Klan. It is tough to discern whether they feel having guns or belonging to the Klan would be more distasteful.

The hit job CNN did on the Miracle family was as easy as it is predictable.

They crafted both the text of the blog entry and tone of the video to inspire shock that young women and girls in the family are being taught to shoot firearms.

Being CNN, they never mention the fact that these young ladies are adequately supervised, use both the proper eye and ear protection, and in the one instance they broadcast, use a single-shot, preferred by many for training young and new shooters. In other words, the Miracle children exhibit the tells of youth taught how to act responsibly around firearms. That the women are as empowered to use firearms for their defense as are the males somehow doesn't excite the pseudo-feminist leanings of the CNN staff.

Those things don't fit CNN's narrative, you see.

It's much better to play up a caricature and beat down a strawman. Why waste time trying to discover why increasing number of people have determined that our federal government too incompetent, corrupt, and power-mad to trust?

After all, it's only news.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:42 PM | Comments (13)

November 02, 2009

Riddle Me This...

Why is it that grass roots activist opponents of the President are gleefully derided as "teabaggers," when it is the subservient liberal special interest groups that worshipped him up until the election—only to be cast aside afterwards with one broken policy promise after another— are the ones left with a bad taste in their mouths?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:17 AM | Comments (11)

October 24, 2009

About the Obama Thesis Hoax

When you were younger, your parents probably told you that "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is."

That bit of homespun wisdom should have been applied to a blog post that claimed tertiary knowledge of a Barack Obama college thesis lambasting both the free market system and the Constitution.

The authors claim a defense of satire now that the blog entry was disclosed as such, though that warning came far too late for those that managed to push the story to multiple web sites and even talk radio.

If people had carefully read the entry before promoting it, however, this paragraph offered a big red flag:

In the paper, in which only the first ten pages were given to the general media, Obama decries the plight of the poor: &qout;I see poverty in every place I walk. In Los Angeles and New York, the poor reach to me with bleary eyes and all I can do is sigh.&qout;

When the blog entry claimed that the first ten pages of the President's thesis was given to the general media and not one soul wrote or talked about it that should have sent up huge warning flares that something was wrong with this story.

That no one bothered to contact Joe Klein to see if the document reportedly released to him been, is an example of shoddy fact-checking.

Sadly, this gives the left wing blog Media Matters more than enough excuse to run a headline that begins "So desperate they'll believe anything—" and have some justification for doing so. Michael Ledeen was quick to post a column noting that he'd been duped by the thesis hoax, which was a responsible way to handle such a situation.

Now, if we can only get the same Media Matters partisans that gloated over this incident to develop or even borrow the integrity to admit they were duped by a lying ACORN Philadelphia employee, we can call it a good day.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:03 AM | Comments (6)

October 20, 2009

Hersh: Pentagon Out to Ruin Obama

From the always fascinating Seymour Hersh:

"A lot of people in the Pentagon would like to see him [Obama] get into trouble," he said. By leaking information that the commanding officer in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says the war would be lost without an additional 40,000 American troops, top brass have put Obama in a no-win situation, Hersh contended.

"If he gives them the extra troops they're asking for, he loses politically," Hersh said. "And if he doesn't give them the troops, he also loses politically."

The journalist criticized the president for "letting the military do that," and suggested the only way out was for Obama to stand up to them.

"He's either going to let the Pentagon run him or he has to run the Pentagon," Hersh said. If he doesn't, "this stuff is going to be the ruin of his presidency."

Funny. I thought Obama was doing a pretty good job of destroying his Presidency on his own.

As for Hersh, he's had some notable successes, and some equally spectacular duds. How are Dick Cheney's death squads working out for you, Seymour?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:15 PM | Comments (9)

No Surprises Here: WaPo/ABC Skews Poll for Public Option

Mercy me:

The sampling comprises 33% Democrats, as opposed to only 20% Republicans. That thirteen-point spread is two points larger than their September polling, at 32%/21%. More tellingly, it's significantly larger than their Election Day sample, which included 35% Democrats to 26% Republicans for a gap of nine points, about a third smaller than the gap in this poll. Of course, that's when they were more concerned about accuracy over political points of view.

Remember when I wrote that poll watchers need to remember the recent Gallup poll on party affiliation? Gallup polled 5,000 adults and found that the gap between Democrats and Republicans had closed to the smallest margin since 2005, six points, and had been reduced more than half since the beginning of the year. For the WaPo/ABC poll, though, their sample gap has increased almost 50% during that time.

Given that skew, it's hardly surprising that they find a 57% approval rating for Obama, up three points since last month, almost the entirety of the gap increase since the last poll. His 48% tie on health care should be a significant disapproval instead, and the 45%/51% slide on the deficit has probably expanded at the same rate as the deficit in a survey with a realistic sample.

The purposeful skewing of the polling data is an old political trick, and one increasingly popular among the media, especially when they are more interesting in influencing the news than reporting it. That Dan Balz and Jon Cohen of the Washington Post would use such obviously flawed data suggests they are more interested in advocacy than journalism.

The public does not support government-run health care.

Americans shocked politicians this summer with their opposition to another government takeover, and the they they were none too subtle about it as they showed up at townhall meetings, rallies, and marches.

No amount of media deception can change the fact that Americans are rejecting Obamacare, the media promoting it, and the politicians that an increasing number of Americans feel were put into office not by the American people, but by the media and special interests.

The media and their allied progressive politicians are increasing playing to an audience of themselves.

No wonder Fox News is causing the White House to scream in anger.

Along with a handful of newspapers and new media, they're the only "honest" news left.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:35 PM | Comments (2)

October 14, 2009

Rush Limbaugh's Critics are Big, Fat Idiots

I don't listen to talk radio, and so I only hear what Rush Limbaugh says when someone else mentions it. That said, he's been on the air as a conservative talker since the mid 1980s, with an audience of 20 million. His political and social views, vocabulary, and style are perhaps more well known than any person on the planet.

That is why recent attempts to attribute a series of false racist quotes to him is so unsettling.

Limbaugh has strong views on many topics, and if he was a hardcore racist, he would have been called out for it decades ago, boycotted, and perhaps forced off the air. But the simple logic it takes to process that thought is easily blinded by hate, and a number of left-wing journalists and bloggers have decided to post various false racist quotes attributed to Limbaugh in an attempt to ruin his bid to buy the St. Louis Rams football team.

None of the false quotes even sounds remotely like Limbaugh in tone or substance, and even more tellingly, none are sourced, a red flag to any competent journalist or blogger in a day and age when such things can be easily falsified on the Internet.

Why do these journalists and bloggers lie? Why do they commit an easily disproven libel and slander in order to tar an opponent?

It's about power and control, and the moral relativism that infects them, convincing them that even the most blatant smear is justified if it thwarts their political enemies or can help them achieve even the most temporary victory.

There is a very simple reason that conservative media are ascendant and liberal media are in decline. People have learned that liberal media cannot be trusted to get even basic facts right if their agenda can be forwarded with bias and fraud. Fox News and other conservative outlets may or may not be "fair and balanced," but they certainly comes closer to being the most trusted sources of news, because the American people simply find them more trustworthy.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:14 AM | Comments (17)

October 13, 2009

Chris Matthews Fantacizes About Rush Limbaugh Dying a Violent Death

Uttered this morning:

You guys see Live and Let Die, the great Bond film with Yaphet Kotto as the bad guy, Mr. Big? In the end they jam a big CO2 pellet in his face and he blew up. I have to tell you, Rush Limbaugh is looking more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebody's going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he's going to explode like a giant blimp. That day may come. Not yet. But we'll be there to watch. I think he's Mr. Big, I think Yaphet Kotto. Are you watching, Rush?
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:29 PM | Comments (12)

October 09, 2009

Miami Herald goes Race-Baiting

According to the Miami Herald headline:

Fla. GOP members shoot Muslim targets at gun range

This is the target they were shooting at.

Now, do you see a Muslim, or a terrorist pointing a rocket-propelled grenade?

You can find this and other racist GOP shooting subjects at, uh, Law Enforcement Targets, Inc.

The real racism here is that several layers of producers and editors at the Miami Herald thinks "Muslim" and "terrorist" are synonyms. The next time they want to look for people with racial/cultural biases, they'll have to go far.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:54 PM | Comments (5)

October 06, 2009


Writing in Tina Brown's Daily Beast, Conor Friedersdorf takes issue with the success of Andrew Breitbart's media outlets, claiming that Breitbart should try to meet the standards of the... New York Times?

Andrew Breitbart is the man in the middle of the current madness. Credit him for sponsoring Big Government, the site that broke the ACORN story and prompted the Times to begin monitoring breaking news on partisan sites. These are substantial accomplishments that improve the state of journalism.

But Mr. Breitbart's role hardly ends there.

As a proprietor of Big Government and Big Hollywood, part of the team that runs The Drudge Report, and a regular guest on Fox News, especially Sean Hannity's show, he is a leader among folks who complain that the Times is a pernicious force in American life—that it ignores stories that cut against its ideological bent, too often makes mistakes in its reporting, and gives insufficient consideration to ideological insights other than those held by its staff. This is somewhat odd given that Mr. Breitbart's media empire, and the outlets with which he most closely associates himself, are thoroughly ideological enterprises, publish few if any ideologically heterodox pieces, seldom if ever correct factual mistakes, and ignore liberal insights entirely.

Friedersdorf's screed is daft, to put it mildly.

The idea of an unbiased, objective media is a late 20th century invention proffered primarily by those within the media establishment that wanted to continue to push their ideas and ideals without being challenged by upstarts.

Sadly for Mr. Friedersdorf, that illusion was dashed long ago, mostly due to the heavy liberal bias that manifested itself time and again not just in how a story was covered, but which stories were covered to the exclusion of others.

What Breitbart's various sites provide are platforms for a center-right view of the world, with insights every bit as valid as those that the left-leaning media tries to sell. Apparently, the idea of a free marketplace of ideas isn't one critics admire once put into actual practice.

Are Big Government and Big Hollywood ideologically-driven? Unreservedly. But more importantly, Breitbart's sites all wear their viewpoint unabashedly on their proverbial sleeves... if only the Times and other news outlets weakly feigning objectivity would display such intellectual honesty!

But honesty is not part of their business model, nor is objectivity, nor is competence, or accuracy. If he thinks otherwise, Mr. Friedersdorf may need to check the prescription on his rose-colored glasses.

That said, Friedersdorf's hissy fit at the building of a conservative media empire that provides an alternative to the worldview he would like to protect is hardly surprising.

His specific criticisms, however, are amusing, especially coming from someone who writes at the Atlantic, home to infamous Trig Truther, hypocrite and ideologue Andrew Sullivan.

The temerity to criticize conservative media for inaccuracies and bias is laughable considering the dismal track record of the left-leaning legacy media, but the fact that Friedersdorf published his thoughts in Tina Brown's Daily Beast—the left-leaning, status quo-defending, botoxed and digitized old media-with-a-new-face—is even more ripe, considering that Brown's own husband abused the Beast in an article full of half-truths and outright lies that Brown refused to retract or correct.

Both old and new media have significant room for improvement, but demanding that a successful and growing enterprise follow the example of a legacy media spiraling into the ground is, quite frankly, absurd.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:57 AM | Comments (10)

September 30, 2009

Crazy on the Left and Further Left

I don't often read NewsMax. I don't have anything against them, I just have limited time and resources and rely a core group of news sites, blogs, and aggregators to gather information on a daily basis.

I rather wish I did read more frequently however, because if I did I might have been able to catch John L. Perry's column from yesterday, Obama Risks a Military 'Intervention' before it was sent down the memory hole. Clicking on that link will now redirect you to the NewsMax home page; Perry's column has also been scrubbed.

The scathing response from the blogosphere—based upon what I've been able to cobble together from quotes on several sites—seems warranted.

The simple fact of the matter is that author seems to have come unhinged, and for reasons perhaps structural to the site's editorial process, the column made it to print without a sanity check by the editors.

While the number of people dissatisfied with Obama's foundering Presidency continues to balloon and his popularity erodes on a seemingly daily basis, we are a nation of laws, not a nation of mob rule and coups by military strongmen. We will have out chance to remove President Obama in 2012 as we have always removed bad Presidents, at the ballot box.

There has only been one successful coup in American history, perpetrated by the Democratic Party and the Ku Klux Klan and allowed by a Democratic governor and President.

Advocating to repeat such a disgrace as Perry apparently did is utterly unacceptable. NewsMax was right to yank a column that never should have made it to print, and should reconsider their relationship with Perry and what that association now represents.

Update: It is also worth noting that Perry is not a conservative; his bio says he worked for both LBJ and Carter Administrations and Democratic Governor of Florida, LeRoy Collins.

From further on the left, Gore Vidal laments the "fact" that Americans are just too stupid to appreciate the genius of Obama, and also suggests that a military coup is in America's future.

Update: A statement from NewsMax:

Statement from Newsmax Regarding Blogger In a blog posting to Newsmax John Perry wrote about a coup scenario involving the U.S. military.

He clearly stated that he was not advocating such a scenario but simply describing one.

After several reader complaints, Newsmax wanted to insure that this article was not misinterpreted. It was removed after a short period after being posted.

Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions.

Mr. Perry served as a political appointee in the Carter administration in HUD and FEMA. He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger.

Here is the copy of the original Perry column in its entirety, as provided by a reader:

Obama Risks a Domestic Military 'Intervention'

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 10:35 AM

By: John L. Perry
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the "Obama problem." Don't dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:

Officers swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to "obey the orders of the president of the United States."

Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.
They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.

They can see that the economy — ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation — is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.
They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.

They can see the dismantling of defenses against missiles targeted at this nation by avowed enemies, even as America’s troop strength is allowed to sag.
They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.

They can see the nation's safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.

So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?

Wait until this president bungles into losing the war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s arsenal of nuclear bombs falls into the hands of militant Islam?

Wait until Israel is forced to launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear-bomb plants, and the Middle East explodes, destabilizing or subjugating the Free World?

What happens if the generals Obama sent to win the Afghan war are told by this president (who now says, "I'm not interested in victory") that they will be denied troops they must have to win? Do they follow orders they cannot carry out, consistent with their oath of duty? Do they resign en masse?

Or do they soldier on, hoping the 2010 congressional elections will reverse the situation? Do they dare gamble the national survival on such political whims?

Anyone who imagines that those thoughts are not weighing heavily on the intellect and conscience of America’s military leadership is lost in a fool's fog.

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a "family intervention," with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for "fundamental change" toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don't shrug and say, "We can always worry about that later."

In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.

John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Read John Perry's columns here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:12 AM | Comments (41)

September 29, 2009

A Great Idea for 1993

Been there. Done that.

And truth be told, the traffic wasn't overwhelming.

And while it is no doubt cool to see your mug shot on the page beside Charles Krauthammer (and to a lesser extent, Eugene Robinson), the idea of a pundit reality contest will be less than riveting entertainment for anyone not intimately involved.

As you may imagine, the folks in the blogosphere are having a field day tearing this apart.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2009

Drudge's Easy Libel of the Military

Earlier today I noted that Drudge's link to the use of LRADs as "acoustic weapons" was over the top, which he would have easily recognized on his own if he had simply applied logic to the very video he linked. Put simply, if an LRAD is being used as a weapon, various people would not be walking or standing directly in front of it.

It's common sense.

But Matt Drudge is after headlines and eyeballs, not accuracy, and that is why his inflammatory link that screams SEE U.S. MILITARY SNATCH PROTESTER... is so detestable.

It simply does no show what he claims it shows.

Look at the very image Drudge uses as his screen capture.

How many things immediately jump out at you that scream Drudge is wrong? Don't see it? Watch the video, and then I'll go over it in detail:

You should have noticed right off the bat that neither of the uniforms shown in this clip by the men that jumped out of the Crown Victoria are those currently being worn by our military.

See the officer on the left? He's wearing woodland BDUs. No active duty American soldiers wears BDUs, they wear ACUs, which are an entirely different style of uniform with a radically different camouflage pattern. Oh, and you might want to take a look at his shoulder, where you can see what appears to be a muted version of a Pennsylvania State Police shoulder patch.

The second Officer apprehending the protestor is also wearing a camouflage pattern that is not military issue. The same with the driver.

Any semi-competent national media figure should be able to tell the difference between a military uniform and a police tactical uniform, and I strongly suspect Matt Drudge does.

I just don't think he gives a damn whether he accuses the military of snatching Americans in broad daylight if that helps his bottom line.

Update: For reasons I'll never be able to understand, some of my conservative blogging peers have decided that the video is staged... faked by the protesters themselves.

The reasons they cite are similar to mine—that the uniforms are wrong for the modern military and mis-matched—but for some reason, they assume it was a staged event or "performance art" instead of Drudge simply being wrong about a very real event.

These were police officers, carrying out a real arrest, probably at the behest of the riot police 20 feet away we see at the end of the video.

And if the shoulder patch doesn't convince you they were cops, the gun should.

Dead-center in the middle of the frame you can see the bottom of a duty holster and the handgun itself printing through the uniform.

This was a police arrest, not an illegal abduction of an American citizen by the military on U.S. soil as Matt Drudge would mislead you, nor a staged event by the protesters.

Update: Via email Lawhawk notes a story that has a photo of PA State Police wearing woodland BDUs.

And in an update at Hot Air, Ed has the photo that should settle this for once and for all.

Law enforcement confirms a police arrest.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:55 AM | Comments (37)

September 17, 2009

Quick Thought About ACORN and the Media

I think what bothers me the most about this still-developing story is that we have a fake prostitute trying to expose the truth, while the real prostitutes in the media are trying to sandbag the story as much as possible.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:51 AM | Comments (10)

September 03, 2009

Reality-Challenged Politics Daily Inverts Political Cannibalism Story

It really takes quite a pair to completely reverse the events and actors in an incident in order to promote the story you'd prefer, but Politics Daily seems up to the task, fabricating a story about a protester who had his finger bitten off at a California protest.

(Click the image to see the full-size version in another window.)

It is particularly dishonest (or grossly incompetent) to completely reverse the actual sequence of events and identities of those involved in a story that has garnered considerable attention, but to do so after linking to those news sources and blogs that reported what actually occurred is particularly brazen.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:25 PM | Comments (11)

August 21, 2009

Pressure Mounts Against MSNBC's Faked Racial Conspiracy

By now you've all heard about how MSNBC doctored video in order to push the fabricated narrative that open carry advocates at health care events were racially motived. MSNBC had tightly cropped an African-American open carry advocate with a Carbon-15 rifle slung over his shoulder so that you could not see his race, in order to argue that "white people showing up with guns" brought racial overtones to these protests.

Americans for Limited Government called for those involved in "a blatantly racist broadcast" to be fired on Tuesday, at which point MSNBC offered a pathetically weak non-apology attempting to claim that they were talking open carry advocates generally, even though the shot was focused on the carefully cropped image of an African American man the majority of the time.

Brent Bozell of the Media Resource Center added his thoughts today, stating that MSNBC must apologize for fomenting racial discord:

"This goes beyond 'sloppy' reporting by MSNBC. This was a deliberate effort to brand conservatives as racists – and now as violent racists.

"Since the beginning of the presidential campaign, this so-called 'news' network has tried desperately to convince viewers that opposition to Barack Obama must be race-based. Now they are actually producing deliberately misleading stories to push that agenda. As a 'news' network, MSNBC is a disgrace.

"MSNBC owes this man and the tens of thousands of protestors a public apology. It should also extend that apology to its tens of thousands of viewers."

MSNBC is guilty of attempting to incite racial strife. They obviously hoped find some sort of political silver lining in labeling opponents as white racists, even when those that oppose them are black.

I do think Bozell must have misstated MSNBC's appeal, however.

Do they really have tens of thousands of viewers?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:08 PM | Comments (18)

August 20, 2009

Blackwater USA: Your Preferred PowerPoint Presentation Vendor Solution

Mark Manzetti claims in the New York Times that the Central Intelligence Agency hired Blackwater USA in 2004 to locate and kill top al Qaeda members. He backs this up by claiming that various alleged anonymous sources told him so.

But as an embarrassed CIA Director Leon Panetta was forced to admit, the program was little more than a PowerPoint presentation and a collection of ideas within the CIA. It never got off the ground, and was never operational.

What, then, did Blackwater actually do?

Manzetti's article certainly has an accusatory tone, but it doesn't seem to provide any evidence that they did anything at all, other than to give the reactionary left a reason to collectively freak out once more at the mention of Blackwater's name.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:39 PM | Comments (10)

Is the Media Rooting for an Obama Tragedy?

I first asked that question back on January 11, 2008, and at that time dark fantasies of a Barack Obama martyrdom had already been hopefully forecast in the left-leaning media for a year. It's been two-and-a-half years, and they're still trying to hype his pending demise, if not engineer it.

Now we have MSNBC caught red-handed doctoring video in order to push an inflammatory racist narrative. It is fraud perpetrated by a news organization for propaganda purposes, pure and simple.

Contessa Brewer, her editors, and producers at MSNBC should all be fired for this purposeful deception of their viewership, and the cable network itself should hold a open and transparent investigation into how the biases they've encouraged in their newsroom have led to such lies. It will never happen, of course.

They lack the integrity to even feign ethics anymore.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:41 AM | Comments (11)

August 19, 2009

Dishonest MSNBC Edits Out Face of Protestor in Order to Push Narrative of Racism

Via Hot Air, it has to be seen to be believed.

MSNBC's Contessa Brewer: "A man at a pro-health care reform rally just outside wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip. The Associated Press about a dozen people in all at that event were visible carrying firearms.

The reason we're talking about this—a lot of talk here Dylan—because people feel like yes, there are Second Amendment rights, for sure, but also there are questions about whether this has racial overtones. You have a man of color in the Presidency and white people showing up with guns strapped to their waists."

White people?

This is Chris, the racist white person that had the Carbon-15 carbine on a sling over his shoulder and a gun on his hip that Brewer was talking around in order to keep her talking point intact. Note that in the beginning of this video, MSNBC went to great pains to edit out Chris's head (and race) so that they could provide a race-baiting narrative.

And journalists wonder why people don't find them credible...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:58 PM | Comments (19)

July 30, 2009

So That's The Five Hole...Hockey Reporter Arrested, Suspended For Running Prostitution Ring

He also covered racing, so feel free to pile on with jokes about drafting, rubbing, and fifteen-second "pit stops."

Kevin Provencher advertised his prostitution ring's services on Craigslist and other Web sites and rented hotel rooms in Andover, Massachusetts, and in New Hampshire where the women would have sex for money, prosecutors said. The ring may have operated in Canada, they said.

Provencher, a sports writer at the New Hampshire Union Leader for more than two decades, was arrested at his Manchester home early Wednesday and was taken to Massachusetts, where he was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail during his arraignment in Lawrence District Court. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of deriving support from prostitution.

Provencher, 50, has been suspended from the Union Leader, where he has been its primary motor sports reporter since 1990. He also has been the newspaper's beat reporter covering the Manchester Monarchs since the American Hockey League franchise's 2001 inception.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:47 AM | Comments (3)

July 07, 2009

Tarheel Media Spin Hard to Cover Governor's 22% Sales Tax Increase

Influential North Carolina media like WRAL TV and the News and Observer seem intent on covering up a massive tax increase proposed by Governor Beverly Perdue.

First the spin from WRAL.

Trying to break a legislative stalemate on state budget negotiations, Gov. Beverly Perdue on Tuesday called top lawmakers to the Executive Mansion to lay out her own plan for raising extra revenue in the coming year to erase a projected $4.6 billion deficit.

Perdue called for raising the state sales tax by a penny for 13 months, beginning Sept. 1. The increase would raise more than half of the $1.6 billion in revenue she would like to include in the 2009-10 fiscal budget.

And now from the News and Observer:

Gov. Beverly Perdue told legislative leaders Tuesday she wants a 1-cent sales tax increase and a total tax hike package of $1.6 billion to balance the budget.

Perdue, a Democrat, met with lawmakers at the Executive Mansion and gave them a list of tax and other revenue options that she would like to see passed. It was an effort to help break the impasse between Democratic Senate and House leaders over what taxes to increase and how much.

Highlights of Perdue's wishlist, provided to Dome, include: an "emergency" 1-cent increase in the sales tax that would expire in October 2010, an emergency income tax surcharge on single taxpayers who earn more than $500,000 and married couples filing jointly making more than $1 million.

"Raising the state sales tax by a penny" or calling it a "1-cent increase" seems like small potatoes until you realize that North Carolina's current sales tax rate is already 4.5% and by raising the rate another cent—to 5.5%—Perdue is seeking a 22% sales tax increase.

Neither news outlet did the due diligence to point out the substantial rate increase the governor is pressing for instead of reigning in out-of-control government.

One can only speculate why that may be.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:04 PM | Comments (35)

July 02, 2009

Thomas: Obama Worse Than Nixon

Wizened White House Press Corps gnome Helen Thomas says that the current administration's attempts to control the press is the worst she's seen:

"I'm not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well--for the town halls, for the press conferences," she said. "It's blatant. They don't give a damn if you know it or not. They ought to be hanging their heads in shame."

Anyone who has been closely following Obama's Presidential run has long known that our neophyte leader has forged an illusion of competence by being more heavily stage-managed than a teen pop group (while being roughly as qualified). It really says quite a bit when a reporter as experienced and blatantly liberal as Thomas rips into the administration as she has.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:07 AM | Comments (22)

June 07, 2009

Then and Now

Evan Thomas, 2007, "...our job is to bash the President..."

Evan Thomas, 2009, "...he's sort of a God."

h/t reader SmithRoz

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:03 PM | Comments (7)

April 21, 2009

Media Survey Bleg

Aaron Veenstra, a PhD. Journalism Candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is asking for your help:

My primary research interest is political blogs and I am conducting a experiment with blog readers that I would greatly appreciate your readers' participation in:

...This study will hopefully shed some light on some understudied areas of news effects by letting me focus on a group of heavy news consumers who are highly interested in politics and current events.

Completing this survey will take about 15-20 minutes and will require a high-speed Internet connection (a connection that's fast enough for YouTube will work fine). As thanks for participating, 10 respondents will be randomly selected at the conclusion of the study to receive $25 gift cards to

For those of you would would like to let a researcher know what you think of the news media and blogs, here's your shot.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:49 AM | Comments (1)

April 16, 2009

Finally! Anderson Cooper Comes Out of the Closet

A bit of personal wisdom approximately 50 seconds in.*

Other so-called "professional" journalists engaged in the juvenile wordplay as well, all--perhaps not surprisingly--on networks that aren't doing so well.

*MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is not gay, despite a performance history that might suggest otherwise.

Yeah, low-hanging fruits.

Oh, wait. People, people...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:01 PM | Comments (6)

Their Favorite Fictions

Two readers sent me a link to another infuriating and dishonest New York Times story about Americans guns begin purchased in the United States and being smuggled south for use by Mexican drug cartels.

As you may expect, it picked up on the White House's favorite faux talking points:

Sending straw buyers into American stores, cartels have stocked up on semiautomatic AK-47 and AR-15 rifles, converting some to machine guns, investigators in both countries say. They have also bought .50 caliber rifles capable of stopping a car and Belgian pistols able to fire rifle rounds that will penetrate body armor.

As it so often does, existing BATF rules and regulations disprove the media’s assertions. Simply put, The BATF does not allow the manufacture or importation of firearms that can easily be modified into machine guns, and those drop-in parts which can quickly change a semi-automatic design are treated and as strictly monitored and regulated as machine guns themselves under U.S. law.

If there are conversions going on in Mexico, it means that the parts that make a machine gun a machine gun already exist in Mexico, meaning no additional laws targeting U.S. guns would make a difference.

And when you come down to it, I'm tired of government officials that favor gun control telling us that these conversions are taking place. I want them to show us specific conversions they have captured, making the serial numbers and manufacturing details of their parts public record so that we can determine for ourselves where these parts are coming from.

As for the .50 caliber rifles "capable of stopping a car," well, a typical car can be stopped with just about any centerfire rifle you would use for deer hunting, or with a typical shotgun. Implying that .50 caliber bullets have magical properties is rhetorically disingenuous. Yes, the .50 BMG cartridge produces far more energy than a typical rifle bullet, but the bullet isn't explosive, which is just what most pro-gun control stories stop just short of stating when they imply such firearms are threats to train cars, airplanes, and armored vehicles.

As for the .50 rifles being recovered in Mexico, commenters have remarked before how the .50-caliber rifles being recovered by the Mexican police look suspiciously like those sold to the Mexican military, right down to the same brand of scope and back-up iron sights (BUIS). Once again, that is not a problem that would be resolved by more restrictions in the United States.

As for the "Belgian pistols able to fire rifle rounds that will penetrate body armor," the authors are peddling yet another statement that is a only loosely based in fact.

The round in question is the 5.7x28, and it is not remotely a rifle cartridge.

It is chambered for pistols and personal defense weapons that falls into the submachine class of weapons , but that can shoot bullet designed for armor penetration. What the Times won't tell you is that armor-piercing bullets are highly-restricted under U.S law, for sale only to the military and police. Nor will the Times tell their readers that even when these pistols are loaded with the heavily-restricted "armor piercing" bullets, these bullets utterly fail to penetrate the more advanced body armor used by police and military units, and work reliably only on lesser armor classes.

Lastly, the Times neglects to mention that their rhetorical whipping boy 5.7x28 cartridge is failing to catch on in many circles, because while it does possess some armor penetration capabilities if using the restricted ammunition, it always uses a tiny bullet, and does not have a record of reliably causing incapacitating wounds.

You've got to give it to the Times for efficiency, though; they packed so many half-truths and lies in two sentences that it took seven paragraphs to detail them all.

But the Times isn't quite does just yet.

Watch the mastery in the deceptive sentence below:

Federal agents say about 90 percent of the 12,000 pistols and rifles the Mexican authorities recovered from drug dealers last year and asked to be traced came from dealers in the United States, most of them in Texas and Arizona.

If you read this quickly as most newspaper readers would, you'd come away with the distinct impression that 90-percent of the guns recovered from drug dealers in Mexico came from the United States, which is exactly what the author wants you to understand.

It is only upon reading the sentence deeper that you would recognize that the the phrase "and asked to be traced" is the key.

Mexican authorities only ask American authorities to track the small fraction of those guns that it suspects comes from the United States. The do not ask us to trace the majority of the guns they capture that are clearly not of U.S. origin. Of the total number of guns recovered from cartels, just 17-percent came from the United States--quite a big difference from the 90-percent the y tried to trick readers into accepting.

It is really quite sad that so many journalists feel they have the right to publisher such clearly biased information as fact, but their reporting is no more pathetic than the editors and publishers that allow journalists to publish advocacy instead of news.

News organizations are dying on the vine in the United States, and the media loves to claim that the Internet is to blame. That may be true, but if it is, it is because the Internet allows the media’s favorite fictions to be exposed, leaving their reputations—arguably their most important product" irrevocably damaged.

People won’t knowing buy damaged goods, and why should they?

Day by day, story by story, the Times justifies ever dollar it loses with another fiction that turns away another reader, and when they are gone, they will not be missed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:19 AM | Comments (3)

March 25, 2009

Complicity in Idiocy

Fox News posted the following highly-misleading graphic on the front page of tonight, as the click-through image for a story entitled Clinton: U.S. Shares Blame in Mexico Drug Wars.

The obvious implication of the image, echoing recent rhetoric by the Obama Administration and the Mexican government that the firearms industry in the United States is responsible for supplying drug cartels with massive amounts of firepower, including military weapons.

But what does the picture actually show?

A close look at the picture shows at the top a short-barreled AR-15 carbine where the flash hider begins immediately in front of the front sight.

Such weapons are highly-regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934, and buyers must have approval from the ATF and pay a $200 transfer tax. Such weapons are most commonly seen in use by law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border in urban tactical dynamic entry or SWAT teams. It is possible, and perhaps probable, that this firearm was acquired by cartels from Mexican law enforcement, and not from civilian firearms dealers.

The next firearm down, a civilian-legal AR-15 carbine, has a noticeably longer 16-inch legal minimum barrel, as does the Mini-14 carbine. The AR-15-style rifle below that has a 20-inch barrel.

Dominating the photo, however, is a collection of military weaponry that is simply unavailable for purchase by American civilians at any price. There are either rockets or mortar shells (probably the former, but I'm not sure) and a M-72 LAW, a disposable anti-tank rocket.

Our President and Attorney General and have been more than willing to mislead the American people by including military weaponry in displays of arms confiscated from cartels, in hopes of pushing for what the President likes to call "common sense" gun control measures, as if anti-tank rockets, hand grenades, IEDs and police and military-issued machine guns can be had under existing gun laws.

We except such deception from Barack Obama, a man who was once part of the anti-gun Joyce Foundation and who was part of an attempt to con the Supreme Court. We also expect the media to be largely ignorant and heavily biased in stories involving firearms.

We should, however, expect at least the most basic level of intellectual curiosity from our media, such as wondering why government officials are implying military anti-tank weaponry is available for purchase by civilians in U.S. gun shops.

Journalists are abdicating their responsibility to ask these questions.

This failure to follow the basic tenets of journalism is a large part of why the public holds the media in such low regard, and why their news organizations continue to collapse around them.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:49 PM | Comments (3)

February 04, 2009

Associated Press Goes After "Hope" Artist For More Than Change

I was emailed a link to this story from AP's Media Relations office tonight.

It seems that the wire service wants credit and compensation from an artist by the name of Shepard Fairey for his Barack Obama "Hope" image that was admittedly based on the work of an Associated Press photographer, Manny Garcia.

Now it has been a long, long time—circa 1991—that I was in college learning the basics of media law in a journalism class, but my initial reaction was that derivative art was protected under fair use laws.

And upon further review, it's a good thing that I'm not a lawyer.

Fairey has apparently admitted his work came from Garcia's photo. It seems to me that the only real question here is whether or not Fairey settles our of court, or if he presses for a trial that he seems destined to lose.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:58 PM | Comments (5)

January 19, 2009

CNN's Meserve Punked by Secret Service

Dude, where's my spotter?

The teams typically consist of two people, both armed with high-powered rifles, either of whom can shoot to deter an imminent threat. If one countersniper spots a threat, that person prepares to shoot while the other member takes on the role of "wind caller," telling the shooter how to adjust his aim to counteract the wind.

The wind caller takes cues from chimney smoke, flags or undulations from the atmosphere.

While the name of the primary shooter of a precision shooting team differs for political reasons with some calling him a sniper, countersniper, sharpshooter or kitten-of-the-gun, the second half of a sniper team is ubiquitously called a spotter.

A "wind caller?"

That's the obnoxious little kid that loudly yells "Mommy farted!" at the mall, causing a mortified, teeth-clenched-and-red-faced woman to momentarily yearn for a "decade-after" pill.

One can only imagine that Meserve and Ahlers did what CNN journalists so often do, taking the word of their subjects at face value—be they Hamas terrorists, tyrannical dictators, or straight-faced comedians with a badge—rushing the story to air without bothering with tedious fact-checking, or even a few seconds on the Internet to see if they got the terminology remotely right.

The dead-pan sniper found his mark, and CNN's Merserve published a subtle fart joke as news.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:13 PM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2009

Red Cross Confirms the Obvious: Israeli White Phosphorus Smoke Shells Used Legally in Gaza; Hamas Docs Continue Propaganda Efforts

I wrote several days ago that the Israeli use of 155mm M825A1 smoke shells was not in any way a "war crime," nor the use of "chemical weapons," nor in any way against the law of war, despite the cries of leftist journalists and Islamist activists.

Today, the International Red Cross agreed:

The international Red Cross said Tuesday that Israel has fired white phosphorus shells in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, but has no evidence to suggest it is being used improperly or illegally.

The comments came after a human rights organization accused the Jewish state of using the incendiary agent, which ignites when it strikes the skin and burns straight through or until it is cut off from oxygen. It can cause horrific injuries.

The International Committee of the Red Cross urged Israel to exercise "extreme caution" in using the incendiary agent, which is used to illuminate targets at night or create a smoke screen for day attacks, said Peter Herby, the head of the organization's mines-arms unit.

"In some of the strikes in Gaza it's pretty clear that phosphorus was used," Herby told The Associated Press. "But it's not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it's being used in any other way."

In response, the Israeli military said Tuesday that it "wishes to reiterate that it uses weapons in compliance with international law, while strictly observing that they be used in accordance with the type of combat and its characteristics."

Sadly, even the Red Cross' statement is unlikely to stem spurious allegations white phosphorus is being used as a weapon, as these photos show:

caption: Palestinian Louai Sobeh, 10, is treated for burns at Shifa hospital in Gaza City on January 12, 2009. Palestinian doctor working in Gaza City Dr Yusef Abu Rish told AFP that at least 55 people were injured early yesterday by white phosphorous shells, banned under international law for use against civilians, but permitted for creating smokescreens. "These people were burned over their bodies in a way that can only be caused by white phosphorous," said Abu Rish. An Israeli military spokeswoman denied the claims. "There is no use of white phosphorous. Everything we use is according to international law," she said.

caption: Palestinian Mohamed Ahmed is treated for burns at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on January 12, 2009. Dr Yusef Abu Rish at Gaza City's Nasser hospital told AFP that at least 55 people were injured early yesterday by white phosphorous shells, banned under international law for use against civilians, but permitted for creating smokescreens. "These people were burned over their bodies in a way that can only be caused by white phosphorous," said Abu Rish. An Israeli military spokeswoman denied the claims."There is no use of white phosphorous. Everything we use is according to international law," she said.

caption: Palestinian Akram Abu Roka is treated for burns at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on January 12, 2009. Dr Yusef Abu Rish at Gaza City's Nasser hospital told AFP that at least 55 people were injured early yesterday by white phosphorous shells, banned under international law for use against civilians, but permitted for creating smokescreens. "These people were burned over their bodies in a way that can only be caused by white phosphorous," said Abu Rish. An Israeli military spokeswoman denied the claims."There is no use of white phosphorous. Everything we use is according to international law," she said.

Let me be very blunt: both the Palestinian doctor and the IDF spokesperson are almost certainly lying.

Israel is using white phosphorus, but it is not violating any laws of warfare, because the white phosphorus they are using is not weaponized. They are using air-bursting shells to make smokescreens, not impact-detonating munitions one would associate with offensive incendiary use. when it comes to the white phosphorus they are using, the spokesperson is telling the truth when she claims that "Everything we use is according to international law."

So why does the IDF continue to insist it isn't using white phosphorus? I'd suggest it is because most media outlets covering the conflict are either so biased or so incompetent that they couldn't or wouldn't explain to their consumers that not all uses of white phosphorus are the same.

As for Dr. Yusef Abu Rish, he's either unfamiliar with what white phosphorus burns look like, or perhaps more likely, is serving up a healthy dose of propaganda.

As I mentioned previously and Soccer Dad picked up upon, the IDF is deploying smoke shells. In specific, they are using M825A1 air-bursting smoke rounds fired from 155 howitzers. The M825A1 disperses 3/4-inch thick solid felt wedges impregnated with white phosphorus that disperse from airbursting shells in altitudes that appear in most photos to be 100 feet off the ground, or more. Each shell disperses 116 wedges.

These wedges can indeed cause horrific, potentially fatal burns if they hit people, but this kind of WP dispersal would mostly likely cause distinctive, penetrating, and localized burn injuries— not the scattering of surface wounds suffered by Sobeh, the nearly uniform and widespread facial burns of Ahmed, or the heavy, extensive burns suffered by Roka. All of their woulds could certainly be combat-related, and the later two are distinctively burns, but they do not bear the signs one typically associates with white phosphorus.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:21 PM | Comments (14)

January 12, 2009

CNN's Alibi Hasn't Seen the Raw Tape, and Won't Produce It

Today I contacted Paul Martin, the co-owner of World News and Features whom CNN cited in their claim that Ashraf Masharawi's video of his brother's death in a Gaza hospital emergency room as the result of being fired upon by an Israeli drone was indeed legitimate as shown, and not staged as many right of center bloggers have contended.

I asked Mr. Martin a series of questions about the video, including queries about the apparent inconsistencies in the timeline in various versions as told presented by CNN and Channel 4 as noted by Dan Riehl, and why the family was so adamant that an Israeli drone fired a missile that targeted the two boys playing on the rooftop. Did the family members directly witnessed a drone firing a missile, or did they hear the explosion, go to the roof, see a drone, and assume it was a drone that fired?

I also asked Martin, who is in the business of selling news footage, if CNN and Channel 4 were clients, and if so, if they purchased the edited versions of this Masharawi video, or if they purchased the raw footage to be made into a finished product by these news organizations.

Martin responded this evening via email that:

We plan to post the entire unedited videotape of the whole event, on our website, as soon as we can obtain the whole thing from Gaza... something which can happen when there is an end to hostilities.

There you have it, folks. CNN's alibi hasn't seen the unedited footage, and we can't expect to have them even attempt to provide it until the conflict is over.

Interesting, isn't it?

World News and Features claims to specialize in getting footage delivered from high-threat combat zones to the world's media organizations, and their ace videographer managed to get polished, edited footage of his brother's death in the hands of foreign media organizations within hours of the attack, but now they say we'll have to wait until the war is over to get the kind of raw footage that one would think is their bread-and-butter product.


You don't know the half of it...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:15 PM | Comments (7)

January 09, 2009

CNN Digs In On Israeli Airstrike Fraud

CNN is insisting that the story it aired of a Palestinian videographer filming his younger brothers death is entirely legitimate:

There's no truth to accusations by bloggers that a Palestinian camera crew staged a video showing the death of the videographer's brother after an Israeli rocket attack, said the team's employer.

"It's absolute nonsense," Paul Martin, co-owner of World News and Features, said of accusations leveled by bloggers at videographer Ashraf Mashharawi.

"He's a man of enormous integrity and would never get involved with any sort of manipulation of images, let alone when the person dying is his own brother," Martin said. "I know the whole family. I know them very well. ... [Mashharawi] is upset and angry that anyone would think of him having done anything like this. ... This is ridiculous. He's independent."

Raafat Hamdouna, administrative director at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, said Friday that "Mahmoud Khalil Mashharawi, a 12-year-old, was brought to the hospital, and he was breathing, but he was hit in the head and all over his body by shrapnel. He died later in the hospital. He was treated by the Norwegian team. When he was brought in, he was breathing. The team did their best to save him. I am not really sure if they even tried to rush him to the surgery room, because he was badly hurt."

This is CNN's evidence?

Martin is the co-owner of the news company that employees the videographer; he has an intense vested interest in maintaining the credibility and reputation of his company and employees at all costs.

And precisely what kind of news World News & Features produce [h/t Snapped Shot]?

WORLD NEWS & FEATURES is a unique specialist news and features provider, in the print, audio and video media, specialising in CONFLICT ZONES. It specialises in high-quality and impeccably-researched content. It only provides the material to non-competing clients. Under its unique system, each PREMIER CLIENT can brand the material as "From Our Own Correspondent" or "From ABC - Special to ..." or some other agreed wording. A PREMIER CLIENT can also commission the writing, filming or broadcast of specific stories relevant to that clients region, city or specialised interest.

Premium clients can commission the writing filming, and broadcast of specific stories. Commissioned news, sold at a premium. Isn't that another name for mercenary propaganda?

If so, I wonder who commissioned these... or if they were done pro bono.





Martin is trusted by Hamas on at least a professional level, and has a financial stake in the credibility of his employee's story. Neither of these conflicts of interest were disclosed by CNN, for the rather obvious reasons it undermines their claim of the story's credibility.

And then there is the apparent discrepancy between the injuries claimed by hospital adminstrator Raafat Hamdouna and the lack of evidence of such wounds in the video footage.

Hamdouna claimed:

"Mahmoud Khalil Mashharawi, a 12-year-old, was brought to the hospital, and he was breathing, but he was hit in the head and all over his body by shrapnel."

The video shot by Ashraf Mashharawi does not seem to support this claim.

While a frame-by-frame analysis shows a possible gash on the lower leg and what may be evidence of blood localized on the lower trunk, there is no evidence of any wound to the head or upper body.

Others that have been following this story also find CNN's affirmation of this story's credibility less than credible, including Charles Johnson and Ed Morrissey.

CNN has also yet to explain what kind of Israeli drone could have fired the purported missile, and what kind of missile would cause the minimal damage shown on the rooftop where it is claimed these boys were killed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:09 PM | Comments (82)

Anatomy of a Media Hoax

As the IDF campaign in Gaza continues, so do attempts by Hamas and Hamas sympathizers to use the western media as an often willing propaganda tool.

Yesterday, media critic Charles Johnson commented on Little Green Footballs about a 2-minute CNN story that purported to show the death of a Palestinian child in Gaza that was captured on film by his brother.

Here is a copy of that CNN story.

The video purports to show a truly horrific series of events. A boy and his friend are said to be struck down are struck down while they play, deliberately targeted by an Israeli drone aircraft armed with missiles. As doctors frantically perform CPR, the child apparently dies in front of his horrified brother, who continues filming. The boy is taken home, where he is cradled in the arms of a grieving family member. The video then cuts to the roof of the family home, where a family member shows where he claims the Israeli missile strike took the life of the two boys. The video then shows the family taking the boy to a local cemetary in a shroud, where he is to be laid to rest.

It is a truly horrible story, and one no doubt played out by heart-broken families on both sides of this conflict far too many times.

The only significant difference in this story, however, it that it is an obvious fake, featuring a series of images that any credible news editor should have quickly recognized.

But what marks this story as a hoax, and what elements point to media collusion in promoting this video as propaganda? Please watch the video above again, and we'll go through those elements step-by-step.

They are:

  • basic medical procedures are poorly faked
  • known propaganda actors are used in this film
  • the site of the attack is poorly-constructed and inconsistent with a military attack.
  • the body doesn't act like a body

First, let's return to the hospital, and take a look at our medical doctors and the life-saving procedures they are performing.

Narrated by Michael Holmes, the video opens with a Palestinian and European doctor hovering over what the narrator claims is a "victim of the violence."

The Palestinian doctor, on the right side of the camera frame, is shown to be mimicking a series of fast and shallow chest compressions as the doctor on the left examines a monitor.

The obvious problems? This is not how CPR is performed.

There is never an attempt to get the child to breath or to provide him with life-sustaining oxygen, and the chest compressions are far too shallow to be of any medical value at all. Real chest compressions performed during CPR are violent by necessity. For the lungs to fill with air heart to pump blood, they it must first be forcefully compressed using hard and deep pressure that uses a significant amount of upper body strength on the part of the person doing the compressions. The amount of forced used to successfully compress the chest would be very painful to a conscious victim, as the compressions often crack or even break the ribs. The doctor in this video is being very careful not to cause the out-of-frame victim any harm.

Such delicacy would not be practiced if desperate life-saving measures were actually needed. Nor would such care be wasted on a corpse used in such a re-creation. As we will discover later, this so-called victim seems very much alive and healthy, and they take great care to make sure he remains that way.

But enough about our Palestinian doctor poorly faking chest compressions. Let's have a look at our dashing Norwegian doctor on the left of the frame.

Sadly, the image quality is lacking i this still-frame from the video, but you get a much better shot of him accompanying this print story that happened to be running at the same time as CNN's video.

Isn't he quite the photogenic soul?

The BBC, CBS, CNN, Sky News, and other news outlets sure seem to think so, as they've all featured him and his special brand of spin:

International media reports, including those from the BBC, CBS, CNN and FOX’s sister station Sky News, present Gilbert as an ordinary doctor.

But a look at his record shows that Gilbert, 61, is a political activist and member of the Norwegian Maoist "Red" party, and he has been involved in solidarity work for the Palestinians since the 1970s. He has criticized the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders for refusing to take sides in conflicts.

Gilbert volunteers at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza with the Norwegian Aid Committee (NORWAC), an aid organization funded by the Norwegian government, and he has been interviewed by the media on a variety of issues. Israeli government officials have said Hamas hides weapons in the hospital where Gilbert works.

NGO Monitor, an Israeli human rights watchdog group, says Gilbert presents one-sided criticism of Israel to the media and has accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians in its Gaza offensive to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Israel.

In addition to being supportive of the terrorist organization Hamas, Gilbert has voiced support for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

What makes mad Mads appearance in this video all the more shocking is that he can't be bother to even help make this bit of theater mildly convincing by even going through the motions of giving the victim air, a complaint quickly voiced by doctors who viewed the clip.

I'm no military expert, but I am a doctor, and this video is bullsh-t. The chest compressions that were being performed at the beginning of this video were absolutely, positively fake. The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child's sternum a little bit with his fingers. You can't make blood flow like that. Furthermore, there's no point in doing chest compressions if you're not also ventilating the patient somehow. In this video, I can't tell for sure if the patient has an endotracheal tube in place, but you can see that there is nobody bag-ventilating him (a bag is actually hanging by the head of the bed), and there is no ventilator attached to the patient. In a hospital, during a code on a ventilated patient, somebody would probably be bagging the patient during the chest compressions. And they also would have moved the bed away from the wall, so that somebody could get back there to intubate the patient and/or bag him. In short, the "resuscitation scene" at the beginning is fake, and it's a pretty lame fake at that.

Frankly, we need Foreman and House on this. If we're going to have fake CPR, we need to have fake doctors who can pretend to do it more convincingly.

Now, let's look at the impact site of the alleged Israeli drone's missile attack.

For reasons never explained in the video—or perhaps for obvious reasons—the narrator never quite explains why the Israeli drone found this incongruous pile of cinder blocks to be worth firing upon, nor does it explain why the drone stopped firing only after mortally wounding the one cinder block, leaving the other largely intact and still capable of posing a threat. I kid, of course.

The cinder blocks are the heart of the video segment filmed on the rooftop where the two boys were said to have been killed. A frame-by-frame review of this segment as the camera pans across the roof shows no evidence of scorch-marks, shrapnel, or scoring consistent with shrapnel in the area around the blocks that the brother suggests is the impact point.

There is no evidence of any penetration or contact with into the roof surface itself at that point or anywhere else shown— not a single mark, despite the fact that drone-class warheads typically have impact-dependent fuses that means they would have detonated on impact, or if delayed, would have penetrated into the home before exploding.

As the camera pains across the rooftop, confirming no evidence of blast damage, it pans past the kind of cheap resin chairs that grace so many homes and apartments worldwide, thanks to the magic of Chinese industry. You've probably had one like this yourself.

You've also probably thrown away your fair share of chairs exactly like this one as well.

One thing we have learned from years of foreign imports is that you can have "cheap," or you can have "quality," and this kind of chair is decidedly cheap. Flimsily made, they bend and break with little provocation, and perhaps just as interesting for our context, they are tossed violently a considerable distance with even a moderate wind.

Somehow, we're expected to believe that an Israeli missile detonated on this roof without causing any obvious shrapnel, or enough concussive blast damage to shatter a simple resin chair or even knock it over, and yet still have the power to kill two boys, including at least one that was on the far side of that chair (where the "blood" stains are) or shred the clothes hanging on the clothesline just feet behind the that.

Despite all the fiction so far, there is some actual truth in the video on the rooftop, when the narrator notes that the roof is "pock-marked." There are holes in metal panels and chipped concrete, as you can see in the images below.

You'll also note that the metal panels are corroded around the edges of the holes, which is interesting in that recent perforated galvanized metal shows up bright, only to corrode much later. The pockmarked concrete, likewise, shows the weeping of rust from the exposed iron rebar inside.

This rooftop does indeed show signs of damage, but it is far less obvious if the damage is a sign of substandard construction materials or from combat. In either event, the corrosion evident on both the metal and concrete assure us that the damage was done long ago. No missle impact here during this war, if ever.

Lastly, rest assured that our young victim is doing far better than his pretend treatment and shroud would indicate.

As he is about to be laid to rest, the shroud falls away, leaving his arm exposed to gravity. Conscientious even as a corpse, the young victim holds his arm tightly against his woundless body as the camera pans away. I suspect his family is celebrating his miraculous resurrection even as you read these words.

And what of his family?

His brother's grief was never too strong to keep him from documenting his brother's death, and he will cope by burying himself in his work. Considering that he is the general manager of the company that runs web sites for Hamas while they are at war, I'm sure he is quite busy, indeed.

As for CNN, they have carried on exactly as you would expect they would as the kind of company that would hide the torture of even their own employees just to retain favorability among despots.

While they quickly dropped the video from their site after being caught in this lie, leaving what must have been an uncomfortable void where the video used to be, they did so with no explanation, no correction, and no retraction.

It must have been a very interesting meeting when decided that the best way to handle this obvious farce was to double-down and continue to pretend this story was real, replacing the fradulent video with the print script of the story read by Michael Holmes.

The story is no less fraudulent, and the cover-up is far more damning.

This, truly, is CNN.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:31 AM | Comments (20)

January 08, 2009

Pro-Hamas Doctors Caught Faking A Civilian Death... After CNN Airs Footage

Mads Gilbert, the radical Marxist Norwegian doctor that was the focus of a Fox News report earlier today for being an anti-Israeli Hamas apologist, has been positively identified as one of two doctors caught faking CPR on a Palestinian boy that "died" in video featured today on CNN.

The segment with Gilbert shows him and another doctor badly faking chest compressions and other life-saving measures on a live boy faking death in what can only be described as political theater. The video claims to be filmed by the brother of a Palestinian teen that claims the boy was one of two purposefully killed by a missile fired at them by an Israeli drone as they played.

Lawhawk, has more on why the fake CPR is so pathetically obvious to those with actual CPR training.

CNN editors who swallowed the story of the poorly-acted video unquestioningly—no doubt because it fit the anti-Israeli narrative familiar to CNN viewers and critics—have now pulled the video without explanation, correction, or retraction.

It has also been determined that the videographer who filmed his brother's "death" is the general manager of a company that hosts web sites for Hamas.

Dr. Gilbert was allowed into Gaza by the Israelis just 2 days ago to provide medical care. He was involved in faking war crimes less than 48 hours later.

Update: The CNN cover-up continues. Saddam Hussein's favorite network has now pulled the video completely from their site, instead posting a text story that continues the propaganda.

I suspect this attempt at avoiding the truth isn't going to work out very well for them.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:04 PM | Comments (45)

January 05, 2009

Dear Terrorist Supporters: White Phosphorus is Not an Illegal Weapon

Pro-terrorist shills like this clueless twit give other leftist beards for Islamofascist oppression a bad name.

War Crime du Jour: Israel Deploys White Phosphorus Shells

When regarding the Christmas massacre conducted against the captive population of Palestine by the Israeli army in the name of the people of Israel's security, one is left to wonder: How deeply into Israel's vast arsenal must the IDF dig before the world's leaders act?

Do we wait until the nuclear option is put on the table? "Bunker busters" are already deployed; cluster bombs and the usual array of missiles, bombs, and bullets rained down on civilians and the civilian infrastructure. Hospitals, universities, police stations, mosques, and apartment blocks. Have we missed anything?

Just reality.

White phosphorus is in the inventory of most of the world's major military forces, including the United States, Great Britain, Russia. It is used for smoke screens, for signaling, and incendiary uses.

Global Security states it bluntly:

Israel used White Phosphorus against HAMAS targets in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in January 2009. This violated no international laws or conventions.

White Phosphorus in Gaza (as it was in Lebanon) is clearly being deployed as an obscurant, laying down a smoke screen to prevent Hamas terrorists from seeing advancing Israeli forces.

This is done to save the lives of soldiers from being targeted with IEDs and sniper fire, and—though leftists refuse to admit it— to also hopefully save the lives of Palestinian civilians by allowing Israeli soldiers to engage Hamas terrorists at close range with rifle and machine gun fire, rather than use more destructive arial bombing and artillery fire.

As for the "bunker busters" alluded to by the deluded author above, the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, it too is designed to save lives by using minimal destructive force:

At just 5.9 feet long and 285 pounds, the bomb’s small size increases the number of weapons an aircraft can carry, therefore raising the amount of targets it can kill in one sortie. Because of its size and precision accuracy, it also reduces collateral, or unintended, damage in the target vicinity.

It is a small bomb that uses far less explosives that the 500-lb, 1000-lb, and 2000-lb bombs that air forces have had to rely upon in the past that could level several buildings or even a city block even with a precision strike, and being a bunker buster exploding below ground, it further decreases the threat of shrapnel and blast forces to innocent civilians.

As for the blackened bodies in Lebanon he cites as evidence of atrocities... well that was conclusively debunked, as was the fiction pushed by pro-insurgent leftists about the use of WP in Fallujah.

Keep your eyes out: you'll be seeing more of this pro-terrorist propaganda in the days ahead.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:42 PM | Comments (9)

December 10, 2008

CNN's MRAP Story Feasts on Ignorance in Effort to Demonize Marine Corps

Once again, CNN puts its ignorance and dislike of the military center stage:

The U.S. Marine Corps knew of the threat posed by roadside bombs before the start of the Iraq war, yet did nothing to buy protective vehicles for troops, according to a report to be released by the Pentagon.

Additionally, Marine leaders in 2005 decided to buy up-armored, or reinforced, Humvees instead of Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles to shield troops in Iraq from mines and other explosives -- a decision that could have cost lives, according to the report obtained Tuesday by CNN.

The report by the Department of Defense inspector general was requested by the Marine Corps in early 2008 after a civilian employee with the service complained that bureaucratic delays undermined the program to develop the armored vehicles.

Inspectors found that the decision not to buy MRAP vehicles in 2005 stopped the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, the agency in charge of finding the best protective vehicle from troops in Iraq, from "developing a course of action ... to attempt to obtain funding for [MRAPs]," according to the report.

The report found that the Department of Defense knew before the war started in 2003 of the threats of mines and roadside bombs in Iraq but did nothing to acquire "MRAP-type" vehicles ahead of the invasion.

What the author of this CNN article fails to explain is that you can have either mobility, or you can have armor; you can't have both.

A vehicle that can withstand IEDs built from artillery shells is going to be too heavy (14 tons in some variations) to leave the main roads or even cross many of the world's bridges. The has two significant and lasting effects. It cedes the majority of territory to the insurgents, and also creates targeting funnels where ambushes can be concentrated, increasing the likelihood of Marines being hit by IEDs.

When insurgents know that they face a vehicle with limited mobility, they can then concentrate on building bigger or more effective types of IEDs to defeat that specific vehicle, while simultaneously using the majority or their forces to dominate the surrounding towns and villages.

Historically, the Marines have always chosen mobility over armor, using speed, tenacity, and tactics to overwhelm opposing forces with weapons systems lighter armed and armored than that of their more heavily armed and armored Army counterparts.

It is true that some Marines who died in HMMWVs because of IED strikes may very well have survived strikes by similar weapons on MRAPs, but at what cost?

Would they have had the mobility to strike al Qaeda and insurgent supply lines running though remote areas of the country, or find weapons caches located on farms and in fields far away from the hardened roads that MRAPs require?

Could Marines have penetrated communities and established relations with friendly Iraqis to develop a counterinsurgency program while hiding inside these metal beasts? The answer to these questions is a resounding "no."

MRAPs are great vehicles for their intended purpose of protecting their occupants against IEDS, but their mobility is horrific, and cedes the majority of the battlefield to the enemy, leaving the enemy to pick the time and place of engagement with American forces.

In short, an early deployment of MRAPs into the Iraqi theater of operations may have saved some lives in the short run, but it would have crippled the Marines ability to take the fight to the enemy and put the insurgency on the defensive.

MRAPS and similar vehicles have a time and a place, as does every weapons system, but they are not nearly mobile enough to be as useful in an offensive war against a lightly armed and mobile enemy as are the lighter and less armored HMMWV.

Of course, you don't have to take my word for it. Even Army soldiers used to more heavily armored equipment find the MRAPtoo heavy and slow:

And so we rolled out of FOB Falcon in those giant MRAPs. It seems that most of the seriously experienced combat soldiers do not like MRAPs. Yes, MRAPs are great for the main roads and convoys, but they are too big and too cumbersome, and they get stuck in mud that you could peddle a bicycle through. MRAPs are not offensive vehicles. There is no doubt MRAPs can save lives – they’re like giant vaults on wheels, though I did see the wreckage of one in Afghanistan that had been nearly obliterated. When we’re on the main roads, I love MRAPs, but we will never win wars or major battles with those things, or by staying on main roads. MRAPs need good roads. Good roads are bomb magnets. In Afghanistan, many of the Taliban scoot around on motorcycles, and there is no doubt that mobility is a weapon. We should melt most of the MRAPs down and forge that metal into killing machines like Strykers. The combat vets from 10th Mountain that day were also not fans of MRAPs. And though it’s easy to find MRAP-lovers, the hardcore fighters seem to want more mobility than steel.

Marines encumbered by MRAPs cannot take the battle to the enemy, and Marines that can't take the battle to the enemy will not win wars.

CNN's article is a poorly-researched hit piece designed to attack the credibility and judgement of the Marine Corps.

Perhaps before questioning the judgment of others, they should start by looking at their motivations and biases first.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:30 PM | Comments (11)

November 26, 2008

Dead-Tree Media Op-Ed Writer In Favor of Newspaper Bailout

Via Hot Air's headlines comes Kathleen Parker's self-serving idea:

Actively pursuing information through print media and participating in high-level conversations -- even, potentially, blogging -- makes one smarter.

The ISI insists that higher-education reforms aimed at civic literacy are urgently needed. Who could argue otherwise? But historian Rick Shenkman, author of "Just How Stupid Are We?" thinks reform needs to start in high school. His strategy is both poetic (to certain ears) and pragmatic: Require students to read newspapers, and give college freshman weekly quizzes on current events.

Did he say newspapers?! Shenkman even suggests government subsidies for newspaper subscriptions, as well as federal tuition subsidies for students who perform well on civics tests. They could be paid from a special fund created by, say, a "Too Many Stupid Voters Act."

Not only would citizens be smarter, but also newspapers might be saved. Announcements of newsroom cuts, which ultimately hurt quality, have become routine. Just this week, USA Today announced the elimination of about 20 positions, while the Newark Star-Ledger, as it cuts its news staff by 40 percent, lost almost its entire editorial board in a single day.

In his book, Shenkman, founder of George Mason University's History News Network, is tough on everyday Americans. Why, he asks, do we value polls when clearly The People don't know enough to make a reasoned judgment?

Of course, what Parker fails to mention is that The People don't know enough to make a reasoned judgement largely as a result of these same newspapers taking roles as advocates for one political theology instead of acting as unbiased journalists. The public, while underinformed but not nearly as ignorant as today's newroom and editorial board advocacy organizations would like, recognize the naked cheerleading and overt bias of the MSM, and quit buying their product.

Parker, Shenkman, and others with a stake in todays dying media want to legislate a market for a substandard product. Too bad for them, the People aren't as uneducated as they would like.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:33 AM | Comments (11)

November 16, 2008


Maryland Gomez, 61, was killed early Saturday morning when a tornado destroyed her home in Kenly, North Carolina. The Raleigh News and Observer ran the photo above, dominating page 1A above the fold in their Sunday paper. The photo is credited to Cary News photographer named Michael McLoone, and shows a Gomez family photo of the victim amid the wreckage of her home.

I may very well be wrong, but I suspect that this photo is staged.

Tornadoes are capable of astounding choreography, dancing over one home without disturbing a shingle, only to smash a neighboring home to kindling. Sometimes they'll even demolish an entire home, only to leave items in a single room almost untouched.

But I find it very hard to believe that:

this particular tornado,
on this particular night,
smashed this particular home,
and killed this particular woman,
and placed this particular photo,
ripped so delicately from its frame,
on this particular half of a smashed table,
with no human intervention,
while all beyond it is chaos.

Update: The N&O responds via email:

...There was no staging or Photoshop manipulation involved in the photo My [sic] Michael McLoone from the tornado aftermath. The situation was exactly as the photographer found it, and was not altered. This was indicated by the photographer in his communication with the photo desk on that day, and I have confirmed that in another conversation. Several friends, family members, and neighbors had been through the site, working to recover belongings of the family, and others had brought items found nearby back to the scene, where they were left.

It appears that the family photograph may have been placed on the table by human hands in the aftermath of the storm; the editors are simply claiming that the photographer was not responsible for the manipulation.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:20 PM | Comments (9)

November 12, 2008

What's the Greater Irony Here?

That more people read this spoofed version of the NY Times today than the real print edition, or that the radical left wing stories offered in the spoof are probably too right wing for the real newspaper's editorial board?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:35 AM | Comments (3)

October 29, 2008

Huffington Post Writer Stabs Ex-Lover 220 Times, Commits Suicide

Boynton, Beach, FL:

A woman who lived with her ex-partner on the city's south side stabbed her former lover more than 200 times with a Phillips-head screwdriver and then tried to conceal the killing, police said.

After committing the crime, Carol Anne Burger, 57, a writer who friends described as engaged and eager to move on with life, reported her old flame missing and then, a day later, shot herself to death in her backyard, police said.


Burger, upset at the disintegration of her relationship and disgusted with the U.S. during the past several years, sometimes talked of moving to Panama or Mexico to start again.

That she had recently lost her job didn't help the bouts of depression she sometimes experienced, said her close friend and confidante, Helen Gale.

But when the Web site The Huffington Post tapped Burger to cover the election from Florida this month, the job seemed to give her renewed focus. Burger burned to write a story for the site's front page and poured herself into the work, Gale said.

This lady obviously had serious psychological issues. The article also states she came to hate the United States "during the past several years."


I wonder how much eight years of the self-induced hysteria we know as "Bush Derangement Syndrome" and the requisite feelings of impotent rage and looming oppression fed into her existing problems.

May God be with both families as they deal with this senseless tragedy.

Update: Perhaps interested in keeping up appearances, the Palm Beach Post has now removed all references to Burger's disgust of the United States.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:28 PM | Comments (28)

October 20, 2008

Orson Scott Card Rips the MSM

Orson Scott Card eviscerates those Democratic Party flacks that call themselves journalists.

A taste of The Last Honest Reporter:

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means . That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

There's much more at the link.

Card, by the way, is a Democrat.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:35 PM | Comments (33)

October 16, 2008

WaPo's James V. Grimaldi's Dishonest "Hit" On Cindy McCain

I'm going to start doing something I should have done long ago. When I catch a journalist committing fraud or nakedly partisan political journalism, I'm join to make sure that I name them, and not just the organization they work for.

Today's poster child for journalistic corruption is James V. Grimaldi of the Washington Post.

What kind of dishonest, biased journalism is the Washington Post reporter James V. Grimaldi guilty of?

In Exclusive: Verizon and AT&T Provided Cell Towers for McCain Ranch, corrupt reporter James V. Grimaldi tries to insinuate that Cindy McCain is guilty of some sort of ethical violation because Verizon Wireless and AT&T installed portable cell phone towers to provide coverage at McCain's home in Hidden Valley near Sedona, Arizona.

Unethical reporter James V. Grimaldi writes:

Ethics lawyers said Cindy McCain's dealings with the wireless companies stand out because her husband is a senior member of the Senate commerce committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications industry. He has been a leading advocate for industry-backed legislation, fighting regulations and taxes on telecommunication services.

I have a few simple questions for morally bankrupt Washington Post reporter James V. Grimaldi:

  • Other than Stanley Brand, a former House counsel for Democrats, what are the names of the ethics lawyers you spoke with, and what positions have they held within the Democrat Party?
  • Are any of the ethics lawyers you spoke with currently active as paid consultants or volunteers for Barack Obama's presidential campaign?
  • Did Democratic operative(s) in Obama campaign suggested this story to you?
  • Did you ever had any intention of directly informing your readers that the Secret Service requested these cell towers as a security issue?

Yes, you heard that right. Ethics-challenged Washington Post reporter James V. Grimaldi did his level best to obscure the fact that it was the Secret Service that requested these portable cell towers, as stable communications are a vital part of protecting the lives of Presidential candidates.

This isn't journalism. This is partisan politics.

It's nice to know what kind of corrupt reporters the Washington Post is willing to hire in men such as James V. Grimaldi, and the kind of political hit pieces they're willing to run as legitimate news stories.

Update: Jonathan Martin at The Politico confirms the Secret Service request:

A representative for the Secret Service confirms Verizon's statement earlier tonight that the company only put in a temporary cell service facility near the McCain ranch in Arizona at the request of the agency.

"We made a request of Verizon in I believe May that was covered under our contract and they did address our immediate needs," said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:28 AM | Comments (10)

October 15, 2008

Secret Service: Media Claim of "Kill Him" Unfounded

Don't have any proof of rage-filled bigots at McCain-Palin speeches, even though you just know in your shriveled little heart that they have to be there?

Never fear. You can always just make it up.

The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Scranton said allegations that someone yelled "kill him" when presidential hopeful Barack Obama's name was mentioned during Tuesday's Sarah Palin rally are unfounded.

The Scranton Times-Tribune first reported the alleged incident on its Web site Tuesday and then again in its print edition Wednesday. The first story, written by reporter David Singleton, appeared with allegations that while congressional candidate Chris Hackett was addressing the crowd and mentioned Oabama's[sic] name a man in the audience shouted "kill him."

News organizations including ABC, The Associated Press, The Washington Monthly and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann reported the claim, with most attributing the allegations to the Times-Tribune story.

Agent Bill Slavoski said he was in the audience, along with an undisclosed number of additional secret service agents and other law enforcement officers and not one heard the comment.

"I was baffled," he said after reading the report in Wednesday's Times-Tribune.

He said the agency conducted an investigation Wednesday, after seeing the story, and could not find one person to corroborate the allegation other than Singleton.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:46 PM | Comments (12)

Drop the Filter

The New York Times could save some money if they fired fired the middlemen and simply let the Obama campaign post directly to their blogs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2008

The Ayers-Obama Media Primer

The Weathermen were not a 1960s group.
The Weathermen formed in 1969, declared war on "AmeriKKKa" (yes, that is where the popular spelling you hear in the rants of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and on left-wing political blogs comes from) in 1970, and carried out a string of attacks that finally ended with the arrests of the final remaining Weathermen, now called the May 19 Communist Movement, in 1985. One remaining Weatherman, Elizabeth Duke, is still a fugitive from the FBI and is considered armed and dangerous.

Calling the Weathermen a 60s terrorist group, when it did almost all of its bombing in the 1970s and 1980s, is as intellectually honest as calling Duran Duran a 50s rock and roll band because Simon Le Bon was born in 1958.

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn are domestic terrorists.
They not an "anti-war activists" nor "radicals." Activists and radicals organize protests and sit-ins and harass elected officials.

A person that uses a bomb instead of a ballot is a terrorist. A person that leads a group of individuals that likes to use bombs instead of ballets is a terrorist leader. As this particular group of terrorists waged war against their own country, they are called domestic terrorists.

Contrary to a meme being pushed by interested parties, the Weather Underground killed innocent people.
Brian V. McDonnell an officer with the San Francisco Police, was ripped apart by shrapnel Feb 16, 1970. He succumbed to his injuries two days later. Officer Robert Fogarty was permanently injured in the same blast. FBI mole Larry Grathwohl says Bill Ayers built the bomb, and that Bernadine Dohrn placed it on the station window ledge. Nyack, NY Police Officer Waverly Brown and Sergeant Ed O'Grady, along with Brinks guard Peter Paige, were killed in an armored car robbery that was a joint operation between the Weather Underground and elements of the Black Liberation Army in 1981.

In addition to their successful homicide bombings, the Weather Underground failed in several attempts at mass murder.
On March 6, 1970, a pipe-bomb being constructed in a Greenwich Village townhouse detonated, killing three Weathermen and causing two others to flee. Recovered amid the rumble were four 12" dynamite-filled pipe-bombs and several fused eight-stick bundles of dynamite that had been destined for a non-commissioned officers dance that night at Fort Dix, NJ, targeting American soldiers and their civilian dates. The attack would likely have been the worst terrorist attack on American soil prior to Timothy McVeigh's attack in Oklahoma City.

Lesser known mass murder attempts of the Weathermen that same year included the attempted bombing of the Detroit Police Officers' Association, which Ayers wanted to occur when the building was fully occupied. An FBI mole within the Weathermen, Larry Grathwohl tipped police. A 13-stick bundle of dynamite was recovered and defused. A separate bombing targeting Detroit police foiled by Grathwohl involved 2 bombs, using 44 sticks of dynamite.

In 1984, Weathermen Susan Rosenberg and Linda Evans were arrested while transporting 740 pounds of explosives and a cache of almost two dozen weapons, including a submachine gun.

Barack Obama and Bill Ayers do not cross paths casually, but have a lucrative multi-decade relationship.
Barack Obama and Bill Ayers met no later than 1987, where the worked together in the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools. There is some speculation that Ayers and Obama may have met even earlier in New York, perhaps as far back as 1984, but that connection hasn't been firmly established.

Ayers was instrumental in forming the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and arranged for Obama to be chairman of the Board of Directors over more qualified Board members. Obama returned the favor by funneling more than a million dollars in grants to Ayers' Small School Workshop. Obama and Ayers served together for years on the Board of Directors of the Woods Fund. Obama was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation, which may have influenced several grants made to Ayers.

Barack Obama "didn't know the history" of Bill Ayers' and Bernadine Dohrn's terrorist past when he kicked off his political career in their home in 1995.
Barack Obama has known Bill Ayers at least since 1987, and perhaps as far back as 1983-84. Bernardine Dohrn, once publicly labeled "the most dangerous woman in America" by none other than J. Edgar Hoover, was also well known as the inspiration for the 1988 movie Running on Empty. Subtle terrorists they were not.

Both Ayers and Dohrn were very well known throughout Chicago for their role in the "Days of Rage" riots and their terrorist leadership, and were minor celebrities among the radical leftist community Ayers, Dohrn, and Obama shared in Hyde Park.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:28 PM | Comments (23)

September 29, 2008

In the Tank, and Not Even Trying

As if there was any doubt about the media being nothing more than an extension of the Obama campaign:

A READER AT A MAJOR NEWSROOM EMAILS: "Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true. We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in arizona. Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae. Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, others. People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into obama is derided or flat out ignored. The fix is in, and its working." I asked permission to reprint without attribution and it was granted.

The Anchoress hears it also to no one's surprise.

If you recall, several weeks ago Charlie Gibson used a doctored quote when interviewing Sarah Palin.

Gene Johnson of the Associated Press was the person (I hesitate to use the term journalist at this point) who purposefully truncated the quote to make it mean something entirely different, and so I contacted his superior, and noted he had clearly violated APs code of ethics by doctoring the quote.

After a period of silence, I asked the AP "In what way is altering a subject's quote to change the entire context of the quote, and present an entirely false interpretation of what the subject clearly said, not at odds with the Associated Press' ethics policy?"

The response?

"the remark could be interpreted in different ways"

Yes, when you allow persons to slice and dice quotes until they sound like what the media wants the victim to sound like, it certainly can.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:37 PM | Comments (14)

September 24, 2008

Obama to Replace Biden

Obama/Sulzberger '08:

Though these facts are a matter of public record, the New York Times, in what can only be explained as a willful disregard of the truth, failed to research this story or present any semblance of a fairminded treatment of the facts closely at hand. The paper did manage to report one interesting but irrelevant fact: Mr. Davis did participate in a roundtable discussion on the political scene with...Paul Begala.

Again, let us be clear: The New York Times -- in the absence of any supporting evidence -- has insinuated some kind of impropriety on the part of Senator McCain and Rick Davis. But entirely missing from the story is any significant mention of Senator McCain's long advocacy for, and co-sponsorship of legislation to enact, stricter oversight and regulation of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- dating back to 2006. Please see the attached floor statement on this issue by Senator McCain from 2006.

To the central point our campaign has made in the last 48 hours: The New York Times has never published a single investigative piece, factually correct or otherwise, examining the relationship between Obama campaign chief strategist David Axelrod, his consulting and lobbying clients, and Senator Obama. Likewise, the New York Times never published an investigative report, factually correct or otherwise, examining the relationship between Former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson and Senator Obama, who appointed Johnson head of his VP search committee, until the writing was on the wall and Johnson was under fire following reports from actual news organizations that he had received preferential loans from predatory mortgage lender Countrywide.

Therefore this "report" from the New York Times must be evaluated in the context of its intent and purpose. It is a partisan attack falsely labeled as objective news. And its most serious allegations are based entirely on the claims of anonymous sources, a familiar yet regretful tactic for the paper.

We all understand that partisan attacks are part of the political process in this country. The debate that stems from these grand and sometimes unruly conversations is what makes this country so exceptional. Indeed, our nation has a long and proud tradition of news organizations that are ideological and partisan in nature, the Huffington Post and the New York Times being two such publications. We celebrate their contribution to the political fabric of America. But while the Huffington Post is utterly transparent, the New York Times obscures its true intentions -- to undermine the candidacy of John McCain and boost the candidacy of Barack Obama -- under the cloak of objective journalism.

I'm not sure of Goldfarb's last claim. When was the last time anyone thought the Times practiced objective journalism?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2008

What's in a Terrorist's Name?

Should we take Marc Ambinder's critique of the Barack Obama/William Ayers story seriously, when he knows so little about it that he can't even spell the terrorist's name properly?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:45 AM | Comments (7)

September 19, 2008

Are We Fighting a Holy War?

(h/t Instapundit)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:29 PM | Comments (8)

September 18, 2008

WaPo Editorial Board Beclowns Itself

As much as we in the blogosphere love to the describe nonsensical utterings of journalists, pundits, and talking heads as "self-parodying," it is rare that national news outlets truly earn that as well as the Washington Post editorial board has done with their editorial lamenting the demise of the D.C. gun ban and the passage of a House Bill that seeks to normalize D.C. citizen's rights along the lines of those recognized throughout most of the rest of the country.

The hysteric and unsigned op-ed, Open Season on the District, is really quite a wonder to behold.

THE U.S. SENATE represents the last, best hope to stop the mindless push to enact a dangerous gun law in the District. And stop it the senators must.

That "dangerous gun law" would bring the district's gun laws in line with the majority of gun restrictions in the United States, areas that have far less gun crime that historically have far less gun crime than D.C. a fact the editors purposefully avoid mentioning.

The House voted yesterday to adopt a measure that would gut the District's gun laws and that goes far beyond the Supreme Court's finding this summer of an individual right to bear arms. The bill would prohibit the District from requiring that weapons be registered -- the most reasonable and benign of measures. It would allow ownership of semiautomatic handguns and rifles and would place no age restriction on gun possession. And it would effectively strip the District of the ability to enact any regulations that could be seen as unduly burdening gun ownership. If even registration is seen as unduly burdensome, that leaves little room and little hope for other reasonable provisions.

Weapons registration, far from being "reasonable and benign," is recognized as a prelude to confiscation, and historically been used as such around the world. As a result, registration is very unpopular in the United States and is shunned in most cities and states.

Likewise, semi-automatic handguns and rifles are by far the most popular firearms purchased and owned in America today. The Post editorial board, like many who have a visceral dislike of firearms and little or no practical experience with them, either confuses semi-automatic weapons with machine guns (fully automatic weapons), or seeks to confuse and alarm the uninformed reader.

As for the comment on age restrictions, that is a purposeful deception verging on outright fabrication by the Post, and demands a correction. By Federal law, citizens must be 18 to possess handguns or handgun-only ammunition, and 21 to purchase handguns in the United States. It is true person of any age may possess a long gun (shotgun or rifle), but must be 18 by federal law to purchase one. The applicable law was designed so that minors can possess (hold, use) a firearm to participate in shooting sports. Clearly, the Post is engaging in fear-mongering to scare their readership to adopt their fear-based point-of-view.

The bill is not only a slap in the face to home rule, it is an affront to common sense and safety. How are police supposed to trace guns used in crimes if they are unregistered?

This is a pair of non-sequiturs.

"Home rule" does not excuse governments on any level in the United States from violating the Constitution, and that includes the District of Columbia. Somehow, I rather doubt the Post would venture forth with the home rule argument if the subject in question was the restriction of their First Amendment freedoms to engage in deceptive editorializing.

The registration of a firearm is irrelevant in tracing a weapon actively being used in crime, and once such a gun is confiscation the serial number is used for an ATF trace, currently used in every state, including the vast majority of those without gun registration.

How are they to protect lawmakers, dignitaries, visitors, workers and residents when guns are treated like any other product to be bought and sold with no restrictions?

Again, the "no restrictions" claim is more than hyperbole, it is a purposeful, calculated lie, as the federal laws alluded to above make clear.

As for protecting Americans and visitors, we've been doing precisely that throughout the rest of the United States for several hundred years with most areas suffering a far lower gun-related felony crime rate than D.C., this is another misleading question based upon a false assertion.

While many gun rights advocates tout their bona fides as law-and-order types, they apparently have no trouble ignoring the testimony of scores of police chiefs and law enforcement officers across the country who believe that sensible regulation saves lives.

Of course many police chiefs view gun restrictions favorably. Their primary and most immediate concern is to keep their officers alive, and if forced to admit it, their secondary concern is to minimize legal risk to teh department. A disarmed citizenry poses a lower risk to the police both legally and practically, and minimizes the chances of police being successfully sued in court for wrongfully killing an armed citizen. As police know they cannot be sued for failing to prevent crimes, they would much rather have their officers encounter disarmed victims at a crime scene than show up to find an armed and agitated citizen standing over a dead rapist or armed robber.

It doesn't mean that their preferences are better for anyone than themselves.

And never mind that even Justice Antonin Scalia, among the most conservative jurists in the land, went out of his way in District of Columbia v. Heller to note that a constitutional right to keep and bear arms and reasonable government regulation -- including registration and a ban on assault weapons -- are not mutually exclusive propositions.

Another non-sequitur. Scalia's opinion as a SCOTUS justice is not designed to be a law unto itself. His job is to interpret laws and determine if they meet Constitutional standards. The author of this editorial can just as easily argue that Scalia's opinion in Heller would support H.R. 6842, the very law this editorial so obtusely and emotionally argues against.

The drafters and supporters of this bill have done what many thought was impossible: They've made Justice Scalia look like a liberal.

Again, hyperbole that does not advance their argument, but which perhaps further advances the argument that they are finding it difficult to base their opposition on anything other than gut-level fears.

The National Rifle Association championed the bill, and House Democratic leaders caved in to its demand that the bill be brought to a vote after the organization threatened to withhold endorsements of conservative Democrats in tight races this year. Conscientious senators of both parties must now stand up to these intimidation tactics and prevent a dangerously bad bill from becoming law.

Unlike the editors of the Post, who have decided that they will attempt to tell you how to think, I'll do what they will not.

Here is the full text of House Resolution 6842, otherwise know as the National Capital Security and Safety Act. Read it for yourself.

Note that the law merely extends Second Amendment rights commonly held in the rest of the 50 states to citizens of Washington, D.C, and abolishes a patently silly D.C. law that arbitrarily labeled nearly every magazine-fed firearm machine guns.

And once you've read the law, and noted how the Post has chosen to misrepresent it, wonder how you can ever trust them to objectively report or editorialize on any subject, ever again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:53 AM | Comments (6)

September 17, 2008

Calabrese: Media Ignores Obama's Undermining His Own Country, Because They Want The Same Things

It is now becoming abundantly clear that Barack Obama, in a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, tried to undermine his own country's negotiations with Iraq during his July visit to Baghdad. Even the Obama campaign can't deny it because there were multiple witnesses to the exchange.

So once again, conservatives begin raising the question: Why is the mainstream media ignoring this story? They're treating it like they treated the John Edwards affair story, which they ignored until they no longer could. But this is much more serious. The Democratic nominee for president of the United States attempted to scuttle a crucial status-of-forces agreement between the U.S. and the government of Iraq. He blatantly urged the Iraqis to stop negotiating with the Bush Administration and wait until the next president – presumably him, at least as far as he's concerned – takes office.


Why is the mainstream media ignoring the story? Well, first and foremost, because they want Obama to win the election. But it goes deeper than that. They're ignoring the story because they don't see anything wrong with what Obama did.

I'd love to give you more but that would violate fair use guidelines, so go here to read the rest.

Barack Obama illegally interjected himself into U.S. foreign policy and blatantly attempted to undermine a sitting President, secure in the knowledge that the Justice Department will not charge him with a law that hasn't been enforced in over 200 years, and knowing that the media doesn't care.

Want media attention?

Have some half-wit bail bondsman, head-wound patient, or strung-out meth junkies thrown in jail for threatening to kill Obama, even though not a single one of them could be considered a serious threat.

You'll get coverage in every major national and international news outlet for days as they fall all over each other to report that these isolated incidents are an example of how average, inbred racist rubes (Americans) cannot stand the thought of a Halfrican-American President.

But when Obama meddles in affairs that touches the lives of 140,000 soldiers—white, black, brown, yellow, and red—in a combat zone, purely for his personal political advantage?

Dead silence.

Not. A. Word.

It's a matter of priorities, folks. They want to protect Barack Obama, no matter how many Americans he endangers.

But who is going to protect us from him?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:40 PM | Comments (6)

September 13, 2008

The Best They Can Get?

Air America talk radio host Randi Rhodes, last seen here almost a year ago when she claimed she was assaulted, before it was exposed that the culprit who knocked out her teeth was her own liver acting in self defense, is back in the news again.

Rhodes asserted Sarah Palin was a potential child molester, and sadly, no, I'm not kidding.

Rhodes is the same Air America host that recently claimed John McCain was treated well by the North Vietnamese that tortured him, and he has a lengthy history of other embarrassing rants that make liberals look like mean-spirited, ignorant fools... kinda like Obama's latest ad against McCain over email.

I'm not surprised at all that Rhodes would chose to stay in the gutter as that is very much her shtick. But is she really the among the best liberal talk radio has to offer?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:20 PM | Comments (16)

September 12, 2008

WaPo Reporter Distorts Palin Deployment Speech

The willingness of the press to lie to undercut Sarah Palin is really getting obscene:

Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans."

The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself. But it is widely agreed that militants allied with al-Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.

Anne E. Kornblut, just stop.

Unless Kornblut buried the lede, Palin said precisely nothing about Saddam Hussein or his government at all or any roll they may have had in 9/11. Kornblut simply made that up, because she wanted Palin to say that.

When Palin referenced "...the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans," is was an obvious reference to al Qaeda in Iraq, an offshoot of the parent al Qaeda organization that plotted and executed the 9/11 attacks, and while still funds and loosely controls the failing Iraqi branch.

And the parent organization is not happy with the branch office:

Al Qaeda's senior leadership has lost confidence in its commander in Iraq and views the situation in the country as dire, according to a series of letters intercepted by Multinational Forces Iraq earlier this year.

The letters, which have been sent exclusively to The Long War Journal by Multinational Forces Iraq, are a series of communications between Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second in command, Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda in Iraq's leader, and Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the leader of al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq. These letters were intercepted by Coalition forces in Baghdad on April 24, 2008. One of the letters written by Zawahiri is dated March 6, 2008.


"The letters confirmed our assessment that Al Qaeda has suffered significant damage and serious reverses in Iraq, including widespread rejection of [al Qaeda in Iraq's] indiscriminate violence, extremist ideology, and oppressive practices," General David Petraeus, the Commander of Multinational Forces Iraq told The Long War Journal. "Even Zawahiri recognized that [al Qaeda in Iraq] has lost credibility in Iraq."

Sarah Palin was obviously addressing the living al Qaeda terrorists that soldiers would face in Iraq, no the ghosts of a regime long dead. How biased or simply dishonest does a reporter have to be to twist that?

Here's a novel concept: why don't reporters limit themselves to reporting facts.

Or is that simply too much to ask for a media more interested in selecting a President than electing one?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:15 AM | Comments (22)

September 10, 2008

Glass Houses

Sure, I can understand Fox News wanting to laugh at CNN for not being able to spot a Photoshopped picture of Sarah Palin's head on another woman's gun-toting, bikini clad body as a fake...

...but if they are going to mock the incompetence of other news organizations for not spotting a obvious fake, then should we let Fox off the hook for letting the description of the weapon she is holding as an "AK-47" stand, when it is decidedly not?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:53 PM | Comments (11)

September 08, 2008

Reality Checked at MSNBC

Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews have been relieved of their anchor duties at MSNBC:

MSNBC tried a bold experiment this year by putting two politically incendiary hosts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, in the anchor chair to lead the cable news channel's coverage of the election.

That experiment appears to be over.

After months of accusations of political bias and simmering animosity between MSNBC and its parent network NBC, the channel decided over the weekend that the NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host David Gregory would anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night. Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews will remain as analysts during the coverage.

The change — which comes in the home stretch of the long election cycle — is a direct result of tensions associated with the channel's perceived shift to the political left.

Frankly, I haven't watched Matthews or Olbermann during their stints as anchors, so I can't pretend to tell you with any certainty why they were pulled, but based upon why I know of them prior to their anchor duties, I would not be surprised if their was a perception of open Obama partisanship in their coverage that damaged MSNBC's credibility as a news organization.

I can tell you that news of the end of their run is helping create something of a Rorschach test exposing the biases of the political blogosphere. Simply scan the responses to the news of their dismissal and you'll see what I mean.

Of particular interest — from my perspective, anyway — was how some of the most radical leftist sites seemed to take their removal as a personal affront.

MSNBC may have tilted left as a business decision, but I wonder how carefully they calculated the downside of courting a politically-motivated audience that takes policy and programming so personally. Such a relationship may be advantageous if the network and audience remain on the same page, but such devotion is fickle as well as intense, and it appears that if a network deviates from the exact kind of coverage the audience prefers, then the backlash will be both intense and immediate.

By responding to the replacement of Matthews and Olbermann with such ferocity and anger towards MSNBC, the liberal audience may very well have dissuaded future forays into more liberal programming by MSNBC or other broadcasters.

Why should broadcasters take a programming risk, if the upside is minimal, and the downside can be so adverse?

By responding with such venom, the far left netroots have let their anger get the better of them once again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:58 AM | Comments (6)

September 06, 2008

Shocker: L.A. Progressive Writer Who Smeared Palin as a Racist and Sexist is a Life-Long Liberal With a Severe Hatred of Republicans

The LA Progressive post attacking Sarah Palin as a racist and a sexist that has been swallowed unquestioningly by the dimmer lights of the progressive blogosphere is the work of one Charley James.

Who is Charley James?

James is a far left-wing blogger that views radical activist web site Democracy Now! as "one of the few news and public affairs programs delivering real news"... perhaps not that surprising for the kind of person shocked that some damnable Americans in progressive Canada didn't appreciate his "Bush Lied/They Died" tee shirt.

James, who has been blogging at The Political Curmudgeon since June of this year, claims to be an independent investigative journalist, and I have no doubt that he is.

Why, just check out his unimpeachable fact-checking methodology:

To verify what friends were writing, I called the St. Paul Mayor’s Office (615.266.8510) where I was directed to the police (651.291.1111). A PR woman for the cops said I had to talk to the Secret Service (612.348.1800), which refused to answer any questions but asked for the spelling of my name before telling me to call Homeland Security (202.282.8000) where repeated calls were not returned. I tracked down the cell phone number of the St. Paul convention office of the Republican National Committee where the man who answered claimed to have no idea what I was talking about, helpfully suggesting I call the police before suddenly asking how I got the number. Ring around the rosy.

It was like trying to get an answer from Dick Cheney’s office. Translation: The e-mails were accurate.

This stellar journalist uses the long-validated "Olbermann method" of confirmation, where the inability to collect evidence to the contrary proves the worse rumors about your enemies are true.

So by all means, when Charley James writes that Sarah Palin is a racist that hates Eskimos, don't let the fact that she's been married to one for the past 20 years get in the way.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:35 PM | Comments (6)

September 03, 2008

And the Beast Shall Eat Itself

A hot microphone, a revelation of dishonesty, and the violation of a long-held gentleman's agreement destroyed the credibility of the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan today, and may have changed the complexion of the American news media forever.

Noonan published an article just this morning labeling Sarah Palin as "a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy."

This same afternoon on MSNBC after a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd, Republican consultant Mike Murphy and Noonan were captured on still-live microphones ridiculing McCain's running mate.

Every indication is that the raw video was leaked directly from an increasingly partisan MSNBC to liberal blog Talking Points Memo.

With that leak, Noonan's credibility as a columnist was severely damaged if not destroyed, a fact she seems to realize even as she becomes the first casualty as a long held gentleman's agreement among journalists to overlook each others biases, faults, mistakes and lies has been ripped apart. The media now no longer looks after their own, and naked partisanship is now the order of the day.

After being exposed, Noonan wrote that she was "mugged by the nature of modern media," which is both absolutely true and utterly irrelevant.

Noonan revealed herself a hypocrite, and MSNBC, a network that has abandoned all illusions of objective journalism in favor of naked advocacy for Barack Obama and an exclusive allegiance to partisan politics of the far left wing of the Democratic Party, shattered a common courtesy between journalists, in order to tear another journalist down for a minor temporary gain.

All bets are off now, all gentleman's agreements dead.

Welcome to the real world, kids.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:32 PM | Comments (6)

Brian Ross: Caught in the Smear

Brian Ross of ABC News is letting his political biases show in a most unseemly way.

Ross' article, Another Controversy for Sarah Palin, attempts to undermine the Republican Vice Presidential candidate by insinuating there is still some some controversy surrounding Palin's firing of the Wasilla Police Chief more than a decade ago.

Says Ross in his lede:

Gov. Sarah Palin is already facing ethical questions over her firing of the Alaska public safety commissioner, and now she faces questions over the firing of a longtime local police chief.

Now faces?

The lawsuit filed in 1997 by the police chief, Irl Stambaugh, was dismissed by the judge, as Palin had every right to replace him and other town officials. As a matter of public record, other officials were also pushed out of office on Palin's reform pledge, but Ross inexplicably refuses to mention their firings. Ross seeks to frame resolved history as a current scandal, and then tie it the dismissal of public safety commissioner, Walter Monegan, roughly a decade later.

This is dishonest advocacy journalism at it's most naked, and ABC News owes Sarah Palin a retraction and an apology.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:20 AM | Comments (9)

August 11, 2008

Accurate as Ever at the L.A. Times

Richard Serrano published a story in the Los Angeles on Sunday entitled U.S. guns arm Mexican drug cartels.

In a marked improvement in the accuracy of Times stories, Serrano did not utter a factual inaccuracy until the third word of the article's first sentence.

High-powered automatic weapons and ammunition are flowing virtually unchecked from border states into Mexico, fueling a war among drug traffickers, the army and police that has left thousands dead, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.

The rifles being picked up along the border are of course not automatic weapons—machine guns—but are instead semi-automatic weapons which fire one bullet per trigger pull.

Further down in the article Serrano relates without question the claim that the FN Five-seveN pistol is armor-piercing, without bothering to see if armor-piercing ammunition is available for the pistols in the United States... and of course, it isn't, being barred for all but military and police sale by federal law.

Being ever helpful, I sent Mr. Serrano an email explaining where his story was wrong and needed corrections. Serrano has thus far neither responded, nor corrected his article.

In hopes of spurring some sort of interest in correcting the article, I emailed the National section editors of the Times, and made the radical suggestion that for future articles, they may want to consider interviewing actual gun experts instead of Mexican drug dealers when discussing the capabilities of firearms.

I doubt they'll listen to such suggestions, but we can always hope.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:36 PM | Comments (8)

HuffPo: War in Georgia Engineered To Help McCain

Sadly, he appears to be serious:

In classic "Wag The Dog" scenario there is a neat little war brewing between American and Russian proxies, and real Russian troops, in the Caucacus Mountains on the Russian border.

It couldn't come at a better time for the Republicans.

McCain gets to act and talk tough against the Russians, while Obama is on vacation in Hawaii, issuing "can't we all get along statements."

It perfectly augments Republican campaign points: Obama is not ready. He is not tough, experienced enough to deal with a dangerous world.

Do you appreciate the power and planning that went into this? I don't think you do.

Not only did McCain engineer the build-up of Russian forces along the border of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, he also orchestrated the Georgian offer of a ceasefire last week, the South Ossetia separatist's response of shelling Georgia, and the Georgian counterstrike that triggered the pre-planned Russian invasion— all carefully timed to coincide with Barack Obama's vacation.

As it is obvious to see, thousands of people have been killed and a country invaded and ripped apart, just to give John McCain a chance to sound tough. But the plot is even more insidious than HuffPo author Blake Fleetwood suggests.

Not only did McCain carefully orchestrate three armed forces in two countries in such a way that it looked like they were acting selfishly in their own best interests instead of as agents of a U.S. Presidential campaign, he also managed to convince Barack Obama to give a spineless response that made McCain sound like a far more knowledgeable, experienced, and competent leader that OBama has ever pretended to be.

The kicker?

In the absolutely most fantabulous move of all, McCain then convinced Obama to flip-flop on his previous spineless position to poorly echo McCain's stance, reinforcing it as the correct one, while gutting his own credibility and showing himself to be hopelessly incapable of performing as a President.

John McCain. He bends steel and breaks candidates and countries with his mind.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:25 AM | Comments (17)

August 08, 2008

Hiding the Body

It was bad enough yesterday when CNN and CBS-4 selectively edited the story about the arrest of Raymond Hunter Geisel, a man who had made threats again both Barack Obama and President George W. Bush.

Associated Press journalist Curt Anderson had one of the first accounts, if not the very first account of the arrest, posted online yesterday mid-afternoon, and it clearly noted both Obama and Bush had been threatened (my bold below).

A man is being held in Florida by federal authorities on charges of threatening to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Raymond Hunter Geisel was ordered held without bail Thursday at a brief court hearing.

The Secret Service says Geisel made the threat during a training class for bail bondsmen in Miami in late July. Another tipster said Geisel also threatened President Bush.

A search of Geisel's SUV and hotel room uncovered a loaded handgun, knives, dozens of rounds of ammunition, body armor and a machete. The SUV was wired with emergency lights.

Geisel told the Secret Service he was originally from Bangor, Maine. He contended he made no threat against either Obama or the president.

It was this story that CBS-4 doctored in their original report. They rewrote the lede sentence, but otherwise copied Anderson's account word-for-word, with the pointed removal of the key sentence in the middle paragraph, "Another tipster said Geisel also threatened President Bush."

CBS-4 removed that sentence, and moved the following paragraph up to cover the gap. Contacted this morning for comment, CBS-4 has thus far declined to provide a response explaining why they doctored the article.

CNN had the same information as the AP and CBS-4, and like CBS-4, they chose to edit out references to Bush, even though they were far more competent in their doctoring of the story, leaving behind no "tells." Their version of the doctored story stayed online for 2-4 hours before being updated, well after the damage was done.

But even after finally posting the full story after being called out by one of their commenters (and shutting down the comments section 2 minutes later), CNN wasn't quite done with their attempt to generate political and racial tensions. Now, they're now busily trying to cover their tracks.

This morning you can still access the original URL of the CNN story at:

You'll only likely to get there via a direct link from a blogger, however.

If you go to the CNN Political Ticker and scroll down, the exact same story (text and headline are identical, with a link to the SS affidavit now added in the third paragraph of the replacement) now has this URL:

Perhaps most telling however, is that all the comments associated from the previous story—the racially-tinged, politically motivated anger they helped generate with their selective editing—have not been ported over to the new URL.

CNN altered their original story to gin up outrage against someone they helped to portray as a "typical" racist right-winger, instead of the equal opportunity, anti-authority whackjob the more complete AP story and the very Secret Service affidavits CNN obtained seemed to indicate.

They doctored the story, and by swapping out the URLs and hiding the contents, they're attempting to play a very subtle game of hiding the evidence of the paranoia and anger they helped manufacture by shifting to a new, comment-free URL on the CNN Political Ticker Web site, while still maintaining the old URL with the comments, perhaps in hopes that those bloggers and journalists who have already linked to the primary URL won't catch up with their sleight of hand.

CNN edited out the threats against President Bush to help build on fears in the African American community and among the political left that an intolerant, racist white conservative may attempt to assassinate Barack Obama, and now they've attempted to cover up the fear they helped stoke by moving the comments generated out of public view, while attempting to deceive the bloggers who linked to the original story by leaving online, but hidden.

It didn't work, and CNN has a lot to answer for.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:30 PM | Comments (11)

August 07, 2008

Advocacy Journalism Today: WaPo/Mosk Just Keeps Coming

After having Matthew Mosk's attack on John McCain discredited within hours yesterday, the Washington Post was forced into running this embarrassing correction to the A1 story.

Correction to This Article
An earlier version of this story about campaign donations that Florida businessman Harry Sargeant III raised for Sen. John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton incorrectly identified three individuals as being among the donors Sargeant solicited on behalf of McCain. Those donors -- Rite Aid manager Ibrahim Marabeh, and lounge owners Nadia and Shawn Abdalla -- wrote checks to Giuliani and Clinton, not McCain. Also, the first name of Faisal Abdullah, a McCain donor, was misspelled in some versions of the story.

In other words, the premise of the entire article was fatally undermined because a Obama-supporting journalist and his editors didn't take the time to do the basic fact-checking Amanda Carpenter did in a matter of minutes.

The same "journalist", Mosk had attempted to smear McCain in a previous manufactured story about a land deal in May.

The Washington Post's editors, perhaps thinking they can save on the cost of paper and ink by adopting the editorial business practices of the New York Times, let Mosk go to print again today with another smear, one that amounted to stating that—gosh darn it!—there was nothing illegal going on with MCCain's fund-raising, but there should be:

Sargeant told The New York Times this morning that he at times left the task of collecting the checks to a longtime business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba'a. The problem with that is that Abu Naba'a is not an American citizen. According to court records, Abu Naba'a is a dual citizen of Jordan and the Dominican Republic.

The law on this question appears to be unclear, said Fred Wertheimer, a campaign finance expert who runs the advocacy group, Democracy 21.

"There's probably very little law on this," Wertheimer said. "If it is not illegal for a foreign national to bundle checks, it ought to be, since it's illegal for a foreign national to make contributions in the first place."

As even as Democracy 21 admits, there is nothing illegal about a legal foreign national collecting the legal contributions of law-abiding Americans for a Presidential candidate.

What is perhaps even more revealing that what they said, however, is Mosk's decision to use them as a source. Democracy 21 is a far left advocacy group, run by a former Democratic Senator Dick Clark, and is funded by both George Soros' Open Society Institute, and the Joyce Foundation—yes, where Barack Obama sat on the Board of Directors for eight years.

Mosk's choice of sources is only slightly more objective than contacting MoveOn.Org for their opinion.

Paul Ryan, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center, said the Federal Election Commission has not explicitly addressed the question. Ryan said there appeared to be conflicting thoughts on this in a 2004 advisory opinion. For instance, in one opinion the FEC has advised that it is permissible for a foreign national to solicit a contribution, while in another it prohibits foreign nationals from playing any role in participation in a candidate's election activities, such as decisions concerning the making of contributions.

"There's a little bit of tension between these two different interpretations," Ryan said.

Matthew Mosk hasn't been able to find a way to smear John McCain, despite three abortive attempts. The questions isn't so much why Mosk is against McCain, but why the editors of the Washington Post keep letting themselves be used as a platform for his specious attacks.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:28 PM | Comments (2)

July 30, 2008

Choose The Facts You Want... there seem to be plenty of "facts" to choose from.

James Hider in the UK TimesOnline is just one journalist of many rushing to tell the tragic story of a young Palestinian ruthlessly gunned down by an Israeli soldier:

Israeli soldiers shot dead a young Palestinian boy today during heated protests in a West Bank village close to Israel's huge separation barrier.

Hammad Hossam Mussa, believed to be around nine years old, was mortally wounded by an Israeli bullet as protestors threw rocks near the West Bank close to the village of Nilin.


Salah Al Khawaja, a member of Nilin's Committee Against the Wall, said Israeli troops fired live rounds at a group of protesters who ran into Nilin after security forces dispersed demonstrators using rubber-coated bullets.

"Protesters arrived at the wall's construction site outside the village and the soldiers started to open fire with rubber bullets and tear gas. This pushed the protesters back into the village where the boy was hit by a live bullet in his chest," he said.

It doesn't much look like a chest wound.

Other news accounts offer variations of the basic story that roughly corroborate the image, though the L.A. Times reports that the boy was in a crowd; the New York Times claims he was resting under a tree. Also, the boy's age ranges from 9, to 10, to 11, to 12 depending on the news outlet.

It's very sloppy journalism, but symptomatic of reporting from the region.

Interestingly, according to the New York Times, the Israeli Army "had no knowledge of the shooting."

The IHT states that Palestinian officials refused an Israeli request for a joint autopsy, which may cause some raised eyebrows considering the Palestinian history of faking deaths even on video. The Palestinian autopsy states that the bullet that killed the boy came from an M16, a weapon both sides have.

It will be interesting to see the results of the Israeli investigation into this case, even though judgement has already been passed in the eyes of the word's media.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:42 AM | Comments (19)

July 18, 2008

SHOCKER: Media Gives Up On Losing Iraq; Transitions to Plan to Lose Afghanistan In Its Stead

We always knew they were unable to accept victory, so it perhaps shouldn't come as much of a surprise that a U.S. media unable to secure defeat in Iraq has given up on betraying that democracy, and is instead executing a pivot, beginning an attempt to lose the Afghan war instead.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll found that a startling 45 percent of Americans said they do not think the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting, despite the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which provoked the war in the first place.

The growing disenchantment with the Afghan deployment hasn't reached the level of national frustration with the Iraq war, but after more than six years with U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan and violence on the rise, Americans are becoming increasingly wary about the country's involvement.

As mentioned just yesterday, many of today's top writers, anchors, columnists, editors, producers and publishers cut their journalistic teeth during the Vietnam War era, and have never been able—nor is there evidence there there ever been a serious attempt—to shift away from covering wars through a Vietnam-era lens.

For them, wars are never worth fighting. Their editorial focus will always be:

  • a push for withdrawal instead of resolving a conflict through victory;
  • playing up U.S. casualties, while downplaying or ignoring enemy casualties;
  • dramatic emphasis on unexpected U.S. setbacks, with a minimization of tactical and strategic successes;
  • a one-sided focus on U.S. military-attributed civilian combat casualties, while largely ignoring civilian casualties caused by opposing military forces;
  • an emphasis on finding Americans tired of or opposed to the conflict suffering low morale, with no attempt to present opposing populations as anything other than a stoic, unyielding monolith whose primitive will cannot be broken(so we might as well go home);
  • a one-sided focus on indirect traumas suffered by the civilian population, while ignoring the poverty, healthcare, and human rights concerns caused by the opposing forces;
  • an over-reliance and benefit of the doubt given to those alleging accounts detrimental to U.S. interests, where that means giving credence to allegations of civilians harmed by U.S. military operations without evidence of such harm (already commonplace in Afghan War reporting, where it seems U.S. bombs consistently hit only wedding parties made up of innocent women and children) while often ignoring direct atrocities performed by the opposing force against civilians;
  • attempted moral equivalence—masked as "objectivity"— between U.S. forces and political and/or ideological movements famous for cruelty.

Journalists have been conditioned to report through such a distorted perspective that it is little wonder at all that even the "good" and "just" response of a war against the Taliban for their role in the attacks of 9/11 must now be twisted in such a way that it can be reported from the only perspective the media knows (or more accurately, cares to know) in viewing and covering wars fought by Americans. While the U.S. military has adapted to fighting new kinds of conflicts, the media is still using corrosive and corroded story templates older than much of their target audience.

"Modern" war coverage is an utterly self-defeating, self-loathing enterprise, and we bear much of the blame for what we see, for we still accept and still consume a defective news product. What motive do the media have to change, if we, the news consumers, don't clearly articulate to the industry why we are no longer buying failing newspapers, or believing that news outlets are acting without preconceived biases? We have let them stick to what is for them, a comfortable agenda.

ABC News is in no way alone in their tonal shift in Afghan coverage, as other outlets doubtlessly came before them, and certainly more news outlets will follow. They are still fighting the last war using the tactics and strategies they are most comfortable with. They are fighting to lose.

Will we let them?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:27 AM | Comments (9)

July 17, 2008

Is The U.S. Media Ready to Concede an Iraqi Victory? Can the Democrats?

I don't think it is an exaggeration to claim that Michael Yon has spent more front-line time with combat forces in Iraq than any journalist for any media organization, so it bears noting when he claims that "...the Iraq War is over. We won."

When another well-traveled independent, Michael Totten, pens a post stating that he is "reluctant" to claim that the war is over—noting that insurgencies don't have official end points such as surrenders—but then provides evidence that it is certainly trending in that direction, it is time to pay attention.

Both Yon and Totten make very well be correct; what remains in Iraq is not a military action best described as a "war" in a conventional sense, and with violence continuing to abate and various militant factions increasingly unable to mount sustained operations of any intensity or duration, calling it even an unconventional war is something a stretch.

Whatever conflict remains it is not a "war," and we can let others quibble over whether the best description of what now remains is a peace-keeping mission, a police action, or something else.

The Sunni insurgency is finished. The sectarian civil war is over. The conflict against al Qaeda in Iraq has been reduced to intelligence-gathering and SWAT-like raids against surviving stragglers and fractured terrorists cells. The Madhi Army has been broken, its leaders killed, captured, or forced to flee to Iran, while the rank and file have faded away as their fellow Shia turned over their weapons caches and turned in militiamen that were often merely criminal thugs. Attrition among Iranian-backed "special groups" has also rendered them incapable of sustaining more than random attacks.

Barring an unforeseen and at this point unlikely and dramatic reversal, the Iraq War is over, and we—and more importantly, the Iraqi's—won.

The U.S. media is beginning to begrudgingly concede to a new reality, but only obliquely. CNN (and Fox News) ran an AP article this morning about bored young soldiers in Iraq seeking action in "the real war in Afghanistan," because they are not seeing any combat in Iraq. It isn't however, a concession of what should be increasingly obvious.

It will be hard—and for some U.S. media outlets that took an extreme position based more upon attempts to shape the politics of the war instead of reporting the news of the conflict, almost impossible—for the U.S. media to admit that the Iraq War ended in victory. The New York Times is one of these outlets that will have a very tough time, as will the McClatchy chain of newspapers, various magazines including TIME and Newsweek, cable news channel MSNBC, and all three networks. Various fringe outlets, particularly those with strong left-leaning politics such as The Nation or Mother Jones, or online outlets such as the Huffington Post or other liberal blogs, may attempt to somehow "redefine" their way into a "loss" by changing the definition of victory, or they may simply decide to never address the subject at all, and hope instead it fades away while they draw their readers elswhere.

For those outlets that made the conflict in Iraqi an editorial attempt to "fight the last war," it will be a bitter defeat. Many of today's top writers, anchors, columnists, editors, producers and publishers cut their editorial teeth and felt at the height of their power at a time when the media shaped a narrative that ended a war and brought down a president that indeed, was a crook. But despite five years of attempts to frame it as such, Iraq was never Vietnam in the desert. The U.S. media was never able to break out of that mindset to any degree, and indeed, relished in the comparisons.

So sure were they of a U.S. defeat that they even made using local propagandists as journalists and sources part of their standard reporting, with little or any probing, vetting, or serious questions asked. From repeatedly seeking comment from an Association of Muslim Scholars openly aligned with the Sunni insurgency (typically without disclosing those insurgent ties), to regularly citing phoned-in reports from anonymous police and military sources miles or even provinces away as they called in one fake massacre after another with reckless abandon, wire services ran fake news without an attempt to vet the stories, because it fit the narrative. It didn't matter that mosques weren't burned with people inside. It didn't matter that dozens of beheaded bodies reported in sectarian violence simply didn't exist. Such stories, real or fake, portrayed the war they wanted.

Reporters and editors who ran such stories were not only not fired by their news agencies for their continued incompetence. Some were instead promoted. There was no penalty for faked or exaggerated news, because it was the extreme, the diabolical, and the hopeless that these news agencies wanted to print, and they weren't all that concerned about where the stories came from.

Now, without another defeat to place on the mantle, U.S. media outlets are unsure of how to act. While even British and Australian newspapers were declaring victory almost a year ago, American outlets simply can't make the admission that they fought the last war, and that a Congress they pushed to help lose the war was unable to hand them the defeat they think we deserved.

Ah, Congress.

Though Democrats have controlled the House and Senate, had public option on their side (thanks to the cooperative shaping of the news), and fiercely antiwar leaders such as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, Congressional Democrats were shot down over 40 times (was it over 50? I lost count) in attempts to lose the war by defunding or underfunding it.

And while the media's own attempts to frame a lost war were horrific, it was duly elected Congressmen and Senators who attacked the Presidential Administration, the military commanders, and even the solders on the front lines with the most viciousness. To this day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Harry Reid refuse to admit that the war in Iraq is not lost, and is instead very close to being (or is already) won. John Murtha has not apologized to Marines he accused of cold-blooded murder, even as charges against all but one have been dismissed (the last has yet to come to trial).

And then there is Barack Obama.

A gifted speaker with the hardest of hard-left roots, the political neophyte and presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee has refused to admit he was wrong on the war, and though unassailable facts overran his narrative of defeat, he clung and (continues to cling) to a plan for a panicked retreat designed to create a security vacuum and lose a war he thought should never have been fought.

The media, enamored with their Obama as their last best hope for defeat, will follow him in fawning praise as he make a superficial swing through the region to "talk" to military commanders—be assured, he has no intention of actually listening—about the war in Iraq. In the end, will no doubt still return with Dubya's bulldog tenacity to his predetermined plan of defeat. His storied, heavily self-promoted anti-war wishes and a determined cry abandon the conflict at all costs has been the root cause and defining issue his campaign. Obama will cling to it with the grim, fatalistic determination of a suicide bomber.

The U.S. media has pinned their hopes on Obama as their best and perhaps only hope of bringing about an end to the Iraq war that they can cast as a defeat. Are they ready to concede that the Iraq War was won?

Not as long as they have any hope at all that Democrats can salvage a defeat.

Update: Rick Moran has related thoughts on Obama's strange redefinition of "victory" through surrender at Right Wing Nut House.

Having issues with spammers. Comments closed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:25 AM | Comments (7)

July 16, 2008


Remember this picture from yesterday?

It is still on Yahoo's photostream with the (still active) caption:

US soldiers secure the area at a newly installed check-point at the Babadag training facility in Tulcea, Iraq. A string of suicide attacks against Iraqi security forces killed at least 37 people on Tuesday, including 28 when two suicide bombers blew themselves up among a crowd of army recruits, security officials said. (AFP/Daniel Mihailescu)

Sharp-eyed CY reader BohicaTwentyTwo pointed out the obvious visual clues that the photo and caption quite simply doesn't match up.

The soldiers in the photos were wearing MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) training equipment, and the blank-firing adapters on the end of each weapon (more obvious on the bright red adapter on the M4 in the foreground, though the pull-ring on the MG's black-firing adapter in the turret in the background was also clearly visible).

As blank-firing MILES training gear makes it impossible to "secure" anything, it was obvious that the photo was mis-captioned. A second look at the photo also revealed that an obsolete BDU woodland camo pattern was mixed with the new ACU camo pattern used by the Army, and the HMMWV in the photo was an unarmored version also painted in woodland, whereas the HMMWV presently deployed to Iraq is the desert tan up-armored version. Even the foliage in the background seemed suspect. A quick scan of photographer Daniel Mihailescu's work also placed him in Romania less than five days earlier. How did he get to an obscure corner of Iraq so quickly?

I was quick to blame the AFP for this error (considering their history of photo captioning errors, it was a reasonable assumption), but as slublog first noted in the comments at Hot Air, the caption above was not the caption that ran with the original photo.

This was (click here for larger).

The caption sent out by AFP (as was the screen cap sent by AFP above as evidence) read:

ROMANIA, BABADAG : US soldiers secure the area at a new installed check-point at Babadag training facility in the county of Tulcea, during a joint task force-east rotation 2008 training exercise, on July 14, 2008. Over 900 US military personnel participates at the training exercise meant to train US and Romanian soldiers in simulated combat situations as well as improving the mixt [sic]team working capabilities on the war fields like Iraq and Afganistan. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL MIHAILESCU

The photo in question had nothing to do with the events in Iraq. As noted above, the Babadag training facility in the county of Tulcea is in the country of Romania.

This photo:

  1. Was recaptioned by Yahoo;
  2. Was recaptioned to associate it with events that occurred roughly 1,500 miles away, and a day later;
  3. Did not be long in Yahoo's "Iraq" photostream at all.

We knew before that the originators and publishers/end users can fake photos and/or captions to create fauxtography.

Thanks to Yahoo's caption manipulation, we now know we have to worry about the middlemen as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:00 AM | Comments (6)

July 15, 2008

AFP Blows it Again Maybe Not This Time [Updated]

[See the final update at the bottom -- ed.]

So I'd like AFP to explain one simple thing to me about this photo:

US soldiers secure the area at a newly installed check-point at the Babadag training facility in Tulcea, Iraq. At least 28 people were killed when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of recruits on an Iraqi army base in an area known to be a stronghold of Al-Qaeda fighters. (AFP/Daniel Mihailescu)

Just how is it possible that U.S. combat forces are protecting the site of the Babadag training facility in Tulcea, Iraq when equipped with non-lethal MILES gear that fires nothing but blanks?

And do we even train with MILES gear in Iraq?

I call shenanigans.

Update: The vehicle in the photo a non-up-armored HMMWV, painted in an obsolete woodland camo pattern (as are the vests of both soldiers, and helmet cover of the solder in the HMMWV), a pattern no longer used by U.S. forces in Iraq.

This picture is probably several years old, and is probably taken somewhere other than Iraq.

The photographer, Daniel Mihailescu, was theoretically in Bucharest, Romania, just five days ago, in order to take this picture. Is it even a practical possibility that the sports photographer even get from Bucharest to Iraq in less than five days?

They have the details of the event completely wrong.. did AFP they credit the wrong photographer as well?

Update: Wrong Date, Wrong Country, Wrong Event. They did, however, credit the correct photographer. Thanks to slublog in the comments at Hot Air.

Final Update: After continued digging involving the help of the U.S miltary and AFP itself, the source of this screw-up has been confirmed, and it isn't the AFP.


Details tomorrow; even bloggers have to sleep.

(h/t CY-reader BohicaTwentyTwo)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:56 AM | Comments (26)

July 12, 2008

Tony Snow, Dead at 53

A charming press secretary for President Bush, conservative pundit, and Fox News anchor, Tony Snow has lost a long battle with cancer. Ed Morrissey offers a personal reflection of a genuinely nice man at Hot Air.

More reflections will no doubt be captured throughout the day at

Our prayers go out in support of his family.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:04 AM | Comments (10)

June 23, 2008

Network News: If We Can't Lose The War, We'll Act Like It Doesn't Exist

Someone please tell CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan that her reaction is precisely the reaction her peers are shooting for:

"If I were to watch the news that you hear here in the United States, I would just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts," Ms. Logan said.

Logan admits here a common complaint about the kind of news reported out of Iraq for the duration of the war, which is a macabre focus on blood-soaked sensationalism to the near exclusion of any other sort of story.

The newsworks (to perhaps coin a phrase) have never been interesting in reporting all the news, a fact that far predates television. News outlets—both state-controlled and private—have had a propaganda role throughout history. What may be unique among western news organizations is an often obvious desire to present only one side of the story, even when they have the option of objectivity. They are guilty of providing propaganda just as state-run media often are, but are often blind to this, confusing the biased views they advocate with "truth."

This bias is often wrongly blamed upon the political leanings of a news outlets ownership. In days past (and perhaps in the New York Times present), family control over an outlet may have strongly influenced the focus and bias of news organizations, but the modern reality of corporate news ownership, with organizations and divisions of news organizations being bought, sold, fragmented, consolidated, and always for sale, has rendered that argument laughably simplistic and out of date.

No, in the modern era where news is viewed by "suits" as another potential revenue stream and not a public service, "news" is pushed to be shallow infotainment providing immediate gratification. It is under this pressure-cooker environment that producers, editors and journalists are forced to drop even the pretense of objectivity and produce news quickly, cheaply and sensationally. This pressure brings personal biases out in sharp relief. Journalists, which have self-defined themselves time and again as being left-of-center in their world views and based in bias-reinforcing left-of-center urban enclaves, pushed by business-oriented ownership focused on ratings, have succumbed to their baser instincts, leading us into situation where news is reduced to little more than a veneer of political advocacy attempting to guide the public on how they should think about current events. From global cooling global warming global cooling climate change, to views of conflicts, the proper application of diplomacy, and even the kind of lightbulbs we use, the media attempts to shape how we think by presenting the news they deem newsworthy from a perspective they deem correct.

Reality, however, does not have a leftward bias (neither does it have a rightward bias). Reality, like nature, seeks equilibrium... balance.

The reaction of the newsworks is simple when reality intrudes on the narrative: they dispute it, then they ignore it, and if they can no longer ignore it, they pretend that they never held a contrary position.

Presently, the falloff in news coverage in Iraq is the result of media attempting to ignore that the "quagmire in a failed state" narrative they've been promoting has been failing for over a year.

According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been "massively scaled back this year." Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The "CBS Evening News" has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC's "World News" and 74 minutes on "NBC Nightly News." (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)

CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, where some 150,000 United States troops are deployed.

I'm sure that psychologists have more precise terms to describe this collective behavior, but it comes down to this: the situation in Iraq is far better than the media have predicted it would be, and they aren't sure what to do. They don't want to report success, as success means having to explain why they've been wrong. They also morbidly hope—no doubt subconsciously—that things will once again turn worse, and vindicate their years of predicting doom and failure.

So coverage withers away. The war becomes a non-event, and thankfully, a Presidential campaign between a far left shape-shifter and an occasional Republican provides a welcome distraction.

The War in Iraq is plenty interesting to Americans. That has never faded in five years, and most would be heartened to hear what independent reporters have been indicating for months; that real progress has been made economically, diplomatically, and militarily.

But the newsworks doesn't want to admit they may have been wrong, and so their interests have now focused eslewhere. They don't want to undermine a political party that long ago made abandoning Iraq a key part of their party platform. They don't want to expose a shameful candidate who has made defeating his own military and abandoning a fledgling democracy his signature issue.

From their perspective, it is better to provide only the bad news, and when the bad news fails to live up to expectations, to ignore the uncomfortable.

Damn the news. Send in the clowns.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:18 AM | Comments (21)

June 18, 2008

AP, Let's Do This Thing

Michelle Malkin's take is typical of bloggers who find the Associated Press' tiered excerpt pricing scheme targeted at bloggers to be farcical, but I think her response of charging the Associated Press for content they cite from bloggers doesn't go far enough.

I propose that in addition to charging AP for using blogger content, that AP be charged editorial fees when bloggers are forced to do the fact checking that in-house editors fail to do. For every blog entry proving than an Associated Press story is using false information or misleading, the Associated Press should pay that blogger the AP-supplied standard of $2.50/word. Just doing a quick check of my content from the present back until the beginning of May, the Associated Press owes me editorial services fees of $2,580 for 1,032 words correcting AP stories dating back to May 2. Some of that would be returned to AP (at $2.50/word) for the text examples I cited, but overall, it is a worthwhile enterprise. If I went back through all of my archives, I suspect that I could easily compile a fact-checking bill for the AP in the tens of thousands of dollars.

You'll not find me complaining about the Associated Press' new ideas of content fees. Their accountants, however, may feel otherwise.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:41 AM | Comments (1)

June 16, 2008

McClatchy's Dying: Who's Got the Will?

You could have seen this coming a mile away:

McClatchy Co., which owns The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, said Monday it will cut 10 percent of its work force in a move to save $70 million a year as the publisher continues to struggle to attract advertising dollars.

McClatchy, which also owns The Charlotte Observer, the Kansas City Star and Miami Herald, will trim about 1,400 employees. The staff reductions are part of a plan to reduce overall expenses by $95 million to $100 million over the next four quarters.

That is hardly surprising, considering we're in an environment where many print-based news outlets are fading, but perhaps McClatchy in particular wouldn't be fading as fast if they would try to address at least two points.

  1. Make an attempt to remove obvious and pervasive left-leaning political biases in reporting;
  2. find a less obnoxious and politically-charged slogan that the nutroots favorite, "Truth to Power."

The powers that be are not amused with the company's business sense, and many readers are immediately turned of by McClatchy's editorial stance. A flailing company should try to shore up a reader base, not alienate potential readers and advertisers, who will simply find a less-obviously biased competitor.

Enjoy "speaking truth to power" McClatchy, all the way to bankruptcy.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:22 AM | Comments (7)

June 13, 2008

Tim Russert Dead at 58

I've written hundreds of posts critiquing journalism, but have never had anything but respect for Tim Russerts' professionalism. He was what a journalist should be, and he will be missed.

Go with God, Mr. Russert.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:56 PM | Comments (3)

May 23, 2008

Getting it Right

As human beings, journalists make mistakes. We (I pretend at being one from time to time and actually get paid for it, so I have to include myself) sometimes make a lot of mistakes, or a string of mistakes.

People understand that. They get that we make mistakes—and get this—actually find us more credible when we admit just how badly we screwed up a story, as long as we explained how it happened, and make an honest effort to improve. when we bury our heads in the sand, and refuse to admit obvious mistakes or failures in our reporting, assumptions, editing, or conclusions, we hurt only ourselves.

Right, Dan?

I've been advocating that approach for quite a while now and hope I practice what I preach. At least one person believes I'm doing okay, though I know there is plenty of room for improvement.

Another person I know who constantly works to improve his work is Michael Yon. I don't think he needs much introduction to my readership, and his work as a combat journalist has always stood on its own. Yon is also big on focusing on integrity as a writer, and it is something he has harped on on his site, in interviews, on the phone, and he tells me in his book as well, which I will eventually read once somebody starts sleeping through the night.

Yon published a military memo on his site Wednesday which quickly got the attention of the online community. The sourcing was solid. It was authentic, no doubt about it.

Many bloggers, the military community, and their supporters were quickly outraged over the content of the memo, which alleged that military uniformed personnel we being targeted for verbal abuse by anti-war fanatics. Just as quickly, online anti-war activists claimed that this was false, even noting (though they phrased it differently) that they were too craven and cowardly to berate men and women that could easily beat them into pulp.

I was immediately interested by the report and posted on it, and thought it might be something interesting to follow up on in more detail.

As I did so, Yon pointed out via email that some in his comments were calling it a hoax, and asked me to pursue the story. You can ready about what I found in a post this morning at Pajamas Media.

Now, that may not sound like a big deal, but when was the last time that a journalist at one newspaper encouraged a journalist at another to follow up on his work and check for inconsistencies? How often does it even occur within the same news organization? It very well may happen. In fact, I hope it does... but we don't often see the results of such a check-up, and far to many times we see stories that are utterly false that go uncorrected—*cough*—Brian Ross—*cough*—and the same mistakes or falsehoods reiterated another day.

Yon is interested in getting it right. Perhaps if our journalistic class was more interested in getting it right instead of just getting it out while feigning perfection, the public's respect for them wouldn't be collapsing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:18 AM | Comments (5)

May 21, 2008

He Says, She Says: The Propaganda War Continues In Iraq

Associated Press reporter Bushra Juhi:

Two Iraqi officials said the shooting occurred about 5:30 a.m. in the Obeidi neighborhood after three roadside bombs targeted joint U.S.-Iraqi troops. But the U.S. military said its forces were not involved in any events in the area.

It was not clear who opened fire after the explosions. Eleven bystanders were killed and one person wounded, one of the police officials said. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

AP Television News footage showed the body of a man in a track suit covered by a blue blanket and another body in a blood-spattered wooden coffin nearby.

AFP offers a near identical account also claiming 11 bystanders (innocence implied) were killed, in accounts obviously coming from the same Iraqi police sources. Insurgents and their sympathizers have routinely masqueraded as police officers throughout the war, and news outlets have dutifully published their accounts, many of which we later determined to be entirely false.

SGT Brooke N. Murphy, MNF-I PAO, responded immediately to these claims via email:

We can definitely state there was no IED attack on a U.S.-Iraqi convoy in Obeidi at dawn this a.m. That's not talking about any particular area, we do not discuss ongoing operations. I can state we specifically target those committing a violent act or about to commit a violent act.

We would warn residents against moving toward any engagement, especially
when armed. We absolutely do not target law-abiding Iraqi citizens.

So there were not 11 (innocent) bystanders killed. Who died? Anyone? As a matter of fact, yes.

Murphy then sent a breaking MNF-I release that states that 11 Iranian-backed "Special Groups" forces were killed in New Baghdad:

Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers have killed 11 Special Group (SG) criminals in an ongoing operation in the New Baghdad security district in eastern Baghdad, May 21.

MND-B Soldiers observed as a special groups militant, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, exited a sports utility vehicle. The individual scanned the area and motioned a suspicious truck forward. Then Soldiers then watched as the militants emplaced an improvised-explosive device.

They engaged the suspect with small-arms fire and killed him.

Nearby, MND-B Soldiers encountered four SG militants, who were armed with AK-47 and RPK rifles, travelling in a SUV. They engaged the vehicle and killed the four militants.

MND-B Soldiers engaged and killed another SG militant carrying a rocket-propelled grenade. At another location in New Baghdad, MND-B Soldiers noticed a SG militant armed with a modified AK-47, who was conducting reconnaissance from a vehicle in a suspicious manner. The Soldiers engaged the armed SG militant and killed him.

Nearby, MND-B Soldiers spotted a militant in an alley. The SG militant moved away from the alley, holding an AK-47 in a firing position. An MND-B Soldier engaged and killed him. Another SG militant, who was driving a tan SUV in New Baghdad, made several passes by MND-B Soldiers.

He stopped the vehicle and attempted to hand an AK-47 to his SG militant cohorts. An MND-B Soldier shot and killed him.

Who do you trust to have the story right, the anonymous media robo-calling police sources, or a named Army soldier issuing formal releases?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:22 AM | Comments (5)

May 19, 2008

Michael Moore: Thief

Something else to his list of descriptors.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2008

John McCain: Commander in Chief of the Israeli Military?

In a story on the L.A. Times blog Top of the Ticket about John McCain's new position that he thinks American combat troops will be out of Iraq by 2013, the Times includes this photo.

Pardon me for asking, but at what point did American Presidents command Israeli solders?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:11 AM | Comments (7)

May 09, 2008

So When Will Chris Matthews Get Fired?

A Fox News staffer was fired this morning. Why? She told John McCain that she voted for him in a primary because her father was a Vietnam veteran.

I kid you not:

A 24-year-old Fox News Channel production assistant was fired this morning for something she said during the red carpet arrivals at the Time 100 Gala last night.

Insiders tell us the assistant, identified as Jennifer Locke, was on assignment with a camera crew to cover the entertainment angle of the event. When Sen. John McCain walked by, the assistant said, "I voted for you in the primary, you're going to win."

McCain was overheard saying to her, "You're not supposed to reveal that." Locke apparently continued to explain that she is the daughter of Vietnam veteran.

McCain is correct. Such disclosures are journalistically unacceptable, and Fox was right to release the staffer on those grounds.

So when is MSNBC going to step up to those same standards and dismiss Chris Matthews for his on-air announcement that Barack Obama caused a"thrill" up his leg? Is telling a candidate that you voted for him unacceptable, but blurting out a homo-erotic reaction to a candidate's speech not a level of disclosure that is forbidden, even if that disclosure is merely hyperbole making the journalist's personal attraction to the candidate equally strong? Should it matter that this is the second time Matthews has related his "man-crush" on the air?

Yes, I know better... MSNBC doesn't have journalistic standards. It would be nice, however, if they'd fake it every one in a while.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:26 PM | Comments (20)

May 05, 2008

Once More Unto the Breach: More Biased AP Reporting in Iraq

It seems to matter little whether the location is Gaza or Baghdad. If there is a way to spin a story, Associated Press reporters will find it.

Today, American forces called in an AC-130 for support when they came under fire in the Kazimiyah district of Baghdad.

The Associated Press editorializes:

The AC-130, a lethal tool used by the military since the Vietnam War, can slowly circle over a target for long periods.

Human rights groups have criticized their use in urban settings where militants may be among crowded populations of noncombatants. The four-engine gunships were also used to support the U.S. attack that took the western city of Fallujah from insurgents in November 2004.

What the Associated Press does not mention is that the modern AC-130U is the most complex aircraft weapons system on the planet, and the reason for its complexity is that the aircraft's sensors, navigation, and fire control systems are calibrated to conduct exceedingly accurate surgical strikes. It is likely because of their precision strike capabilities that the AC-130U was chosen for this mission over other available means of attack.

The Associated Press reporter attempts to recall the image of the 40-year-old Vietnam-era AC-130A and it's ability to saturate large area targets, portraying it as an indiscriminate and careless weapons system to use in an urban area... and so it is good we haven't fielded that particular model in decades.

It's a dishonest conflation of aircraft using technologies developed decades apart, but sadly emblematic of the kind of reporting we've come to expect where creating imagery is as important as reporting facts.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:11 PM | Comments (11)

May 02, 2008

Another Gaza Media Moment

Three days ago, I contacted Associated Press Director of Media Relations Paul Colford, asking him about photos taken by AP photographer Khalil Hamra, in Beit Lahiya, a town in the northern Gaza Strip, on Monday, April 28, 2008.

The caption for one Hamra photo read as follows, without a hint of uncertainty:

A Palestinian woman reacts as she stands next to a house hit by an Israeli shell that killed a mother and her four children, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, April 28, 2008. An Israeli tank shell slammed into a tiny Gaza Strip home on Monday, killing a Palestinian woman and four of her children as they prepared to sit down for breakfast, officials and relatives said.

I asked Mr. Colford to "please acquire the other photos Mr. Hamra shot outside that home and send them to me... I should be able to tell which account is true by the simple differences between blast signatures of HEAT rounds used by Israel tanks impacting buildings, and the kind of blast that would be consistent with the Israeli account of a gunman carrying explosives that detonated." Responding via email, Mr Colford suggested I should acquire the images somewhere else. It was a polite brush-off.

But the story told with such apparent certainty by Associated Press photographer Hamra and apparently deemed insignificant by Colford was never as certain as the media tried to make it sound.

An Israeli military inquiry into the incident has concluded that the family was indeed killed by a Palestinian militant's explosives detonating. Tank shells were not fired into the home, a fact neither side now alledges. According to the IDF, a single airborne missile was fired from a drone at a cluster of four armed militants. How small was the missile? According to these video stills from an al Jazeera story, showing the missile's impact point, quite small.

The "crater" according to al Jazeera.
A bemused civilian inspects the same missile "crater" as the reporter moves away.

Al Jazeera repeats Palestianian claims a that second missile was fired by the Israelis, but the visual evidence of the missile strike is not very convincing.

An alleged second missile "crater" outside the family home, estimated to be four inches deep.

As Noah Pollak pointed out in his Commentary story Factless in Gaza, "There is a deeper problem here:the manner in which news is gathered from Gaza, which has been inhospitable territory for western journalists for quite some time (remember what happened to Alan Johnston?). News organizations like the AP and Reuters rely, for their on-the-ground Gaza coverage, on Palestinian reporters and stringers whose objectivity and professionalism, to put it charitably, are in doubt."

Adnan Hajj was by far the most obvious example of dishonest journalism by the Palestianian media as he manipulated images he sold to Reuters, but the facts are that very essence of news reporting in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon are conducted primarily by reporters with a deep and personal interest in the stories they are reporting, often under the direction of terrorist groups that are not above "suggesting" stories and guiding media coverage with the barrel of a gun.

Internationally respected news organizations such as Reuters, AFP the Associated Press, and the BBC have proven themselves time and again to be very susceptible to being manipulated by agenda-driven journalists and photographers. Moreover, they seem not to care very much about passing along staged photos and biased information as long as it allows them to publish something. They the news organizations will likely never admit it, hating Israel is big media business, and stories alleging that Israeli military forces are killing innocent Palestinians sell very well in the global media market.

As a result, initial reporting of this incident squarely places the blame for the blast on the Israeli military, without seriously looking for any other possible cause. It is both a business decision (these kinds of stories sell) and a practical one (unbiased reporting is not allowed by militant media handlers that guide and spy upon reporters and photographers).

That armed militants were moving among civilian homes for cover is never mentioned, and their argument that "it couldn't have been our explosives, because I have some pictures of some explosives that didn't blow up right over here" is readily digested with a degree of acceptance because there is no viable alternative.

Truly, truth is not an option.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:43 AM | Comments (38)

April 22, 2008

Iraq Steps Forward, and the Media Slinks Away

Ed Morrissey notes that Iraq is continuing down the path to political reconciliation even as the media choses to largely ignore these developments in favor of more pressing stories, like the present cost of Barak Obama's half-eaten waffle on eBay.

One of those points of political reconciliation in Iraq is amnesty for some classes of detainees after determining they no longer present a threat of resuming insurgent activities.

Among those detainees released due to Iraq's amnesty law in recent weeks was Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who was arrested with a known al Qaeda terrorist leader in his home and in possession of bomb-making materials and terrorist propaganda that he presumably helped make. Part of the reason he was released is that he was no longer considered a threat; the insurgents he had (allegedly) provided propaganda for in Fallujah are long dead or dispersed.

I find it somewhat amusing the amount of time and legal expense the Associated Press incurred trying to free their photographer—and their reputation—to no avail, despite mounting the most deceptive, ethically-challenged of media campaigns on his behalf. It was only through the political progress of the Iraqi government that Hussein was released.

Perhaps tellingly, the Iraqi government advances that led to Hussein's release was down-played by the news organization, as it stretched the shaky boundaries of their credibility by implying his release was conditioned on innocence instead of amnesty.

Increasingly, proof of progress in Iraq is measured by how little the media talks about the nation's successes.

Enjoy the silence.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:23 PM | Comments (13)

Without Ethics

Did you read the article in the New York Times today implying that John McCain sold political favors to an Arizona real estate developer that is also big campaign donor?

I'm no McCain fan, but after reading all four pages, I'm left still waiting for some substance, some sort of bombshell, that legitimizes this story as news.

Real estate developers try to make money from land deals? They're willing to trade for properties that they feel may be more profitable to them, and discard those properties they feel aren't going to be as profitable? Real estate developers try to attract and keep the attention of politicians by raising money for them?

Shocking. I'm sure such things have never before happened in the history of earth.

For the story to have merit and legitimacy it needs a "gotcha," an impropriety, some sort of ethical or legal breach on behalf of the businessman by the politician. This story runs on for four long pages, but the authors never present anything approaching unethical conduct on the part of the candidate.

To the contrary, instead of making a solid case based upon evidence, the article editorializes, it speculates and implies, but provides nothing to support the implied thesis of McCain's corruption.

In fact, the only evidence the story supplies are specific instances where McCain rejected inappropriate interventions, including one instance where McCain allegedly stopped speaking to the developer for a year over behavior—hiring a personal lobbyist—that was self-serving but entirely legal.

This Times story sought to create a furor over shady, unethical behavior, and it has done that in spades.

Jim Rutenberg is one author of the article, and a man who has apparently discarded his integrity as a reporter to write political hit pieces. This is the second Rutenberg article attacking John McCain in the Times in recent months, neither of which has provided any actual evidence of impropriety. The first alleged an affair with a female lobbyist that was remarkably evidence free, a trait that today's article also seems to share.

Rutenberg has now twice attempted to smear McCain with charges unsupported by evidence, and twice his editors have not only elected to run the hit pieces, but gave them prominent placement in print editions.

We've been fortunate in knowing for some years now that we don't have to wonder about the editorial biases in play at the New York Times, and now because of these articles and others like them we have no reason to question their ethics... they have none.

In the end, Rutenberg and other newsroom editorialists at the Times are hastening their own demise with this kind of journalism.

I'm not sure who will miss them when they're gone.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:02 AM | Comments (4)

April 18, 2008

Another Vet Snaps Under Pressure

As David Burge noted in Bylines of Brutality, the emotional toll on media veterans is becoming ever more pronounced, leading to all sorts of radicalized, anti-social, and occasionally violent behavior.

Today, another media victim has apparently cracked under the pressure in my own backyard. Well, not literally my backyard, but close:

Eric Ralph Watson, 34, of 201 Old Grove Lane in Apex, was charged with one count of secret peeping. He was arrested shortly after 6 a.m. in the Brittany Trace subdivision, about a mile from his home.

Apex Police Capt. Ann Stephens said a neighbor saw a man matching Watson's description Thursday afternoon on top of an air-conditioning unit peeping into the bathroom of a female neighbor.

The witness called police and alerted the residents who live at the house.

Early Friday morning, Stephens said, the woman's husband confronted a man believed to be Watson, who approached the house again. The husband called 911, and an Apex police officer arrested Watson nearby.

Stephens said Watson and the woman do not know each other but that they might have attended the same gym.

Watson, a reporter for NBC affiliate WNCN-TV in Raleigh, was released from police custody with a promise to appear in court.

Hopefully, one day, there will be a cure for such behavior. Until then, as long-time media observer Treacher noted, it is important to treat journalists with not just revulsion and contempt, but with revulsion, contempt, and pity.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:04 PM | Comments (8)

April 16, 2008

HEY HOLLYWOOD! This Book's Success Should Tell You Something

The movie industry has released one box-office flop after another regarding our modern wars against Islamic extremists, leading the dim and the dull in studio boardrooms and backlots to assume that Americans don't want to see or know about those conflicts.

But if the American people want to ignore those wars,then why is Michael Yon's Moment of Truth in Iraq currently #12 #10 in Amazon's sales rank? The obvious answer is that we aren't tired of content about the war, we're just tired of movies portraying our soldiers and Marines as psychopaths, murderers, or victims.

Show us a film that respects our troops, portraying their honor, their sacrifice, their dignity, and exceptional humanity under the most trying of combat conditions. Show us a film that portrays Islamic terrorists as the callous, torturing, murderous and irreligious thugs they really are. Show us that film, and I'll show you a film that generates hundreds of millions of dollars in profit and could actually contribute to winning hearts and minds around the world.

Oddly enough, that very project is waiting in the wings. A smart producer could build upon Yon's growing popularity, and his stories based upon the exploits of Deuce Four, the Stryker Brigade known as the Punishers, already made legendary in Yon's dispatches like Gates of Fire.

That might mean setting aside the community's general anti-war feelings for money, but somehow, I think they have the moral flexibility to make that happen.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:02 AM | Comments (11)

April 07, 2008

MSNBC Games McCain Speech with Irrelevant "Breaking News"

As has sadly become commonplace, Amanda at Think Progress missed another story today, even though this one slapped her right between the eyes.

Her post, McCain's Speech On Progress In Iraq Interrupted By News Of Mortars Hitting The Green Zone, notes that MSNBC interrupted a John McCain speech about progress being made in the Iraq War with the breaking news story that four mortar shells hit Baghdad's Green Zone, an unremarkable development as Sadrists and insurgents have used mortars for harassment and interdiction (H&I) fires frequently throughout the war, usually to little effect.

There were no known casualties at the time the story was reported, and there was no known targets of importance hit. What Amanda did not grasp is the utter lack of a legitimate reason for MSNBC producers to break into McCain's speech, other than to try to undermine his message.

MSNBC needs to justify this "breaking news" event by proving that they have broken into other live events on their network to cover minor Green Zone mortar attacks during the campaign season.

Somehow, I doubt they can.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:42 PM | Comments (15)

April 03, 2008

The "New Math" of Fox News

Here is the screencap of a link from an extremely misleading link on this morning.

The link to "U.S. Warplane Launches Massive Airstrike in Basra" goes to the following story where you would presumably expect to read abut a serious escalation in U.S. bombings in Basra against Mahdi Army targets, which would likely prompt attacks by followers of al Sadr against U.S. military targets around Iraq.

What you learn from clicking the link, however, is that just two bombs were dropped in Basra, and they were small munitions that targeted militants hiding in specific houses.

Massive = 2.

It's nice to know.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:31 AM | Comments (19)

April 01, 2008

Kettle Lectured by Kettle Over Pot Relationship

Over at Patterico's, Mary Mapes rips into the L.A. Times for falling for forged documents.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:36 AM | Comments (6)

March 21, 2008

Is Anderson Cooper Roland S. Martin Simply Making Things Up?

On Anderson Cooper's CNN blog this morning, Roland S. Martin claims that Barack Obama's radical minister Jeremiah Wright got his "chickens coming home to roost" commentary from a former Ronald Reagan official.

One of the most controversial statements in this sermon was when he mentioned "chickens coming home to roost." He was actually quoting Edward Peck, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and deputy director of President Reagan's terrorism task force, who was speaking on FOX News. That's what he told the congregation.

He was quoting Peck as saying that America's foreign policy has put the nation in peril:

"We took this country by terror away from the Sioux, the Apache, Arikara, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism.

"We took Africans away from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism.

"We bombed Grenada and killed innocent civilians, babies, non-military personnel.

"We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenage and toddlers, pregnant mothers and hard working fathers.

"We bombed Qaddafi's home, and killed his child. Blessed are they who bash your children's head against the rock.

"We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We bombed a plant in Sudan to pay back for the attack on our embassy, killed hundreds of hard working people, mothers and fathers who left home to go that day not knowing that they'd never get back home.

"We bombed Hiroshima. We bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye.

"Kids playing in the playground. Mothers picking up children after school. Civilians, not soldiers, people just trying to make it day by day.

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff that we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost.

"Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism. A white ambassador said that y'all, not a black militant. Not a reverend who preaches about racism. An ambassador whose eyes are wide open and who is trying to get us to wake up and move away from this dangerous precipice upon which we are now poised. The ambassador said the people we have wounded don't have the military capability we have. But they do have individuals who are willing to die and take thousands with them. And we need to come to grips with that."

Martin's claim is shall we say, interesting.

The most famous single citation of "The Chickens Coming Home to Roost" was as an alternate title of the Malcolm X speech, God's Judgement of White America, where X attributed the assassination death of John F. Kennedy to the historical evils of white America at that time.

I suspect that is a far more likely source for Wright's invocation of that particular phrase, especially when we consider the historical contexts of both Wright's speech after 9/11, and X's speech after Kennedy was killed.

At best, Jeremiah Wright credits here a "A white ambassador" for saying "Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism."

There is no support provided by Martin for the claim that Peck said anything about "chickens coming home to roost," or any of the rest of what he cited.

Interestingly enough, I can't find any evidence of Peck saying anything Martin attributes to him, and the only references on Google to this are liberal blog posts that uncritically link back to Martin's article, taking him at face value.

There is no doubt at all that Peck was and has been a fierce opponent of the war in Iraq, but I'd ask you to hunt through Google yourself, and see if you can find any of what Martin claims Wright quotes from Peck.

I can't find it, and like Ace, I think Martin just might be making this up as he goes.

I will be more than happy to apologize if wrong, but Martin has not "shown his work," and until he back his claim with a direct quote, and can prove that Wright was citing Pecks' lesser known comment instead of X's infamous speech, then I have no reason to trust him.

Update: First, while this was Cooper's blog, Roland S. Martin (not this guy) wrote the post, so I was wrong in attributing it to Cooper. I've updated the text and title to reflect that.

A special thanks to PG (in the comments, who also pointed out the name flub) for providing the link this illuminating video of Wright's speech:

It is over 9 minutes long, but if you'd like to get to the portion relevant to just this claim by Roland S. Martin, pay special attention to what is said by Wright from 3:14-3:46.

Wright does indeed invoke Peck, and in particular, where Peck invokes the specific Malcolm X speech cited above.

In short, Martin is being duplicitous when he claims that Wright was citing Peck, he was instead citing Malcom X through Peck.

You wouldn't get that from Martin's blog entry, but then, I don't think you were supposed to.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:48 PM | Comments (64)

March 12, 2008

Manufactured Destruction

CAMERA has the goods on the BBC, which claimed in a video report that the family home of the terrorist that murdered eight students and wounded nine more last week was destroyed in retaliation by the Israelis.

It never happened.

For now, the house still stands, prompting CAMERA to wonder why BBC reporter Nick Miles would report a false demolition in a voiceover, and why the BBC would air a videoclip without properly vetting it.

This should be a career-ender for someone (or someones) if the BBC cares about their reputation as a legitimate news source.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:19 AM | Comments (5)

March 03, 2008

Wishful Thinking

The most incompetent CBS News headline in recent memory, or the result of too much wishful thinking?

Via HotAir Headlines.

Barack Obama/Deval Patrick could not immediately be reached for comment.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:32 AM | Comments (3)

February 29, 2008

AP Lawyers Down Snapped Shot

Snapped Shot a photojournalism criticism site run by Brian Ledbetter, has gone dark due to legal threats from the Associated Press for copyright infringement for reproducing their images in order to critique them:

It's Been Fun We have been informed that the Associated Press takes issue with our use of their images on this website, and until I'm able to resolve this matter with them amicably, I'm going to have to take the site offline.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you know more about this kinda thing. I'm posting a copy of the AP's letter below, for full disclosure.

Snapped Shot is a site that deals with the criticism of photojournalism. The industry is inaccurate in its reporting, it falls for terrorist propaganda too easily, and in general, the photos that you see presented as "news" on a daily basis are nothing more than fluff. This site has, from the beginning, intended to correct that by presenting specific instances of bias or inaccuracy along with commentary as to why said photographs are inaccurate. I have never drawn a profit from this website, and have never received compensation for any of the "copyrighted" works that are owned by the AP. Furthermore, I have always been careful to give full credit to the wire photographers who have taken the pictures, and have even interacted cordially with a handful of them.

What The?
So why is the AP seeking action against me? I am not making any money off of their work. I am not a mainstream "news" site ala Yahoo, Google, or Breitbart. So what's the deal? Is the Associated Press uncomfortable with the content of this website? Have I struck a nerve too close to home? No idea, but if you're a lawyer that deals in intellectual property, I'm ready to become your new best friend...

Ledbetter includes a scanned copy of the letter from the Associated Press at the link above.

I've long been under the impression—perhaps wrongly—that reproducing photographs for the purpose of criticism was within "fair use" guidelines.

I am familiar with Snapped Shot and have worked with Mr. Ledbetter on occasion and his site, the best I can recall, did seem to satisfy the general guidelines of fair use as many of us understand them.

If the Associated Press has determined that it is in their best interests to sue to keep from being criticized by bloggers, this will be a very unsettling development. I certainly hope that is not the case.

I've just sent an email to Paul Colford of the Associated Press asking for specifics of why Ledbetter's site came to their attention, and hopefully he can shed some light on their motivations as this story develops.


Colford responds:

I have nothing to add beyond the letter from AP, except to underscore that this is a copyright matter.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:16 PM | Comments (13)

February 28, 2008

60 Minutes At It Again?

Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft shares the news of another possible election year meltdown at CBS News.

60 Minutes recently aired the claim that former Alabama governor Don Siegelman went to jail not for corruption, but because he belong to the wrong political party, and that the investigations that landed him in jail for bribery were politically motivated.

One of the most explosive claims made was that Karl Rove was involved in an attempt to entrap Siegelman:

Now a Republican lawyer from Alabama, Jill Simpson, has come forward to claim that the Siegelman prosecution was part of a five-year secret campaign to ruin the governor. Simpson told 60 Minutes she did what's called "opposition research" for the Republican party. She says during a meeting in 2001, Karl Rove, President Bush's senior political advisor, asked her to try to catch Siegelman cheating on his wife.

"Karl Rove asked you to take pictures of Siegelman?" Pelley asks.

"Yes," Simpson replies.

"In a compromising, sexual position with one of his aides," Pelley clarifies.

"Yes, if I could," Simpson says.

She says she spied on Siegelman for months but saw nothing. Even though she was working as a Republican campaign operative, Simpson says she wanted to talk to 60 Minutes because Siegelman's prison sentence bothers her conscience.

Simpson says she wasn't surprised that Rove made this request. Asked why not, she tells Pelley, "I had had other requests for intelligence before."

"From Karl Rove?" Pelley asks.

"Yes," Simpson says.

Today's Birmingham News has Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, asking CBS News to either provide evidence of the charges, or publish a retraction.

"Only the most committed anti-Rove/Bush activist could swallow such a tale," party chairman Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, wrote in the letter to "60 Minutes."

"If you are unable to publicly produce hard and convincing evidence that backs the outrageous charges you aired to millions of viewers across the nation, I ask that you publicly retract the story on your next broadcast."

Gateway Pundit has posted the full contents of Hubbard's letter.

Rove has specifically denied the story, stating:

"It never happened," Rove said in a telephone interview. "Seeing where I was working at the time, a reasonable person could ask why I would even take an interest in that case."

CBS News seems to have a lot to prove in this case to avoid a retraction, including:

  • Proof that Jill Simpson ever worked with the Alabama Republican Party beyond simply being a volunteer, seemingly the easiest fact to verify or disprove.
  • Proof that Simpson ever did "opposition research" for the Alabama Republican Party and Karl Rove.
  • Proof that Simpson had been in contact with Rove.
  • Proof that Rove asked Simpson to take compromising photographs of Don Siegelman

If CBS News can substantiate these charges, then the long-held liberal dream of bring Karl Rove up on charges for something could possibly occur.

If CBS News and 60 Minutes cannot substantiate the claim, then they are in the position of now having published a second false presidential election year story (Rathergate's forged documents prior to the 2004 election being the first), and the network's reputation in general and 60 Minutes reputation in specific will be heavily tarnished.

Frankly, I doubt that 60 Minutes would risk running this story without having vetted Simpson to the best of their ability, so I would be surprised if they cannot quickly prove some sort of involvement by Simpson in the Alabama Republican Party beyond volunteer level. If they can't do that, they are toast—fully discredited as a news organization, in my opinion.

The stickier point is proving her explosive charge that Rove told her that he wanted her to catch Siegelman having an affair. That seems like it will be very difficult to prove, and if she cannot prove it, then the 60 Minutes story never should have run.

Stay tuned, folks... however it breaks it promise to be very interesting.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:03 AM | Comments (54)

February 25, 2008

Uh, No

Photo caption incompetence from the Associated Press (and here and here):

A Turkish army Super Cobra helicopter flies over an artillery unit and its crew after taking off from a military base in Cukurca in Hakkari province at the Turkey-Iraq border, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008, Turkish F-16 fighters and helicopters flew into northern Iraq on Sunday as elite commandos shake Kurdish rebels in a major ground operation across the border that has drawn criticism from the U.S.-backed-Iraqi government and Iraqi Kurdish leaders. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Not even close. The helicopter in the photo is a unmistakably a variation of the UH-60 transport helicopter, with a four-bladed rotor and slick sides. That any self-respecting photo editor covering a military beat could mistake that helicopter for the distinctive, menacing shape of the twin-seater Super Cobra attack helicopter boggles the imagination.

Bonus: Soldier, hold your fire and clear your muzzle. Kabooms are not fun, however they are caused.

Update from the Associated Press: Paul Colford, Director of Media Relations for the Associated Press writes via email:

The photo captions you have challenged on your site were corrected (to Black Hawk) at 5:21 p.m. yesterday, such as this one:


** CORRECTS HELICOPTER TYPE ** A Turkish army Black Hawk helicopter flies over an artillery unit and its crew after taking off from a military base in Cukurca in Hakkari province at the Turkey-Iraq border, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008, Turkish F-16 fighters and helicopters flew into northern Iraq on Sunday as elite commandos shake Kurdish rebels in a major ground operation across the border that has drawn criticism from the U.S.-backed-Iraqi government and Iraqi Kurdish leaders. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Credit where credit is due, the erroneous captions were replaced later the same afternoon, though it still boggles the mind that such a mistake was made in the first place.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:11 PM | Comments (9)

Unappreciated Innovation

Something is missing from this CNN story.

The story now begins:

A man in a wheelchair blew himself up Monday in a northern Iraqi police station, killing three National Police officers, including a commander, police said.

The attack also wounded nine officers on the police force, which the Iraqi Interior Ministry operates.

The bombing in Samarra raises concern about the recent tactics employed by insurgents in Iraq. Bombs have been placed inside dead animals and hidden in carts. And in recent days, vagrants have been involved in bombings.

"As a sign of desperation, some of those terrorists resorted to some new methods and techniques," said Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, spokesman for Baghdad's security plan.

The lede as it now reads is one of how desperate the terrorists in Iraq are becoming, and the lengths to which they must now go to stage a successful attack.

An earlier version of the story had a slightly different take, but now seems to only exist as a ghost in Google's cache.

"Innovative tactics " versus "signs of desperation."

A journalist's point of view can be quite illuminating from time to time, can't it?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:27 PM | Comments (24)

February 21, 2008

Not Even Blog-Worthy

It seems like everyone is talking this morning about this New York Times article about John McCain.

The heart of the Times article states only:

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client's corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman's access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

Why were these staffers "convinced the relationship had become romantic"?

Did they see McCain and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, in a sexually-suggestive or compromising position?

Was there any physical evidence of a "romantic" relationship?

Did either McCain or Iseman tell anyone that they were involved in such a relationship?

The four NY Times journalists that share the byline on this story—Jim Rutenberg, Marilyn W. Thompson, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Stephen Lebaton— do not provide answers to any of these basic journalistic questions. They failed to do their jobs.

This is not a news story, it is an extended insinuation. At best, it is half-formed journalism. At worst, it is naked, partisan advocacy.

If presented with the thin claims published in this Times story, many of the more credible bloggers, regardless of political affiliation, would have passed on publishing this story. They've worked too hard and too long to build their reader base and establish their credibility as citizen-journalists.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr, publisher of the Times, apparently has no such qualms about risking the reputation of the newspaper grown to prominence by previous generations of his family. It is easy for him to squander what he himself did not earn, but then, we knew that a discount ago.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:12 AM | Comments (17)

February 04, 2008

AFP: Something Old is New Again

Agence France-Presse (AFP) the oldest news agency in the world and the largest French news agency, has been caught recycling two-year-old Congressional subcommittee testimony as current news.

On Sunday, AFP released an article, "US Qaeda strategy fatally flawed; analysts," which opened:

In its ideological struggle against Al-Qaeda, American anti-terrorist strategy too often overlooks the basic tenets of the infamous Chinese warlord Sun Tzu, namely: know your enemy.

That is the fixed view of leading analysts, who conclude that through ignorance of the enemy it faces, ignorance of its nature, its goals, its strengths and its weaknesses, the United States is condemned to failure.

"The attention of the US military and intelligence community is directed almost uniformly towards hunting down militant leaders or protecting US forces, (and) not towards understanding the enemy we now face," said Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC.

"This is a monumental failing not only because decapitation strategies have rarely worked in countering mass-mobilisation terrorist or insurgent campaigns, but also because Al-Qaeda's ability to continue this struggle is based absolutely on its capacity to attract new recruits and replenish its resources.

"Without knowing our enemy, we cannot fulfill the most basic requirements of an effective counter-terrorist strategy: pre-empting and preventing terrorist operations and deterring their attacks," Hoffman added.

What AFP neglected to mention is that the quotes from Professor Hoffman were issued in written testimony to The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities in February of 2006. The testimony can be found in a PDF document published at the RAND Corporation web site on page 5 and a "dowdified" quote from the bottom of page 5 and the top of page 6.

This written testimony was issued eleven months before President Bush proposed the "surge" of American troops into Iraq, almost eleven months before General David Petraeus was confirmed as the new Commanding General, Multi-National Force - Iraq, and a full year prior to the beginning of the buildup of American forces beginning in February of 2007 as part of the new Strategy for Iraq.

The AFP article, written in present tense, in no way indicated that it was citing obsolete information as current news.

The information is so obsolete as to render the article itself as fraudulent in nature. Agence France-Presse should immediately retract this article, and explain how such "journalism" ever made it to press.

Thanks to CY reader Cameron Gilchrist for the tip.

Update: I updated with the correct page numbers from the RAND PDF. I had originally pulled the page numbers 21 and 22 from this version of the testimony.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:13 PM | Comments (17)

January 30, 2008

It's Your Fault That You Hate Us

Via Ace and a sarcastic review by Kevin D. Williamson on NRO's Media Blog, comes an article by Poynter Institute Senior Scholar Roy Peter Clark, entitled The Public Bias against the Press.

And yes, he's quite sincere.

He begins:

The public bias against the press is a more serious problem for American democracy that the bias (real or perceived) of the press itself.

This is a fascinating claim. Clark argues that a healthy degree of skepticism in the American public for (real or perceived) media bias is greater than the actual damage caused by biases held by journalists and promulgated in their reporting.

Let's look at a hypothetical example to test Clark's theory.

The War in Iraq is very much a divisive subject in our culture, and is ripe for the introduction of bias by both those reporting a given story on the war, and those reading it.

Featured on Google News this afternoon is an article by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Thom Shanker of the New York Times, entitled, White House Shows Signs of Rethinking Cut in Troops. The lede of the article begins:

Four months after announcing troop reductions in Iraq, President Bush is now sending signals that the cuts may not continue past this summer, a development likely to infuriate Democrats and renew concerns among military planners about strains on the force.

In that one sentence there are two examples of unsupported editorializing caused by the bias of the reporters:

  • that if the cuts don't continue past this summer, that Democrats are likely to be "infuriated," and;
  • that concerns among military planners would be "renewed."

Neither author supports the contention that a further reduction in force beyond pre-surge levels would cause Democrats to be "infuriated," and an objective accounting would have noted that, time and again, civilian and military leadership have stated that they would determine troops levels in Iraq based upon conditions on the ground. All Senators and Congressmen, knew this from the very beginning of the troops build-up. Quite simply, there s nothing for them to be infuriated about [note: For a more honest look at what this actually means, William Arkin has a much more even-keeled entry on the subject at the Washington Post blog, Early Warning.

Second, there is no evidence that concerns would be "renewed" among military planners, as they knew before the first surge soldier's boots hit Iraqi sand that the size of the force on the ground after the surge was contingent upon conditions. There concerns are no doubt real, but the biased lede and the implicated that this something "renewed" or unexpected, is rank editorialism featured in a news outlet that has, by the way, taken a quite public editorial stance against the war.

According to Clark, my long-held distrust of the media—honed over years of finding factual inaccuracies and demonstrable hidden biases in their reporting, and doing so again here—is a serious threat to American democracy.

He would have you think that an informed public is a threat to democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth. What he is actually lamenting—and is either (amusingly) too biased, too inarticulate, or too dishonest to share—is the demise of the media's role as gatekeeper.

It has become increasingly difficult for a self-selected group (in this case, journalists) to alter or shape public discourse by the selective filtering and dissemination of knowledge. We live in a newly wired world, with a much wider flow of information to be be shared, compared, and analyzed by almost anyone, not just editors and journalists.

Mr. Clark does not lament a threat to democracy.

He resents that his profession must now take part in it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:22 PM | Comments (31)

AFP Revises History

In an article previewing the possible damage to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a result of the Winograd Report into Israel's 34-day war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, AFP's Ron Bousso echoes a questionable claim about the 2006 Israeli War against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon:

It is expected to focus on Olmert's controversial decision to order a massive ground offensive in south Lebanon 60 hours before a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement was due to take effect on August 14.

Thirty-three Israeli soldiers were killed in the offensive launched just one hour after the final version of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 was presented to Israel.

Major Tomer Buhadana was one of those wounded during the last 48 hours of war, which in all killed 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

The Lebanese killed were "mostly civilians?"

The Daily Telegraph noted during the conflict:

Although Hizbollah has refused to make public the extent of the casualties it has suffered, Lebanese officials estimate that up to 500 fighters have been killed in the past three weeks of hostilities with Israel, and another 1,500 injured.

Lebanese officials have also disclosed that many of Hizbollah's wounded are being treated in hospitals in Syria to conceal the true extent of the casualties. They are said to have been taken through al-Arissa border crossing with the help of Syrian security forces.

A UPI account noted that:

Israel failed to kill Hezbollah's top members, and the organization continued to function throughout the war.

But Hezbollah lost more than 500 men, even though it confirmed only some 60-odd killed. Israel identified 440 dead guerrillas by name and address, and experience shows that Israeli figures are half to two-thirds of the enemy's real casualties. Therefore, Amidror estimated, Hezbollah's death toll might be as high as 700.

Both of those links were pulled from a media analysis by Steven Stotsky of The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) which sought to provide an actual account of the Hezbollah and civilan dead, arriving at a rough estimate of 500-600 Hezbollah fighters among the roughly 1,000-1,200 Lebanese killed—roughly half of the total.

A December 2006 review of the July 12-August 14 conflict by the Boston Globe cited a total of "More than 1,000 Lebanese civilians and combatants" killed, and of those, Hezbollah fighters comprised between 250 and 600 of that figure, depending on the source. The same Globe account also notes that the Lebanese government does not differentiate between civilians and Hezbollah fighters in their official toll of 1,086 dead, as it "can be difficult to tell a Hezbollah fighter because many do not wear military uniforms."

StrategyPage reported:

Hizbollah suffered a defeat. Their rocket attacks on Israel, while appearing spectacular (nearly 4,000 rockets launched), were unimpressive (39 Israelis killed, half of them Arabs). On the ground, Hizbollah lost nearly 600 of its own personnel, and billions of dollars worth of assets and weapons. Israeli losses were far less.

Instead of "mostly civilians," the conflict in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006 created roughly 1,000-1,200 fatalities in Lebanon, and clearly a significant number of them, roughly half, were Hezbollah fighters.

Bousso's claim for AFP that "mostly civilians" perished as a result of the war is both technically inaccurate and editorially deceptive.

Update: Reports indicate that Bousso was wrong on the main contention of his article as well, that the report was likely to be "a damning indictment of his [Prime Minister's Olmert's] role in the 2006 war in Lebanon."


The final report into Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon concluded that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not fail in his handling of a key battle and that his decisions were reasonable, defense officials said Wednesday.

It doesn't seem that AFP gets much of anything right, does it?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:41 AM | Comments (9)

Tears for Johnny

You can almost hear the tears hitting Nedra Pickler's keyboard:

Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voter's sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.

Be strong, Nedra. You've still got Barack, even if his hair isn't nearly as pretty. That said, I wonder to which of the two Americas Edwards will retire...

Will his chose his $6 million, 102-acre estate in Chapel Hill, or his million-dollar beach estate on gated Figure Eight Island?

Courage, Johnny.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:13 AM | Comments (8)

January 29, 2008

Media Still Trying to Martyr Obama

We've covered this ground before. For reasons they will not openly disclose, media worldwide are hooked on the possibility that Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama will be assassinated.

As noted by Mark Finkelstein this morning on Newsbusters, Early Show anchor Harry Smith broached the subject again in a conversation with Senator Ted Kennedy:

HARRY SMITH: When you see that enthusiasm [for Obama] though, and when you see the generational change that seems to be taking place before our eyes, does it make you at all fearful?

Kennedy understandably had no idea what Smith was driving at, and gave an innocuous answer about people's desire for "a new day and a new generation." But Smith's follow-up left no real doubt as to what he had in mind.

SMITH: I just, I think what I was trying to say is, sometimes agents of change end of being targets, as you well know, and that was why I was asking if you were at all fearful of that.

When you tell a man with Ted Kennedy's family history that "you well know" about politicians becoming "targets," the implication is unmistakable.

I'll send you over to the Newsbusters post to see how Kennedy responded, but after you read that, ask yourself this: What basis did Harry Smith have for making his remarks?

Such vague media assertions of a possible targeting of Obama have been occurring for over a year, and yet, when we actually look for evidence of such claims, they seem to have little or no merit other than other media accounts.

I've no doubt that somewhere in the world there are those that would rather see Barack Obama dead than President, but the media has failed, in each an every instance, to provide support for this apparently evergreen claim. They recycle the charge, again and again, merely by "knowing" that someone must hate him.

I know that I am certainly getting tired of their attempts to assert a mortal threat against one of the more likable people (politics aside) in this race, and wonder why more bloggers have not yet castigated the media for recycling the possibility of a threat again and again, perhaps goading an unstable person to act upon them.

This needs to stop.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:44 AM | Comments (47)

January 23, 2008

You Get What You Pay For?

There is quite the buzz being generated in the blogosphere about a web report issued by The Center for Public Integrity and its sister organization, The Fund for Independence in Journalism.

It is entitled Iraq: The War Card—Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War.

As you may imagine, bloggers on the political left (and the media) are claiming the report is evidence of the long-running meme, "Bush lied, people died."

Critics on the right have been quick to point out that The Center for Public Integrity and The Fund for Independence in Journalism draw their financing heavily, if not exclusively, from left-leaning foundations and individuals, and that the criteria established for the study seems to indicate that the data is loaded and crafted to achieve a desired result.

I've not yet had a chance to read the report and get any sense of the validity of the claims made, but it promises to be an interesting read.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:30 AM | Comments (45)

January 18, 2008

Homeland Under Fire From Raging Veterans

David Burge is typically known for his satirical efforts at Iowahawk, but like many great satirists before him, his work is often merely a cover for a razor-sharp wit addressing pressing social ills in a more palatable form.

In light of recent developments in the media, I've broken cover regarding my day job, which I've rarely discussed until this point, in an in-depth interview with Mr. Burge featured in his latest article, Bylines of Brutality.

Read it all, and wonder how we've allowed the problem to go on for as long as it has without getting these veterans the psychological care they so desperately need.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:33 PM | Comments (5)

One Rag To Smear Them All

Ralph Peters of the NY Post has dropped his second editor bomb on the New York Times for their smear of American veterans in a column titled "The New 'Lepers.'"

A taste:

The purpose of Sunday's instantly notorious feature "alerting" the American people that our Iraq and Afghanistan vets are all potential murderers when they move in next door was to mark those defenders of freedom as "unclean" - as the new lepers who can't be trusted amid uninfected Americans.

In the more than six years since 9/11, the Times has never run a feature story half as long on any of the hundreds of heroes who've served our country - those who've won medals of honor, distinguished service crosses, Navy crosses, silver stars or bronze stars with a V device (for valor).

But the Times put a major investigative effort into the "sensational" story that 121 returning vets had committed capital offenses (of course, 20 percent of the cases cited involved manslaughter charges stemming from drunken driving, not first- or second-degree murder . . . ).

Well, a quick statistics check let the air out of the Times' bid to make us dread the veteran down the block - who the Times implies has a machine gun under his bathrobe when he steps out front to fetch the morning paper. In fact, the capital-crimes rate ballyhooed by the Gray Lady demonstrates that our returning troops are far less likely to commit such an offense.

His previous editorial on the subject generated a huge response as well.


The Times article—the first in a series of vet-bashing articles that the Times has prepped to smear our soldiers—is fundamentally dishonest.

Out of all veterans that have been to Iraq and Afghanistan—estimates are that there are 1.5 million them, with roughly half still serving and half (749,932) discharged—the Times was able to compile just 121 deaths.

Read the Times article, and you are treated to five vignettes culled from those 121. The first four encompassing the majority of the article, telling the stories of Matthew Sepi, Archie O'Neil, Stephen Sherwood, and Seth Strasburg, are all about men who "snapped" and shot people to death.

What the Times did not print were those stories that didn't fit their template, and indeed, perhaps should not have been included in their count of 121 at all.

As I noted in my Pajamas Media article published yesterday:

Of those 121 summaries, 40 do not show direct ties between the stresses of deploying to combat zones and the homicides for which these veterans were charged, and of those, 14 were of highly dubious nature.
  • The appropriately named Travis D. Beer, an Army reservist deployed to Iraq, pleaded no contest to motor vehicle homicide, and had two prior arrests for driving under the influence. The Times does not note if those prior arrests occurred before he deployed to Iraq.
  • Jonathan Braham, a Marine veteran of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, shot a man whom he thought had sexually abused his stepson. According to the Times’ own reporting, he was adamant that his service in Iraq did not play a role in his decision to shoot the alleged abuser.
  • Brian Epting was sentenced to six years for vehicular homicide when he lost control of his car while drag racing in 2005 and killed Robert Duffy, a World War II veteran. Is the Times seriously implying that his deployment to Iraq in 2003 is to blame for a drag racing death?
  • Michael Gwinn Jr. has a history of domestic violence.
  • Robert G. Jackson was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, as was Johnny Williams Jr., which cannot readily be tied to military deployments. Likewise, James Pitts has psychiatric problems predating his deployment to Iraq.
  • Michael Antonio Jordan had a juvenile criminal record and was involved in gang activity.
  • Christian Mariano was acquitted for acting in self-defense, and yet the Times still included him on this list.
  • Jason R. Smith, a National Guard veteran and Atlanta narcotics officer, shot elderly Kathryn Johnston in an infamous no-knock raid, and is currently being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but his attorney cannot say what the proximate cause of his PTSD may have been.
  • Aaron Stanley's sideline occupation as an alleged methamphetamine and marijuana dealer may have had more to do with his homicides than his deployment to Iraq. Vernon Walker killed two fellow soldiers while dealing drugs.
  • Larry Jaimall West was a member of the Crips street gang.
  • Jared Terrasas had a conviction for misdemeanor spousal abuse prior to his deployment to Iraq
  • Jessie L. Ullom had already been charged with abusing his infant son before he saw combat.

The only criteria the Times seems to have followed was to list all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who have killed someone upon returning to the United States, and they included those with mental illnesses that could not be attributed to military service (schizophrenia), vehicular homicides involving alcohol or drugs (manslaughter, not murder), cases where the veterans have not even had trials, and even one case where a soldier was tried and acquitted on the grounds of self defense.

Obviously, the would have preferred that this veteran, Christian Mariano, had not gone to picked up a female friend that had been beaten up by her boyfriend. They would have preferred that when he was attacked by a group, that he had not defended himself with his pocketknife. The would have rather that Khyle Dittrich had succeeded in strangling Mariano.

Then he would have been a veteran that they could support in death, the only kind of veteran the Times seems to like, other than those that join their favorite discount customer, MoveOn.Org, and similar groups.

Bu the New York Times has no interest in telling the true tale of a veteran who only wanted to help a battered woman.

Better to make him part of a dishonest statistic.

They have no interest in telling the story of the 1.5 million veterans of this nation's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who lead productive lives, and save lives, and contribute to our communities, and freedom. Instead, they highlight four atypical veterans out of 1.5 million to smear the all.

Once again, the New York Times engages in the vilest kind of yellow journalism.

Walter Duranty would be proud.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:11 AM | Comments (3)

January 16, 2008

Harper's Defaults on Horton's Credibility

It appears that Roger Hodge, Editor of Harper's, Ellen Rosenbush, Managing Editor of Harper's, and Vice President of Public Relations Giulia Melluci, will not support claims made by Harper's contributor Scott Horton, who made the claim on August 24, 2007 that an unnamed "thuggish neocon" journalist fabricated a story while Horton was in Iraq.

Horton has refused to provide evidence of the story in question, as have his editors and Harper's Public Relations. We can only conclude at this time that such a story never existed, and that Horton's claim was fraudulent.

Mr. Hodge, Ms. Rosenbush, and Ms. Melucci were contacted to provide support for Horton's article on August 29 and December 29, 2007, in addition to previous docuemented attempts to Mr. Hodge and Ms. Rosenbush on August 27 and Ms. Melucci in a separate August 27 email, with a follow-up email to Ms. Rosenbush and Ms. Melucci on August 28. All of these followed an unsuccessful attempt to get Scott Horton to provide support for his claim on August 24.

This apparently fraudulent claim is not Horton's only ethical lapse; in a Pajama's Media article posted on January 4, I revealed that Horton's clear conflict of interest in writing about Associated Press photographer and terrorism suspect Bilal Hussein. Horton had been a member of Hussein's defense team, and his former legal partner is Hussein's present counsel.

Ironically, Horton's most recent post quotes Nietzsche:

He who does battle with monsters needs to watch out lest he in the process become a monster himself. And if you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss will stare right back at you.

If Harper's had any remaining pride, ethics, or editorial judgment, that quote would be his epitaph.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:14 AM | Comments (7)

January 14, 2008

Send in the Emoting Clown

Oh, Erica Jong, could you be any more of an argument against Hillary Clinton if you tried?

I am so tired of pink men bombing brown children and rationalizing it as fighting terrorism. I am so tired of pink men telling women (of all colors) what to do with their wombs--which connect with their brains--in case you forgot. I am so tired of pink men telling us we should stay in Iraq for generations. I am so tired of pink men buying bombs and cheating schools. I am so tired of pink men having wives who stand behind them and nod sagely on television. I am so tired of pink men expecting that someone--a brown, black, yellow or white woman--will trail behind them changing light bulbs, taking out garbage, washing laundry, keeping food in the house, taking care of kids of all ages, of parents of all ages. I am so tired of pink men whose wives double or triple the family income thinking they can spend it without doing a damn thing at home. I am so tired...

This not so-subtle plaintive wail in support of Hillary Clinton, full of high drama and lacking in substance, is perhaps precisely the reason we shouldn't elect a feminist of Jong's generation President. Unable to rationally argue from an intellectual position on why the former First Lady has the experience, integrity, or policy positions to warrant her ascension, Jong instead insists that merely being female is reason enough to be President.

Is this the best argument that she can put forth, that a woman should be elected because of her gender, not because she has superior talents or ideas?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:04 PM | Comments (14)

January 02, 2008

Too Little, Too Late: Scotland Yard to Probe Bhutto Assassination

For what little it is worth:

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday that British investigators are heading to Pakistan to help clear up the confusion surrounding Thursday's assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

"I am very thankful to [British] Prime Minister Gordon Brown that when I made this request he accepted that," Musharraf said in a nationally televised address.

The Scotland Yard team, he said, "will solve all the confusion" surrounding how Bhutto died last week.

Musharraf expressed his condolences about the killing of Bhutto, who he said "has been martyred by terrorists."

Frankly, I have my doubts on what good this investigation will do, and that is not meant as a slight against Scotland Yard, but instead against what little evidence they will have on hand.

The crime scene where Bhutto was apparently shot and a suicide bomber detonated had been cleared within hours; the debris, blood, and any remaining evidence washed away. Benazir Bhutto has been interred, as have the bodies of the victims of the suicide blast, and it remains to be seen if Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, will allow Scotland Yard to exume Bhutto's remains for an autopsy.

The remaining evidence seems to include:

  • part of the head of the suicide bomber
  • forensic evidence in the two vehicles that transported Bhutto
  • the assassin's pistol, tentatively identified as a Steyr M
  • several video tapes of the attack
  • still photos
  • eyewitness accounts
  • X-rays
  • doctor's notes

The documentary evidence will presumably add little to the investigation. The media-provided X-rays seem to show little, and a formal autopsy was never performed. Both pundits and professionals have examined the video, and it would be surprising if they hold much in the way of substantial new information, outside of audio recorded on the videotapes which may prove or disprove the theory of additional gunshots being fired. The eyewitness accounts are very conflicted, and as a rule, are typically unreliable.

If positively identified, the suicide bomber may provide some clues as to his associations, but that is far from a certainty.

Then there are the two vehicles in the attack, if they have not been compromised.

The first was the vehicle that Bhutto was riding in at the time of the attack, and it could presumably tell us quite a bit about the blast itself, and may account for any bullets fired low that hit the vehicle. An examination of the right rear sunroof lever may be able to account for the blood on the lever, and if bent or stressed, may give some insight into how hard Bhutto hit the lever, if at all. Bhutto's supporters transferred the former prime minster to a second vehicle on the way to the hospital as the first had suffered significant damage as a result of the blast, but I would expect it to have less useful forensic evidence.

The pistol's serial number should give investigators an idea of the firearm's origins, and if bullets or shell casings are recovered from the crime scene or the vehicle (or less likely, Bhutto) that match those cartridges presumably still in the recovered pistol's magazine, it could verify that the weapon was that used in the assassination attempt.

Scotland Yard's entry will provide the appearance of something being done, but it comes long after the most useful evidence has been literally washed away.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:13 PM | Comments (1)

There They Go Again

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the Associated Press has run yet another exaggerated massacre story in Iraq based upon questionable sources they claim are Iraqi police officers.

On Monday, AP ran the claim:

A suicide bomber attacked a checkpoint manned by a group fighting against al-Qaida in Iraq, killing 12 people in one of a series of strikes Monday against the largely Sunni movement singled out by Osama bin Laden as a "disgrace and shame."


In the most serious attack against one of the groups Monday, a suicide bomber drove a minibus rigged with explosives into a checkpoint in Tarmiyah, 30 miles north of Baghdad, police and a member of the local awakening council said.

The explosion killed 12 people, said Adil al-Mishhadani, a member of the council. The council commander, who gave his name only as Abu Arkan for security reasons, said later that the dead included three children on their way to school and nine council members.

Three people were missing, Abu Arkan said.

Not so fast. MNC-I states that only two civilians (not 12) were killed in the attack, two were injured, and two civilians (not three) were missing.

Once again in this article, the Associated Press used anonymous Iraqi Police officers of dubious credibility to make up the bulk of their sourcing, with journalists apparently being nowhere near the scene.

As a result, the number of false reports of massacres and exaggerated reports of attacks in Iraq by the media seems to be on the rise.

Perhaps we should consider this trend the media's "surge?"

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:07 AM | Comments (4)

December 28, 2007

Harper's Credibility Issues Return

Over at Powerline yesterday, John Hinderaker stated that Scott Horton of Harper's libeled the U.S. Army with an anonymous smear on behalf of Iraqi terrorism suspect and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein.

It's as incredible an attempt at libel as I've ever seen. No one with any common sense could believe a word of it. That qualification, though, excludes Editor and Publisher, which yesterday republished Horton's libel admiringly, under the headline "Harper's Probes Case of Jailed AP Photog in Iraq. " Some "probe! " Editor and Publisher begins by saying that Horton is "the latest to look at the purported evidence" against Hussein, but that is false. Horton never discusses the evidence, of which he is, as far as his article discloses, entirely ignorant. Beyond that, E & P's crack "staff, " which is credited with its piece, fails to mention that Horton's column is based entirely on an anonymous and highly dubious "source, " and simply quotes Horton's hit-job with evident approval.

Of course, no one expects the left-wing E & P to do any critical thinking, let alone investigation. But it would have taken very little research for them to discover that Scott Horton was, until January, a partner in the law firm that represents Bilal Hussein--a fact that Horton did not find it necessary to disclose to his readers. There is indeed a story here, and one that relates directly to journalism--the kind of thing in which E & P might be expected to take an interest. But political loyalty trumps journalistic standards at E & P.

To sum up: Scott Horton claims to have an anonymous "source" inside the Pentagon, who relayed to him the contents of a DOD briefing on the Hussein case. I think this is plainly false. I believe that Horton has a source, but is it a source inside the Pentagon, or inside Hussein's defense team, headed by Horton's former law partner? If Horton has a "source" inside the Pentagon, who is it? Is this purported source someone with knowledge of the Hussein case, as Horton claims, or is it just another left-winger regurgitating anti-American talking points?

These questions are easily answerable. All Scott Horton has to do is identify his alleged source inside the Pentagon, and give us the details on the "briefing" that his column supposedly summarized. Unless and until this happens, it is reasonable to conclude that Horton, or his source, is lying.

If the name Scott Horton seems familiar to readers of Confederate Yankee, it should; On August 25 of this year, I called him out for a claim he made in a August 24 blog entry he wrote at Harper's called Those Thuggish Neocons, in which he claimed:

I have no idea whether Beauchamp's story was accurate. But at this point I have seen enough of the Neocon corner's war fables to immediately discount anything that emerges from it. One example: back last spring, when I was living in Baghdad, on Haifa Street, I sat in the evening reading a report by one of the core Neocon pack. He was reporting from Baghdad, and recounted a day he had spent out on a patrol with U.S. troops on Haifa Street. He described a peaceful, pleasant, upscale community. Children were out playing on the street. Men and women were out going about their daily business. Well, in fact I had been forced to spend the day "in the submarine," as they say, missing appointments I had in town. Why? This bucolic, marvelous Haifa Street that he described had erupted in gun battles the entire day. In the view of my security guards, with which I readily concurred, it was too unsafe. And yes, I could hear the gunfire and watch some of the exchanges from my position. No American patrol had passed by and there were certainly no children playing in the street. This was the point when I realized that many of these accounts were pure fabrications.

I challenged Horton to produce the "Neocon's" article he claimed to have read in a August 24 email, stating:

can't claim that Harper's is one of my normal stops, but I was very intrigued by your post today "Those Thuggish Neocons, " particularly the paragraph about the reporter who fabricated the Haifa Street report you read.

If you are familiar with my small blog at all (and I'm sure you probably aren't); I often run down false or inaccurate media claims, typically hitting the wire service reporting the hardest, though I've also captured fraud and inaccuracies in newspapers and magazines as well. And yes, I'd readily admit that I have a conservative perspective, but that does not make me so biased that I approach the world with ideological blinders, as this post burning a false pro-Iranian War argument should show.

I was hoping that you would provide me with the date of the story you related as specifically as you can recall, along with the news organization and individual reporter you said was making up this report.

This is pretty obviously unethical and possibly illegal, and I want this resolved quickly.

Horton never responded, prompting my subsequent blog entry to next day.

I repeatedly attempted to get a response from Harper's and emailed Harper's Editor Roger D. Hodge and Managing Editor Ellen Rosenbush on August 27, and again sent email to them, Horton, and Vice President of Public Relations Giulia Melucci on August 29, once more pressing for Horton to produce the report and reporter he claimed to have read during his time in Baghdad.

Again, they refused to respond.

I did not pursue Horton's claims further at that point as I was immersed in the Scott Beauchamp story at the time, but with Beauchamp's stories now retracted by The New Republic and Powerline once again poking holes in Horton's credibility, it seems time to return to the issue once more.

Harper's should come clean on Horton's sourcing for both of these stories, and quickly. If they do not, they seem doomed to wander down the same humiliating path as Franklin Foer and The New Republic.

Update: Chris Muir weighs in:


12/30 Update: I sent another email to Harper's editors and PR person yesterday, and it seems Editor Roger Hodge and Managing Editor Ellen Rosenbush will be out of the office on holiday until they return until January 2. Here's the "meat" of it:

I ask you yet again to compel Mr. Horton to produce the specific article he claims to have read. I think it a quite reasonable request to have a magazine produce source material for a disputed claim, especially when that claim is neither an anonymous source nor classified information, but what Horton himself claims to be a public print media report.

I ask that you please complete this very simple request by Friday, January 4th, 2008, which seems a very reasonable amount of time to produce the article in question, even considering the holiday season.

We'll see how they respond.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:08 PM | Comments (19)

December 20, 2007

Roger Simon's Hit-Job On Fred Thompson At The Politico

I thought I'd said all I was going to say about Roger Simon's article in The Politico yesterday afternoon in the comments at Hot Air, but as more comes out about the article, I think it is worthy of a dedicated post.

Simon (not the Roger L.Simon of Pajamas Media with whom I interviewed Fred Thompson in November) put up a post called Fred Thompson: Lazy as charged (bad link earlier, now fixed -ed).

The article was damning—brutal, even—and highlighted what appeared to be a huge gaffe in his bus tour through Waverly, Iowa:

...Thompson rode four blocks to the local fire station. Local fire stations always have captive audiences (unless there is a fire).

Inside, Thompson shook a few hands — there were only about 15 people there — and then Chief Dan McKenzie handed Thompson the chief's fire hat so Thompson could put it on.

Thompson looked at it with a sour expression on his face.

"I've got a silly hat rule," Thompson said.

In point of fact, the "silly" hat was the one Chief McKenzie wore to fires and I am guessing none of the firefighters in attendance considered it particularly silly, but Thompson was not going to put it on. He just stood there holding it and staring at it.

To save the moment, Jeri Thompson took the hat from her husband’s hands and put it on her head.

"You look cute," Thompson said to her. She did.

Within the context of the rest of the article, Simon's snide editorial reference to the firemen being a "captive audience" would almost go unnoticed.

His description of what happened next, however, used an unambiguously doctored quote. We know this because the events were captured in a video shown at CBS News (click image to watch):


Simon quoted Thompson as stating that "I've got a silly hat rule."

As the CBS video clearly showed, that was only part of Thompson's statement.

What Thompson actually said was, "I've got a silly hat rule that I'm about to violate."

Thompson then takes the Chief's helmet and starts to raise it if he is going to put it on, and then says, while laughing, "I ain't gonna do it... I ain't gonna do it."

At this point Jeri Thompson steps in and Fred puts the helmet on her. Throughout the video, you can hear those assembled laughing, including Chief Dan McKenzie, who handed Thompson the helmet to begin with. McKenzie is shown smiling widely at the end of the clip.

We don't know if the entire Politico article is grossly unfair in the way it characterized Senator Thompson's swing through Waverly, Iowa, but we do know, thanks to the CBS News video, that not only was Simon's editorializing of what occurred in the Waverly Fire Department mischaracterized, but that he doctored a quote to make his article appear all the more damning.

Simon is the Chief Political Columnist for The Politico—one that they tout as one of "Washington's most visible and experienced journalists."— and should know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that doctoring quotes is highly unethical by any journalistic standard.

In their mission statement, The Politico brags about those journalist they would empower:

Today, many of the reporters having the most impact are those whose work carries a unique signature, who add a distinct voice to the public conversation. Their work, in other words, matters more than where they work.

Reporters stand out from the crowd in a number of ways. Some regularly break news before their competitors. Some have a gift for interpretation, for connecting the dots in illuminating ways. Still others stand out through their eloquence and original storytelling.

Politico will promote and celebrate journalists who have a unique signature. That's why we've been able to attract reporters and editors who have worked at such places as Time magazine and The New York Times, National Public Radio, Roll Call and The Hill, Bloomberg News Service, the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today and The Washington Post.

There is a difference, however, between voice and advocacy. That's one traditional journalism ideal we fully embrace. There is more need than ever for reporting that presents the news fairly, not through an ideological prism. One of the most distressing features of public life recently has been the demise of shared facts. Warring partisans -- many of whom take their news from sources that cater to and amplify their existing opinions -- live in separate zones of reality. In such a climate, every news story is viewed as either weapon or shield in a nonstop ideological war. Our answer to this will be journalism that insists on the primacy of facts over ideology.

Though a doctored quote and a misrepresentation of events captured on camera, Roger Simon seems to have violated that difference between voice and advocacy that The Politico claims to represent.

It remains to be seen if the senior editorial staff of The Politico will take this clear evidence of journalistic malpractice seriously.

Update: I just sent the following to The Politico via their contact form:

Roger Simon's "Fred Thompson: Lazy as charged" included a doctored quote.

Simon states:

"'I've got a silly hat rule,' Thompson said."

That is factually incorrect.

What Thompson said is "I've got a silly hat rule that I'm about to violate."

Simon left off the entire second half of the quote, which was captured, in full, in the CBS News video that captured the event.

You owe it it your readers to correct the record in Simon's story.

I would ask you further what remedy you feel is worthy for a reporter that doctors quotes.

Thank you.

I've also left voicemail for Chief Dan McKenzie at the Waverly, Iowa Fire Department, asking for his view of what occurred yesterday.

I'd be very interested in seeing what both The Politico and Chief McKenzie have to say, and hope they take the time to respond.

Update: Over at A Second Hand Conjecture, Michael W. notes that this is not the first time that Roger Simon of The Politico may have been caught using partial or non-existent quotes.

If this is indeed the case, it seems a resignation, and not a retraction, is in order from Mr. Simon.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:25 AM | Comments (47)

December 19, 2007

Time's Submission of The Year

Time Magazine has declared Russian strongman Vladimir Putin as their 2007 Person of the Year. It should come as little surprise. Time's award has become increasingly irrelevant over the years, and I say that as a past winner who was equally deserving of the award.

Time selected a man that lorded over a Russian security service that apparently murdered a former intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko in London and refused to extradite his accused murderer, Andrei Lugovoi, which led to the expulsion of four Russian envoys by the British government in protest. That Putin obliquely compared the United States to Nazi Germany earleir this year also probably scored Putin points among Time's editors.

The fact that Putin's critics in the Russian media tend to wind up dead somehow escaped their glowing review—or perhaps inspired it.

17 Russian journalists have been killed since Putin came to power, 14 of which are described as contract murders. None of the 14 murders have ever been solved, including the murders of three journalists—Marina Pisareva, Konstantin Brovko, and Ivan Safronov—in 2007.

Perhaps Time selected their Person of the Year for 2007 not for political or editorial reasons, but for that most basic human desire... survival.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:20 AM | Comments (18)

December 18, 2007

Sad But True

The difference between the New York Times defense of Associated Press photographer/terrorist suspect Bilal Hussein and the John Edwards love child scandal in The National Enquirer is that there is little reason to suspect that predisposed biases may play a role in the Enquirer story.

The Times coverage of Hussein's incarceration—which like the eerily similar Associated Press coverage before it, skips over the fact that Hussein attempted to hide his identity after being captured, and tries to make the normal workings of the Iraqi justice system appear biased against Hussein—is hardly objective.

But then, we didn't expect it to be.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:43 PM | Comments (3)

You Gotta Be Kidding Me...

On Drudge:


There is nothing presently on National Enquirer web site right now, but even if there was... would it matter?

Even if true—and I don't think that it is—Edwards is something of a non-factor as a candidate polling well behind Clinton's 42% and Obama's 26% in the RCP poll average of Democratic candidates with just 13% of the vote.

This is stupid news, and more than likely non-news... pretty much like the Edwards campaign thus far.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:05 PM | Comments (11)

Journalism is Hard

Babak Dehghanpisheh has an article posted in Newsweek today that once again shows just how careless the media is in its Iraq reporting in an article called, "The "Body Contractors.'"

The article itself is interesting, in that it notes that both violence is down and that those killing Iraqis are taking greater care to hide the bodies of those they kill. As a result of the recent trend of hiding bodies, mutahid al juthath—body contractors—charges clients between $300-$500 to hunt down missing relatives whether they are alive, or as the title of the article implies, dead.

The problem with Dehghanpisheh's reporting, however, is that he cites as examples of on-going massacres at least one event that simply never took place.

He writes:

In the past two months, more than half a dozen mass graves have been found in Iraq, at least half of them in Baghdad. At one site discovered in late November, in a yard in Baghdad's Saydiya neighborhood, bodies and their severed heads were buried in two separate holes, according to a source at the Ministry of Interior who isn't authorized to speak on the record. An additional 16 bodies were found buried in a ditch north of Baghdad last Thursday.

The 16 bodies "found buried in a ditch north of Baghdad last Thursday" never existed, according to American forces in the area that state:

This appears to false reporting. We currently have no information to confirm this. Neither the Brigade on the ground, or out teams that work with the IA or IPs can confirm this.

It is too much to ask reporters to ask anonymous sources for proof of their claims?

When it comes to reporting the dead in Iraq, apparently so.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:30 AM | Comments (6)

December 14, 2007

Questionable Numbers

A USA Today article earlier this week noted the increasing confirmed or suspected suicides among members of the armed forces, but provided questionable figure for civilian suicides for comparison. The military suicide rate was pushed to USA Today by Senator Patty Murray, (D-WA). Murray was just one of 21 Democrats to vote against the resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq.

According to the USA Today article:

A record number of soldiers — 109 — have killed themselves this year, according to Army statistics showing confirmed or suspected suicides.

The deaths occur as soldiers serve longer combat deployments and the Army spends $100 million on support programs.


Those numbers show 77 confirmed suicides Army-wide this year through Nov. 27 and 32 other deaths pending final determination as suicides.

The Army updated those statistics Wednesday, confirming 85 suicides, including 27 in Iraq and four in Afghanistan.

The highest number of Army suicides recorded since 1990 was 102 in 1992 — a period when the service was 20% larger than today.

A total of 109 suicides this year would equal a rate of 18.4 per 100,000, the highest since the Army started counting in 1980. The civilian suicide rate was 11 per 100,000 in 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The discrepancy between military and civilian suicide rates—18.4/100,000 for the military, and 11/100,000 for civilians—is certainly shocking.

But it isn't necessarily accurate in an oranges-to-oranges comparison.

For example, an Associated Press account published today states that the civilian suicide rate for one segment of the population, middle-aged Americans 45-54, has risen dramatically, and that it isn't as far from the military rate as the USA Today article states.

The rate rose by about 20 percent between 1999 and 2004 for U.S. residents ages 45 through 54 — far outpacing increases among younger adults, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

In 2004, there were 16.6 completed suicides per 100,000 people in that age group. That's the highest it's been since the CDC started tracking such rates, around 1980. The previous high was 16.5, in 1982.

Experts said they don't know why the suicide rates are rising so dramatically in that age group, but believe it is an unrecognized tragedy.

The general public and government prevention programs tend to focus on suicide among teenagers, and many suicide researchers concentrate on the elderly, said Mark Kaplan, a suicide researcher at Portland State University.

"The middle-aged are often overlooked. These statistics should serve as a wake-up call," Kaplan said.

For a like comparison to be made, one can—and perhaps should— try to compare the military suicide rate against the most demographically-comparable civilian group, and not the entire U.S. population.

When this is done, the CDC figures show that the 2004 age-adjusted suicide rate for civilian men—which would most closely correlate to the mostly male military population—is at 15.2 per 100,000, just 1.4/100,000 different than the military figure. This isn't an oranges-to-oranges comparison with military deaths, but at least we're closer to talking citrus in both instances.

The highest overall suicide rate among the groups studied was among males 65 or older, at 28.9 per 100,000.

For men, getting old seems to be a far greater risk factor for suicide than going to war, but then, I'm not a statistician.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:10 AM | Comments (8)

December 10, 2007

AP'S Conflict of Interest

There is one current story in Iraq that has attracted the full attention of the Associated Press, and that is the case of Bilal Hussein, an AP photographer and terrorism suspect. The AP report on Hussein's hearing yesterday leaves out the fact that Hussein was arrested with a known al Qaeda terrorist... one of but many troubling aspects of the news organization's decision to forego objective news reporting in favor of self-serving advocacy in a clear and pervasive conflict of interest.

The Associated Press, as an involved party in this case, should recuse themselves from reporting on Hussein's trial.

According to The Associated Press Statement of News Values and Principles:

In the 21st century, that news is transmitted in more ways than ever before – in print, on the air and on the Web, with words, images, graphics, sounds and video. But always and in all media, we insist on the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior when we gather and deliver the news.

That means we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions. It means we will not knowingly introduce false information into material intended for publication or broadcast; nor will we alter photo or image content. Quotations must be accurate, and precise.

It means we always strive to identify all the sources of our information, shielding them with anonymity only when they insist upon it and when they provide vital information – not opinion or speculation; when there is no other way to obtain that information; and when we know the source is knowledgeable and reliable.

It means we don't plagiarize.

It means we avoid behavior or activities that create a conflict of interest and compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action.

It means we don't misidentify or misrepresent ourselves to get a story. When we seek an interview, we identify ourselves as AP journalists.

It means we don’t pay newsmakers for interviews, to take their photographs or to film or record them.

It means we must be fair. Whenever we portray someone in a negative light, we must make a real effort to obtain a response from that person. When mistakes are made, they must be corrected – fully, quickly and ungrudgingly.

And ultimately, it means it is the responsibility of every one of us to ensure that these standards are upheld. Any time a question is raised about any aspect of our work, it should be taken seriously.

AP editor Kim Gamel cannot claim to be avoiding bias and a conflict of interest when interviewing AP spokesman Paul Colford about the trial of AP employee Bilal Hussein.

In what alternate universe is it acceptable for a journalist to interview a senior staffer in the same news organization about a fellow employee?

Gamel cannot claim to be objective and retain the ability to "report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action" when Gamel is reporting upon the Associated Press.

Whether or not Bilal Hussein is guilty of terrorism-related charges is a matter for the Iraqi criminal justice system to decide.

That the Associated Press is in violation of their own stated values and principles is readily apparent.

Just don't expect them to admit it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:02 PM | Comments (20)

December 07, 2007

When Dinosaurs Attack

Dan Riehl points to this gem from a Huffington Post interview with Helen Thomas:

HP:Do you think technology is changing [journalism]? That a good reporter will always find a venue because there are so many media outlets now?

Thomas: No, but I do think it is kind of sad when everybody who owns a laptop thinks they're a journalist and doesn't understand the ethics. We do have to have some sense of what's right and wrong in this job. Of how far we can go. We don't make accusations without absolute proof. We're not prosecutors. We don't assume.

HP: So if there's this amateur league of journalists out there, trying to do what you do...

Thomas: It's dangerous.

To a certain extent, I agree with Thomas that blogging is dangerous... for journalists. The gatekeeper isn't dead, but he is ailing.

Blogging software now makes it easy for subject matter experts and enthusiasts to provide the insights and critical review that most journalists simply don't have the background to report thoroughly, or accurately.

I'd hasten to add that this isn't always the fault of journalists. Many if not most journalists are generalists, who may be assigned to whatever the "hot" story of the day may be, across a wide range of topics. We've less tolerance for the siloed journalists who cover a specific beat and refuse to become subject matter experts in the area that they are assigned.

But no matter where journalists come from, must are always still primarily journalists, with a communications/journalism background, and they simply cannot compile the depth or breadth of knowledge that someone who has the academic and practical professional experience that many bloggers have developed.

It is for these reasons that science blogs, milblogs, tech blogs and law blogs almost always have better commentary than the journalists merely assigned to cover the same areas, even though these bloggers will rarely break as many new news stories. Where bloggers typically excel is with providing content and corrections to news stories that journalist simply don't have the expertise to give.

Now, it is a fair criticism that with tens of millions of blogs that many, if not most of them, are junk. It is a fair assessment that most blogs merely exist to echo opinions, but provide very little in the way of news in their content. But it is equally true that in blogging the cream rises to the top. What we increasing find in journalism, however, is that what floats to the top assuredly isn't cream.

Bloggers have removed the mystique of the profession of journalism. It isn't rocket science.

It never was.

Though taught on the undergraduate and graduate level, some of the best journalists lack a college degree. Good reporting is craft or a trade reliant on a thirst for knowledge, dilligence, insight, ethics, and an ability to communicate—personality traits that no journalism school in the country can provide. The best a journalism program can do is polish the skills and technique of someone who already has these traits, but specific pedigrees are irrelevant when it comes the long-term quality of the work. A degree from Columbia may get your foot in the newsroom, but it won't keep you there. The quality of your work determines your future... or should.

I can think of a half dozen bloggers covering politics that have done more original reporting than Helen Thomas over the past few years and certainly deserve a seat in the White House Press Corps more than Thomas, who only seem to exist now as an irritant for the White House Press office, and as an amusement for her peers.

In the end perhaps it is her own current irrelevance that makes Thomas regard bloggers as dangerous, as a new breed of information providers devours the old.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:01 AM | Comments (15)

December 02, 2007

Another Fabulist

This time, W. Thomas Smith, Jr., a former Marine writing at NRO blog The Tank.

On Friday, Smith admitted that he:

  • turned two AK-pattern rifles he witnessed in a tent city into "200-plus heavily armed Hezbollah militiamen," and then;
  • turned a tip from an informant and men he saw at intersections with radios into "between 4,000 and 5,000 HezB gunmen deployed to the Christian areas of Beirut in an unsettling 'show of force,' positioning themselves at road intersections and other key points throughout the city."

Shortly after Smith posted his comments, NRO editor Kathryn Jean Lopez posted a comment of her own, stating in part:

Bottom line: NRO strives to bring you reliable analysis and reporting — whether in presenting articles, essays, or blog posts. Smith did commendable work in Lebanon earlier this year, as he does from S.C. where he is based, as he has done from Iraq, where he has been twice. But rereading some of the posts (see "The Tank" for more detail) and after doing a thorough investigation of some of the points made in some of those posts, I've come to the conclusion that NRO should have provided readers with more context and caveats in some posts from Lebanon this fall. And so I apologize to you, our readers.

It is good that Lopez and Smith admitted to these falsehoods without prompting, but I do not think that adding "context and caveats" to Smith's comments would have been enough to justify them.

At the very least, Smith has earned a suspension from NRO, but considering the magnitude of his fabrications, termination seems warranted.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:20 PM | Comments (33)

December 01, 2007

Another Media Account Disputed

Hala Jaber's American-backed killer militias strut across Iraq has been challenged by an American soldier on the ground.

1LT Brendan Griswold, 1-5 CAV in Ameriyah writes:

I do not know how long Ms. Hala Jaber's trip to Ameriya lasted or where exactly she visited inside the city, but the events that she describes in her recent article ("American-backed killer militias strut across Iraq," November 25), totally contradict the progress I have personally witnessed in the past 13 months here in Ameriya.

I have spent the last 13 months as a Platoon Leader in the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, stationed in western Baghdad and responsible for securing the population of Ameriya—a Sunni dominant and once-upscale portion of the Iraqi capital. My time here has allowed me to become close to many of the citizens inside Ameriya who live in my various areas of responsibility. Having been fortunate enough to remain in one area throughout my deployment, the relationships I have formed with many of the local citizens have allowed me to become very aware of what exactly they have been through, as well as the opportunity to celebrate with them—literally—the peace that has returned to this once violent area.

When 1-5 CAV first arrived in Ameriya in 2006, innocent Iraqis lying dead on the street were a daily reminder of the sectarian violence that was engulfing Baghdad. Attacks against American and Iraqi Army patrols were a daily occurrence—as the deaths of 14 of my comrades can attest to. The markets were often deserted, locals refused to talk to American or Iraqi forces in public; the people were terrified.

In the Spring and Summer of 2007, a determined force of al Qaeda in Iraq fighters entered Ameriya and began to terrorize the population. The process was slow, but eventually it became clear that al Qaeda was enforcing their extremist ideologies on the population. Ultimately, they publicly declared Ameriya as their capital. Government buildings were being blown-up. Women were being murdered. We were in a daily fight for each city-block in our area, and there seemed little end in sight to the daily conflict. Ameriya, as one of my experienced Soldiers proclaimed at the time, had quickly become "the next Falluja." We did not, however, approach the situation in Ameriya as American forces had done with cities like Falluja.

Then, in late May, several dozen or so local citizens came forward and announced that they were going to fight the al Qaeda elements in Ameriya. My battalion, along with these local volunteers, established a base of operations at one of the local mosques and we began to target al Qaeda in the surrounding muhullahs. I remember spending long days and late nights at the mosque, working with these local citizens—most of whom had lived in Ameriya all of their lives—gathering intelligence from them, planning operations, and then moving out together and trying to capture al Qaeda fighters. One week's worth of operations with these local citizens yielded more results (multiple caches, detainees, etc.) for my platoon then the previous 7 months combined. Put quite simply, we began to see progress.

Since May, 1-5 CAV and the 2/1/6 Iraqi Army have worked with these local volunteers and helped to transform them from a few dozen local volunteers to what is now a legitimate contracted security force called the "Forsan al Rafidayn,"—"Knights of the Two Rivers," in English—or "FAR" as we Yankees call them. They are currently placed in various locations throughout Ameriya and are responsible for conducting policing operations and gathering intelligence. I have not witnessed any FAR members wearing masks in months. They are very effective, as Ameriya has not had an IED attack since August 7th and no type of effective small arms attack in an even longer time. Shi'ites who fled more than a year ago are returning in large numbers—often, with the FAR's help.

Ms. Jaber's assertion that some of the FAR had "been aligned with al Qaeda" is correct, however, to make this statement while further implying they have "created a virtual enclave" in Ameriya is to suggest that the members of the FAR continue to practice and advance al Qaeda's insurgent and ethno-sectarian agenda. The truth is that, like in every successful counter-insurgency, the citizens of Ameriya, and yes even some of the terrorists, decided they had enough of the violence and that it was time to work with, instead of against, Coalition Forces. While many people, including myself and most of my Soldiers, were at first apprehensive about working with these forces, we eventually realized that what occurred is what we had hoped for the entire time—the people grew tired of the violence and wanted to help the security forces rid the area of the enemy.

In her article, Ms. Jaber describes a visit to a local school with members of the FAR, where they "slapped" and "kicked" local students for having "un-Islamic ringtones" on their cell phones. I do not know which school Ms. Jaber went to (and I doubt she could recall the name of the school, or the name of the FAR member who committed the alleged offense), but from the experiences I have had conducting hundreds of patrols with the FAR, I can tell you that the likelihood of this happening is small, and, if it did, then it was the exception and certainly not the rule.

The FAR are not perfect, but neither is any security organization. When a complaint is received against a member of the FAR, a U.S. Army officer, as well as a member of the FAR, both conduct independent investigations. My Battalion Commander possesses the authority to terminate any member of the FAR who violates their signed-contract that bars them from participating in criminal acts. To date, several FAR members have been fired as a result of their misconduct, the majority of which have been done so not by U.S. officers, but by the members of the FAR themselves. They are policing their own ranks more each day.

Furthermore, Ms. Jaber’s "tag-a-long" imbedded journey through the streets of Ameriya—that lasted a very short time—was obviously predicated on a pessimistic agenda regarding the overall situation in Iraq. While she did in fact run into a young non-commissioned officer of the battalion eating a falafel on the main street in Ameriya—an event that simply could not have occurred six months ago—she also met the Battalion's Executive Officer, who at the time was escorting several other journalists on a dismounted patrol through Ameriya. Ms. Jaber was asked at that time if she wished to meet the leaders of 1-5 CAV, 2/1/6 IA, or the FAR in order to gain an understanding of how these security officials view the situation in Ameriya. Replying in the negative, she opted instead for an escort around Ameriya by several young members of the FAR, who, while committed to protecting the local population, are young, energetic, and eager to display their bravado to all who will pay attention. Ms. Jaber has been contacted by 1-5 CAV since her visit to Ameriya and continues to decline an opportunity to hear a different side of the story of Ameriya.

I invite Ms. Jaber to return to Ameriya. If she does, I will personally introduce her to some of my Iraqi friends who lived through the sectarian violence, the invasion of al Qaeda, and what will hopefully become, as the locals have begun to call it, "the re-birth of Ameriya."

Which account you find more credible, of course, may depend on your own biases.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:43 PM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2007

Hussein in the Membrane

Forgive me for not trusting you, Tom, but when you purposefully obfuscate the fact that Bilal Hussein was arrested as an unknown as the military targeted Hamid Hamad Motib, a known member of al Qaeda, and that he supposedly did not announce he was a journalist when arrested, I somehow doubt your story.

Bilal Hussein was picked up as an unknown, and apparently hoped to remain that way, knowing that insurgents without previous records not caught in the act of an attack are frequently released. Before he was able to matriculate out of our "catch and release" system, however, he was identified by an alert guard who just happened to remember his face from a picture of Hussein posted to The Jawa Report. Hussein had been quiet about his true identity for roughly a month before he was identified.

Hiding his true ID and occupation... not very innocent behavior from an innocent journalist, is it?

To my admittedly inadequate understanding of Iraqi law, Bilal Hussein's pending court date in front of a Iraqi magistrate is the Iraqi equivalent of a U.S. grand jury or preliminary hearing. Since when do defense attorneys--or the media overlords signing their paychecks--get to see grand jury evidence?

According to Wikipedia--yeah, I know:

Unlike the trial itself, the grand jury's proceedings are secret; the defendant and his or her counsel are generally not present for other witnesses' testimony.

If this is correct, and defendants don't get to see evidence in these preliminary hearings, then Tom Curley is more or less lying to the readers of the Washington Post, isn't he?

Sounds like he needs to re-read his corporate ethics policy.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:37 PM | Comments (20)

November 16, 2007

Getting it Wrong... Again

You've got to love our intrepid media covering the war in Iraq. Even eye-to-eye with their subjects they can still drastically misunderstand the situation.

Such was the case last Saturday, Nov. 11, when Ghaith Abdul-Ahad wrote about a commander of former Sunni insurgents (now "concerned citizens") Abu Abed in the Guardian.

Lt. Col. Dale Kuehl, the U.S. Battalion Commander that works with Abu Abed and the citizens of Ameriyah felt that the Guardian article was inaccurate enough to warrant a written response, duplicated below.

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's recent article on Abu Abed of Ameriyah does not paint an accurate picture of him nor of Ameriyah. Mr. Abdul-Ahad spent several days as a guest of Abu Abed in his home, but failed to see the totality of the security framework established within Ameriyah. While the events he describes occurred, I believe he embellished on the facts and selectively ignored the contribution of the Iraqi Army and of my Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment. His characterizations of Abu Abed as a "Sunni warlord" and the Forsan al-Rafidain as the "only authority inside" Ameriyah are completely off base.

The statement of a senior Sunni sheikh in Beirut, that this was just a way to prevent the army and police from entering the area, is absurd and reflects ignorance on the part of this Sheikh on the objectives of Abu Abed and other leaders within the Ameriyah community.

Abu Abed has demonstrated to me time and again that he is non-sectarian.
Some of his closest advisors and much of his Personal Security Detachment are Shia. He has been instrumental in encouraging approximately seventy Shia families to return to Ameriyah. His men regularly check on these families to ensure their safety.

Abdul-Ahad's assertion that the Forsan are the only authority within Ameriyah is completely false. On the contrary they are part of a security network that also includes the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division and the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment.

The Iraqi Army commander and I have established control measures to provide oversight over the Forsan's activities. We developed a memorandum of agreement signed by myself, the Iraqi Army commander and Abu Abed that lays out how they will conduct operations to include provisions for detainees and authorized weapons. We have established a system to conduct investigations for any violations of the law. We investigate complaints, and at times I have disciplined members of the Forsan to include detaining one member for criminal activity. Abu Abed published a code of conduct for his men and on occasion has fired those that would not adhere to the published standards.

Abdul-Ahad also fails to mention the importance of local civil oversight on Abu Abed and his men. From the start, local civil leaders have been an important part of the Concerned Local Citizen movement in Ameriyah. If it was not for the endorsement of two local imams, I probably would have never agreed to work with Abu Abed.

The results of our efforts speak for themselves. We have not had a mortar or rocket attack within Ameriyah since July. Dead bodies used to litter the streets, but we have not had a murder reported since August. The last IED attack was on August 7th. Since that time, my battalion has suffered no casualties within Ameriyah, while 2/1/6 IA has had only one wounded Soldier.

With the increased security situation we have finally been able to provide essential services to the community. For the first time since 1-5 CAV deployed to Iraq last November, the beladiyah is routinely providing trash clean up. We have fixed numerous water pipes, pulled out destroyed car hulks and are working to clean out the sewer system. Likewise the local economy is gaining steam with over one hundred stores opening up the last two months.

Over time I have come to trust Abu Abed as a brother. Our men have fought together and in some cases died while fighting a common enemy that has no regard for the innocent civilians of Ameriyah. Abu Abed invited me into his home and showed me not only hospitality, but friendship and camaraderie. He has demonstrated to me that his goal is for the safety and security of the people of Ameriyah and has resisted attempts by outsiders to take credit and control of what he has been able to accomplish. He is an inspiring leader who demonstrates personal and moral courage on a daily basis. I am proud to call him my friend.

Lt. Col. Dale Kuehl
1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:19 AM | Comments (13)

November 14, 2007

Kos Joins Newsweek

From the man himself, a copy of the press release that announces:

New York -- Markos Moulitsas, the founder and publisher of, will become a Newsweek contributor for the 2008 presidential campaign, offering occasional opinion pieces to the pages of the magazine and to

"We have always sought to represent a diversity of views in Newsweek, and we think Markos will be a great part of that tradition," said Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham. "He will give our readers in print and online a unique perspective. As always, our job is to create the most energetic and illuminating magazine possible, and Markos will help us do that as the campaign unfolds."

I'd like to offer Markos my sincere congratulations on landing this gig, which will presumably bring at least a little more attention to the blogosphere as a whole and political bloggers in particular.

I just hope he can stand the reduction in traffic.

Update: In counterpoint, Gateway Pundit points out that the "diversity of views" Kos brings to the show.

As more pointed evidence keeps coming in that the War in Iraq is indeed going favorably, it will be interesting to see if this "screw them" mentality will be more of an asset, or a hindrance.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:02 AM | Comments (20)

November 12, 2007

Name that Party: "Little Rascals" Edition

Read the lede and guess the candidate's political party. Just don't count on finding it in the first six paragraphs:

A state representative in a runoff election infuriated civil rights leaders after she ended a conversation with the mother of the NAACP's local president by saying, "Talk to you later, Buckwheat."

State Rep. Carla Blanchard Dartez, of Morgan City, acknowledged she made the remark during a Thursday night telephone conversation with Hazel Boykin to thank her for driving voters to the polls.

Buckwheat, a black child character in the "Little Rascals" comedies of the 1930s and '40s, is viewed as a racial stereotype demeaning to black people.

Yes, that's only three paragraphs, but when the entire article is just nine paragraphs long, you can only cite so much before violating the spirit of fair use.

On the bright side, the candidate's husband does support minorities, as has been shown by his indictment for hiring illegal aliens.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:53 PM | Comments (12)

Calvan Didn't Fall Far From The Tree

I've got to head out for a blogging-related trip to South Carolina in a few hours, so I'm going to point you to this delightful article by Armando Acuna, public editor of the Sacramento Bee.

I didn't cover the Bobby Caina Calvan fiasco when it occurred, but the displayed response shows quite a bit of arrogance by Acuna and Mark Seibel, the managing editor in charge of foreign coverage for McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

It seems they've learned nothing.

Update: More from Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive:

Your "reporting" on the war in Iraq is about as real as your "support" for the troops.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:04 AM | Comments (2)

November 02, 2007

Shocker: Media Heavily Biased

Of course, this comes from the hard right-leaning people at The Limbaugh Letter Harvard University, so they are doubtlessly wrong:

Just like so many reports before it, a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy — found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.

Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which "produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic candidates than on Republicans."

The most flagrant bias, however, was found in newspapers. In reviewing front-page coverage in 11 newspapers, the study found the tone positive in nearly six times as many stories about Democrats as it was negative.

Breaking it down by candidates, the survey found that Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the favorites. "Obama's front page coverage was 70% positive and 9% negative, and Clinton's was similarly 61% positive and 13% negative."

In stories about Republicans, on the other hand, the tone was positive in only a quarter of the stories; in four in 10 it was negative.

The study also discovered that newspaper stories "tended to be focused more on political matters and less on issues and ideas than the media overall. In all, 71% of newspaper stories concentrated on the 'game,' compared with 63% overall."

In related news, newspaper circulation is circling the drain. Do you think that these two stories just might be related in some way?

It has long been understood that newsrooms have been left-leaning for decades, and have been tilting further leftward, if slowly, over time. News consumers, however, have been more moderate throughout most of the country, and have been anchored against this leftward drift by the emergence of talk radio, the Internet, and cable television networks. As a result, the gap between the ever-more-liberal media and the average news consumer is widening not because of the public moving away from the media, but because of the media moving to the left of even many Democrats. This phenomenon is especially pronounced in print newsrooms on the coasts.

And so we see situations where the media exhibits a strong bias or even tells lies, and then swears the lie is the truth even when exposed.

And yet they act perplexed when their readers quit them in disgust.

Perhaps if responsible media organizations would actually stand up against those dishonest and unethical journalists, columnists and editors among them, instead of reveling in an incestuous "I'm okay, you're okay, can't we all get along" relationship, then we might be able to drum up some sympathy for them.

But they've done precious little to deserve our respect.

I've been told point-blank by journalists for national news organizations that their editors will not let them report on false stories or strongly-biased stories pushed by other organizations because of a warped sense of professional courtesy, and the very real fear that if that door was opened, that someone might then turn around and investigate short-comings at their magazine or newspaper.

Self-inflicted wounds, indeed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:55 PM | Comments (82)

JPost Attributes Nuke Attack On Syria To Al Jazeera, Proving the Incompetence of Both Media Outlets

I suppose I should find it somewhat comforting to note that the international press is just as lazy as the American media, but when the subject is as deadly-serious as alleging a nuclear weapons attack, "comforting" is not the word that comes to mind.

The September 6 raid over Syria was carried out by the US Air Force, the Al-Jazeera Web site reported Friday. The Web site quoted Israeli and Arab sources as saying that two strategic US jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a nuclear site under construction.

The sources were quoted as saying that Israeli F-15 and F-16 jets provided cover for the US planes.

The sources added that each US plane carried one tactical nuclear weapon and that the site was hit by one bomb and was totally destroyed.

At the beginning of October, Israel's military censor began to allow the local media to report on the raid without attributing their report to foreign sources. Nevertheless, details of the strike have remained clouded in mystery.

As AllahPundit notes, it doesn't seem that this story is on the al Jazeera web site, so if it was published, it certainly didn't make it into the English-language version. JPost was sloppy in not proving more specific detail about the al Jazeera report, and for a claim of this magnitude, should have collected a screen capture or provided a link to the article.

If the JPost attribution is accurate, then al Jazeera article should be rebuked as lazy pandering to it's reader base of the lowest order, blatant propaganda, and incompetent reporting.

A few simple minutes of web searching would have revealed that tactical nuclear weapons suitable for this kind of attack, such as variants of the B61 or the ground-penetrating variant known as the B61-11, would have created a massive and distinctive signature, as noted by

A 1-kiloton nuclear weapon detonated 20 to 50 feet underground would dig a crater the size of Ground Zero in New York and eject 1 million cubic feet of radioactive debris into the air. Detonating a similar weapon on the surface of a city would kill a quarter of a million people and injure hundreds of thousands more.

Nuclear weapons cannot be engineered to penetrate deeply enough to prevent fallout. Based on technical analysis at the Nevada Test Site, a weapon with a 10-kiloton yield must be buried deeper than 850 feet to prevent spewing of radioactive debris. Yet a weapon dropped from a plane at 40,000 feet will penetrate less than 100 feet of loose dirt and less than 30 feet of rock. Ultimately, the depth of penetration is limited by the strength of the missile casing. The deepest current earth penetrators, the B61 Mod 11, can burrow is 20 feet of dry earth. Casing made of even the strongest material cannot withstand the physical forces of burrowing through 100 feet of granite, much less 850 feet.

Even a minimal level of Internet research would have revealed that it is impossible for a nuclear warhead to have been used without immediate and noticeable effects including a massive crater, something approaching a million cubic feet of radioactive material being ejected into the air, and of course, a massive seismic shockwave that would have been recorded by other nations around the region.

Photographic evidence shows no such crater. There has been no radioactive fallout recorded in the region, nor was distinctive nuclear seismic shockwave reported by friend or foe.

Reporters for both al Jazeera and the JPost should have known that this story was hihgly suspect from the beginning and could have easily debunked it with minimal reasearch, but they obviously didn't want to let facts get in the way of a good story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:47 AM | Comments (36)

November 01, 2007

By the Light of the Silvery... Moon?

Not to be hyper-critical, but is this supposed to be a photo, or a photo-illustration?


I only ask because the object in the sky in this photo is as seems as bright as the sun, and yet, the soldier is clearly looking through a nightvision monocular mounted to his helmet. I suspect that NVG would do him very little good if the sun (or moon) was a bright as the picture suggests.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:50 PM | Comments (12)

October 30, 2007

An Eye For Detail

I had every intention of letting "Cheney Flag-gate" go uncommented upon as a non-story. Vice President Cheney went pheasant hunting at an exclusive preserve in Dutchess County, New York yesterday, and the hunt itself left only pheasants hitting the ground. It was a local interest story for the most part, until a sharp-eyed photographer and a self-promoting blowhard turned this local interest story into a national non-story when it was discovered that the inside of the back door of a garage at the hunt club was draped in a Confederate battle flag.

There is precisely no evidence that Cheney or anyone on his staff saw the flag, but that didn't keep the Daily News from running straight to Al Sharpton. The story ended in lots of hot air being spit by a man in love with the sound of his own voice, and many people fruitlessly wishing they had a way to somehow blame the Vice President.

I only mention this story at all because of the eye for detail it reveals in our media. Consider this a "teachable moment" for media fact-checkers.

Here is the flag photo, as captured by a Daily News photographer.


Note the detail the Daily News posted about the flag itself:

A Daily News photographer captured the 3-by-5 foot Dixie flag affixed to a door in the garage of the Clove Valley Gun and Rod Club in upstate Union Vale, N.Y.

Not to be outdone, Austin Fenner of the Post claimed:

But the veep only shot him self in the foot - by visiting the exclusive Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club in Union Vale, a sprawling preserve nestled along the western side of Clove Mountain, where a 5-foot-by-5-foot Confederate flag hung in a garage attached to the club headquarters.

Led by the tabloids, the Times "Cityroom" blog blindly follows, and ups the ante with a rather blatant embellishment:

Reporters who covered Mr. Cheney’s visit on Monday — including Fernanda Santos of The Times — were not permitted to enter the grounds of the hunting estate. But at least one eagle-eyed photographer captured images of a Confederate battle flag — about 3 feet by 5 feet in dimension — hanging in plain view in a garage attached to the club’s headquarters.

If it was in "plain view" as alleged, why didn't the Times' Fernanda Santos—or any other reporter or photographer than the one from the Daily News —notice it? Clearly, Sewell Chan had a much better view of the action from Manhattan.

But let's talk about the view for a moment, and about media accuracy. It is admittedly a small matter, but indicative of a greater pervading sloppiness.

Look at the picture again, and the descriptions. The Daily News and the Times puts the flag at "about" 3-by-5 foot in dimension, and the Post, inexplicably, determines the flag is 5-by-5 foot, proving that they failed rectangles and squares.

But before you laugh too much at the Post, make sure you include the Daily News and the Times, for they are far off the mark as well, as a little common sense would tell you.

Look back at that flag again.

Actually, look at the door.

When is the last time you saw an entry door that is 5-feet wide? This door is at most 36 inches wide, and many older buildings have rear garage doors commonly just 2'8" in width.

The flag, it would seem, is roughly half the size of that which the media claimed. This isn't malice, of course, just carelessness over the details.

The same sort of carelessness, however, gives us stories of brutal massacres that didn't happen. It gives us bullets that were never fired or never made. All of these stories are equally untrue because of reporters wanting to rush stories to print without getting the details right.

Speed to press will never save the print media. Bloggers will always be faster. The media must be more accurate, more diligent, and more credible. To date, they show little sign of learning this lesson.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:13 PM | Comments (35)

October 24, 2007

How It Ends

"We've won the war."

Milblogger "Greyhawk," currently deployed in Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 16, 2007, and again in more detail on Oct. 19, 2007.

"The news out of Iraq just keeps getting worse."

New York Times Editorial Board, Manhattan, NY, Oct. 23, 2007

Writing at his blog, Jules Crittenden, a Boston Herald editor and columnist notes the continuing failure of another media organization, the Associated Press, to also honestly deal with evolving conditions on the group in Iraq that have seen both Iraqi civilian deaths and U.S. military deaths drop in recent months.

In his new home at the Weekly Standard, Dean Barnett notes the plunging casualties:

The results of the surge, or "the escalation" as Harry Reid derisively called it, have been obvious in the numbers. Before the surge, a bad month would claim the lives of roughly 3,000 Iraqi civilians and security force members. In February '07, the exact number was 3,014 Iraqi casualties. In March, the figure was 2,977. As the surge began to have its effects, that number dropped to 1674 in August. In September, with the surge taking full effect, the numbers showed a profound change--the Iraqi death toll plunged to 848.

Happily, September's figures don't appear to be an aberration. October has seen 502 Iraqi casualties so far. If the trend continues though the end of October, the final number should be around 650 for the entire month. That represents better than an 80 percent improvement from the war's nadir.

YOU'D THINK THIS would be a big story. After all, the mainstream media makes such a show of "supporting the troops" at every turn, you'd think it would rush to report the amazing story of our soldiers accomplishing what many observers declared "impossible" and "unwinnable" not so long ago.

But the mainstream media can't actually support the troops, can they?

Despite the onionskin-thin layers of nuance favored by those on the extreme edge of the progressive movement, the leadership (but not the rank and file) of the Democrat Party, and the editorial offices of many newsrooms, in real-life, supporting the troops really does mean supporting the mission.

The platitude of those that claim "we support the troops, but not the war," is an empty one; analogous to claiming that they support doctors, but not practicing medicine on certain patients even if they have the same disease.

"Iraqis? No. Why don't you go treat those people in Darfur instead..."

And so we get stories like the latest from AP’s Steven R. Hurst noted by Crittenden, where every possible silver lining is discarded in worship of the cloud.

We get editors that would rather torpedo their careers than admit they were wrong.

We get columnists that refuse to concede to hope.

And of course, we get faked massacres, fauxtography, gross inaccuracies, false premises, buried stories and preferrential treatment for fellow defeatists, all because those multiple layers of reporters, fact-checkers, and editors are determined to craft a message that they can be comfortable with publishing, that echoes their values and their beliefs of how the world should work.

In that world, a bumbling, semi-articulate President with approval ratings in the 30s, that has made on mistake after another related to the war, simply cannot be in charge when we win a war that they do not support, because of him.

As they have told us repeatedly: This. Is. Bush's. War.

They might be able to do a better job moderating their disdain for the military if it was simply run by the right POTUS; just preferably not a simpering idiot from Texas, or at least not a Republican one.

But as much as he is detested in newsrooms and dining rooms across America, George W. Bush is the President of the United States, and because of this unpalatable fact, it is simply unfathomable to the media and theri supporters on the fringe left that General Petraeus and the soldiers under him could shift strategies to take advantage of and exploit shifting public opinions in Iraq to execute a counterinsurgency doctrine that has Sunni and Shia joining forces with the U.S. and Iraqi security forces to stamp out criminal gangs, insurgents, rogue militias, and terrorists at what seems like an exponential rate.

We find ourselves in late October of 2007 with a war that, while not "over" in terms of ending all violence and all terror attacks, is "over" in that there is little doubt who the winner of the conflict will be.

There will not be a sectarian ""civil war" in Iraq, perhaps best evidenced by the fact that the media—excuse me, actual reporters in Iraq, not plaintive Times editorialists—have quietly let the claim die. Just as quietly, they have stopped wondering if Iraqi security forces will be able to hold together, and instead focus on corruption in the higher ranks.

At the present rate, the only way the media could shift goalposts faster is if the crane moving the goalposts was attached to Jeff Gordon's stock car.

While the opinion of the Iraqi people has drastically changed in past months and they seem to see the outcome being decided in their favor and sooner rather than later, the world media, led by the U.S. media, is refusing to acknowledge the possibility that the outcome of the war (if not the end of the counterinsurgency effort) may be decided before President Bush leaves office, making him the victor.

While the security forces of Iraq and allied nations seem to be turning/defeating the insurgency in Iraq, we are having considerably less success fighting an insurgent media that refuses to yield ground—unless forced every step of the way—by what they consider an unpleasant reality. The dead-enders of the Iraqi insurgency will likely meet their end via a bullet from Iraqi soldiers, policemen, or the growing number of civilians styled as "concerned citizens."

Some of the insurgent media is being "killed off" in rather spectacular blaze of glory, and some dead-ender media companies may one day collapse utterly for being unwilling to change. That admitted, most journalists, if for no other reason than their personal bottom lines, will eventually begrudgingly admit success, or at least change the subject.

Like the terrorists our soldiers fight, the biased media doesn’t have to like being defeated. Sometimes "winning hearts and minds" amounts to just beating them enough to take the fight out of them and focus their efforts elsewhere, which is already occurring on newspaper front pages.

This is the way "Bush's War" will end in the media: not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:35 AM | Comments (27)

October 23, 2007

Re-tell News

I was rather amused by some of the comments made by bloggers and commenters from the community-based reality yesterday in response to Michael Yon's Resistance is Futile. Many seemed eager to dismiss Yon as a partisan with an agenda, or dismissed his work as anecdotal in nature only.

In their minds, it is obvious that wire services, network and cable television news channels and major newspapers are providing "better" and "more accurate" news out of Iraq than embedded journalist-bloggers such as Yon, Totten, Roggio, Aradolino, Emanuel, and Johannes.

Those that would continually downplay the accounts from these citizen-journalists make the argument that these men are only reporting anecdotes of what they see with their own eyes, and therefore cannot be trusted to present "the big picture."


With all of the citizen-journalists listed above, you are typically getting first-hand reports from people at the scene of the news. With a few notable exceptions, you will not get that from most western news agencies operating in Iraq.

When you see a story by a Western reporter bylined in Baghdad, in the overwhelming supermajority of instances you are not getting a firsthand account of what he or she saw. Wire services and news agencies send out local Iraqi reporters called "stringers" that have unknown allegiances, alliances, competencies, and track records, to do the field work of reporting. They take (and occasionally stage) pictures, talk to witnesses (or make them up), and compose a rough account of the events (or completely fabricate them) for the agency they work for. These stringers then turn over the rough-draft information to "reporters" who write news accounts on events they have not witnessed, relying on information they often cannot verify.

This is the normal state of affairs of media reporting in Iraq. Those who have their names on many stories aren't reporters, they're essentially transcriptionists who have very little idea at all if the stories they report are true, or just "truthy."

So you tell me who is providing the better news: is it the guy relating what he can see, or the guy relaying a story he can't verify?

Now consider the fact that the "big picture" so many rely on is built out of hundreds of accounts where some or all of the information being presented as the truth is uncorroborated or unverified by the writer with his name on the byline, and you start to understand how there can be such a huge discrepancy between what citizen-journalists and soldiers blogging from Iraq see, and what the "professionals" relay in our media outlets.

The dirty truth of modern mass-market journalism is that it is retail news, and re-told news, and often anything but reporting.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:59 AM | Comments (14)

October 19, 2007

ABC News Credits Dems for Limbaugh Fundraiser; Reporter Botches Mission of MC-LEF Due to Laziness

Don Surber does an excellent job of reminding us why Americans have so little faith in the media:

Why do people absolutely detest the media? Is it the laziness? Is it the incompetence? Is it the bias?

This report from the ABC News blog shows all 3 elements. The headline: ”Bidding Over $2M for Dems Anti-Rush Letter”

It is not until Paragraph 7 that ABC bothers to mention that Rush put the letter on eBay.

As Matt Drudge correctly pointed ABC was crediting the perpetrators instead of the victim, Rush. That letter was not written to raise money — it was written to get a man fired for broadcasting opinions that 41 Democratic Senators wanted censured. He dares to support a war that a Democratic Senate authorized in 2002.


Now ABC credits these anti-constitutional senators with the $4.2 million Rush raised — half of it from his own pocket.

Not one of those 41 senators — all of whom enjoy salaries that place them in the top 3% of the country — has matched that gift with 21 cents, let alone the $2.1 million Rush will give.

ABC News knows what it can do with its blog entry.

Perhaps not surprisingly, crediting Democrats for something they didn't do isn't the only display of bias and incompetence in this ABC blog entry.

The content of the seventh paragraph shows that ABC didn't even both to do the basic research necessary about the charity benefiting from Limbaugh's fundraiser:

All proceeds from the auction of the letter will go to the Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation, which distributes aid to the families to the children of fallen Marines on behalf of law enforcement officers.

First--and this is just a pet peeve of mine-- all of Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation should be in the link. That's just sloppy, amateur work.

Second, the content of the ABC News claim is inaccurate. ABC claims that MC-LEF "distributes aid to the families to the children of fallen Marines on behalf of law enforcement officers."

It would have taken reading all of seven sentences to get the basic mission of the foundation right:

The recent war in Iraq has certainly illuminated America�s commitment to freedom. We are reminded that freedom is not free. The price is great. No one knows that better than the left-behind sons and daughters of America�s fallen heroes.

Through the continuous support of our donors, we have distributed aid with a value of more than $29,000,000.00 to eligible children. This assistance was primarily rendered to children of Marines or Federal law enforcement personnel who were killed on duty or died under extraordinary circumstances while serving our country at home or abroad.

It would have taken ABC News perhaps 10-15 seconds to read that far.

Apparently ABC News felt that it wasn't worth spending those extra 10-15 seconds to get even one fact of their story correct.

Update: ABC is also censoring comments on the blog (mine, among others) for content that is anything other than profane, simply rewriting or deleting comments they do not like on apparent whims.

The former gatekeepers do not like to be told that they are wrong.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:01 PM | Comments (21)

October 18, 2007

When Journalists Attack

Quite a lot of people are ripping the behavior of Dallas, TX KDFW-TV reporter Rebecca Aquilar right now and deservedly so. The journalist ambushed 70-year-old Army veteran James Walton as he got into his car, and bullied him into tears. She has since been suspended.


Walton is owner of Able Walton Machine & Welding in West Dallas, a salvage business where he lives in an upstairs apartment, that has been robbed no less than 42 times.

On September 22, at about 2:00 AM, Walton shot a man who was breaking in through a pried-open window. The man later died. Three weeks later on October 14 at 9:00 AM, Walton shot and killed another thief who had broken in.

After each shooting, Dallas police, as a matter of policy, processed each firearm used as evidence for the grand jury, meaning that a victimized Walton had to purchase yet another firearm with which to defend his life and besieged property.

It was as he was leaving the store after purchasing this replacement shotgun (a Remington according to the box markings) that Aquilar staged her ambush:

I'd ask you to note her choice of language, her obvious bias, accusatory tone and abrasiveness, and the careful positioning of her body between the car body and door, an old television reporter's trick that traps the victim as a hostage, so that he could neither exit the vehicle, nor close the door to leave in the vehicle.

Glenn Reynolds notes:

I was struck by reporter Rebecca Aguilar's body-language, literally standing over him in judgment with tailored suit and umbrella. The way she looked down, literally and figuratively, on an old man who had defended his life, entirely legally, and reduced him to tears seems to me to be representative of the worst stereotypes of Old Media.

Stereotypes become stereotypes because of behavior recreated and witnessed enough times that the behavior witnessed is thought to be a group norm.

I've witnessed it firsthand in the aftermath of an armed standoff with hostages. Minutes after the suspect surrendered himself, a television reporter with cameraman in tow came inside the building and started peppering the just-released hostages with questions, jabbing at them and I with a microphone. As news consumers, we've seen other instances of this ambush style of journalism, as other journalists have perfected it in both local and national media.

And there are instances where an ambush style of journalism is indeed warranted, such as confronting con artists or corrupt CEOs. But where journalists have failed the moral test is when they lost basic human empathy, and begin treating citizens as suspects, and victims as criminals, as Aguilar does here, without apparent remorse. This was horrific, but only grossly atypical in that the lopsided assault was broadcast in its entirety, and not edited.

It seems that what has happened to journalism is that far too many journalists have placed the importance of the story they would like to tell as the foremost thought in their minds, and made both facts and people subservient to that agenda. They've traded their empathy for an angle, and honest journalism for advocacy.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:12 AM | Comments (21)

October 17, 2007

Media Laments Lost Opportunities in Iraq

Estes Thompson and Mike Baker of the Associated Press note that America's all volunteer military isn't taking advantage of opportunities the way their predecessors did:

American troops killed their own commanders so often during the Vietnam War that the crime earned its own name - "fragging."

But since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has charged only one soldier with killing his commanding officer, a dramatic turnabout that most experts attribute to the all-volunteer military.


Both Roland and Anderson said today's all-volunteer military, compared with soldiers being forced into duty in Vietnam, is the primary reason why fragging attacks are almost nonexistent in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conditions in Iraq are also much less conducive to the crime, Roland said.

"There's not as much isolated operation," Roland said. "One of the things about Vietnam was the extremes of small-unit activity, where a squad or platoon would go out on patrol and it was just them and the jungle. They were out of sight of other Americans.

"In Iraq, you never know when a helicopter might be going over or a newsman comes along," he said.

You can almost feel their pain.

Update: Wretchard looks into what the "experts" cited in this story got wrong.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:26 PM | Comments (19)

October 13, 2007

Another Questionable Fake War Story

Via a reader in the comments of the my most recent TNR post, a story about a solider wounded and a squad virtually wiped out in an apparent youth suicide bombing in Iraq in the Cleveland Daily Banner in Cleveland, TN:

Christopher H. Bagwell, grandson of Nancy and Richard Hughes of Cleveland, was severely wounded Tuesday, Sept. 18, in Iraq.

Bagwell and his squad leader were the only two survivors of a 12-member squad decimated when an Iraqi youth detonated explosives wrapped around his body.

A graduate of York Institute and Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Bagwell spoke with his grandmother last week.

She said the young soldier told her he had just passed the youthful bomber with his squad leader, with his squad following behind handing out candy to children. The Iraqi village was believed to be a friendly zone for the U.S. military.

The youngster, believed to be 10 to 12 years old, detonated the explosives as the soldiers were walking by. Ten members of the squad were killed, along with the youngster.Bagwell was severely injured.

The thing is, I can't find any such record of a young suicide bomber causing so many fatalities among U.S. troops in Iraq, or for that matter, even ten U.S. fatalities on Sept. 18 in total.

Anti-war casualty clearinghouse has no record of such an attack, or even anything similar. According to U.S. Central Command Casualty Reports, there was one attack on Sept. 18, where 3 soldiers were killed and 3 wounded near Tikrit. There was nothing like a suicide bombing attack that killed ten soldiers and wounded two. A search of Google News also fails to uncover a similar account.

Update: The military weighs in:


After reviewing available information, we are unable to confirm the
story's legitimacy. Thank you.


OIC, JOC Public Affairs
Multi-National Corps - Iraq

10/15 Update: Catherine Caruso of the Fort Lewis PAO responds via email:

4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) is a unit stationed here at Fort Lewis, and is currently deployed to Iraq. Madigan Army Medical Center is also located on the installation, but I do not have access to patient names or information and can't release names of wounded Soldiers due to patient privacy laws- MAMC has their own public affairs office which may be of more help if you would like to contact wounded Soldiers who are assigned to the hospital.

There was an incident on Sept. 18th in which three Soldiers from the
brigade's 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, were killed...

...The editor of that paper called here a few minutes ago, and it appears
this may have been the same incident the paper referred to. I could not
answer all of his questions, but it appears he also believes the paper
may have inadvertently published inaccurate information re: the number
of casualties. For my part, I can confirm there was an incident that
date, but don't have details about the incident beyond what was in the
DoD release, nor do I have information about any Soldiers wounded in the

However, 2-23 IN has suffered 10 casualties since their deployment in
April through their most recent loss on Sept. 22 (this includes all
causes- accidents, combat, and medical). It seems likely that this could
be the source of the confusion re: the number of Soldiers involved, if
this is the same incident in which the Soldier referenced in the story
was injured.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:29 AM | Comments (24)

October 09, 2007

Your Lyin' Eyes

From Mike Yon this morning, via email:


Basra is not in chaos. In fact, crime and violence are way down and there has not been a British combat death in over a month. The report below is false.

The NEWSDAY report he casts doubt on paints a far different story:

British pullout in Iraq leaves Basra in chaos
BY TIMOTHY M.; This story was supplemented with wire reports.
October 9, 2007

WASHINGTON - The British troop pullout from Iraq announced yesterday leaves Basra, Iraq's second largest and most strategically important city, in near total chaos both politically and militarily.

It comes at a time when at least four Shia militias are fighting over the city, which is surrounded by most of the nation's tremendous oil reserves and provides Iraq's only gateway to the sea.

Equally vital for U.S. strategists, the city also controls the southern portion of the road from Kuwait to Baghdad, along which mostly all U.S. supplies are brought in...

The article continues, of course, but is it worth reading?

Who are you going to believe... the reporter with th Washington byline, or the embed on the ground in Iraq?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:40 AM | Comments (44)

October 08, 2007

Redefining "One"

The U.K. Telegraph, not exactly the voice of reason or accuracy when it comes hand-wringing hype of the possibility of war between the United States and Iran, has an amusingly self-contradictory post today by Tim Shipman that claims that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is "The man who stands between US and new war."

The thrust of the headline and the urderlying premise drummed up by the article is that Gates, and Gates alone, is the sole voice of sanity keeping the U.S. from a bombing campaign of Iran.

Unfortunately, the second half of the editorial (I hope this isn't supposed to be hard news) seems to exist merely to debunk that underlying premise:

Officials say Mr Gates's strategy bore fruit when Admiral William Fallon, the head of US Central Command, charged with devising war plans for Iran, said last month that the "constant drumbeat of war" was not helpful.

He was followed by General George Casey, the army's new chief of staff, who requested an audience with the House of Representatives armed services committee to warn that his branch of the military had been stretched so thin by the Iraq war that it was not prepared for yet another conflict.

Gen Casey told Congress the army was "out of balance" and added: "The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply. We are consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight, and are unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other potential contingencies."

Mr Gates has forged an alliance with Mike McConnell, the national director of intelligence, and Michael Hayden, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, to ensure that Mr Cheney's office is not the dominant conduit of information and planning on Iran to Mr Bush.

The fact that the Army's Chief of Staff Casey, D-CIA Hayden, head of CENTCOM Admiral Fallon, and National Director of Intelligence McConnell have joined Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of Defense Gates in advocating that we try other means prior to war, apparently didn't register with Shipman, even as he wrote their names.

A great newspaper, the Independent. They never miss a thing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:31 PM | Comments (4)

October 07, 2007

Rape is not the Flu

Sexual assault is no caused by a bacteria or prion. Rape is not a virus, with gang rape being a more virulent strain of a virus.

Rape is an act of power, control and brutality. It is not an epidemic, and attempting to call it such strips away the fact that it is caused by a brutal act of will. It is not an unfriendly act of nature, a microbe following what it is designed to do, and using language that portrays it is such is inexcusable.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:42 AM | Comments (12)

October 06, 2007

When Any Bombing Photo Will Do

I don't know much about the "World News Network," but I can tell them this: if you're going to write a story about people killed in bombings during Ramadan in Iraq, it is probably best that you don't use a picture from a March truck bombing in Tal Afar.

Update: As noted in the comments this photo apparently came from--where else?-- a Reuters feed. At least that gave the military photographer, Chris Brogan, the credit.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:40 PM | Comments (6)

October 01, 2007

al-Dura Denied

The televised death of Muhammad al-Dura on Sept. 30, 2000 at the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada was replayed over and over again as propaganda by Palestinians, in a conflict that eventually claimed thousands of lives.

Seven years later, the footage has been denounced as fauxtography by the Israeli government:

Seven years after the death of the Palestinian boy Muhammad al-Dura in Gaza, the Prime Minister's Office speaks out against the "myth of the murder".

An official document from Jerusalem denied – for the first time – that Israel was responsible for the death of al-Dura at the start of the second intifada.

The document argued that the images, which showed al-Dura being shot beside his father and have become a symbol of the second intifada, were staged.

"The creation of the myth of Muhammad al-Dura has caused great damage to the State of Israel. This is an explicit blood libel against the state. And just as blood libels in the old days have led to pogroms, this one has also caused damage and dozens of dead," said Government Press Office director Daniel Seaman.

The arguments were based on investigations that showed that the angles of the IDF troops' fire could not have hit the child or his father, that part of the filmed material, mainly the moment of the boy's alleged death, is missing, and the fact that the cameraman can be heard saying the boy is dead while the boy is still seen moving.

In The Atlantic in 2005, James Fallows explained why the story matters:

Al-Dura was the twelve-year-old Palestinian boy shot and killed during an exchange of fire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian demonstrators on September 30, 2000. The final few seconds of his life, when he crouched in terror behind his father, Jamal, and then slumped to the ground after bullets ripped through his torso, were captured by a television camera and broadcast around the world. Through repetition they have become as familiar and significant to Arab and Islamic viewers as photographs of bombed-out Hiroshima are to the people of Japan—or as footage of the crumbling World Trade Center is to Americans. Several Arab countries have issued postage stamps carrying a picture of the terrified boy. One of Baghdad's main streets was renamed The Martyr Mohammed Aldura Street. Morocco has an al-Dura Park. In one of the messages Osama bin Laden released after the September 11 attacks and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, he began a list of indictments against "American arrogance and Israeli violence" by saying, "In the epitome of his arrogance and the peak of his media campaign in which he boasts of 'enduring freedom,' Bush must not forget the image of Mohammed al-Dura and his fellow Muslims in Palestine and Iraq. If he has forgotten, then we will not forget, God willing."

It is quite possible that this defining moment in the Palestinian intifada cited even by Osama bin Laden was not the death of an innocent at the hands of callous Israeli soldiers, but the deliberate murder of a child for propaganda purposes in which the Palestinian cameraman may have been a willing actor.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:49 PM | Comments (8)

Limbaugh Blasted for "Phony Soldiers" Crack by Fake War Hero Harkin

I've pretty much avoided this entire non-story, but the entire situation has become such a farce that I feel compelled to link this.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:22 PM | Comments (6)

Carnival of the Bizarre

Both U.S. military and Iraqi civilian casualties have plummeted in Iraq. Thousands have apparently been killed and their bodies dumped in the jungle in clashes with government forces in Mayanmar/Burma. A college football player is gunned down and classes are cancelled for thousands as the search for the suspect continues.

A volcano erupts in the Red Sea, killing soldiers on a remote island outpost. There is yet another story about U.S. plans for attacking Iran.

And yet with all these developments affecting or potentially affecting lives around the globe, CNN and Fox News focus on the death of an irate passenger who apparently managed to strangle herself with her handcuffs after being arrested for disorderly conduct after missing her flight.

Don't get me wrong. It is a tragedy that this 45-year-old mother of three died. But this shouldn’t be a top story in national news.

For those not related to her, her death is merely an exploited curiosity, a carny act inexplicably promoted to the the center ring. It matters little that she is the daughter of relatively obscure political figures, or that the cause of her death is being ascribed to the oddest of circumstances. This is sideshow material promoted to the front page for it's ability to shock and entertain.

I thought that the Weekly World News collapsed because they couldn't find readership for their kind of "news." Apparently, they were simply driven out of business by larger organizations more adept at exploiting a more brutal kind of infotainment.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:31 AM | Comments (15)

September 28, 2007

Getting It Wrong

Let's give credit Where credit is due: Gavin M. at lefty satire blog Sadly, No! has been on a bit of a tear in the past week, having found two instances where right-leaning sites have used fictional images to back calls for protests.

The first caught the Gathering of Eagles using a photo illustration--a photoshopped image, in this instance--that showed Code Pink supporters carrying a banner that proclaimed, "We support the murder of American troops."

The problem is, Code Pink didn't make this particular banner... these guys did, or at least they created the image.

To be fair, the Gathering of Eagles were not the first nor the last to be taken in by this "fake, but accurate" image that does capture what many conservative feel are the real sentiments of some radical left wing groups, and the sign isn't that far off the mark from very real signs that have been carried by "progressive" protesters in the past.

Yesterday, Sadly, No! once again caught a fake photo being used to support a protest, this time, capturing FrontPageMag using an image from an obscure 30-minute Dutch indie film in promoting Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.

This is a little more difficult to blame on the magazine (dubious as their credibility often is), as reputable news organizations and human rights groups have used the exact same image in the past, building up credibility for it as a legitimate photo, when in actuality it was not.

All the snark at Sadly No! aside, in an age where image sources can sometimes be questionable and even relying on other media outlets can leave a blogger, magazine, newspaper, etc posting an image that is either staged, altered, misappropriated or mis-captioned, what is the best way to address the issue of correcting such misinformation?

How it Should Be Done (One Blogger's Opinion)
It seems that in many instances where a publisher gets taken in by bogus or mis-captioned images such as these, that the immediate reaction is defensiveness, which is human nature. We, as humans, hate to be wrong, and it makes things worse when the credibility of the image/caption in question is typically brought about by a less-than-polite critic.

That said, it is wrong to ignore the issue and act as if the image is unquestionably accurate when it's credibility has been credibly challenged, and also wrong to simply remove it and act as if it was never there.

On July, 13, 2007, RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty ran the exact same image stoning image from the Dutch film, with the caption, "An Iranian woman is buried up to her chest before being stoned to death, though to have taken place some 20 years ago (file photo) (public domain)"


Ideally, in an instance such as this, the inaccurate caption could be corrected by something like this:

A dramatic depiction of a stoning from the 1994 Dutch film, De Steen. The photo was previously incorrectly identified as a photo from an actual stoning in Iran roughly 20 years ago.

Corrections don't have to be that hard.

In this particular instance, however, the problem is compounded for this news organization, because the same photo had been used by RFE/RL in other stories as well.

In situations where a photo has become stock, and used multiple times, it is probably worth correcting both the captions, and creating a separate article explaining how the error occurred, and what steps will be taken to make sure such things do not occur in the future.

I have some sympathy for the various news outlets who were using this photo as the actual depiction of a real event. The actual source of the photo (filmmaker Mahnaz Tamizi) is probably unaware of the picture's by news outlets, and once a photo is used by one or more credible news outlets or organizations, it can readily become part of the "conventional wisdom."

That said, there are right ways and wrong ways to address corrections, and tossing the photo and caption "down the memory hole" and acting as if they never existed as FrontPageMag has done, is an entirely unacceptable rewriting of history.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:54 AM | Comments (22)

September 27, 2007

Uncle Jay Explains the Blogosphere

Via one of those neocon warmongers at Hot Air. Get more Uncle Jay Explains, here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:56 PM | Comments (2)

Rocky Mountain High Fabulist?

Remember that addled Colorado State University student editor who responded to a Florida student getting tasered by police at a John Kerry event with a four-word editorial ending in "F--k Bush"?

Somehow his story is starting to sound strangely familiar:

Early on, McSwane did a piece about cocaine dealing in Fort Collins, based on anonymous sources, Lowrey said. Lowrey said he decided to kill the article when McSwane declined to reveal the sources to him.

Also troubling to other students was McSwane's story of growing up in a foster home.

"So he has this heartbreaking story," Lowrey said. But students learned that the foster mother in the home was Hansen, McSwane's natural mother.

"I raised him, and yes, I'm a foster mother," Hansen said. "He was never, ever a foster child."

McSwane's editor, Brandon Lowrey, attempted to fact-check McSwane's cocaine story, and refused to run it when McSwane didn't provide evidence to support the claims.

Hello? I must be going...
What a shocking concept.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:38 PM | Comments (12)

September 25, 2007

"Iraqi Civil War Averted?" Page A15 It Is

I suppose that Karen DeYoung's story could have been buried deeper in the Washington Post, but it would take some effort:

Civil war has been averted in Iraq and Iranian intervention there has "ceased to exist," Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said yesterday.

"I can't say there is a picture of roses and flowers in Iraq," Maliki told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "However, I can say that the greatest victory, of which I am proud . . . is stopping the explosion of a sectarian war." That possibility, he said, "is now far away."

While political reconciliation is not yet complete, he said, progress is being made. "Reconciliation is not a decision that can be made, but a process that takes continuous efforts and also needs strategic patience," Maliki said.

He said cabinet ministers who have left his government in protest will be replaced, and he expressed confidence that the Iraqi parliament will pass legislation that he, the Bush administration and Congress have demanded.

Maliki, who will speak to the U.N. General Assembly tomorrow, deftly dodged questions about last week's incident in which employees of Blackwater, a private U.S. security firm, allegedly killed 11 Iraqi civilians. While "initial signs" are that "there was some wrongdoing from Blackwater," he said, he will await the results of a U.S.-Iraqi investigation. He dismissed a statement by the interior minister in Baghdad that Blackwater will be banned from Iraq, saying the positions of the ministry and his office are "the same."

Iraqi security forces, Maliki said, are increasingly capable of operating without U.S. support. But he agreed with the Bush administration that an early U.S. withdrawal would be unwise.

Iraq's political leadership, he said through an interpreter, "wants the process of withdrawing troops to happen [simultaneously with] the process of rebuilding Iraqi Security Forces so that they can take responsibility." No one, he said, "wants to risk losing all the achievements" they have made.

Whether or not you agree with al-Maliki's assessment (and there is plenty of room to doubt his pronouncements from both the right and the left), you would think that the Iraqi Prime Minister's statements that the threat of a full-on sectarian war " had ceased to exist" along with Iran's involvement in meddling in Iraq, would be page A1 material.

After all, American politics, foreign and domestic, are being driven by the actions and reactions of Democratic and Republican politicians to news in Iraq.

You might think that a strong claim of positive news--and there is no way to say this is anything other than that sort of claim--would be wildly trumpeted by the Post, if for no other reason than to generate ad revenue and hits that would come from such a controversial claim.

The current home page instead features what leading stories?


Sanctions against a country the newspaper had to rename because most readers would not know what it was otherwise, the announcement that the Supreme Court would examine a death penalty case, and that the UAW hopes for a quick resolution to the strike they called for.

Claiming that the sectarian war in Iraq has "ceased to exist?"

Page A15.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:20 PM | Comments (33)

September 24, 2007

Illegitimate Sniping

Imagine, for a moment, that you are an Iraqi returning from a fellow tribesman's home in the afternoon heat. To gain some shade, you step off the main road and decide to take a shortcut down a path through a grove of trees. Before you, on the path, is a spool of wire often used by insurgents in building IEDs. Seeing no one around, you pick it up with the intention of giving it you your brother, a soldier in the Iraqi Army...

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a member of the Islamic State of Iraq. You wear no uniform, no insignia that identifies you as anything other than a civilian. Late to a meeting with cell members at a nearby safehouse, you step off the main road to take a shortcut down a path through a grove of trees. Before you, on the path, is a spool of wire often used by your fellow insurgents in building IEDs. Seeing no one around, and wondering if one of your fellow cell members may have use for it, you warily pick it up with the intention of giving it to you cell's bomb builder...

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a U.S. Army sniper in a concealed position a hundred meters away, watching these scenarios play out. Can you cipher their intentions and determine which man is the insurgent, and which is the civilian, based merely upon the decision to pick up the spool of wire?

If a Washington Post story this morning is correct, that is precisely the determination that an elite sniper platoon was asked to make as part of a classified baiting program hoping to identify and eliminate insurgents in one area of Iraq.

"Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy," Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of an elite sniper scout platoon attached to the 1st Battalion of the 501st Infantry Regiment, said in a sworn statement. "Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. Forces."

In documents obtained by The Washington Post from family members of the accused soldiers, Didier said members of the U.S. military's Asymmetric Warfare Group visited his unit in January and later passed along ammunition boxes filled with the "drop items" to be used "to disrupt the AIF [Anti-Iraq Forces] attempts at harming Coalition Forces and give us the upper hand in a fight."

Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said such a baiting program should be examined "quite meticulously" because it raises troubling possibilities, such as what happens when civilians pick up the items.

"In a country that is awash in armaments and magazines and implements of war, if every time somebody picked up something that was potentially useful as a weapon, you might as well ask every Iraqi to walk around with a target on his back," Fidell said.

In a country where every household is expected to have small arms for protection, using bait such as small arms, magazines, or ammunition for these small arms would be entirely and unquestioningly unacceptable. It would be far too tempting for civilians to pick up such found implements that they could legally own, use, or sell.

On the other hand, if the unit was using bait items that could only be use by insurgents and terrorists--say, artillery rounds or plastic explosives--then the baiting becomes more targeted and less likely to ensnare innocent civilians. But when the penalty for picking up such objects and attempting to carry them away is a marksman’s bullet, is it acceptable to take that gamble?

The story reported by Josh White and Joshua Partlow, unfortunately, immediately begins to purposefully conflate unlike things almost immediately after raising very legitimate questions about the baiting program.

Citing two soldiers who only revealed the program in revenge for pending disciplinary actions is problematic, as is conflating murder charges pending against soldiers for planting evidence after a shooting took place with the program of leaving bait to hopefully identify insurgents worth shooting.

It is one thing to shoot someone because they are holding a hand grenade as the approach your position, but quite another to shoot someone coming down the same path and then plant the grenade on their body after the fact. White and Partlow spend the majority of their article blurring the distinctions between the two, while admitting begrudgingly in one sentence on the second page of the article:

Though it does not appear that the three alleged shootings were specifically part of the classified program, defense attorneys argue that the program may have opened the door to the soldiers' actions because it blurred the legal lines of killing in a complex war zone.

The reporters present the defense team arguments of murder suspects as their "evidence" of a failed program, but it is nothing of the sort.

The men they speak with are on trial for planting weapons on men they've killed, after the fact, to justify a killing that they felt was questionable under their rules of engagement. The baiting program, while a legitimate topic for vigorous debate and legal review in it’s own right, has nothing to do with planting evidence at all.

The "throwaway" gun is a staple of television shows and films going back decades based upon the dishonorable practice of a very few real-life law enforcement officers who planted guns on the bodies of criminals to justify a "bad" or questionable shooting. That this practice also occurs in war zones is unsurprising, if regrettable.

That White and Partlow would be so gullible as to immediately and uncritically swallow defense team arguments that the program is to blame for the alleged criminal acts of their clients planting evidence to justify a shooting is an unconscionable act of criminal advocacy to advance apparent personal biases against a program only tangentially related, if newsworthy in its own right. Put another way, they don’t like the program, and are willing to use the club provided for them by the defense team, without any critical eye towards the merits of the defense, which are few.

The illegitimate sniping in this case clearly doesn't stop with the soldiers, and we deserve better from our professional journalists than this.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:30 AM | Comments (13)

September 23, 2007

Times Admits Pricing Miscue on "Betray Us" Ad

I'm encouraged that the New York Times has decided to explain what happened regarding the below-market pricing they gave MoveOn.Org for the "General Betray Us" advertisement uncovered here.

It is perhaps ironic that I never got fired up as much about this story as have some others (I only touched on it again here to note my surprise, and here to note the Times first explanation).

Reading Hoyt's explanation, my primary thought is relief that this was an apparent mistake (and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here considering their eventual transparency on this issue), and hope that they'll be forgiving of the Times advertising person that sold the ad below market rate.

I can't quite bring myself to be as forgiving of Steph Jespersen, the executive who approved the ad, or of the self-serving argument of publisher "Pinch" Sulzberger, that "If we’re going to err, it’s better to err on the side of more political dialogue. ... Perhaps we did err in this case. If we did, we erred with the intent of giving greater voice to people."

Somehow, that argument seems quite hollow coming from a man who in a previous war, hoped that American soldiers would get shot because "It's the other guy's country." (h/t Ed Driscoll)

The saying goes that "a fish rots from the head," so if anyone gets taken to task over this at the Times, I hope that the senior leadership at the times looks squarely in the mirror.

The cost would not have been a factor if the executives of the Times had followed their own polices, and declined to run the ad in the first place.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:39 PM | Comments (6)

September 21, 2007

All in the Framing


Nebraska state Senator Ernie Chambers has sued God, (who has since responded?). The file AP photo (and there appears to be only one) has a rather interesting composition, don't it?

I guess I should be glad that he's an icon to somebody, but to me, the imagery blows cold.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:57 AM | Comments (3)

September 14, 2007

Setting the Agenda for a Non-Scandal

Advertising Age dissects how my observation earlier this week helped shape this week's news:

MoveOn told ABC's Jake Tapper that the group paid $65,000 for a Sept. 10 ad accusing General David Petraeus of "cooking the books for the White House" in his status reports on Iraq. The Times rate card implies that weekday, full-page, black-and-white cause, appeal or political ads cost $181,692.

A post on the blog Confederate Yankee soon noted the disparity. "While I'm fairly certain that nobody pays 'sticker' prices, 61% off seems a rather sweet deal," his post said. The New York Post picked up the story yesterday, running a piece headlined "Times Gives Lefties a Hefty Discount for 'Betray Us' Ad" and followed up with another article and an editorial today. "Citing the shared liberal bias of the group and the Times," the Post wrote, "one Republican aide on Capitol Hill speculated that it was the 'family discount.'"

Mr. Giuliani, speaking in Atlanta yesterday, demanded that the Times apologize and offer him the same price.

Standby basis
But MoveOn bought its ad on a "standby" basis, under which it can ask for a day and placement in the paper but doesn't get any guarantees. Standby pricing doesn't appear on the Times rate card -- but that kind of ad at a standby rate turns out to run about $65,000.

In other words, all the attention came as a result of the New York Times not putting their standby pricing on their rate cards, and the majority of the angry pixels expended in this incident were more than likely "much ado about nothing."

An interesting take on the eventual non-event from Dan Riehl:

I won't pretend that Print isn't significant when it comes to the news game today, that would be foolish. But I would add an additional point, or two. Being the topic of the news agenda is a far different thing than setting said agenda. And if it weren't for New Media, particularly blogs in this case, this particular agenda item would likely have never even been set. Duh!
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:18 PM | Comments (13)

September 10, 2007

At What Price?

Is there any way for us to know just how much The New York Times charged for their full page "General Betray Us" advertisement today? Did they pay full price, or did they get a special, reduced rate?

I'd like to know if advertising rates of the New York Times are determined by the political message taking up the ad space, and whether or not a discrepancy in such rates, if one exists, is something that they owe it to their readers to disclose.

Update: According to Jake Tapper at ABCNews, the ad cost approximately $65,000, running in the "A" section of the paper.

And while I don't claim to understand the intricacies of New York Times advertising sales, their own rate card (PDF) seems rather specific that Advocacy ads, which the ad most clearly was, are sold at $167,157 for a full-page, full-price nationwide ad.

nytimes ad rate

If Tapper's numbers are correct, paid just 38.89% of a full-cost, nationwide ad, or a 61.11% discount off of a full-rate ad. While I'm fairly certain that nobody pays "sticker" prices, 61% off seems a rather sweet deal.

Note: For those who can, I'd appreciate it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:56 PM | Comments (75)

September 04, 2007

There They Go Again

Over at Hot Air, Bryan has a nice catch this morning about UPI-alleged attack on a power-generating plant in southern Baghdad.

Bryan has a contact that works at the plant, and states it was not attacked when UPI ran the article, that they were not damaged nearly as bad as UPI states, and was only attacked two days later.

Per Bryan's request, I contacted the Army PAO in that sector, and found out that there was indeed an attack that day, on a power substation in that sector:

The attack on the substation definitely happened, as did the attack on the fire truck. I just saw photos of the burned out building and fire engine.

But, it is a small facility, and the article exaggerates the impact of the attack. Did people lose power as a result? Probably- those serviced in that immediate neighborhood. But, power is intermittent throughout Doura, so to insinuate that the loss of this station is the cause of a city-wide loss of electricity isn't exactly accurate either. It sounds like another example of one smaller event happening, but then being made into more than it actually was.

The main Doura power plant is still operating per normal output.

There is a huge difference, of course, between substations, which are small relay stations commonly found distributing power to adjoining residential and commercial districts here in the United States as elsewhere in the world, and power stations, where coal, other fuels, or nuclear power is used to generate energy in a much, much larger facility.

Details, details.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:50 PM | Comments (5)

Choose Your Preferred Narrative, but Quit Attacking the Troops

If you are a supporter of the on-going counter-insurgency plan in Iraq, you can find all sorts of news to support why we should stay in Iraq.

You could start with President Bush's al Asad photo-op yesterday, where the President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Ambassador Crocker, and Commanding General Petraeus met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Presidnet Talabani, and Vice Presidents Medhi and al Hashemi. Critics point out that the meeting was a merely a six-hour stop and photo-op for the President, and as such, was a public relations stunt. That the brief visit was designed as a public relations tool is beyond doubt. The undeniable fact remains that al Anbar, a province deemed all but lost according to classified Marine Corps Intelligence reports leaked to the press just a year ago, has now become so quiet that our leaders and the leaders of Iraq knew that the base was safe enough for a public meeting, without any apparent fear of a rocket or mortar attack by insurgents, or of suicide attacks by terrorists, or of anti-aircraft missiles being fired at the two large jets bringing in the American delegation, or the helicopters that (I presume) brought in the Iraqi senior leadership.

In addition to this public meeting of leaders in an area once deemed lost just a short time ago, U.S. casualties in Iraq have dropped in half at a time they were expected to actually rise, al Qaeda-aligned terrorists and insurgent groups have either turned, or become hounded and hunted in al Anbar, Diyala, and elsewhere. Some supporters are suggesting that what future history may regard as the turning point towards victory is either occurring, or may have already occurred.

For war detractors in our political classes, in the media and on the activist left, the war was lost long ago, and every day merely means another American mother will lose her soldier-child in a lost cause. To them, the war possibility of a turn-around in Iraq is unthinkable, any apparent progress is an illusion, or merely a matter of temporary gains before an inevitable fall.

Both sides are looking to make what they can of the much-anticipated "Petraeus Report" (which, as Sheppard Sheffield points out, is actually something of a myth).

Those on the right will take the local and regional gains made in al Anbar and Diyala and other areas of the country as signs of success, and corners possibility turned. Those on the left will note what is essentially a British surrender to Shia militias in Basra, the decidedly mixed security results in Baghdad itself, the continuing meddling of Iran, and what is largely a failure of the central Iraqi government to make significant progress towards reconciliation as signs of inevitable failure. As in any on-going conflict, both sides have plenty of ammunition to continue supporting their pre-conceived opinions, and they have a right to share those opinions.

What I would prefer not to see, however, is the continuation of a disturbing trend by some in the media and blogosphere towards unfairly mischaracterizing and in some cases blatantly attacking the credibility of our military, in most cases without just cause.

The techniques used to attack the credibility of the military vary widely.

Some come from minor, conspiracy-minded fringe players and are easily brushed aside with a laugh, but others, provided with a more legitimizing platform in a national news outlet, are more troubling.

Salon's Glenn Greenwald is one example, as he blatantly lied back in June as he accused of military public affairs system of deception when he stated:

All of a sudden, every time one of the top military commanders describes our latest operations or quantifies how many we killed, the enemy is referred to, almost exclusively now, as "Al Qaeda."

A simple look at the actual press releases from the PAO system immediately and conclusively debunked Greenwald's claim, but it has not stopped him, nor other critics, from attacking the credibility of the military, even as they studiously avoid almost every sympathetic media misstep.

The New Republic ran a series of brutal fantasies concocted by a U.S. Army private as real without any attempt to fact check them, instigated a cover-up that purposefully concealed the identity of sources that they said supported the story, arguably deceived these same sources, and hid countering testimony collected from other experts, only to blame the military for stone-walling their investigation. In fact, the author of this fiction has the ability to answer media requests, and instead has thus far chosen not to take them.

But minor media and bloggers aren't the only ones attacking our troops.

Hollywood directors are releasing the first of a seriesanti-war films, and the vangard of this effort, Redacted, redacts reality to push an anti-soldier, anti-war political agenda.

The leader of the United States Senate declared that the "surge" was lost before it even began, and declared in April that he would not believe any future news provided by General Petraeus that contradicted that, essentially assaulting General Petraeus' integrity. Later, John Murtha lied while claiming that the White House was using General Petraeus as a political prop, and criticized Petraeus for not meeting with Congress. Not only had General Petraeus met with Congress, he actually took time out of his schedule to brief Murtha and Pelosi privately.

Both sides, right and left, have their own political agendas. Sympathizers in the blogosphere and in media organizations large and small bring their own biases to the table as they discuss war policy. That is understood, expected, and perfectly understandable.

What is not understandable is why critics feel it is necessary to attack the troops as they attack the mission. They claim to be able to support the troops while critcizing the mission, but in practice, that is often not the case.

When General Petreaus comes back to the United States to brief the President and Congress, he will not do so as a partisan. He promises that, “The Ambassador and I are going to give it to them straight and then allow the folks at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue make what clearly is a national decision.“

He will speak for the American military, as the Commanding General of our forces in Iraq. He will not speak as a Republican General, or a Democratic General, but as a General of the Army of the United States of America. He will provide the facts, and let us discuss, decipher, and no doubt, spin what he reports.

Fine. Let us spin the data and the findings to support our political viewpoints.

But please, let's do so without attacking the integrity of those who serve, which is a tactic becoming more common, and repulsive, as time goes by.

Update:: corrected Matthew Sheffield's name in the text above.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:18 AM | Comments (51)

August 29, 2007

The Big Picture(s)

Quite frankly, this is perhaps one of the more comprehensive explanations of the media's failures in covering the Iraq War that I've seen to date. Brilliantly written, and painstakingly documented, is is an indictment of why our media has failed and continues to fail us in their reporting from Iraq.

The Big Picture(s).

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:04 PM | Comments (2)

August 28, 2007

Bad Reporting After Bad

We've been over--and debunked--this story before:

The U.S. military's soaring demand for small-arms ammunition, fueled by two wars abroad, has left domestic police agencies less able to quickly replenish their supplies, leading some to conserve rounds by cutting back on weapons training, police officials said.

To varying degrees, officials in Montgomery, Loudoun and Anne Arundel counties said, they have begun rationing or making other adjustments to accommodate delivery schedules that have changed markedly since the military campaigns began in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As conclusively proved by interviewing three ammunition manufacturers last week, the military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have little or nothing to do with police ammunition shortages in the United States.

To recap from that previous post, when the Associated Press ran essentially the same claims (a canned story deserves a canned response):

ATK's Ammunition Systems Group is the largest ammunition manufacturing body in the world. ATK runs the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant under contract, where it has the capacity to manufacture 1.5 billion rounds of ammunition a year, or put another way, a half billion rounds per year more than is being used by our military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is also a major supplier of law enforcement ammunition under Federal Premium, Speer Gold Dot, Lawman, and CCI Blazer brands. The law enforcement ammunition is made in plants in Idaho and Minnesota that are completely separate for their military operations at Lake City. These production lines do not, as the AP falsely states, use the same equipment used to manufacture military ammunition.

Those who stayed with the entire Associated Press article might note that ATK spokesman Bryce Hallowell did not buy the AP's conclusion that the war in Iraq was having a direct effect on police ammunition supplies.

He stated further:

"We had looked at this and didn't know if it was an anomaly or a long-term trend," Hallowell said. "We started running plants 24/7. Now we think it is long-term, so we're going to build more production capability."

I contacted Brian Grace of ATK Corporate Communications for further information, and he also doubted the Associated Press claim that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were responsible for a police ammunition shortage.

Since 9/11 we've seen a huge jump in demand from law enforcement. In the last fiscal year alone we saw demand from law enforcement jump 40%. By running our civil plants 24/7, hiring hundreds of new employees and streamlining our manufacturing processes we were able to increase our deliveries to law enforcement by 30% in that same period. In addition, we've just announced we'll be investing another $5 million in new production lines at our civil ammunition facilities.

I pressed Mr. Grace to clarify, asking:

Based upon this 40% increase in demand by law enforcement, is it more fair to categorize the difficulty of some departments in obtaining ammunition as a fact of increased police demand outstripping current manufacturing capabilities, and not as the result of the military needing more ammunition and drawing down civilian supply? Is their any shortage of lead, copper, or brass, or it is just a matter of not enough manufacturing equipment?

He responded:

Manufacturing capacity is the main issue. As you might imagine, for a precision manufacturing business that faced many years of steady demand, it can be quite a challenge to suddenly meet double-digit growth in demand. But we're very proud of the successes we've had with increasing our output while maintaining the quality and reliability of our products.

And we're committed to doing everything in our power to accelerate the growth in output, which is what precipitated the recently announced investment in additional equipment.

Let me make that crystal clear.

According to two spokesmen for the world's largest ammunition manufacturer, which runs the military's ammunition manufacturing plant and separately, is a major supplier of law enforcement ammunition, it is a massive and unexpected increase in law enforcement ammunition demand that is causing delays in law enforcement ammunition delays, not the war.

Michael Shovel, National Sales Manager for COR-BON/Glaser, writes into explain that the price increases for ammunition are at least partially because of the demand from China for copper and lead for their building boom:

The reason that PD's and people are having trouble getting ammo and also the price increases is the war effort and also the fact that China is buying up lots of the copper and lead for their building boom. Our LE market has grown this year the same as it has the past 5 years. No big increase but no drop off either. The only issue with our ability to deliver ammunition in a timely manner is getting brass cases and primers. We do only some specialized ammo for the military and it's done in our custom shop instead on the production floor.


Mr. Shovel states that the war effort does play some role in the ammunition shortage, but does not say exactly what it is, and is apparently not speaking for his company when he makes that claim.

He states that their only issue in delivering ammunition has been getting brass cases and primers, and further, that the specialized military ammunition they produce is not part of their normal civilian/law enforcement manufacturing operations.

Michael Haugen, Manager of the Military Products Division for Remington Arms Company Inc., states:

I would say that if they [law enforcement] are not training it is not due to the availability of ammunition.

Remington has one plant that makes all of their ammunition (military, law enforcement, general civilian), and Mr. Haugen stated emphatically that military sales are "definitely not" in any way detracting from the development and manufacture of civilian and law enforcement ammunition, and that Remington has additional manufacturing capacity, depending on the product required.

We now how three major manufacturers stating that their law enforcement ammunition sales are not being impacted by military ammunition sales, which seems to be directly at odds with the claims made first by Associated Press reporters last week, and now by Washington Post staff writer Candace Rondeaux attempting to refloat an already scuttled premise.

And of course, Rondeaux was wrong when she said that the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge used by the military are "223-caliber rounds -- the same round fired by the military's M-16 and M-4 assault rifles."

Of course, had she bothered to contact ammunition companies in this story about ammunition, she might have figured a few of these things out before she went to print.

[h/t PrairiePundit]

Update: I'm not familiar with how the Washington Post cycles their news stories, but this one is no longer accessible from the front page.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:14 AM | Comments (11)

August 27, 2007

Scott Horton, We'd Like to Hear a "Who"

In the early hours of Saturday morning, I published an entry regarding a claim made by Harper's contributor Scott Horton.

In an August 24 entry called "Those Thuggish Neocons," Horton described what he claimed was a direct lie by a reporter:

I have no idea whether Beauchamp’s story was accurate. But at this point I have seen enough of the Neocon corner’s war fables to immediately discount anything that emerges from it. One example: back last spring, when I was living in Baghdad, on Haifa Street, I sat in the evening reading a report by one of the core Neocon pack. He was reporting from Baghdad, and recounted a day he had spent out on a patrol with U.S. troops on Haifa Street. He described a peaceful, pleasant, upscale community. Children were out playing on the street. Men and women were out going about their daily business. Well, in fact I had been forced to spend the day “in the submarine,” as they say, missing appointments I had in town. Why? This bucolic, marvelous Haifa Street that he described had erupted in gun battles the entire day. In the view of my security guards, with which I readily concurred, it was too unsafe. And yes, I could hear the gunfire and watch some of the exchanges from my position. No American patrol had passed by and there were certainly no children playing in the street. This was the point when I realized that many of these accounts were pure fabrications.

As I said two days ago, we need to know that those who are providing us information from the front lines are telling the truth to the best they can determine it. Whether you are for this conflict or against it is a matter of opinion, but to develop, reinforce, or change those opinions, we need facts.

If there are reporters who aren't just biased, but flat-out lying, we need to call them out and discredit them.

I sent the following an email to Mr. Horton at on August 25:

Mr. Horton,

I can't claim that Harper's is one of my normal stops, but I was very intrigued by your post today "Those Thuggish Neocons," particularly the paragraph about the reporter who fabricated the Haifa Street report you read.

If you are familiar with my small blog at all (and I'm sure you probably aren't); I often run down false or inaccurate media claims, typically hitting the wire service reporting the hardest, though I've also captured fraud and inaccuracies in newspapers and magazines as well. And yes, I'd readily admit that I have a conservative perspective, but that does not make me so biased that I approach the world with ideological blinders, as this post burning a false pro-Iranian War argument should show.

I was hoping that you would provide me with the date of the story you related as specifically as you can recall, along with the news organization and individual reporter you said was making up this report.

This is pretty obviously unethical and possibly illegal, and I want this resolved quickly.


To date, Mr. Horton has not responded to my query, though he has apparently been online and posting quite heavily; he has posted no fewer than seven blog entries yesterday and so far today. I hope he considers answering.

Since I submitted my first email and wrote my first post on the subject Saturday, a whole host of commenters has chimed in, suggesting certain writers and certain stories may be part of the story that Mr. Horton was referencing, including one of the reporters himself via email (who, as you may well imagine, stood behind his story).

The thing is, most of the stories suggested by both liberal and conservative commenters alike both came from 2007, and in an interview with Democracy Now!, Horton quite clearly shows that he was on Haifa Street for a period of three weeks, and "just returned" at some time prior to the April 14, 2006 interview.

This would seem to limit the time period of these dueling accounts to March or April of 2006.

I'd again like to ask Mr. Horton to tell us who wrote the report he said he read that was one of the "pure fabrications" he recalls.

If so, knowing the date range, I should be able to track down the article in question, and then cross-reference that again other media and military accounts to determine the accuracy of the disputed claim.

We need honesty in media, and need to burn dissemblers, left or right, to the ground.

Don't you agree, Mr. Horton?

Update: In case Mr. Horton's email is full or non-functioning, I've also sent a request in to Giulia Melucci, Harper's Vice President/Public Relations, and asked for her help in resolving this matter.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:02 AM | Comments (29)

August 25, 2007

Burning Another Beauchamp

If we're to make any sort of sense of the Iraq War at all, we need to know that those who are providing us information on the conflict are being as honest in their reporting as inherent human biases allow. As it has often been said, we can allow people to have their own opinions, bu not their own facts. On that point, I think we can all agree.

Because of this shared desire for facts, those dissemblers who falsify accounts and events in that conflict should be brought to light and discredited so that the can no longer easily spread lies.

Friday, Harper's Scott Horton blasted one reporter for lying, and for being part of a group creating "pure fabrications" when it came to war reporting:

I have no idea whether Beauchamp's story was accurate. But at this point I have seen enough of the Neocon corner's war fables to immediately discount anything that emerges from it. One example: back last spring, when I was living in Baghdad, on Haifa Street, I sat in the evening reading a report by one of the core Neocon pack. He was reporting from Baghdad, and recounted a day he had spent out on a patrol with U.S. troops on Haifa Street. He described a peaceful, pleasant, upscale community. Children were out playing on the street. Men and women were out going about their daily business. Well, in fact I had been forced to spend the day "in the submarine," as they say, missing appointments I had in town. Why? This bucolic, marvelous Haifa Street that he described had erupted in gun battles the entire day. In the view of my security guards, with which I readily concurred, it was too unsafe. And yes, I could hear the gunfire and watch some of the exchanges from my position. No American patrol had passed by and there were certainly no children playing in the street. This was the point when I realized that many of these accounts were pure fabrications.

Clearly, Horton vividly recalls the details of that day, including both the day-long gun battles erupting around him (how could he not?) and the written words of a dishonest reporter that he knew well enough that he could even identify him as part of the core member of a specific group of reporters.

I don't care if this reporter Horton read is pro-war or antiwar; if he's lying, he's undermining all of our understanding about the war. We need a thorough investigation, and if the charges are accurate, this liar should be purged from his news organization and the profession altogether.

But first, we need information.

Horton establishes last spring as the rough time frame and Haifa Street as the location in Baghdad where this story of press duplicity allegedly took place. I've taking the liberty of contacting Mr. Horton via his Harper's email address, and I'm asking him to provide as much detail as possible about the fraudulent reporting of which he was a near-eyewitness. The more detail he can provide, the more concrete of a case we can make.

We need good reporting to understand the wars to which we're committing our nation's soldiers, and we need to discard those journalists that either can't tell truth from fiction, or prefer not to make the distinction.

Hopefully, we'll be able to get this resolved quite soon. Such fakery simply can't be allowed to stand.

Update: At the always thoughtful Bookworm Room, lawyer "Bookworm" digs further into Horton's article, and discovers "a swirling sea of anger" where honesty is perhaps not his priority.

Update: I've noticed that several people attempting to track down the article Mr. Horton may have been discussing have been focusing on articles written in 2007.

According to Democracy Now!, Horton was in Baghdad, on Haifa Street, prior to this April 14, 2006 article, and had only "recently returned." Further, that seems to be more consistent with his vague timeline of "back last spring."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:54 AM | Comments (61)

August 20, 2007

Misfire: AP's Bogus Ammo Shortage Story

An Associated Press report published late Friday afternoon stated that ammunition shortages in some law enforcement agencies around the nation were to be blamed on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Troops training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than 1 billion bullets a year, contributing to ammunition shortages hitting police departments nationwide and preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol.

An Associated Press review of dozens of police and sheriff's departments found that many are struggling with delays of as long as a year for both handgun and rifle ammunition.

The damning narrative was grasped quickly by war critics who uttered banalities such as this:

Here's another little way the Bush doctrine is endangering our safety at home. Our local police are running out of ammo...

Similar thoughts from the community-based reality were echoed here:

The good news is, U.S. forces in the Middle East are not going to run out; the troops get most of their ammunition from a dedicated plant. The bad news is, the strain is a burden on police departments, which could undermine public safety.

Bloggers were hardly alone is running with the narrative, which was carried by the Boston Globe, the Seattle Times, and other news agencies.

The Associated Press article cited police officers and sheriffs, and seems to present a bulletproof case.

Reality, however, shows that the assumptions made and biases held by the Associated Press reporters may have led the story to having been built on an entirely fault premise.

To understand the ammunition shortage being experienced by some police agencies today, we shouldn't look at September 11, 2001, but instead, begin with February 28, 1997.

It was on that day in North Hollywood, California that Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Matasareanu, two-heavily armed and armored bank robbers, engaged in a 44-minute shootout with an out-gunned Los Angeles Police Department. The two suspects fired more than 1,300 rounds of ammunition, and each was shot multiple times with police handguns. The 9mm police pistol bullets bounced off their homemade body armor. Phillips eventually died after being shot 11 times; Matasareanu died after being hit 29 times.

In the aftermath of the shootout, the LAPD, followed by police departments large and small nationwide, began to feel that rank-and-file patrol officers should be armed with semi-automatic or fully-automatic assault rifles or submachine guns in addition to their traditional sidearms, anticipating an up-tick of heavily armed and armored subjects. The trend has failed to materialize more than a decade later.

As with most trends in law enforcement, the trend towards the militarization of police patrol officers to a level once reserved for SWAT/ERT teams was slow, though one that gathered momentum rapidly after September 11, 2001.

Today, it is this increased and on-going militarization of police forces and the associated training requirements that have caused the ammunition shortages experienced by some police departments, and the lack of ammunition is not related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in any meaningful way.

The Associated Press report is not supported beyond anecdotal evidence by real, objective facts.

ATK's Ammunition Systems Group is the largest ammunition manufacturing body in the world. ATK runs the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant under contract, where it has the capacity to manufacture 1.5 billion rounds of ammunition a year, or put another way, a half billion rounds per year more than is being used by our military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is also a major supplier of law enforcement ammunition under Federal Premium, Speer Gold Dot, Lawman, and CCI Blazer brands. The law enforcement ammunition is made in plants in Idaho and Minnesota that are completely separate for their military operations at Lake City. These production lines do not, as the AP falsely states, use the same equipment used to manufacture military ammunition.

Those who stayed with the entire Associated Press article might note that ATK spokesman Bryce Hallowell did not buy the AP's conclusion that the war in Iraq was having a direct effect on police ammunition supplies.

He stated further:

"We had looked at this and didn't know if it was an anomaly or a long-term trend," Hallowell said. "We started running plants 24/7. Now we think it is long-term, so we're going to build more production capability."

I contacted Brian Grace of ATK Corporate Communications for further information, and he also doubted the Associated Press claim that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were responsible for a police ammunition shortage.

Since 9/11 we've seen a huge jump in demand from law enforcement. In the last fiscal year alone we saw demand from law enforcement jump 40%. By running our civil plants 24/7, hiring hundreds of new employees and streamlining our manufacturing processes we were able to increase our deliveries to law enforcement by 30% in that same period. In addition, we've just announced we'll be investing another $5 million in new production lines at our civil ammunition facilities.

I pressed Mr. Grace to clarify, asking:

Based upon this 40% increase in demand by law enforcement, is it more fair to categorize the difficulty of some departments in obtaining ammunition as a fact of increased police demand outstripping current manufacturing capabilities, and not as the result of the military needing more ammunition and drawing down civilian supply? Is their any shortage of lead, copper, or brass, or it is just a matter of not enough manufacturing equipment?

He responded:

Manufacturing capacity is the main issue. As you might imagine, for a precision manufacturing business that faced many years of steady demand, it can be quite a challenge to suddenly meet double-digit growth in demand. But we're very proud of the successes we've had with increasing our output while maintaining the quality and reliability of our products.

And we're committed to doing everything in our power to accelerate the growth in output, which is what precipitated the recently announced investment in additional equipment.

Let me make that crystal clear.

According to two spokesmen for the world's largest ammunition manufacturer, which runs the military's ammunition manufacturing plant and separately, is a major supplier of law enforcement ammunition, it is a massive and unexpected increase in law enforcement ammunition demand that is causing delays in law enforcement ammunition delays, not the war.

Once again, a media organization with target fixation seems to have widely missed the mark.

Update: Another Manufacturer Weighs In
Michael Shovel, National Sales Manager for COR-BON/Glaser, writes into explain that the price increases for ammunition are at least partially because of the demand from China for copper and lead for their building boom [and for toy paint, and baby bibs, and pajamas, but I digress--ed]:

The reason that PD's and people are having trouble getting ammo and also the price increases is the war effort and also the fact that China is buying up lots of the copper and lead for their building boom. Our LE market has grown this year the same as it has the past 5 years. No big increase but no drop off either. The only issue with our ability to deliver ammunition in a timely manner is getting brass cases and primers. We do only some specialized ammo for the military and it's done in our custom shop instead on the production floor.


Mr. Shovel states that the war effort does play some role in the ammunition shortage, but does not say exactly what it is, and is apparently not speaking for his company when he makes that claim.

He states that their only issue in delivering ammunition has been getting brass cases and primers, and further, that the specialized military ammunition they produce is not part of their normal civilian/law enforcement manufacturing operations.

Dr. Ignatius Piazza, Director of the Frontsite Firearms Training Institute was also contacted about the shortage claimed by the Associated Press, as Frontsight's training courses typically require from hundreds to over a thousand rounds of ammunition per student per course.

Dr. Piazza noted, "From time to time ammo becomes in short supply but we always find it at various sources." He also stated that the shortages have been blamed on the ammunition companies "selling all they can sell" to the government, but once again, we don't seem to have any direct evidence of this charge revealed, at least not yet.

Could it be that the "conventional wisdom" is wrong?

Once again, I'm forced to wonder why the Associated Press reporters who composed this article chose to interview police officers about ammunition, instead of the companies that manufacture it and would have far more direct knowledge of the cause of any shortages.

Update: Manufacturer Remington Weighs In

Michael Haugen, Manager of the Military Products Division for Remington Arms Company Inc., states:

I would say that if they [law enforcement] are not training it is not due to the availability of ammunition.

Remington has one plant that makes all of their ammunition (military, law enforcement, general civilian), and Mr. Haugen stated emphatically that military sales are "definitely not" in any way detracting from the development and manufacture of civilian and law enforcement ammunition, and that Remington has additional manufacturing capacity, depending on the product required.

We now how three major manufacturers stating that their law enforcement ammunition sales are not being impacted by military ammunition sales, which seems to be directly at odds with the claims made by these Associated Press reporters.

I've approached Associated Press Media Relations Director Paul Colford and suggest that either a correction or retraction seems to be warranted for this story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:12 PM | Comments (49)

Blog Entry Prompts Photo Policy Changes at AFP?

CY commenter Dusty Raftery and I published a story this past Friday of how French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) apparently attempted to take credit for a U.S. Army photo taken in Afghanistan.

Later that evening, several readers come to the article from AFP's Paris domain, and apparently what they found may have led to a change in policy, where AFP is more transparent on the source of military-provided photos.


Note that the both the Army and the individual photographer are properly credited by AFP as they should be in several current military photos, such as the one above.

Let's hope that this continues.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:41 AM | Comments (2)

August 17, 2007

Yet Again: AFP's Photo Woes Continue

Fresh off of being caught trying to pass off unfired civilian ammunition as evidence of soldiers shooting into the home of an elderly Iraqi woman, the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) has been caught once again in a photography scandal involving the U.S. military, this time misidentifying a U.S. military photo taken by a member of the 173rd Airborne in Afghanistan last month as one of their own.

Here is the photo, as it ran Wednesday at BBC News.

(Click photo for full size)

You'll note that in the enlarged version of the page, the photo is credited "AFP" in the bottom right corner (The photo in the current version of the BBC article has since been changed).

The photo with the "AFP" stamp was not taken by an Agence France-Presse photographer, but by Sgt. Brandon Aird, 173rd ABCT Public Affairs, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, and was first featured in this post by Sgt. Aird on Central Command's web site on July 31.

(Click photo for full size)

I've confirmed with an Army combat photographer that they cannot give or sell their photos directly to news agencies.

AFP misidentified this photo as one of their own, but it gets worse:


They were also apparently trying to sell the photo through AFP/Getty Images (via Daylife).

Once again, the photo editors of Agence France-Presse have some explaining to do.

[Author's note: Most of the information in this story was compiled by CY commenter Dusty Raftery. Excellent work, Dusty.]

Update: Dan Riehl notes that the BBC is using the photo as the teaser for a video segment that doesn't even involve U.S. soldiers. Truthy?

Update: Yup. It's our fault media credibilty is tanking.

Update: We get noticed.

afp was here

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:11 AM | Comments (52)

August 15, 2007

Going to the Well Once Too Often

Photographer Wissam al-Okaili has had quite an interesting summer in Iraq, and apparently made quite a few friends.

In July, he published a picture carried in media around the world, as an elderly Sadr City woman held up a object that she claimed was a bullet that came into her room and hit her bed. What was quite interesting about the claim is that the "bullet" had no rifling, and did not match up to a caliber used by any known U.S. or Russian-designed weapons system. Many at the time felt that the object was most likely a fake, but results were never conclusive.

Over at Blackfive last night, Uncle Jimbo caught al-Okaili attempting to use this narrative once too often as captured on Yahoo!'s photostream:


The woman in the photo—Uncle Jimbo notes that she looks like the same woman—makes a very similar claim, holding up bullets that she claims hit her house.

And they very well may have hit her house, if the were tossed or kicked in that direction, but it is quite obvious that bullets still in their cartridge casings have never been fired by a gun [note: the cursor arrow in the photo above was added by me to point at the casing during the screen capture, and is not in the original photo].

Based upon these photos alone, we can only say that Wissam al-Okaili may simply be a dupe of a photographer. Obviously, his editors weren't sharp enough to notice that fired bullets don't remain in their cartridges, either. Perhaps al-Okaili was merely the patsy for a manipulative and press savvy Madhi Army propaganda operative, and this AFP photographer was used as so many photographers were used in last summer's conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Other photos, taken by al-Okaili, however, begin to paint a more deliberate portrait of this photographer's body of work.


In this photo, dated just three days ago on Sunday, August 12, al-Okaili is shooting his photo from inside the passenger compartment of a shot-up vehicle. The boy in the photo is obviously aware of him. Is this a staged photo? If so, it certainly wouldn't be the first time that a news photographer was also playing a role as a stage manager. As a stand-alone photo, this is a minor foul.


This photo was shot through a shattered house window this time, in a photo dated one day before the previous one. It probably isn't the same boy (in case you were wondering), but we're dealing with some minor stage management again, which now appears symptomatic.


In a photo dated Jul 25, he returns once more to the "through the shattered glass" motif, but this time with an older Iraqi man as his focal point.

Time and again, al-Okaili returns to the same type of picture, and in the case of the female bullet magnet, the same people.

I'd say that that is troubling, and perhaps something AFP needs to discuss with him, as it makes his work appear to be more contrived than captured. While they're having this discussion, perhaps they can pull in AFP photo editors and explain how bullets and firearms function.

Update: Rocco's Guide To Fired vs. Unfired Bullets. Sadly, some folks will noeed to bookmark that.

Update: Let's go back for a moment to the lady holding the ammunition above, and focus on the catridges in her hands. What kind of ammunition is it?

I don't think that it is either 7.62x51 NATO or 7.62x39, or 7.62x54R. The bullets themselves are too small, and overall, appear to be the wrong size and shape.

That would seem to narrow this down to the smaller class of assault rifle bullets, primarily the 5.56 NATO in common use by U.S. soldiers as the standard chambering for the M4, M16, and M249. Indeed, that is probably what they want you to infer from these photos.

But here's the thing: The standard 62-grain M855 5.56 ball ammo used by our military today has a green tip, the M856 tracer has an orange tip, the M995 AP a black tip, and the Mk262 is a hollowpoint with an open tip.


The picture seems to show common commercial 55-grain civilian ball ammunition patterned after the Vietnam-era M193. With this in mind, I'd state that this ammunition wasn't even dropped by American forces, as they don't carry such ammunition.

This isn't just a a photo that just shows ignorance. It appears to show a willful deception using civilian ammunition.

08/16 Update: Per Mr. Of Spades, it seems Getty is still running the photo with an unexplained caption correction that still doesn't explain that that cartridges held are civilian rounds. At Yahoo! it appears that the picture is moving around, and according to the latest search I've run on the photographer's work, seems to have been deleted.

No explanation, and presumably, no accountability.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:16 AM | Comments (68)

August 09, 2007

Right Idea, Wrong Iranian Rocket

Fox News is running a story this morning that shows still photos from a captured insurgent video.

The story claims:

Dramatic video produced by Iraqi insurgents and captured in a raid earlier this week by U.S. troops clearly shows a battery of sophisticated Iranian-made rocket launchers firing on American positions east of Baghdad, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The video, captured during a raid on Monday by the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment in northeast Nahrawan, shows insurgents setting up and carrying out an attack on Sunday, as well as an attack on July 11 that killed one soldier and wounded 15 others, officials said. The raid last month appeared to involve 34 launchers firing 107 mm Iranian-made rockets.

Not so fast there, Sparky.

This is one of the photos run in the Fox story:


Please note the size and shape of the rocket. Fox was smart in hedging its bets that (emphasis mine), "The raid last month appeared to involve 34 launchers firing 107 mm Iranian-made rockets."

These aren't 107mm rockets.

These are:


I first published these two photos of captured Iranian rockets captured outside Forward Operating Base Hammer on July 15.

You'll note that the crude launchers seem very similar in construction, but that the Iranian rockets in the Fox News story are far larger, and are of a different shape, than the verified 107mm rockets captured at FOB Hammer.

Iran seems to be shipping Iraqi insurgents some of their more deadly 230mm rocket variants.

I wonder if the insurgents ordered them via credit card from Iran's

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:09 AM | Comments (3)

August 08, 2007

Ho-Hum: Yet Another False Media-Reported Massacre In Iraq

On Sunday, Reuters reported that the scene of a large massacre had been discovered near Baquba:

BAGHDAD, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Iraqi police said on Sunday they had found 60 decomposed bodies dumped in thick grass in Baquba, north of Baghdad.

There was no indication of how the 60 people had been killed, police said. Baquba is the capital of volatile Diyala province, where thousands of extra U.S. and Iraqi soldiers have been sent to stem growing violence.

Why did the police have such a hard time providing an indication of how the 60 people had been killed? Probably because there were no bodies to examine.

Via email from Major Rob Parke, U.S. Army:


This story is false. We have had coalition soldiers looking for the last two days at the locations that IPs reported these bodies. We've asked all the locals in the area and they have no idea what we are talking about. We've gone to areas that might be close, gone to suspicious locations, all turned up nothing.

Most of the news stories all say the report stated decomposing bodies which would indicate if it was true, it happened before we arrived. Considering we discovered an Al Qaeda Jail, courthouse, and torture house in western Baqubah, it wouldn't surprise me if there were 60 bodies buried out there somewhere. Bottom line is we have done some extensive looking and found nothing.

This is the second large-scale massacre reported in major wire services in less than six weeks that seem utterly without merit; both Reuters and the Associated Press were duped by insurgents posing as police officers who claimed 20 beheaded bodies were discovered near Um Al-Abeed on June 28.

That was also false.

As I noted at the time:

..reporting in Iraq is very dangerous work, and insurgent groups and terrorists do target journalists for assassination.

But it is equally true that insurgent groups and terrorists also use the media to plant false stories, and that media organizations consistently fail to find credible, independent sources to verify alleged atrocities and attacks before presenting an alleged story as fact.

Further, it appears that some news organizations, through a combination of questionable news-gathering techniques, insufficient editorial practices and indifferent -perhaps intractable- management, are more susceptible to running false and fabricated stories than others, with the Associated Press and Reuters being among the worst offenders.

Throughout the Iraq War, and with seemingly increasing frequency over the past year, these media outlets have become increasingly reliant upon anonymous sources and questionable sources hiding behind pseudonyms to deliver "news" with no apparent basis in fact.

In some of these instances, these wire services have been forced to retract days later, as they have with the false Um al-Abeed beheading story. Sadly, the international and national news outlets that often carry the initial claims as "page one" material fail to do so with the refutations, leaving most media consumers with the impression that the original account was accurate.

Remarkably, these news organizations continue to employ the same reporters and editors that have published multiple erroneous or highly suspect claims, or who have consistently cited discredited or disreputable sources.

Further, these wire services continue to employ newsgathering techniques that rely upon anonymous sources with little or no direct involvement with the story being reported, and often publish these claims as absolute fact, without any indication they are publishing what is often, at best, hearsay.

The MNF-I refutation of the Um al-Abeed decapitation story states that the claim was "completely false and fabricated by unknown sources."

That isn't exactly true. Both Reuters and the Associated Press presumably know precisely who their sources were for this story, as they know who their sources were for other discredited stories.

They just as they certainly know, or should know, which of their indigenous reporters—"stringers," in industry parlance—have been providing these suspect or discredited stories, and which editors have allowed these stories to press based upon the flimsiest of evidence, which often does not meet the service's own stated reportorial standards.

To date, these wire services have consistently failed to visibly enforce standards of reporting, and in some instances, have promoted employees involved in using questionable sources and printing false claims. Once promoted, these same employees only further degrade editorial standards, leading to the public's increasing distrust of these news organizations.

Wire services are only as valuable as the amount of trust readers can invest in their reporting.

With now two debunked massacres and the continued slow-roasting of The New Republic for their refusal to deal honestly with the Scott Thomas Beauchamp articles in the last weeks alone, we're forced to realize that the Weekly World News is not closing their doors on August 27 because mock journalism is unpopular, but instead because larger news organizations crowded them out of the market.

(h/t to Michael Yon, who alerted me that he smelled a rat in this story all the way from his current location in Indonesia).

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:28 PM | Comments (39)

August 02, 2007

Wrong City, Wrong Province: No Problem


The police station was in Hibhib.

Hibhib is not Baghdad. Baquba (or Baqouba) , the next-closest large city, is also is not Baghdad. Both are in Diyala Province, more than 30 miles north-northeast of Baghdad.

So how, precisely, is this a Baghdad police station?

Those multiple layers of fact checkers strike again...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:21 PM | Comments (8)

July 12, 2007

Gee, Who do You Pull For?

The good news, of course, is that either way, someone detestable is going to lose:

A U.S. citizen once convicted of running a private jail in Afghanistan for terror suspects and torturing them has sued The Associated Press, alleging it engaged in defamation, libel and slander.

Jack Idema, a former Green Beret from Fayetteville, N.C., filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking at least $110,000 and other unspecified damages.

Idema, who listed a current address in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was convicted of charges including torture and operating a private jail and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Afghanistan in September He was later pardoned by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and left that country in June.

In his lawsuit, Idema accused the AP of ignoring truths about his work in Afghanistan to generate a "hot salient and torrid story of abuse in Afghanistan" to compete with a CBS story about allegations of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

He also accused the AP of reneging on promises not to publish photographs and videotaped images provided by Idema or his lawyers unless it obtained publishing rights from his licensing agent, Polaris Images.

Dave Tomlin, AP associate general counsel, said: "The whole lawsuit is nonsense. The claims that reflect on the integrity and professionalism of AP staff are especially outrageous."

That last line, by Tomlin...

It made me laugh.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:02 PM | Comments (2)

Lazy, Stupid, or Wilfully Ignorant?

Frankly, Jules, I don't think it is any of those.

I don't think these news organizations are lazy, as they can churn out one story after another on how the Iraq War was a mistake and a failure and by the way, Bush is tanking in the polls.

They aren't stupid, either, or we'd catch them faking the news far more frequently than we already do.

Nor do I think that they're willfully ignorant, as far too many critics have told them precisely what they are doing wrong, and loudly enough that an honest journalist would have certainly heard them.

No, what we are dealing with in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press is the purposeful subjugation of journalism to an anti-Bush, anti-U.S. political agenda.

"DonK," who claims to be a veteran Associated Press reporter, had this to say in the comments of Laws, Sausages, and Journalism:

As a former AP newsperson (15+ years), the deterioration of the AP's product makes me ill. The AP used to concentrate on the facts; Analysis and opinions were clearly labeled. However, under the new administration of Tom Curley, there seems little question that standards for verification have fallen sharply and the emphasis on facts over opinion has all but disappeared. The anti-Bush (and anti-US) tenor of AP reporting these days is appalling and makes me embarrassed for my former employers and some of the people I used to work with, who know better.

Update: In the comments, former journalist Jay K. proves my point (my bold):

it's one thing to make wild a** claims about an anti-bush/anti-america agenda in the press. it's another to explain realities like judith miller and bob woodward. i spent fifteen years as an award winning journalist before making a career change. it is based on that experience that i say if the press was doing it's job, and not just acting as administration stenographers, we would most likely not be in iraq, al queda would probably not be back to full strength, and the cheney administration would have never been elected to office in 2004. perhaps you are confusing editorial pages with journalism. journalists ask hard questions. it seems that in the last six years the only real journalists have been working for the mclatchy papers.

Perhaps unwittingly, Jay K proves my point. He strongly suggests that journalists take the role of activists, and that if they had done their jobs, then, "we would most likely not be in iraq, al queda would probably not be back to full strength, and the cheney administration would have never been elected to office in 2004."

The problem, which "DonK" noted above and another journalist obviously agrees with, is that the media are a special interest group, that is overwhelming aligned with the Democratic Party by 9-to-1 or more.

That the readers slobbering in the comments disagree with that assessment does not make that fact any less true.

Update: Heh.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:51 AM | Comments (36)

July 11, 2007

Laws, Sausages and Journalism

A little bit of cross-referencing reveals that the photographer "Talal" mentioned in Michael Yon's dispatch Second Chances is Associated Press photojournalist Talal Mohammed.

In "Second Chances," Yon recounts:

To see what the AP might have by way of reliable, mainstream, news resources, on the morning of 07 July, I asked Talal, an Associated Press stringer in Baqubah, if he had heard about the Al Hamari murders, and our conversation went something like this:
“Yes,” answered Talal.

"How many had been killed?" I asked.

"35," answered Talal. Not "about 35", but precisely 35.

"How do you know?" I asked.

"A medic at the Baqubah hospital told me,” Talal said.

“What was the medic’s name?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” answered Talal.

“You didn’t ask?”

“No,” he said. Talal said a doctor told him the same thing, but that he did not know the doctor’s name. He had not asked. Besides which, Talal said, the doctor and the medic were afraid to give their names.

“How were the people killed?” I asked.

“They were shot,” answered Talal as he motioned shooting with a pistol.

“Did you tell someone at AP headquarters in Baghdad?” I asked.

“Yes,” answered Talal.

“Who did you tell?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” answered Talal.

The International Herald Tribune on July 10 makes it clear that Talal's account—an account in which he didn't know the medic or doctor he cited, and didn't bother to ask their names—was received by someone at AP in Baghdad, who felt quite comfortable running the account, not matter how vaguely sourced:

The fight underlines the struggle in Diyala Province, where militants believed to be from Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia have reportedly left mass graves of victims in areas under their hold.


Soldiers have found whole streets and buildings wired with explosives, bomb and weapons factories and prisons run by extremists - and, Iraqi officials say, the bodies of 35 people slain by militants and dumped in a village on the outskirts of Baquba.

Michael Yon's solid documentation—the units involved, their commander's names, the exact GPS coordinates of the site, video, and still photographs of the bodies, and a face-to-face meeting between Yon and AP reporter Robert Reid—and we get al Qaeda "reportedly" left mass graves.

In the second graph, through the magic of the AP's Baghdad Bureau, a nameless medic and fearful anonymous doctor are now, "Iraqi officials."

Otto von Bismarck was once credited with stating, "To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making."

As we gain a greater understanding of how one vague, phoned-in account after another is squeezed into an Associated Press casing and squirted across the wires, we're forced to face the reality that like sausages, many of the "facts" in an Associated Press story are those we'd never swallow for a second if we knew what went into them.

Update: What do you know... it only took a week-long blogswarm, but AP finally published on the massacre documented by Michael Yon.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:59 AM | Comments (10)

July 10, 2007


Hi, AP!

I see you.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:35 PM | Comments (2)

What is It?

I guess got a very interesting email request from Brian at Snapped Shot, who wanted me to take a look at this AFP picture published on Yahoo News.


The caption states that the woman in the photo claims that the bullet in her hand hit her bed during an overnight raid by U.S. forces in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood.

But there are a few inconsistencies in her story, or at least, odd observable phenomena surrounding what she's holding in her hand.

For starters, lets look at an enlarged, cropped version of the photo, focusing on the bullet.


While we don't have anything in the camera's frame and we don't know an exact size of the woman's hand to help determine size and scale, we can tell right off the bat that whatever this is, it is not any variation of 5.56 NATO ammunition issued to American forces. The shape is wrong, there are no markings consistent with U.S. 5.56 NATO ammunition, the object in the picture is far too large to be a 5.56 bullet, and quite obviously, it has no discernible jacket.

And while it might be closer in size to the 7.62 NATO chambered for some U.S. weapons systems (including M240 machine guns and M14 rifles), we once again run into the problem of the object's shape being far too rounded for most common 7.62 loadings I'm familiar with (including those generally issued to the military), no jacket, and no markings.

The object is also too rounded in shape (and perhaps too short) to be most the most common variations of .50 BMG bullets I'm familiar with, and quite frankly, only one .50 BMG military loading that I know of comes close.

The M903/M962 SLAP is a tungsten-core saboted 7.62 armor penetrator is the only non-jacketed round .50 BMG-round that I can think of that would have the color this bullet does, lack of markings, the ability to withstand impact with little to no deformation, and the lack of easily observable rifling on the bullet (due to the sabot grabbing the rifling, then being discarded in flight). The problem with this theory is that unless it hit some major masonry on the way in (this armor piercing bullet designed to punch through personnel carriers and vehicles), it would not have been stopped by her bed.

Are there any weapons experts out there who can definitively ID this as a U.S. bullet, or are we looking at something else?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:43 PM | Comments (39)

July 09, 2007

AP: Screw the Facts, Protect the Narrative

As noted Saturday, the Associated Press has ceased being a wire service of journalists, and has fallen to become little more than an agency of lazy transcriptionists.

Seeking an excuse to explain why AP would run a faked claim of a sectarian massacre based purely upon hearsay, Associated Press Director of Media Relations Paul Colford attempted to claim that these anonymous sources were reliable (obviously, they aren't) and claim that an American military spokesman supported those claims. He has, despite a specific request to do so, failed to provide the name of the alleged military source.

Further, Colford stated that the Associated Press did not run Michael Yon's Bless the Beasts and Children exposure of a real massacre because:

With regard to Michael Yon, the Iraqi police and the U.S. military – to our current knowledge – have issued no statements to the AP about 10-14 bodies being found on June 29 in a village outside Baquba, even though the military, according to Mr. Yon’s online account, were involved in the discovery.

Ah... no press release, then no story?

Why, then, do we need the Associated Press at all?

Sadly, Colford's transcriptionists could have easily verified the story, if they were so inclined.

I'm sure you remember the old axiom, "A picture says a thousand words." Presented in context, this photo shows everything that is wrong with the Associated Press.


On the right in this photo is Associated Press Special Correspondent Robert Reid in the back of a Stryker in Baquba Saturday morning. He was just 3.5 miles from the site where Iraqi and American forces dug up the bodies of between 10-14 men, women and children that locals say were slaughtered by al Qaeda.

Directly across from Reid, taking this picture, is the man that chronicled the grisly discovery in words and in pictures... Michael Yon.

Yon and Reid spoke about the carnage Yon documented. Reid was within four miles of the gravesite excavated, and had precise GPS coordinates to view the site for himself. And yet, when Reid goes to press what does he write about the massacre Yon wrote about in al Hamira?


Not one word.

American military PAOs know well of the massacre Yon documented, from General Petraeus' PAO Col Steven Boylan, to Brigadier General Bergner's PAO Major Elizabeth Robbins, to LTC James Hutton of MNF-I.

The Associated Press, ostensibly a news-gathering organization, did not apparently ask these sources about Yon's account or what their soldiers had witnessed. Nor did they apparently ask any other American or Iraqi PAOs.


That is a question the Associated Press doesn't seem willing to answer.

Update: Michael Yon has posted his latest dispatch from Baquba, where he discovers that the number of bodies at at al Hamira (or as he later found out the correct spelling, al Ahamir) may have been much larger than the 10-14 originally thought:

Today, there are indications that the massacre might be much bigger than what I initially reported in “Bless the Beasts and Children.” Shortly after I published “Bless the Beasts and Children,” I asked a local Iraqi official about the village and the graves. The Diyala Provincial councilmen, Abdul Jabar, went on video explaining why he believes that there might be hundreds of people buried in the area, and he said the correct spelling is actually al Ahamir. (Most Iraqis’ names seem to have variant spellings.)

It will be interesting to see if that claim turns out to be accurate.

But this isn't the only item of note by Yon.

While Paul Colford and the Associated Press earlier seem to intone that they had no account of the al Ahamir discovery of the bodies of beheaded, massacred families (and thus, were waiting for military PAOs to drop the story), it appears an Iraqi stringer working for AP was in the area the entire time. He places the massacre body count as being much higher (read Yon for the details), and says he informed AP in Baghdad.

Guess who is at AP HQ in Baghdad? Kim Gamel.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:53 AM | Comments (18)

July 07, 2007

AP Responds to DecapiGate

As most CY readers know, I sent a letter to Associated Press Director of Public Relations Jack Stokes and several of the AP Board of Directors on July 5.

I—along with many other bloggers, and a few journalists, it seems—were curious as to why the Associated Press would so willingly run a poorly-sourced and ultimately false story of a sectarian mass beheading, while passing up the freely-offered, well-documented, carefully photographed eyewitness account of an al Qaeda massacre by noted combat correspondent Michael Yon.

Yesterday afternoon, July 6, I was contacted via email by Paul Colford, Director of Media Relations (not Jack Stokes, another AP fact error) for the Associated Press with his response.

Here are the relevant sections:

AP’s initial version of the story about 20 headless bodies in Iraq, reported on June 28, was attributed to two Iraqi police officials who have been consistently reliable sources for AP. They were unnamed because Iraqi police officers often will speak to reporters only if they are guaranteed anonymity, for security reasons.

As is our practice, we kept reporting the story and noted that another police officer, also known to be reliable, had heard the same report of decapitated bodies found on the banks of the Tigris River near the city of Salman Pak, but this officer said a police visit was called off because clashes between police commandos and extremists made the area too dangerous.

However, the police in east Baghdad told the AP that the bodies had been recovered and were en route to the Baghdad morgue.

In addition, a U.S. military spokesman said that U.S. aircraft had spotted what appeared to be bodies on the banks of the Tigris north of Salman Pak.

On June 30, the AP, along with other news organizations that had been following the story, reported that the U.S. military had declared the reports of 20 beheaded bodies to be untrue.

With regard to Michael Yon, the Iraqi police and the U.S. military – to our current knowledge – have issued no statements to the AP about 10-14 bodies being found on June 29 in a village outside Baquba, even though the military, according to Mr. Yon’s online account, were involved in the discovery. We have consistently reported on atrocities committed by insurgents in the Baquba area.

In a war that has claimed the lives of five AP journalists, including three since last December, we take seriously our role in reporting the news reliably and fairly despite the dangerous environment.

This is my response, emailed to Mr. Colford.

Mr. Colford,

Let's be blunt about what you mean when you claim, "Iraqi police officers often will speak to reporters only if they are guaranteed anonymity, for security reasons."

The fact of the matter is that because so many Iraqi police officers were leaking false information to the media—the Associated Press being the single greatest offender—the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior earlier this year slapped a gag order upon all active duty Iraqi police officers not formally designated as press contacts in an attempt to cut down on inaccurate information and purposefully planted propaganda.

AP's most infamous police source, Jamil XX-XXXXXXX [named redacted for blog publication], known to the world by the pseudonym Jamil Hussein, was one of many police officers told point-blank not to provide stories to the press. XX-XXXXXXX was cited in particular as an example of a particularly bad source, as 38 of 40 stories sourced to him by the Associated Press could not be verified by any other news agency or government source as having actually occurred, and the vast majority of those stories coming form outside of his precinct, where he would have no direct knowledge at all.

When you state that you keep their names hidden for security reasons, you mean nothing more or less than that you are trying to keep their named hidden so that they will not be arrested and thrown in jail for violating their orders and Iraqi law.

You claim that these two anonymous police sources have been reliable in the past.

Sir, I hope that the Associated Press is a little more worldly than to fall for one of the oldest propaganda/intelligence tricks in the books. Dime-store spy novels are full of stories of spies and secret agents that pass along little truths to establish trust, in order to deliver disinformation once they are trusted. Apparently, the Associated Press has not learned that lesson.

In this instance, your two distant sources were quite wrong, as was your source who told you that the decapitated bodies have been recovered.

Further, I'd like for you to provide me the name of the U.S. military source who you claim said bodies were found on the banks of the Tigris, so that I can ask him myself precisely what information he relayed.

Interestingly enough, you seem to be claiming that you need to have some sort of press release from the U.S. military to run with Yon's story.

What an interesting double standard the Associated Press has incorporated.

You'll run a false sectarian massacre based upon hearsay evidence from anonymous police officers that are violating their own orders, as absolute, unequivocal fact, without any official comment or support whatsoever,


When you are offered—free of charge—a story citing named U.S. and Iraq officers and named U.S. and Iraqi units, taking party in the discovery and recovery of bodies from an al Qaeda massacre by perhaps the most well-regarded and highly respected combat correspondent of the entire war, with copious photo evidence, you suddenly need an official military press release before even considering it?

Perhaps I'm not a professional journalist, but I do know that if a journalist hears something interesting--say, an account of a massacre just a little more than three miles way--than he shouldn't wait on a press release before springing into action. He should immediately start asking questions. If he's going to merely rely on press releases, he isn't a journalist, he's a transcriptionist.

Your reporter Sinan Salaheddin was merely a transcriptionist for a pair of anonymous sources that the U.S. military seems to regard as insurgent propagandists. I would like your assurances that these sources will never be used again, and that Salaheddin, who has used disreputable sources such as XX-XXXXXXX in the past, will have his work more thoroughly vetted before publication, and that AP's Baghdad editor, Kim Gamel, who has also been know to publish stories from questionable sources, be more thoroughly supervised as well. Quite franky, I think their continued pattern of behavior in publishing poorly-sourced and ultimately false stories should warrant their termination, but I am not in the position to make that call.

I do know, Mr. Colford, that AP Special Correspondent Robert H. Reid is presently no more than a few miles for the site of the massacre that Yon reported.

Perhaps Reid will be viewed with more credibility than Yon and his multiple eyewitnesses and photographs, and perhaps as much as the insurgent propagandists with whom the Associated Press continues to place so much trust.

As noted above, Michael Yon told me via email this morning that AP Special Correspondent Robert H Reid is in Baquba, and I think he has pretty good evidence supporting that claim:


That's Reid (right) in the back of a Stryker armored vehicle just 3.5 miles from the scene of the ambush Michael Yon documented in Bless the Beasts and Children. Hopefully, he'll get the story out about the massacre at al Hamira, even though al Qaeda is suspected, and this doesn't fit the sectarian violence storyline AP seems to prefer.

Update: AP's/Mr. Colford's response to my rebuttal:

We have nothing further beyond yesterday's response.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:37 AM | Comments (28)

Associated Press Prints Immediate Correction

As many of you know, I sent an letter on July 5th to the Associated Press Director of Media Relations Jack Stokes and members of the Board of Directors. This letter asked "when does a massacre matter?" and asked Stokes and the AP Board why they were willing to run the suspicious claims of distant anonymous sources as fact in reporting a mass beheading that sounded sectarian in nature, but had not taken up Michael Yon on his offer to run--free of charge--a first-hand, eyewitnessed, videotaped and photographed account of an al Qaeda massacre discovered by Iraqi and American troops.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Paul Colford announced himself in the opening of his response to my questions as the new Director of Media Relations at the Associated Press. He indicated he would like a call or email acknowledging his response.

I acknowledged that I got his email and told him I'd respond within the next day, and also asked if he wasn't the third person in that role this year. Linda Wagner, an accidental source of useful information during the Hurriyah/Jamil "Hussein" scandal, quietly decided that she needs to go back to college and resigned from her position not very long afterward.

Since then, as the screencap below shows, Jack Stokes has been listed on the AP's Contact page as their new Director of Media Relations.


Mr. Colford responded:

The third person in this position?

Not at all.

My predecessor, Linda Wagner, was the AP's first director of media relations.

I am the second to hold the position.

Jack Stokes remains with the AP, working for me. His title has always been media relations manager.

I then sent Mr. Colford the link to the Associated Press Web site Contact page, which has shown Jack Stokes as the Director of Media Relations since at least late April.

Then, for the first time I can recall, the Associated Press issued an immediate and unquestioned correction:


At the very least, this shows that have the capability to correct their inaccuracies, if not the inclination.

As for the fake massacres the Associated Press will report, and the real massacres they won't, I'll address Mr. Colford's response, and provide my rebuttal sometime in the very near future.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2007

A Hunting We Will Go

The response to my letter to the Board of Directors of the Associated Press and AP Media Relations Director Jack Stokes was overwhelming, and apparently, continues to grow.

I noticed in the comments to my post (and some of those linking to it) that many people seem genuinely interested in writing to the Board of Directors of the Associated Press directly.

According to the Associated Press, this is their Board of Directors:

William Dean Singleton – Chairman
Vice Chairman and CEO
MediaNews Group Inc.
Denver, Colorado

Gary Pruitt – Vice Chairman
Chairman, President and CEO
The McClatchy Company
Sacramento, California

R. Jack Fishman
Publisher and Editor
Citizen Tribune
Morristown, Tennessee

Dennis J. FitzSimons
Chairman, President and CEO
Tribune, Co.
Chicago, Illinois

Victor F. Ganzi
President and CEO
Hearst Corporation
New York, New York

Walter E. Hussman Jr.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Little Rock, Arkansas

Julie Inskeep
The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Mary Jacobus
President and Chief Operating Officer
The New York Times Regional Media Group
Tampa, Florida

Boisfeuillet (Bo) Jones
Publisher and CEO
The Washington Post
Washington, D.C.

Mary Junck
President and CEO
Lee Enterprises, Inc.
Davenport, Iowa

David Lord
Pioneer Newspapers, Inc.
Seattle, Washington

Kenneth W. Lowe
President and CEO
E.W. Scripps Company
Cincinnati, Ohio

Douglas H. McCorkindale
Retired Chairman
Gannett, Co. Inc.
McLean, Virginia

R. John Mitchell
Rutland Herald
Rutland, Vermont

Steven O. Newhouse
New York, New York

Charles V. Pittman
Senior Vice President-Publishing
Schurz Communications Inc.
South Bend, Indiana

Michael E. Reed
GateHouse Media, Inc.
Fairport, New York

Bruce T. Reese
President and CEO
Bonneville International Corp.
Salt Lake City, Utah

Jon Rust
Southeast Missourian
Co-president, Rust Communications
Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Jay R. Smith
Cox Newspapers, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia

David Westin
ABC News
New York, New York

H. Graham Woodlief
President, Publishing Division
Vice President,
Media General Inc.
Richmond, Virginia

You'll note that I only have four active email addresses (inserted above) for the 22 directors... several email addresses that I once had appear to have been changed, and some of the emails I sent yesterday bounced.

My letter had a chance of getting to just four members of AP's Board of Directors and AP Media Relations director Jack Stokes, if that email was not screened and summarily deleted by a "helpful" administrative assistant somewhere along the line. To date, I've had no response whatsoever by anyone at the Associated Press.

Sadly, I'm crunched for time today, and cannot hunt down the email addresses, phone and fax numbers, and mailing addresses of these 22 board members myself...

I'm wondering if someone out there can do what I cannot.

If you can track down this information, please post what you have found in the comments. I'll then update the list above. There seem to be quite a few of you who are highly upset with how the Associated Press keeps repeating a pattern of false stories without so much as a retraction or correction, and ignoring real stories.

You deserve a chance to take your complaints to the very top.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:59 AM | Comments (1)

July 05, 2007

Palestinian Body Armor

Very brave, don't you think?


Is it simply a defect in the character of Palestinian militants that they use a wall of civilian youths to discourage Israeli soldiers from returning fire?

In most other parts of the world, I'd expect "freedom fighters" to attempt to protect their own civilians, encouraging to leave the area of hostilities, perhaps even endangering themselves to protect the people for which they claim to be fighting.

This thought is perhaps merely a western notion, as this kind of civilian abuse—can it really be called anything else?—is well-documented and frequently observed in Gaza.

All too often, this abuse leads to the headlines and photos the militants so obviously crave:


The journalists covering the conflict (here, Ibraheem Abu Mustafa of Reuters) refuse to provide the context of how a child could have been injured in a clash against Israeli forces, nor do they ever chide the Palestinian militants for endangering children and other civilians for using them as nothing less than body armor.

It is perhaps something approaching a miracle that in this engagement stretching back to yesterday, that nearly all of the dead on the Palestinian side have been Hamas and allied militants, including the Hamas field commander in central Gaza.

Israel, of course, gets little to no credit for their very selective use of force by the world media, perhaps due to the fact that most of those reporting for the Associated Press, Reuters, and other news agencies comes from men with names like Irbahim Barzak, Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, Nidal al-Mughrabi, Mohammed Abed, and others that might be culturally less inclined to see such restraint.

Nope, no inherent bias on display, at all.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:25 PM | Comments (12)

When Does a Massacre Matter?

I just sent the following to Associated Press Director of Media Relations Jack Stokes and the Associated Press Board of Directors.

When does a massacre matter?

I ask this question, because on Thursday, June 28, The Associated Press—and to a lesser extent, Reuters, and a small independent Iraqi news agency—ran stories claiming that 20 decapitated bodies had been found on or near the banks of the Tigris River in Um al-Abeed, a village near Salman Pak, southeast of Baghdad, with sectarian violence strongly implicated.

There were no named sources from this story from any media outlet, and the two anonymous Iraq police officers cited in the widely-carried AP account were nowhere near the scene of the alleged massacre, with Um al-Abeed being roughly 12 miles from the southeast edges of Baghdad, and Kut being 75 miles away, respectively. Further, in the Associated Press story by Sinan Sallaheddin, the massacre claim itself was purposefully distanced for the dubious location of the anonymous police officers by an account of a bombing in Baghdad.

This claimed massacre never happened, and was formally repudiated by the U.S. military on Saturday, June 30, who ascribed the claims to insurgent propaganda. To date, the Associated Press has refused to print a retraction or a correction for this false story, just as it has failed to print a retraction for previous false beheading stories.

Apparently, correcting misinformation you've disseminated ranks low on the list of Associated Press priorities.

At the same time, the Associated Press has refused to run the story of a verified massacre in Iraq discovered on June 29 and supported by named sources, eyewitness statements, and photographic evidence provided by noted independent journalist Michael Yon in his dispatch, Bless the Beasts and Children.

I would like for the Associated Press to formally explain why they are willing to run thinly and falsely sourced insurgent propaganda as unquestioned fact without any independent verification, but refuses to publish a freely offered account by a noted combat corespondent that some consider this generation's Ernie Pyle.

Is it because the massacre documented by Yon was conducted by alleged al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists, and could not be ascribed to sectarian violence? It certainly could not be because of cost, as Yon has offered both his text and pictures to any and all media outlets free of charge. It could not be because of a question of validity, as his account was photographed, videotaped, and witnessed by dozens of American and Iraqi soldiers, some of them named, who could easily be contacted by the Associated Press for independent, on the record confirmation.

Why is the Associated Press willing to run the claimed of a false massacre on June 28, but unwilling to report a well-documented and freely-offered account of a massacre that was discovered just one day later?

I await your response with interest.

Actually, I don't expect a response at all, but if they should respond, I'll be sure to publish it.

Sadly, I think Glenn's source is correct.

07/06/2007 Update: Actually, it's a non-update: 24 hours after sending the letter above to various Associated Press directors and their director of media relations, the Associated Press has not responded in any way, shape, or form.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:12 AM | Comments (38)

July 03, 2007

Decapitating the Truth

More on "Decapigate," as posted exclusively at Pajama's Media.

Note that the deception was worse at some levels and at some news outlets than first thought, and that oddly enough, only one news outlet actually had editors that were "fair and balanced" on this particular story.

The original CY post the broke the story is here and the follow-up containing the official denunciation is posted here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:27 AM | Comments (1)

June 28, 2007

Bring Me the Head Of Kim Gamel

Many of us awoke this morning to a disturbing Associated Press account of extreme barbarity coming out of Iraq:

Twenty beheaded bodies were discovered Thursday on the banks of the Tigris River southeast of Baghdad and a car bomb killed another 20 people in one of the capital's busy outdoor bus stations, police said.

The beheaded remains were found in the Sunni Muslim village of Um al-Abeed, near the city of Salman Pak, which lies 14 miles southeast of Baghdad.

The bodies all men aged 20 to 40 had their hands and legs bound, and some of the heads were found next to the bodies, two officers said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Another version of the Associated Press story provided a bit more detail about the two anonymous Iraqi police officers who were the sources for the story.

Shockingly, they weren't there at all:

One of the police officers is based in Baghdad and the other in Kut, 100 miles southeast of the capital. The Baghdad officer said he learned of the discovery because Iraq's Interior Ministry, where he works, sent troops to the village to investigate. The Kut officer said he first heard the report through residents of the Salman Pak area.

I'm not Associated Press reporter Sinan Salheddin, nor am I Kim Gamel, AP's Baghdad news editor, but if I was investigating a story about a 20-corpse mass murder in—let's say, Manhattan—then I'd try to find a local police officer at the scene to interview about the case.

I wouldn't rely on a desk sergeant in Staten Island who merely heard reports of other officers being dispatched to check to see if there was such a crime, nor would I rely on a beat cop in Albany Fishkill who is only reporting rumors of what he heard from friends of relatives in Queens.

But the Associated Press didn't rely on the local police. Instead, they blatantly presented hearsay as the truth, and as a result, ran a story about a brutal massacre that currently appears to have never taken place.

Shortly after reading the AP's dubious "cousin in Kut" sourcing, I contacted several sources of my own, and which led to the following being released to me via email this evening from Multi-National Forces-Iraq:

We've been working on this query here at the Multi-National Forces Iraq Press Desk throughout the day and have been unable to confirm any of these reports of the 20 bodies at Salman Pak. After communicating with the Iraqi police and searching the area with some of our helicopters, we've been unable to find any evidence that proves the initial "report".

You were also very observant and correct to notice that these initial statements were from areas nowhere near the claimed location of the discovery which also leads us to question the validity of this report.

Until we turn up any clear evidence, we've concluded that this is an unsubstantiated claim but we'll let you know if we hear anything otherwise in the next 24 hours.

The email was signed by LCDR K.C. Marshall, U.S. Navy.

For the second time in less than year, the Associated Press seems to have run a story of a horrific massacre involving 20 or more people, using police officers not assigned to the area as their primary sources. For the second time in less than a year, it appears that there is no physical evidence that so much as a single person has died.

This time, if 20 heads cannot be recovered near Salman Pak, perhaps an equal number should roll at the Associated Press.

6/29 Update: In addition to MNF-I in researching the AP claim, I contacted Ron Holbrook, assigned to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior Transition Team Public Affairs Office (the MOI runs the Iraqi Police).

This morning, he states via email:

I can not confirm anything at this time.

While more ambiguous than LCDR Marshall's statement, I take this to mean that the Iraqi Police have been unable to confirm the existence of any decapitated bodies in Um-al Abeed.

It is very much starting to look like the Associated Press has falsely reported yet another non-existent massacre, using a sourcing methodology that reports unconfirmed hearsay from anonymous off-site sources as facts.

If this story is conclusively debunked, (meaning no bodies are found), the Associated Press will owe it to their readers and the news agencies they provide with information a full accounting of why they continue to fail to verify claims before presenting them as news.

Further Update: Via email, Eason Jordan, formerly of CNN, notes that both Reuters and Voices of Iraq have also made this same claim as the Associated Press.

I can't find the Reuters account (if you do, please drop it in the comments), but the VOI account seems to use the same sort of anonymous police sources as does the AP.

Further MNF-I Update: LCDR Marshall again:

Sir, we still have no further information that would substantiate the initial "reports". I believe that there's going to be a statement in the next day that will emphasize this; I will send it to you when it's released.

You heard the man: an official denial may be released as early as tomorrow.

Things are not looking good for the Associated Press, who has now twice allowed shoddy reporting methodology and incredibly poor sourcing to damage the credibilty of the Associated Press and those news organizations that rely upon the AP to deliver timely, accurate information.

In related news, CY commenter Dusty Rafferty has found the Reuters article noted by Eason Jordan. You can read it here. It appears Reuters has also fallen for the same, or similar, anonymous police sources. Should we be calling for Rueters to explain how they allowed themselves to fall for the same apparently false story?

You bet.

07/06/07 Update: Ever able to miss the overall point, an observant liberal snarks via email that the distance from Albany to New York City is 130+ miles, and so my analogy is geographically inaccurate--as if a cop in Fishkill, NY would be any more knowledgeable about an event in NYC than the cop in Albany would. Whatever. I'm sure you all understand the analogy just so much more now that it is geographically precise. Right?

* * *

Buying illegal drugs gives money to terrorists. If you have an addiction problem you should check yourself into drug rehab.

* * *

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:01 PM | Comments (27)

June 25, 2007

German Newspaper: Threats are Torture

I guess guys from a country that killed 12 million in ethnic cleansing campaigns and the occasional beastly human "medical experiments" in World War II would be experts on the subject, right?

A German newsmagazine reported Sunday that two of its journalists embedded with troops from the North Carolina-based 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan witnessed Afghan and American soldiers involved in abusing prisoners.

The weekly Focus reported that, while on patrol with troops this month southwest of Kabul, reporter Wolfgang Bauer and photographer Karsten Schoene witnessed an incident they said amounted to torture.

And what, precisely, did they see that amounted to torture?

When the suspect refused to talk, the magazine said, the platoon leader tied one end of a rope to the suspect's foot and the other end to a vehicle, then threatened to drag the man unless he told the truth.

Focus reported that the platoon leader then had an American soldier start the motor. The magazine printed a picture of what it said was the prisoner tied to the vehicle, with a soldier standing nearby.

After idling for two minutes, the vehicle's motor was shut off. The man was not dragged, the magazine reported, and the suspect was set free.

In other words, there was no torture, and it appears the suspect was set free without a scratch on him. But, as the world media continues to lower the bar on what amounts to torture to include empty threats as torture, this journalist sees evidence of a "fake execution."

Funny, how tying a rope around a guy's foot is now equated with drilling kneecaps, amputating limbs, beheadings, and gouging out eyes, which incidentally, is not uncommon at all among Islamic extremists.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:04 AM | Comments (45)

June 21, 2007

Another 48 Hours

Michael Yon has a new post up, Operation Arrowhead Ripper: Day One. The military is allowing him full access to the battlefield and to the TOC headquarters. Civilian casualties are occurring, as the terrorists are using civilians as human shields when they engage our forces. The number of civilian casualties is as yet unknown.

Yon notes that only Michael Gordon of the NY Times is with him, making them the only two members of the media in the battle. CNN, TIME, Reuters, etc are apparently working their way to the battlefield now, making me wonder just who and how they're getting their stories to date.

I'm not going to steal all of Mike's thunder; go to his site to catch up on the rest of his account, and remember he is reader supported.

I will say this: I've been reading him since his embed with the "Deuce-Four" Stryker Brigade and have been corresponding regularly with him for most of a year, and I've rarely seen him so confident of an on-going operation. If he's correct—and he's rarely wrong, even when being right is unpopular—then al Qaeda in Baquba is living on borrowed time.

According to a press release from MNF-I PAO yesterday, "41 insurgents have been killed, five weapons caches have been discovered, 25 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed and five booby-trapped houses have been discovered and destroyed."

Other operations are underway as part of an overall operation called Phantom Thunder, but some are not getting as much media attention as Arrowhead Ripper is beginning to attract, so you may not be aware of them.

Operation Commando Eagle has been launched as joint U.S Army-Iraqi Army air-ground assault targeting al Qaeda cells southwest of Baghdad. Twenty-nine suspects have been detained, and multiple weapons caches were reported captured.

According to the MNF-I PAO release:

Troops of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, detained three men when their truck was found to contain documents requesting rockets as well as a spool of copper wire, commonly used to build improvised explosive devices.

I'm going to try to track down who that document was requesting rockets from, as while it could be nothing conclusive, it could be quite interesting if a source of the rockets could be identified.

Southeast of Baghdad, Operation Marne Torch is joint U.S. Army-Iraqi Army operation clearing the Arab Jabour area. More than sixty suspects have been detained, and 17 boats used to ferry explosives across the Tigris River have been destroyed, as have 17 weapons caches.

No Agenda Here

It in the past 48 hours, more than 40 al Qaeda terrorists (including a Libyan) have been killed, more than 100 have been captured in these and other on-going operations, and tons of munitions have been captured or destroyed in weapons caches.

What does CNN focus on? You already know the answer:

Fourteen U.S. troops have been killed in attacks over the past two days in Iraq -- 12 soldiers and two Marines -- according to the U.S. military.

In the deadliest attack, a roadside bomb struck a military vehicle on Thursday in northeastern Baghdad, killing five U.S. soldiers, three Iraqi civilians and an Iraqi interpreter.

A U.S. soldier and two civilians were wounded.

Also Thursday, a rocket-propelled grenade struck a U.S. military vehicle in northern Baghdad, killing a soldier and wounding three others.

On Wednesday, a roadside bomb killed two U.S. Task Force Marne troops and wounded four others southwest of Baghdad.

A similar attack in western Baghdad on Wednesday killed four U.S. soldiers and wounded a fifth.

In addition, two Marines were killed in combat operations in Iraq's Anbar province on Wednesday.

There was zero--ZERO mention of the successes of the operations above mentioned by CNN. If you read this, their featured story on the war for today, you'd be left to understand that American and Iraqi forces, as well as Iraqi civilians, are suffering significant casualties, and al Qaeda terrorists, Sunni insurgents, and Shia militiamen got away with barely a scratch for the carnage they created. The CNN account reported a grand total of one dead terrorist, and he was a suicide bomber.

Propaganda is as much about what you chose not to print, as much as it is about the angle from which you pursue what do decide to print. Not that many years ago, CNN took a vow of silence not to report the torture being committed by Saddam Hussein's brutal regime in order to maintain a Baghdad office.

I'm beginning to wonder exactly what CNN gains now by refusing to tell all of the truth of this current Iraqi war.

Nah. Couldn't be.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:27 AM | Comments (18)

June 20, 2007

Intrepid L.A. Times Reporter Uncovered Second Diyala Campaign

Operation Arrowhead Thunder? Who knew?

Soldiers conducting Operation Arrowhead Thunder also have uncovered more than 1,000 roadside bombs around the provincial capital, Baqubah, where the offensive is being conducted, Iraqi security officials said.

I'm sure that the Times' crack reporters and editorial staff will soon provide us with an exclusive interview with General Perseus himself.

(h/t Hot Air's new headline thingy)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2007

Burning the Smoking Gun: Steyr Responds

Last week I published Burning the Smoking Gun, which rebuffed/debunked a claim made by Thomas Harding in a February 12, 2007 U.K. Daily Telegraph article, which made the claim that "more than 100" HS50 .50-caliber long-range precision sniper rifles purchased by the Iranian government from the Austrian company Steyr-Mannlicher were captured in Iraq by U.S. forces.

I confirmed via U.S. Army LTC Christopher C. Garver, Director of the Combined Press Information Center for Multinational Corps-Iraq that no such rifles had ever been documented as being recovered by American forces.

30 minutes ago, Reinhild Wohltan, acting on behalf of Dr. Viktor Bauer PR GmbH, sent along a press release regarding my story. Below is the press release, as copied into a GIF format from the original PDF:


Steyr-Mannlicher once again denies the rumor published as fact in the Daily Telegraph article, and notes that were these rifles to be used for anthing other than "legitimate and important law enforcement purposes," that Steyr's agreement with the Iranian government would be breached, and intones that if the Iranian-purchased HS50 rifles were captured for "non-legitimate use"--i.e., sniping at Coalition forces within Iraq--that they would "offer support to clarify matters," which I would interpret to mean as offer to compare the serial numbers of any rifles recovered to serial numbers of those purchased by Iran.

The Daily Telegraph has not updated their original article to note that their charges are unsupported, and there is no intention that they will.

SO much for those multiple layers of fact checkers and professional media accountability.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:29 AM | Comments (4)

June 14, 2007

The Declining Media Influence of the Association of Muslim Scholars

Formerly a staple of reports in the Associated Press and other news organizations, the credibility of the Iraqi group known as the Association of Muslims Scholars (also known as the Muslim Scholars Association) seems to have fallen on hard times.

The al-Qaeda-aligned group's credibility may have begun to diminish when it claimed that 18 people died in an inferno at the al-Muhaimin mosque in Hurriyah, Baghdad, as part of a highly-disputed series of AP stories claiming that up to 24 people died and four mosques were "burned and blew up" on November 24, 2006. A photo taken the next day from inside the mosque rebutted that claim.

The Associated Press again used the Association of Muslim Scholars as a source for a dubious account on April 10, 2007, as the AMS made the following inflammatory charge:

The Muslim Scholars Association, a Sunni group, issued a statement quoting witnesses as saying Tuesday's battle began after Iraqi troops entered a mosque and executed two young men in front of other worshippers. Ground forces used tear gas on civilians, it said.

These charges were never substantiated.

I asked at the time, "Why does the Associated Press continue to use an organization with an obvious political agenda, ties to al Qaeda, and a documented history of providing false information as a source?"

Apparently, someone at the major media organizations had similar misgivings about the credibility of the Association of Muslim Scholars at roughly that time, or shortly thereafter.

A Google News search for "Association of Muslim Scholars" and a search for "Muslim Scholars Association show that no prominent news organizations have used the AMS as a source for over a month, even as links from lesser news sources (primarily blogs) show that the organization are still issuing press releases.

Apparently, it only took four years of publishing the propaganda of the AMS as news for the professional media to finally realize they were being had.

How encouraging.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:21 AM | Comments (1)

June 12, 2007

Burning the Smoking Gun

On February 12, Thomas Harding, Defense Correspondent of the U.K. Daily Telegraph, published what many regarded as evidence of the literal "smoking gun" proving Iranian government involvement in Iraq:

Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids.

The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year.

The sale was condemned in Washington and London because officials were worried that the weapons would be used by insurgents against British and American troops.

Within 45 days of the first HS50 Steyr Mannlicher rifles arriving in Iran, an American officer in an armoured vehicle was shot dead by an Iraqi insurgent using the weapon.

Over the last six months American forces have found small caches of the £10,000 rifles but in the last 24 hours a raid in Baghdad brought the total to more than 100, US defence sources reported.

The find is the latest in a series of discoveries that indicate that Teheran is providing support to Iraq's Shia insurgents.

Other Iranian ordnance, such as explosively-formed penetrators designed to slice through armored vehicles and Iranian-manufactured mortar and artillery shells had previously been captured in Iraq, though with little solid evidence implicating the Iranian government.

Capturing more than 100 of the 800 Austrian rifles shipped to the Iranian government—over twelve percent of their entire purchase—would be the most direct evidence yet of the Iranian government supplying Iraqi insurgents with weapons to kill coalition forces.

But the U.S. military says not so much as a single Steyr-Mannlicher HS50 .50-caliber sniper rifle has ever been documented as having been captured from Sunni insurgents or Shia militias in Iraq.

In an exclusive to Confederate Yankee, U.S. Army Christopher C. Garver, Director of the Combined Press Information Center for Multinational Corps-Iraq, stated that no such rifles have ever been confirmed recovered by American military forces in Iraq.

"Ever since that article, we have queried our units to see if anyone can find any evidence of those Steyr-Mannlicher sniper rifles," said Garver.

"To date, we have not found one unit that has any knowledge of that find.

"I can't tell you that this didn't happen -- the possibility that the cache of rifles was destroyed before being completely documented does exist, though the chance of that happening is small -- but we have been able to find no evidence of it."

Independent embedded combat journalist Michael Yon, who has perhaps spent more time in Iraq than any member of the western media, also discounts the likelihood of the Daily Telegraph story as being consistent with his experience in Iraq.

Yon, a former Green Beret weapons specialist, wrote, "I've been on many raids and seen literally tons of munitions captured. RPGs, small arms and machineguns of many sorts, hand grenades of many sorts, surface to air missiles, artillery and mortar rounds by the thousands if not tens of thousands between places like Baquba and Mosul (the largest weapons ASP I have seen was in Baqubah at FOB Gabe), but I have never seen a .50 caliber sniper rifle in Iraq that did not belong to Americans."

Michael Fumento, another independent journalist who has spent time embedded with Coaltion forces in Iraq and NATO forces in Afghanistan, likewise stated, "I heard nothing about the use of .50 cal enemy sniper rifles."

For it's part, Steyr-Mannlicher, the Austrian company that sold the HS50 rifles to the Iranian government and was embargoed by the U.S. and British government as a direct result, posted a press release in March disputing the Daily Telegraph story.

Dozens of media outlets and blogs (including this one) had reported the Daily Telegraph story as proof of Iranian government involvement in Iraq. To date, there is no indication that the Daily Telegraph has issued a retraction for their apparently false claims.

(Author's note: A special thanks to Mark Tapscott, editorial page editor of the Washington Examiner and blogger at Tapscott's Copy Desk, and U.S. Army Col. Steven A. Boylan, PAO for MNF-I Commanding General David Petraeus, for their assistance in researching this story.)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:08 PM | Comments (12)

June 11, 2007

Cheney Worst Veep Evah

So says John W. Mashek, retired Beltway journalist of four decades and U.S. News and World Report blogger. I'm sure he was completely objective in his reporting, and didn't develop any strong opinions until he began blogging.

And yet as horrible as the Veep is, Cheney's approval numbers are twice that of Harry Reid.

How disconcerting.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:53 PM | Comments (10)

New Euphemism Deployed in Gaza

Don't worry; there is zero chance of escalation.

Via The Australian:

A Member of the Palestinian Fatah movement was thrown off the roof of an 18-storey building today amid renewed clashes between rival factions across Gaza, as Israel vowed to continue its strikes.

Mohammed Suwerki was kidnapped near the seafront in Gaza moments before he was flung to his death from the roof of a building by fighters loyal to the Islamist Hamas movement, which has been locked for months in a power struggle with President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.

It's now a "power struggle."

I've got to hand it to the media. Apparently tired of 13 months of saying that the Palestinian groups are engaged in "factional fighting," the media has come up with a new and interesting way of avoiding the fact that Hamas and Fatah are engaged in a civil war.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:26 PM | Comments (2)

June 07, 2007

Those Wonderful Layers of Professional Editorial Oversight...

... have blown it yet again. From AFP's lede this morning (my bold):

One Palestinian was killed on Thursday as deadly clashes between rival Fatah and Hamas gunmen erupted for the first time in the Gaza Strip since the latest truce came into effect nearly three weeks ago.


I guess this nearly three-hour assault by an estimated 50-100 Hamas gunmen on Fatah's "key Presidential Guard position" just two days ago doesn't count:

Hamas and Fatah forces fought a major gun battle on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip near the Karni commercial crossing, the most serious flare-up in factional fighting in two weeks.

An officer with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Presidential Guard said a "large number" of Hamas fighters attacked a key Presidential Guard position near the crossing, wounding at least one guard member.

Or is AFP keying on the distinction "deadly," implying that if no one dies, then the violence doesn't count?

Perhaps the new AFP standard is "no body/no battle."

Somehow, I don't think that is quite accurate.

Update: Is "No Blood, no Foul" the new media standard for reporting combat? Or is it an old standard I'm just noticing?

Reuters is only slightly better than AFP in their reporting of the most recent outbreak of violence in the Gaza Civil War:

Rival Hamas and Fatah forces clashed in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least one person and injuring 12 others, in the worst flare-up of factional fighting in almost three weeks.

Like AFP, Reuters doesn't seem to consider Tuesday's three-hour battle worth noting as a serious fight. They seem to be of the opinion that the number of casualties that can be noted determines the seriousness of the conflict.

While casualties can be used to a certain extent to determine the severity of a battle, it should hardly be the only criteria, and is completely devoid of any tactical or strategic gains made by one side or the other. As it currently stands, we don't know if either side gained a strategic or tactical advantage in either of these two engagements, because neither news organization is providing that depth of coverage.

By their apparent casualty-only standard, the D-Day invasion of Normandy (where Allied forces suffered an estimated 10,000 casualties, including 2,500 dead, and the Germans suffered between 4,000-9,000 casualties), was far less important than the battle of Iwo Jima, where American forces suffered 27,909 casualties (including 8,226 combat-related deaths) and the Japanese lost more than 20,000 killed.

I don't think any sane person would dare make that argument.

Both battles were extremely costly and important for different reasons, and yet, the apparent criteria in use by these media organizations would make Iwo Jima the far more important battle based on casualty figures alone.

Casualty figures are an important indication of the scale of a battle or conflict, but they are only one indicator... unless someone is willing to argue that the inconclusive Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in May of 1864 where Lee inflicted nearly over 18,000 casualties and nearly 3,000 dead on Grant's Army will be judged as historically important to Americans as the first several years of the Iraq War.

I'm not willing to buy that flawed line of reasoning.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2007

Not Having What It Takes

Combat journalist J.D. Johannes has decided he doesn't have what it takes to be a New York Times journalist.

Welcome to the club.

I leaned up against the humvee and cried in the parking lot of Fallujah Surgical.

I knew right then I was not cut out for this type of work.

It was even worse a few weeks later on a rainy night in Baghdad...

On Memorial Day a column ran in the NY Times (Not to see the Fallen is no Favor) about the rules for photographing an injured Soldier or Marine.

The author whined about how he had to seek permission from the wounded before using the photo.

The editors obviously thought this column was perfect for Memorial Day.

I disagree. The times I have been around injured Marines I pitched in to help. I ran to get the stretcher. The only photos I have taken of an injured person were of a Soldier treating an Iraqi man for shrapnel wounds. You see the soldier doing his job, but not the face of the Iraqi man.

If I were to be wounded while embeded with Soldiers, Seabees or Marines they would provide medical attention and likely risk their lives to protect me and save my life.

I feel I should reciprocate because these young men and a few women I roll with outside the wire would not stand around snapping photos of me while I bled out--they would do what they do best Save Lives.

I think I might be able to relate.

While I've never seen combat, I've been an inadvertent first responder to an accident while a nominal member of the media. I was working at the university newspaper when a student crossing the street in front of me was hit broadside as she attempted to cross against the light. She cartwheeled through the air and hit the asphalt face first in front of the concrete divider beside me.

I jumped out of my car, and started trying to provide first aid as well as I could, reassuring the injured student as best I could as I directing others to call 911 and check on the condition of the driver. It never occurred to me to try to snap pictures or start composing a story as this student lay on the ground, bleeding from her mouth. The only thought in my head was to do what I could to help a shocked, scared, and injured fellow human being.

If basic humanity has to come second to the job, perhaps I don't have what it takes to be a professional journalist, either.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:01 AM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2007

What They Don't Let You See

Stare at this.


Now look back again.

I want this seared, seared into your memory.

This is an image from an al Qaeda torture manual captured in Iraq.

They use this and other techniques to torture Iraqi men and women, Shia, Sunni, and Kurd. They also use them when they can capture American and Iraqi soldiers and police.

I'd love to provide you with a link to the Washington Post or New York Times article detailing the atrocities contained, but they haven't been written yet. Nor can these articles be found in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, or the Philadelphia Daily News, and you won't see these images on the network nightly news, either.

While we are locked in wars against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq and other obscure places you couldn't find on a map, the American press has decided that you, the American citizen, don't need to see these images.


You don't deserve to see these images.


The near orgasmic contentment on the face of the torturer as he burns his victim with an iron is too inflammatory, and the American press wouldn't want you to become inflamed towards our enemy during a time of war, now would they?

I can completely understand where these media organizations are coming from.

They've spent years writing and buying into their own narrative that America is to blame for the problems in Iraq and that the threat of al Qaeda is over-hyped... and did I mention, over-hyped?

If they were to actually show, in stark terms, what al Qaeda truly is and what it is capable of, then the American people might start viewing them as Very. Bad. People. Such a thing could complicate the defeat of Chimperor Bush withdrawal plans. It is better to act like such things doesn't exist, and make sure most people miss it.

At the very least, they deserve a hand for staying "on message."


If these (and other) graphic images hadn't been picked up by The Smoking Gun and the Austrialian Press (Fox News posted, then retracted a story) you probably wouldn't have seen them at all.

Now consider that most people probably still won't see these images on the television news, or see them in print. They won't because the various news organizations in this and other countries either don't consider them newsworthy, or they consider the images too inflammatory.

Then wonder how much else you aren't seeing and hearing.

Our soldiers tell us time and time and time again that the war they are fighting in Iraq is not the war being reported by our media.

Do you believe them now?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:35 PM | Comments (13)

Paging Quality Control

You've got to love those diligent AFP photo editors.


If this is what gets through to publication, it make you wonder what slips through the cracks...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:50 AM | Comments (3)

May 23, 2007

They All Look Alike to CNN

You would hope that after being in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, that a major news organization such as CNN might be able to tell the difference between U.S. soldiers and their Iraqi counterparts.

You would hope.


The uniform is clearly Iraqi (this is what our Army's uniform looks like), and the weapon is obviously a Soviet-designed variant of the RPD squad automatic weapon (SAW) carried by Iraqi security forces and insurgents alike, but never issued to regular U.S. military forces.

Refusing to identify the nationality of the soldier isn't "wrong," but it is certainly imprecise, and by saying that he "searches for missing comrades," most people would logically infer that he was a U.S. soldier, as it is indeed U.S. soldiers that are missing. He is our ally, but he is clearly not a member of the U.S. Army. CNN is sloppy, but at least they aren't running enemy propaganda as news today.

Meanwhile, AFP has no problem identifying the soldier as Iraqi, but I guess they're simply paying more attention.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:52 PM | Comments (14)

May 22, 2007

Forcing War: Brian Ross, ABC News Undermine Non-Military Plan Against Iran

And here I thought the media were against war with Iran.

I'll be very interested to see whether or not the Justice Department will attempt to prosecute anyone in the intelligence community who leaked this information, as they obviously should. I doubt that Brain Ross or the staff of ABC News will be tried for criminal offenses (including treason), though the majority of comments posted on the Blotter's comment thread clearly favor that action... at least those they haven't yet deleted.

Ross and ABC News have purposefully undermined the non-military removal of a government that is a proud state sponsor of terrorism. If Ross and ABC News are successful in derailing covert non-military attempts to replace the Iranian government, then a military option may very well end up being our last remaining option.

If we are forced into a war because ABC News torpedoed our last, best hope at a non-military solution to the problem of Iran's militant, expansionist, Shia Islamist government, then the resulting deaths on both sides will belong in part to ABC News executives and Brian Ross.

Should that eventuality come to pass, the Federal Communications Commission should seriously consider suspending or removing ABC's broadcasting license as a warm up, and move on to more serious legal remedies from there.

Update: As is their pattern, the staff of the Blotter quickly removed my comment to their post that echoed the sentiments expressed in this blog entry.

ABC News gleefully exposes classified national security information, but apparently cannot tolerate some criticism of their own dubious operations. I can only wonder how many other criticizing comments they have deleted.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:30 PM | Comments (24)

May 21, 2007


File this under "not a PhotoShop, but it should be."


You can clearly see three Lebanese soldiers in combat fatigues (and the helmet of a fourth) as they cover their ears while firing a mortar against the Fatah Islam militant group outside of Tripoli, Lebanon.

But who is the forth guy in the phone, apparently wearing a brown polo shirt, seemingly obvious to the mortar firing at his feet, smiling as he talks on a cell phone? He looks more like an executive on a golf course than a soldier on the battlefield.

This is odd, even for Lebanon...

Note: The inset is my own, and is not in the original.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:28 PM | Comments (5)

I See Vague Dead People: The New Best Way to Lie

Knowing the intense scrutiny that their photographers face following last summer's Adnan Hajj incident, most news organizations are carefully reviewing photos taken by journalists in the Middle East before publication, to make sure they havne't been modified. They are, however, still failing to question the captions they use to describe photos, which can also be used to deceive news consumers.

The two photos shown below have been published in the past 24 hours, and are a prime example.

AFP ran the following photo and caption yesterday:

Palestinian mourners carry the body of Hatem Hmeid, 15, during his funeral in the Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip. Eight people were killed in a new Israeli air raid in Gaza on Sunday just hours after Israel's security cabinet gave the army the go-ahead to ramp up operations against Palestinian militants.(AFP/Mohammed Abed)

Reuters ran this photo and caption today:

Palestinians pray near the bodies of nine Palestinians killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza May 21, 2007. Israel launched more strikes against Gaza militants on Sunday, killing nine Palestinians in two aerial assaults, including one that struck the home of a prominent Hamas politician, security officials said. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA)

View the pictures and the captions that these news organizations provided with them, and you're looking on what may appear in your local, regional, national, or international news outlet of choice.

What you will probably take away from these photos is that once again, those dastardly Israelis are once again slaughtering defenseless Palestinians while targeting militants. Both captions mentioned that Israel was targetting militants, but both avoided mention that the dead pictured were apparently those same militants, and not innocent bystanders. Considering the names of the photographers, I wouldn't be too surprised if that vagueness was by intent.

The pictures, however, tell us a bit more than the captions would indicate.

Look closely at the photos above, and then take a gander at this photo in the Guardian Newsblog.

Hamas supporters on the left, with the green flags, Fateh on the right with yellow flags. Photograph: Laila el-Haddad

If seeing is believing, the dead in the pictures in the AFP and Reuters photos were militants wrapped in the flags of Fatah and Hamas.


Yes, they most were.

Civilian victims?

I suspect not.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:33 PM | Comments (4)

They'll Stand Up, But We Won't Report It

MNF-I has issued a press release detailing the repelling of a large-scale terrorist attack by Iraqi Security Forces this past Wednesday:

Iraqi Security Forces countered several terrorists who targeted bridges, transition jails, police stations and a combat outpost with vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, sporadic small-arms fire and indirect mortar attacks throughout the evening.

"This was a total team effort on the part of the Iraqi Security Forces and emergency responders," said U.S. Army Col. Stephen Twitty, commander of 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. "This Iraqi team showed the people of Mosul that they are resolute in their efforts to defeat this very cowardly, desperate enemy while protecting innocent civilians."

The first wave of attacks consisted of three VBIEDs, which targeted the Badush Bridge northwest of Mosul at 5:15 p.m., and was followed by another VBIED attack at the Aski-Mosul Bridge west of the city at 5:45 p.m.

Two more VBIEDs exploded outside a police station and a transition jail during the first wave. The first VBIED was a dump truck, which detonated upon reaching the entrance to the station. The driver of the second VBIED attempted to enter the compound but was killed by Iraqi Security Forces.

As the driver of the second VBIED was killed, terrorists attempted to breach the transition jail to release prisoners by using small-arms fire. However, Iraqi Security Forces quelled the attempt and kept the facility secured.

The second wave of attacks involved another dump truck VBIED parked outside a southeast police station at approximately 7 p.m. As the driver abandoned the vehicle, he was seen by Iraqi Police and was killed as he was fleeing the area. The Iraqi Police immediately cordoned the vicinity before detonation. No casualties resulted.

Small-arms fire erupted during the second wave at seven police stations throughout the city and one combat outpost. In all cases, Iraqi Army and Police repelled the enemy and killed at least 15 terrorists and turned back the remaining opposition.

"The Iraqi Security Forces are in the lead, and they are certainly a capable force," said Twitty. "Their reactions to the attacks [on Wednesday] only serve to prove their ability to destroy and remove terrorists. Their actions demonstrate their commitment to this city and its people. I am extremely proud to serve beside them."

Stars and Stripes indicates that up to 200 insurgents may have been involved in the May 16 attacks.

If these accounts are close to being accurate (and there have not been any conflicting accounts that I am aware of), the Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul performed extremely well, repelling a large scale (company-sized ), multi-wave attack with no outside support from U.S. forces.

CNN covered the story, adding:

Mosul police spokesman Gen. Saied al-Jabouri said intelligence reports suggested the attacks were coordinated by al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq -- which he said were "two sides of the same coin" -- and were an effort to free at least 300 inmates from the al-Faisaliya prison in Mosul.

Al-Jabouri said seven of the 10 vehicle-borne bombs were suicide car bombings and that a key bridge, many buildings, shops and homes were destroyed during a six-hour period starting late Wednesday afternoon.

A U.S. military source said the bombs killed 10 Iraqi police officers, one Iraqi soldier and two civilians. He credited the Iraqi security forces for these "minimal casualties," saying it "could have been much worse if they were not doing their job."

"The ISF dealt with it, showing the people they are trained and ready," the U.S. military official said.

Al-Jabouri said Iraqi troops, backed by the U.S. military, fought with insurgents for two hours across Mosul, killing 15 of them and one Saudi national.

You would hope that the major news organizations would report the successful repulsion of such an attack as the victory it was, and as an example of success that can be won by Iraqi military and police units. al Qaeda and the ISI are the insurgency's "varsity" in Iraq, and when placed head-to-head against Iraq's best, they lost a battle in which they had apparent advantages in surprise and firepower.

This should be regarded as significant news.

But it is very difficult to find many major western news outlets carrying a report of the events in Mosul on that day, quite an odd development considering the size of the attack. This is especially odd when you consider that these same news outlets were able to print dozens of stories about a pair of ABC journalists killed in Mosul on May 18, just two days later.

I understand that the deaths of two journalists in Iraq is very important to those in news-gathering industry, but I don't think I'd be wrong in state that a rare and sophisticated company-sized attack by al Qaeda and the ISI being repelled by Iraqi security forces is a far more important news story than the deaths of two reporters, both for those in the news business, and those new consumers around the world.

The Iraqi security forces thwarted a major assault and an attempt to free 300 prisoners, and suffered minimal casualties in a serious engagement.

That's news.

It's too bad there seems so little interest among professional news organizations in reporting it.

Update: Heh:

Is there any way we can get Al Qaeda on record as supporting carbon dioxide production? Seems like the only way to get the MSM's interest.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:57 AM | Comments (37)

May 18, 2007

Vogue: Strike a Pose

Q: Who doesn't wipe away small trickle of blood running from their hairline, down between their eyes, off the end of their nose, and around their mouth?


A: A car-swarming Palestinian, when a Reuters cameraman is nearby.

The photo appears to be a cropped version of this wider image, which shows the carswarm in progress, and the remains of the mangled militant van hit by Israeli aircraft.

Perhaps I'm too jaded to be objective after last year's Pallywood antics, but I'd guess there's a more than decent shot that his wound came from being jostled in the crowd swarming around the sharp, twisted metal of the bombed van, and not from injuries from the blast itself.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:49 PM | Comments (17)

May 17, 2007

Waiting for Sderot

Did you hear about the high school hit yesterday by a pair of missiles?

Of course you didn't. It was an Israeli school in Sderot that was struck, and the missiles were fired by Hamas.

A quick Google search of news outlets shows that this kind of school violence is apparently not newsworthy by the standards of our gatekeeper media.


To be fair, Google News did not capture all mentions of the story (NOTE: see update below).

The New York Times mentioned the attack in passing in the ninth paragraph of this story, which was focused almost exclusively on Israel's retaliatory air strike against Hamas commanders.

CNN followed a similar pattern, kindly donating a few words about the high school attack in the tenth paragraph of a story focused on Israel's air strike and the Hamas-Fatah not-civil war.

Only CBN covered the attack on the high school with any depth at all:

Palestinian terrorists in Gaza launched at least 11 Kassam rockets at the besieged Israeli city of Sderot Thursday, hitting a high school and a greenhouse in another Israeli community in the western Negev. Scores of rockets have fallen in the area this week, forcing thousands of residents to seek shelter elsewhere.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has promised a "harsh and severe" response to the rocket attacks, which could include the renewal of targeted assassinations of terrorist groups in Gaza or eventually even a military reinvasion of the Gaza Strip.

Two rockets hit the high school in the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council as students met in fortified classrooms to take their matriculation exams in mathematics.

The Kassams damaged an unfortified section of the building and lightly injured two people. Several others suffered shock.

Rueters' Nidal al-Mughrabi completely neglected to mention the attack on the high school, even though his story was side-barred by these pictures of the attack.


Caption: An Israeli firefighter surveys the scene after a rocket, fired by Palestinian militants, landed in a high school classroom in the southern town of Sderot May 17, 2007. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen


Caption: Israeli students embrace during a rocket attack at their high school in the southern town of Sderot May 17, 2007. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen


Caption: Israeli students hold their hands up to their faces on the scene of a rocket attack at their high school in the southern town of Sderot May 17, 2007. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen

The news outlets of the world apparently have little interest in the attack on an Israeli school, but instead bend over backwards to write more than 2,500 3,000 stories about the results of the Israeli air force targeting Hamas leaders who are blamed for ordering the attacks on Sderot.

Update: A reader at Wizbang! noted that the Google search I ran for "Sderot high school missile" was incorrect, as a rocket, not a missile, was used by Hamas. I then ran a Google News search on "Sderot high school rocket," and the search hits jumped dramatically... no, not really.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:03 AM | Comments (22)

When Does the Gaza Conflict Become a Civil War?

This sure sounds like one to me:

Gaza City was shuttered on Wednesday as gunmen took over rooftops and top-floor apartments. Most everyone else huddled fearfully indoors on the fourth day of factional Palestinian fighting that is drawing in the Israeli military.

At least 19 Palestinians were killed on Wednesday — more than 40 have been killed over the past four days — in fighting between Fatah and Hamas as their unity government fractures and rage rises on both sides.

"We want this to end, because what's happening endangers not just the unity government, but the Palestinian nation and cause," said Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator and an aide to President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas attacked symbols of Fatah power in Gaza, including the home of the chief security commander. He was not there, but six bodyguards were killed.

The Los Angeles Times report is equally dire:

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah wage battles in the streets of the Gaza Strip. Three truces have come and gone. In four days, at least 40 people have been killed, including 14 on Wednesday, as an increasingly violent struggle threatens to bring down what had been touted as a Palestinian "unity" government.

When their new political power-sharing coalition was unveiled in March, amid smiles and congratulations, leaders of Fatah and Hamas pledged to put an end to their fighting. But the ferocious violence shredding the Gaza Strip this week has made a mockery of the agreement. Rank-and-file members of the two factions are once again battling for supremacy on the streets, as ordinary residents, worn down by years of economic and social chaos, remain trapped in their homes.

Are Palestinians in a civil war?

Wikipedia defines a "civil war" as:

A civil war is a war in which parties within the same culture, society or nationality fight against each other for the control of political power.

Some civil wars are categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict. An insurgency, whether successful or not, is likely to be classified as a civil war by some historians if, and only if, organized armies fight conventional battles. Other historians state the criterion for a civil war is that there must be prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country (conventionally fought or not).

The definition provided by Wikipedia is interesting when applied to the quite different conflicts in Iraq and Gaza.

The conflict in Iraq is routinely referred to as a civil war by politicians and journalists, even though doing so relies on the debated insurgency definition above. Clearly, the Iraqi conflict, while certainly involving an insurgency and intertwined sectarian conflicts, have never seen the widespread use of organized armies fighting conventional battles. Most of the sectarian violence is typically composed of guerillas (Sunni or Shia) attacking primarily civilian targets with mortar fire, IEDs and bombs, along with kidnappings, murders, and ambushes.

Calling the Iraqi sectarian conflict a civil war thus relies upon a debated definition.

The conflict in Gaza, however, seems too far more closely fit the agreed upon definition of a civil war. Fatah and Hamas are well organized, typically wear something of a uniform (if not consistently), fight small scale but typically intense conventional battles, and clearly fight for political power as their primary goal, and usually against recognized targets such as enemy units, commanders, and positions.

Shouldn't the Palestinian "factional fighting" thus easily earn the definition of a "civil war?"

If politicians and the media can used a debated definition to declare that Iraq is in a civil war, then they should certainly consider the near letter-perfect and undisputed definition of a "civil war" to describe the battle between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza.

The Palestinians in Gaza seem to be clearly involved in a bloody civil war. I'm curious as to why politicians and the media won't provide the proper definition for this conflict that it so clearly deserves.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:45 AM | Comments (6)

May 16, 2007

Getting the War Wrong... Again

A chronic problem of news agencies reporting from Iraq is their apparent inability to separate sectarian violence--violence committed by one sect on another, typically Sunni to Shia, or Shia to Sunni--with the terrorist attacks instigated by al Qaeda and aligned groups.

al Qaeda will attack against anyone and everyone else, including their Sunni co-religionists. It is this propensity towards terrorism for terrorism's sake that has spurred both the Anbar and Diyala Awakening movements.

AFP today provides a prime example of the media mislabeling an act of violence, turning a terrorist attack into a sectarian attack, even when their own report indicates they got it wrong:

Insurgent bombers detonated a van bomb in a crowded Iraqi market, police said on Wednesday, as Shiite militiamen clashed with police and the US military hunted for three kidnapped comrades.

The latest apparently sectarian attack ripped through a Shiite enclave northeast of Baghdad late on Tuesday, killing at least 32 civilians and wounding 65 more, according to local security and municipal officials.

Iraqi officials said the bomb had been packed with tanks of chlorine gas, but the US military said a team sent to the scene could not confirm this.

Other news organizations are also reporting on this story, and all are mentioning the still unconfirmed reports that chlorine gas canisters were used in the attack.

Now, if true, who has a M.O. of using chlorine-laced conventional bombs against civilians?

Why, I just don't know.


If you click through the links, you'll notice that al Qaeda and it's umbrella group, the Islamic State of Iraq, have detonated these weapons against Sunni and Shia civilians, and government forces alike.

While disputed, the claims of chlorine in the explosives would actually point away from a sectarian attack, towards a terrorist attack by al Qaeda or its terrorist allies.

You would hope AFP and other news organizations would pick up on things like that, and yet here they go, arguing against their own reporting, getting it wrong... again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:05 PM | Comments (4)

May 09, 2007

A Little Competence Would Be Nice

It should probably come as no small wonder that the majority of the American people are against the War in Iraq; getting faulty misleading or inaccurate or even purposefully biased information does that.

Time and again and again, our soldiers and Marines tell us that the war they are fighting in Iraq is not the one being reported in the professional media.

Karin Brulliard's article in today's Washington Post is a prime example, starting with the headline, "Bombs Kill 20 in Sunni Insurgent Stronghold."

It may come as a bit of a shock to both Brulliard and her WaPo editors, but Ramadi has not been an insurgent "stronghold" by any practical definition for months.

Newly commissioned Iraqi police, tribal militias and Sunni and Shia Army units have been consistently rolling back al Qaeda and aligned insurgents in Ramadi since the founding of the Anbar Salvation Council last year.

The bulk of al Qaeda and its supporters have fled Ramadi, have no bases and control no large swathes of territory, and take to the streets openly at the great risk of being shot by either local citizens, Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army soldiers, American Army soldiers, or Marines. Just a tip to the Washington Post: if they don't control the ground, you can't call it a stronghold.

Even beyond the headline, Brulliard and the Post show an ignorance that is hard to ignore:

Iraqi army Lt. Col. Thamir Ahmed blamed the attacks on the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq. He said the body of one of the bombers was found by authorities 300 yards from the car he detonated, still strapped in the driver's seat.

Perhaps in a Harry Turtledove alternative history novel al Qaeda could be considered a "Sunni insurgent group" in Iraq, but not in this world.

al Qaeda was, is, and remains an international terrorist group, and is composed mostly of foreign fighters, even in Iraq. The dead suicide bomber, like up to 90% of suicide bombers before him, was likely a foreign-born, non-Iraqi terrorist crossing into Iraq from Syria.

It makes it difficult for consumers of the Washington Post and other news organizations to make informed decisions about the war when the reporters themselves miss crucial distinctions, misreport facts, and mischaracterize the events and actors of the conflict. I could perhaps understand misstating the nature or character of one of the groups acting in this conflict early in the war, but as the conflict has been on-going since 2003, the media has very little excuse for these kinds of inaccuracies.

A little competence would be nice.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:32 AM | Comments (9)

May 07, 2007

IED Explodes, Kills One in... Vegas?

Let hope that what happens here, stays here:

One man was killed and another person escaped injury Monday in an explosion of a small device left atop a vehicle outside a Las Vegas Strip resort, authorities said.

Police said the blast was not a terrorist act, but an apparent murder of a hotel employee.

"We believe the victim of this event was the intended target," said Officer Bill Cassell, a Las Vegas police spokesman, who called the victim an employee of the Luxor hotel-casino. The person who narrowly escaped injury was also a hotel employee, Cassell said.

I'm admittedly late to this story, and rather thankful I am, otherwise, I might have erroneously reported with other media and bloggers the apparent pre-mature detonation of a backpack bomber. I don't hold any of the bloggers commenting on this case responsible for the erroneous reporting, which seems to be a case of the professional media once again trying to rush out a story before actually having the facts of the incident verified.

This was, if the second round of reports is accurate (and the second round of reporting is generally more accurate than the first, if still often imperfect), most likely a targeted assassination, and not a terrorist with a case of premature detonation.

Using explosives is a rather rare method of carrying out an assassination, precisely due to the threat of unwanted collateral damage.

The KTLA account of the detonation linked by Allah is particularly frightening if accurate, in that it describes the device detonating as the apparent target attempted to move it.

It could be that the device was command-detonated and that the bomber chose that exact moment to detonate the bomb, but the other possibility is that the bomb had a motion-activated trigger. This means that anyone else who may have attempted to move a device so armed (from a hotel security officer to an opportunistic thief, to a "good Sam") could have been killed.

I've sent in an info request to the ATF Arson and Explosives Division seeking clarification of what kind of trigger they have recovered, but considering that the answer would reveal part of an on-going investigation, I don't anticipate any sort of a response.

Update: Averill P. Graham, US DOJ, writes back this morning to state that the correct way of requesting information is a dead-tree FOIA request. Frankly, I'm not that interested.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:03 PM | Comments (6)

May 03, 2007

Just How Educated Are Our Reporters?

Read this, and you'll be asking that question as well.

It isn't rocket science.

al Qaeda in Iraq is the lead element in a coalition of Sunni insurgent groups that now calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

al Qaeda in particular and the ISI in general are becoming increasingly unpopular even within the Sunni insurgency because of al Qaeda's tactic of using foreign suicide bombers to indiscriminately target Iraqi civilians, Sunni and Shia, and their vastly different goals:

...the insistence that homegrown insurgent groups bow down to the Islamic State was insulting to the Iraqi fighters defending their homeland. The fact that the Islamic State's end goal -- the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq -- was not the end goal for Iraqi insurgent groups, despite their rhetoric in support of an Islamic state, was another obvious source of contention.

The Islamic State's insistence that Iraqi groups subordinate themselves to its hierarchy and vision only increased after November, leading to a number of documented clashes between the Islamic State and homegrown insurgent groups. When the Islamic State began targeting Iraqi insurgent leaders with attacks and assassinations, the Iraqi groups responded with vigor.

There are essentially two conflicts going on in Iraq.

One is the sectarian "civil war" we've heard so much about in the press, which is largely occurring along Sunni and Shia sectarian lines. Sunni and Shia death squads target the opposite sect. This is going to take a long time to quell, and will take primarily a political/social/cultural solution.

The other is a fight between government and coalition forces and an increasing number of Sunni tribes against a dwindling number of Islamist terrorists, primarily al Qaeda and it's remaining supporters. The solution to this particular problem is decidedly far more military in nature, and if recent trends continue, the solution may be coming sooner rather than later.

You would hope that someone as smart as Dana Milbank could figure this out, and perhaps it is still not too late.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:50 PM | Comments (3)

April 30, 2007

ABC News: Reaching, Failing Yet Again, and My Fleeting Affair with Holly Hunter

It is getting increasingly difficult to describe stories published by ABC News as anything remotely approaching competent journalism.

Today, ABC runs the headline Va. Tech Shooter, Victim Linked to Gun Range, in an attempt to establish a connection between Seung-Hui Cho and his first victim, Emily Hilscher.

The connection?

Cho used the Jefferson National Forest Firing Range at least three times in the six weeks prior to the Virginia Tech massacre. Heather Haugh, Emily Hilscher's roommate, said that Hilscher went to that range with her boyfriend Karl David Thornhill, perhaps even a month ago.

The ABC News reporter, Lara Setrakian, then states:

The link between Hilscher and Cho is unclear, but possibly crucial to understanding a motive behind the April 16 attack.

Interesting line. Setrakian essentially admits there is no clear link, but then speculates that a link that may not even exist is "possibly crucial to understanding a motive."

Setrakian presents no evidence that Cho and Hilscher were at the range at the same time, same day, or even the same week.

This is "crucial?" Do we blindly speculate much?

You know, I was in a sporting goods store some years ago in Middletown, NY, when actress Holly Hunter purchased a treadmill, and I actually helped her and the guy she was with load it. Does that prove we have some sort of relationship? Apparently it would to ABC News, as it is a far more concrete link than this Cho/Hilscher story.

Sadly, blind speculation and incompetence, along with outright, still uncorrected falsehoods, are sadly becoming the new journalistic standards of ABC News, where "ABC" seems to be defined as "anything but credible."

Holly, if you read this, and remotely remember that tender handful of seconds we almost had together almost talking in a Middletown, NY parking lot... call me.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:35 AM | Comments (6)



FOREMAN: Let me ask you quickly, Jim, there's been a lot made of the media improvements by the insurgents, that they're doing a great job of getting their message out. What are we going to see from our military as we move forward against that press machine, when they try to balance it?

HANSON: You make a good point. you forced me to point out you guys did put out a pretty heinous video of snipers, of the insurgents killing U.S. troops on CNN, so you guys to some extent helped them with their own propaganda.

That's gonna leave a mark.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:20 AM | Comments (2)

April 26, 2007

Anonymous VT Massacre Investigator(s) Caught Misleading Media

The media keeps getting the basic facts wrong about the Virginia Tech massacre, but now an anonymous police investigator or investigators can be proven to be contributing to the problem:

Investigators said that over the next few weeks, he went to the Wal-Mart in Christiansburg on March 31, April 7, April 8 and April 13. During those visits, he bought cargo pants, sunglasses and .22-caliber ammunition. He also bought a hunting knife, gloves, a phone item and a granola bar. He visited Dick's Sporting Goods for extra ammo clips. He bought chains at Home Depot that he later used to hold shut the doors of Norris Hall.

Note the "investigators" for the above Associated Press article are anonymous.

The NY Times provides us with this similar claim:

Crime scene technicians recovered 17 spent magazines of ammunition, the majority of which were for Cho's 9mm handgun, a law enforcement official said.

"He ended up buying a load of mags from Wal-Mart and Dick's Sporting Goods," said an official, who asked not to be identified. "This was a thought-out process. He thought this through."

Two stories citing anonymous officials, and both are repeating nearly identical claims.

Demonstrably false claims.

News flash: Dick's Sporting Goods doesn't carry any handgun magazines of any kind, at any location. Walmart also does not carry pistols or pistol magazines.

I called the Dick's locations in Christiansburg and Roanoke this evening and I spoke with employees in the hunting department (called "the Lodge"). They confirmed what I already knew from visiting Dick's locations in New York and North Carolina over the past five years; while the chain carries ammunition, they've never carried pistols or pistol magazines.

I spoke with the young lady in the sporting good department of the Christiansburg Walmart, which took a bit longer than the Dick's calls. I had to first explain to her that when I was asking about "pistol magazines" I was not talking about handgun-related periodicals. Once that point was clarified, I confirmed that Walmart do not sell ammunition holding devices for pistols, either.

Two of the nation's top news organizations are telling hundreds of thousands of news consumers demonstrable lies because journalists were/are too lazy to spend the minimal amount of time it takes (three calls in five minutes) to fact-check an anonymous source regarding claims made about two huge retail store chains and their role in this nation's largest mass murder shooting.

If the media is this lazy investigating the facts of the largest mass shooting in American history just a little more than one week after it occurred, I can only imagine how little effort they put into more pedestrian stories.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:42 AM | Comments (14)

April 23, 2007

Is a Mandatory Waiting Period a Good Idea?

From falsely reporting (ansd still refusing to correct) a claim that the expiration of the 1994 Crime Bill permitted the sale of high capacity and extended magazines, to claims that he purchased a pistol and ammunition online to citing incompetent experts, the "professional" media has consistantly made inaccurate, unsupported, and erroneous claims about the firearms, magazines, ammunition and firearms laws surrounding the Virginia Tech massacre committed one week ago today.

Should we perhaps consider a mandatory waiting period on the media's reporting of gun crimes... or would we best be served by making them pass a basic background and competence check before allowing them to write?

The pen is mightier than the sword, after all, so it is reasonable to make sure that those who use them are capable of using them responsibly.

Update: How about this for a new bumper sticker: "Michael Isikoff's keyboard has killed more people than Ted Kennedy's car, or my guns."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:51 AM | Comments (7)

April 20, 2007

Va Tech Massacre Updates: An Incompetent Retired ATF Agent; and a Dishonest Lede from CBS

Allahpundit has been burning the midnight oil at Hot Air, and has some shocking updates on the Virginia Tech massacre perpetrated by a deranged student, Cho Seung-Hui.

First, NBC is now claiming that Cho had a staggering number of magazines, including extended 33-round magazines:

Virginia State Police say they're nearly done with their on-scene investigation at Virginia Tech. But inside the classroom building, investigators say they found a surprising number of handgun magazines, or clips — 17. Some, officials say, were high-capacity magazines that hold 33 rounds. That means, investigators say, that Cho may have fired at least 200 times during his killing spree on Monday.

As AP notes, this contradicts a WaPo story I cited yesterday, which said:

Cho reloaded several times, using 15-round magazines for the Glock and 10-round magazines for the Walther, investigators said...

I wouldn't be surprised to see that Cho had multiple magazines, but 17 is a huge number of full magazines to carry. If 15 of those were standard 15 round Glock 19 magazines, that would give him 225 rounds, plus 20 in the 2 10-round P22 factory magazines for a total of 245 rounds. If some of those Glock magazines were the extended 31 and 33-round magazines as NBC now claims, he could easily have been carrying in excess of 300 rounds, and that doesn't include any loose or boxed ammunition he may have had.

I'll try to run this down, and see which investigators are getting this story right.

Before I go on, however, I'm going to take issue with retired ATF agent Joseph Vince, who NBC quotes in their article:

In the photos Cho sent to NBC, he showed some of his ammunition — hollow-point rounds, purchased, officials say, in the weeks before the shootings. Law enforcement officials say hollow-points are generally considered more lethal.

Joseph Vince, a retired ATF agent, agrees.

"It's not something that you would need for home protection, because what you are trying to do is eliminate an immediate threat," Vince says. "The idea of killing is what this ammunition portrays to me."

Vince is unequivocally wrong in this instance, and I don't see how he could be misquoted.

Hollowpoint and frangible ammunition is precisely the kind of ammunition you would want for home defense and personal protection.

Vince seems to be implying that FMJ ball, soft-nosed, wadcutter, semi-wadcutter or round-nosed lead bullets would be a more favorable choice for home defense than hollowpoints or frangible ammunition, and that is not only wrong, but ignorant and I'd go as far as to say it is stupid.

FMJ ball, soft-nosed (jacketed bullets with an exposed lead tip), wadcutter, semi-wadcutter or round-nosed lead bullets are solid bullets that do not typically change shape much when encountering human-sized targets or most building materials. As a result, if someone has to fire one of these bullets at a person, only one of two things can happen:

  • The shooter hits his target and the bullet over-penetrates, goes through his target, and runs the risk of going through building materials and other people with enough velocity to kill or wound someone else. Depending on the caliber, these bullets can hit a human and retain enough energy to completely pass through with enough force to go through several more sheetrock walls and still retain enough energy to kill someone else. Because these bullets typically go through a target while still retaining a great amount of energy, they are by definition not translating that energy into stopping power, and cause less damage to the primary target than would hollowpoint or frangible ammunition, which tend to expend more or all of their energy into the target, translating to more stopping power on directly comparable shots.
  • The shooter misses his target, and the bullet goes through multiple layers of building materials. FMJ ball, soft-nosed (jacketed bullets with an exposed lead tip), wadcutter, semi-wadcutter or round-nosed lead bullets will typically retain their shape and energy far better than hollowpoint or frangible ammunition, and will therefore penetrate far more layers of building materials. Many solid centerfire pistol bullets will penetrate more than a dozen layers of sheetrock if they don't encounter something with more mass (a 2x stud, other materials, or a human body).

I recall at least one instance where a home owner in a home invasion scenario fired a FMJ bullet (.45 ACP 230-grain FMJ, I think) that missed his target, exited his home, completely went through another home entirely, and finally lodged in the far bedroom wall of a third home, above a sleeping girl's head. Had she been sitting up, she could have been seriously injured or killed.

Hollowpoints that function as designed open into a mushroom shape, and offer far more surface area for friction to affect once they start encountering other objects. They will not penetrate as far as the various solid bullet designs in identical circumstances as a result. If they hit their human target, the hollowpoint bullet transfers mote energy into a target, and stands greater likelihood of incapacitating the assailant when compared to identical shot placement from any of the solid bullet designs. Likewise, those hollowpoints that completely penetrate the human target will be more likely to stop faster than solid designed when encountering building materials, also because of the wider surface area.

In most (not all) home defense scenarios, frangible ammunition, while far more expensive than either the hollowpoint or solid ammunition designs, is the best option. When a homeowner confronts an assailant and is forced to fire directly at his target with no intervening material separating them, the frangible bullet fragments inside the target, transferring most or all of it's ammunition to its target on a hit. Tests on French alpine goats in the Strasbourg (sp?) tests confirmed that frangible bullet designs are superior to all other bullets designs in incapacitating a human-sized target, with various hollowpoint designs coming in behind, and solid designs behind hollowpoints in terms of effectiveness.

Joseph Vince, retired AFT agent or not, is horribly, horribly wrong here.

Allahpundit goes on to note that if Virginia had forwarded Choo's mental health evaluation to the federal government, Cho should have never been able to buy the Glock:

The magistrate ruled in 2005 that Cho presented “an imminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness, or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for self and is incapable of volunteering or unwilling to volunteer for treatment.” He should have been in the FBI’s NICS system, but apparently states don’t always provide mental-health records as fully as they might or should.

If this CBS News story is correct, then Cho bought his Walther P22 online. Horrors!

Oh wait. He didn't. Media ignorance and misrepresentation once again rears its ugly head:

On this same day, the gun was shipped to JND Pawnbrokers in Blacksburg, Va., where Cho picked up the gun two days later. The federally licensed store then did a background check.

First, the sequence of events in paragraph is backwards. Cho could only pick up the gun after the NICS check, and that is what occurred. CBS News ignorance, or purposeful design? You make the call.

The actual sequence of events run in direct opposition to what the article claims in the lede:

On Feb. 2, Cho Seung-Hui bought a Walther .22 caliber pistol from the online retail store It was the first and only time he ever used this particular Web site.

Without a Federal Firearms License (FFL), Cho could not directly by a gun through mail order or online, as the lede improperly states. It isn't until the final paragraph that we learn Cho did not buy the gun from the online site.

Instead, he chose the model he wanted and had it shipped to a business with a FFL, where he then went through the normal purchase process, as you would in any retail firearms purchase.

This tragedy at Virginia Tech is horrible, but the reporting of it thus far is showing us either the professional media is a bunch of bumbling incompetents, or are agenda-driven deceivers.

I'm not sure which possibility frightens me the most.

Update: Ace calls foul. Actually, he calls a word I won't use on a family-friendly blog, but you get the picture. Go read it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:21 AM | Comments (20)

April 19, 2007

Hammering Ross

I'm not the only one noting the anti-gun dishonesty of Brian Ross and ABC News.

The Washington Times rips into them in "Inside Politics," calling the deceptive Ross and Dana Hughes blog entry a Media Misfire.

I'd add that they quote impeccable sources.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:36 PM | Comments (2)

April 18, 2007

Despite Dishonest Media Hype, Va. Tech Shooter Used Standard Capacity Magazines In Shooting Spree

Thanks to Ace and Allah, I was led to a Washington Post article that explains that the shooter at Virginia Tech used standard capacity magazines during his rampage:

The Glock was used in two shootings, first in a dormitory and then in Norris Hall more than 2 1/2 hours later, officials said. A surveillance tape, which has now been watched by federal agents, shows Cho buying the Glock, sources said. Both guns are semiautomatic, which means that one round is fired for every finger pull.

Cho reloaded several times, using 15-round magazines for the Glock and 10-round magazines for the Walther, investigators said, adding that he had the cryptic words "Ismale Ax" tattooed on one arm. Although there are many theories, sources said, no one knows what it means.

As I stated yesterday, the magazines used in the Virginia Tech massacre were of standard capacity. Let me take this opportunity to do what the media has failed to do, and explain the difference between standard capacity magazines, magazines manufactured during the crime bill, and extended magazines as the terms relate to pistols.

Standard Capacity Magazines
Standard capacity magazines are those magazines designed by the manufacturer to fit within the magazine well in the butt (handgrip) of a pistol. The capacity varies from pistol to pistol, depending on how the firearm was designed. Most modern 9mm pistols are designed to house between 13-17 cartridges in each magazine without noticeably protruding from the bottom of the pistol.

This is a picture of a Glock 19 with a standard capacity magazine of 15 rounds, as designed by the manufacturer.


"Crime Bill" Magazines
A provision of the 1994 "Crime Bill" was the so-called "assault weapon" ban, and part of the ban placed a limit of ten cartridges on any magazine manufactured after the law took effect (it did not ban the ownership, sale, or purchase of then of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of standard capacity and extended capacity magazines manufactured prior to the law's implementation). Under this law, any magazine with more than ten rounds was declared a "high capacity" magazine, even though the overwhelming majority of these magazines were actually standard-sized magazines as designed by firearms designers. "High capacity" was and is purely a political designation, not a practical one.

Typically, the exact same magazine body were used in pre-ban, ban, and post-ban magazines, with internal block limiting the number of cartridges that could be loaded into magazines produced during the ban period (It was also relatively simple to remove the block from many magazines and return them to their standard capacity with a simple replacement of parts if one wanted to, but with so many pre-ban magazines for sale, few saw the need).

This is a picture of a Glock 19 with a AW-ban capacity magazine of 10 rounds.


Actually, it's the exact same picture, but as the ban and standard magazines still used the same magazine body, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference in the pistol's profile anyway.

Extended Magazines
As they relate to pistols, extended magazines are those magazines that extend perceptibly beyond the butt (handgrip) of the pistol. Extended magazines do not always mean high capacity magazines. Ten-round magazines for 1911-style .45ACP pistols were quite legal to manufacture between 1994-2004, but they still extended quite a bit beyond the pistol's natural butt.

This is a picture of a Glock 18 (the Glock 19's larger, machine pistol cousin) with an extended 33-round magazine that would fit the Glock 19.


Brian Ross of the "Blotter", ABC News, and Keith Olbercavemann were factually wrong is when they stated or implied that the 1994 law in any way restricted the sale, purchase, or ownership of any of the above magazines.

The law simply did not do what they claimed, and tens of thousands--perhaps hundreds thousands of such magazines--were bought and sold via retail purchase in stores, catalogs, and online during the 1994-2004 period. All the 1994 law did was ban the manufacture of magazines greater than ten rounds during that time period, which ultimately was a trivial matter. While the cost of some standard and extended magazines did rise considerably during the ban, they were never in short supply because so many magazines were already on the market.

Others and I have also noted that the size of the magazine also has very little to do with the carnage at Virginia Tech on Monday. It takes most shooters between 1-3 seconds to change an empty magazine for a full magazine, and there was no indication that Cho was rushed, especially as he had a second gun, presumably with a full magazine already loaded, at hand.

There are some forces in the media that are using this tragedy in Blacksburg to try to push a political agenda, and they are will to twist the truth or even lie to you in order to push it.

It's a sad, sick fact, but that is the media we have.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:52 PM | Comments (18)

Giving Dumb a Chance

On the off chance that the ABC News staff of "The Blotter" is just ignorant of their subject matter and not nakedly pursuing a political agenda, I sent the following comment to their latest blog entry on the Virginia Tech shooting, in efforts to clear up a previous post that was patently false.

I'm still waiting for a retraction of the completely false story posted to the Blotter, "Lapse of Federal Law Allows Sale of Large Ammo Clips."

Ross and Hughes falsely stated that "High capacity ammo clips became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons."

The AW Ban provision of the 1994 Crime Bill in no way restricted the sale, purchase, or ownership of magazines of more than ten rounds during the 1994-2004 period, and only restricted the sale of high-capacity magazines manufactured after this date. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of high-capacity magazines were bought and sold during the 1994-2004 time period in retail stores, via catalog sales, or online, and all sales and purchases were completely legal.

Nor were Ross and Hughes correct when they said, "Web sites now advertise overnight UPS delivery of the clips, which carry up to 40 rounds for both semi-automatic rifles, including 9mm pistols, and handguns."

These magazines were always available for legal purchase online (or anywhere else) since the World Wide Web was created. Their false implication that sales only began after 2004 is laughable, and completely false.

The blog entry was not only incorrect, it was deceptive, and showed a basic ignorance of the AW Ban and magazine provisions of the 1994 "Crime Bill."

ABC News and "The Blotter" owe their readership an apology and a retraction for this blatantly incorrect and perhaps purposefully fraudulent blog posting.

The media is allowed to occasionally make mistakes, but responsible journalists admit and correct their mistakes. It only remains to be seen if Brian Ross, The Blotter, and ABC News are responsible journalists.

NOTE: This comment has been cross-posted as part of a blog entry at

I somewhat doubt that Brian Ross and ABC News has the integrity to issue a retraction of their inaccurate and agenda-driven post, but at least I'll be able to show that I made the attempt to have them correct the record.

Update: I fought the dumb, and the dumb won. My comment was deleted by ABC News employees moderating "The Blotter." Obviously, pursuing a political agenda is far more important to ABC News than is actually reporting facts.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:39 AM | Comments (10)

So Simple, Even a Journalist Can Do It

I've roundly criticized ABC's Brian Ross for his blatant falsehoods regarding the "assault weapons" ban provision of the 1994 Crime Bill, but it appears that not only has ABC News refused to retract these false claims, it appears that the lie is spreading among other members of the ignorati.

Enter one of the least, shall we say, "mentally agile" disciples of this profession at MSNBC.


Allahpundit Ian has the video of Olbermann parroting of Ross' falsehoods.

At least one of the weapons used by the shooter is believed, as we said, to be in nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol, which would be like this one, with a clip designed to hold more than 10 shots. Clips like those were banned under the Assault Weapons Law of 1994, but Congress and President Bush allowed that law to expire more than two years ago.

I'll try this once more, making it so easy that even journalists can understand it.

High-capacity magazines were never outlawed. They were never illegal to own, buy or sell, person-to-person, in retail stores, catalogs, or online.

Part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was the so-called Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was a ban on certain cosmetic features found on some firearms. It was, in fact, nothing more than "scary-looking gun" law.

Banned "assault rifles" were easily made legal again by manufacturers who merely had to remove the offensive accessories, such as flash hiders, pistol grip-style stocks, or bayonets lugs, none of which affected the rate of fire, accuracy or velocity of the firearms in question. Older firearms arbitrarily (and inaccurately) deemed assault weapons by the ban that were already in the market were grandfathered in, and the new "post-ban" assault weapons sold quite well during the length of the so-called ban.

Another provision of the ban was a ban on the manufacture of "large capacity ammunition feeding devices," which the law defined, again arbitrarily, as those rifle and pistol magazines that hold in excess of then rounds of ammunition.

Where Ross, ABC New, Olbermann and others are dead wrong is when they attempt to imply that the ban on the manufacture of new magazines of more than ten rounds was a ban on all high-capacity magazines. This is patently false.

There are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of firearms in America primarily designed to use magazines of more than ten rounds. Most of these firearms were sold by the manufacturer with at least two magazines, and there was and is a robust industry for magazines for these firearms. By the time the "large capacity ammunition feeding devices" stipulation of the 1994 AW Ban provision was implemented into law, there were literally millions of such magazines in America, and hundreds of thousands more available for retail and commercial sale.

The AW Ban did not make owning nor selling such magazines illegal. As a result, magazines of more than ten rounds were available for uninterrupted sale during the entire ten-year life of the AW ban. It was never illegal to own, sell, or buy such magazines. All the ban actually did was to spur interest in purchasing such magazines, and manufacturers literally had to work overtime to meet anticipated demand prior to the implementation of the law.

As a result of supply and demand, once the "ban" (which it never was in any meaningful way) went into effect, some magazines increased significantly in cost, and some were even in relatively short supply, but they were always available in retail stores, catalogs and online, and they were always legal to own, buy, or sell.

I'm growing increasingly tired of journalists such as Brain Ross, ABC News, and Keith Olbermann spouting falsehoods, when they have obviously been too lazy--or perhaps just to agenda-driven--to simply read the law itself, or even point a web browser in the direction of Google.

These so-called journalists have forfeited their credibility by refusing to address the truth, and instead, decided to foist upon an unsuspecting public, blatant falsehoods to further a political agenda.

We've come to expect our media to be biased. We shouldn't have to deal with them blatantly, recklessly, and repeatedly lying to further their private policy beliefs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:22 AM | Comments (6)

April 13, 2007

AOL Poll Results Thus Far: Can Rosie

It's not looking good for a certain 9/11 Truther.


As of 1:06 PM (EDT), 82% of 6,873 people casting votes in the America Online poll agree that Rosie O' Donnell should be fired.

The link for the Drudge Report probably isn't helping Rosie fans, but I doubt it is swinging things too much.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:16 PM | Comments (35)

April 11, 2007

Duke Players Innocent / Media Outs Accuser

Read Ace for the analysis of Attorney General Roy Cooper's press conference stating the Duke Lacrosse players were innocent of all legal charges brought against them.

The Raleigh News and Observer, perhaps upset that the public furor, class warfare and racial acrimony they helped stir up turned out to be false, reacted by "outing" the accuser.


Her identity was an open secret for months on the Internet, but the decision to publish the name of someone that might be less than stable in the community where she lives seems punitive in nature, and perhaps more than a little dangerous.

Update: The N&O explains why they outed her.

Fox piles on. Hard.

Most other media outlets display a little bit of class.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:44 PM | Comments (16)

Fisking Fisk

The man who has been wrong so often that he became a verb, is at it again:

Faced with an ever-more ruthless insurgency in Baghdad - despite President George Bush's "surge" in troops - US forces in the city are now planning a massive and highly controversial counter-insurgency operation that will seal off vast areas of the city, enclosing whole neighbourhoods with barricades and allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter.

The campaign of "gated communities" - whose genesis was in the Vietnam War - will involve up to 30 of the city's 89 official districts and will be the most ambitious counter-insurgency programme yet mounted by the US in Iraq.

The system has been used - and has spectacularly failed - in the past, and its inauguration in Iraq is as much a sign of American desperation at the country's continued descent into civil conflict as it is of US determination to "win" the war against an Iraqi insurgency that has cost the lives of more than 3,200 American troops. The system of "gating" areas under foreign occupation failed during the French war against FLN insurgents in Algeria and again during the American war in Vietnam. Israel has employed similar practices during its occupation of Palestinian territory - again, with little success.

Mr. Fisk claims that the style of counterinsurgency to be used in Baghdad had its "genesis" in the Vietnam War. This is especially troubling, considering that in the very next paragraph, Fisk brings up the French war in Algeria as another example.

The seminal work of counter-insurgency, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice was written in 1964 by French Lt. Col David Galula, eight years after he first implemented them in 1956 in Greater Kabylia, east of Algiers.

The United States did not bring ground troops into Vietnam until the first detachment of 3,500 Marines was dispatched on March 8, 1965, nearly a decade after Galula began modern counter-insurgency tactics in Algeria.

I'm quite curious: does Robert Fisk conduct his research using "alternative history" books as a guide?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:46 PM | Comments (5)

Is the Associated Press At it Again?

You'll likely remember that the Associated Press uncritically published an Association of Muslim Scholars claim on November 25, 2006 that 18 Sunni worshipers were killed in an "inferno" at the Al Muhaimin mosque in the Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad:

And the Association of Muslim Scholars, the most influential Sunni organization in Iraq, said even more victims were burned to death in attacks on the four mosques. It claimed a total of 18 people had died in an inferno at the al-Muhaimin mosque.

The claim has never been substantiated.

To the contrary, the Iraqi military forces reported no evidence of a fire having ever occurred inside the mosque, a conclusion also supported in U.S. military accounts. A photo of the interior of the mosque taken the very next day proves there was no "inferno."

The Associated Press has never issued a retraction or a correction for this clearly fabricated claim.

But why throw away a perfectly good source, just because they've been caught fabricating stories?

Today, the Associated Press once again used the Association of Muslim Scholars as a quite dubious source:

The Muslim Scholars Association, a Sunni group, issued a statement quoting witnesses as saying Tuesday's battle began after Iraqi troops entered a mosque and executed two young men in front of other worshippers. Ground forces used tear gas on civilians, it said.

"The association condemns this horrible crime carried out by occupiers and the government," the statement said.

But the witness in Fadhil said the two men were executed in an outdoor vegetable market, not in the mosque. The Iraqi military was not immediately available to comment on the claim.

Why does the Associated Press continue to use an organization with an obvious political agenda, ties to al Qaeda, and a documented history of providing false information as a source?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:47 AM | Comments (3)

April 10, 2007

Some of the News That's Fit to Print

Gateway Pundit correctly nails the leading regional and world media outlets for vastly over-exaggerating the actual number of protestors making noise on behalf of Tehran resident Mookie al Sadr in an anti-U.S. protest over the weekend.

A sampling of the media's inaccurate mis-reporting:

  • The Associated Press: "Tens of thousands of Shiites..."
  • New York Times: "Tens of thousands of protesters loyal to Moktada al-Sadr..."
  • Reuters: "Tens of thousands of people waving Iraqi flags..."
  • Gulf Daily News: "Hundreds of thousands of chanting Iraqi Shi'ites burned and stamped..."
  • Guardian (UK): "Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr..."

And now, a reality break.

As Bugs Bunny says, "That's all, folks."

Even Duke University football games get better turn-out than the 5,000-7,000 shown in the image above.

I'd be very interested to discover which organizations actually had reporters in Najaf for the protests, if those reporters were bureau reporters or local stringers, and where they came up with their figures. Thinking I'd actually get a response to any of these questions from these news organizations is, of course, absurd. The media doesn't like the idea of accountability.

I'll update this with more detail if information becomes available.

Update: Crap! I screwed up. the photo above was clearly captioned as being from Baghdad in the MNF-I article , and I did the "assume" thing, and thought that Gateway Pundit captioned the photo correctly (he didn't), and got it completely wrong.

SSG Craig Zentkovich said via email that he shot this picture from the top of the Sheraton hotel in 2005. You have my apologies.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:38 PM | Comments (17)

April 09, 2007

Imus: An Appropriate Response

Radio talk show host Don Imus got himself in a world of trouble for referring to female basketball players at Rutgers University as "nappy headed ho's" last week, a comment still being discussed today, in the New York Times, on the Imus show itself, and elsewhere.

Predictably, there are those calling for Imus to be fired for the comments, and perhaps their argument would have some merit in a perfect world, but ours is not a perfect world. Should Imus get fired for this incident, a bidding war for his services would likely soon erupt, and Imus might very well profit from his transgressions, not learn from them.

There is another option, however, that would hit Imus on a more personal level, and would potentially remind him that the words he chooses to use in the future may have repercussions.

The City of New York, where Imus works and maintains a residence, issues "may issue" concealed carry licenses, allowing the police to determine who is allowed to have a concealed handgun. This is according the Sullivan Act, and in practice, it means that very, very few permits are issued.

Don Imus has a well-known history of alcohol and cocaine abuse in his past, and while he claims to have been clean for many years, his substance abuse history is certainly enough reason to deny him a permit even in "shall issue" areas. It is clearly his fame, and fame alone, that has afforded him the privilege to carry a gun in New York City.

It only seems fitting that his infamy caused him to be stripped of this privilege as well.

There is very little reason to think that Don Imus has any greater need to carry a concealed weapon in New York than anyone else, and there are some very good reasons that should have precluded him from ever getting a permit at all. By stripping Imus of his privilege and the false sense of security that comes with it, it might serve to remind Imus that he is not a law unto himself, and it may remind him in the future that the words he chooses to use may place him in harm's way.

If carrying a gun can give some people a false sense of invulnerability, then stripping someone that has (undeservedly) had that privilege may serve to bring them down to earth. Let him face the world without a Glock to lend bravado to his racism, misogyny, and homophobia. I think a disarmed Imus would prove to be a defanged one as well, and one less inclined to attack others with such reckless abandon.

Update: Double-secret probation?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:10 PM | Comments (22)

April 06, 2007

I Think They Have Pills For This

When Editor and Publisher first pimped Joe Klein's article yesterday, I thought it might be a serious indictment of a flawed Presidency.

Uh, no.

Klein's article reads like a comment thread on the Democratic Underground, over the top to the point of making Klein look roughly as credible as Rosie O'Donnell, if with a slightly better grasp of the English language. It is an exercise is excessive hyperbole, is poorly sourced, and highly speculative.

The Iraq War was solely predicated upon Saddam Hussein trying to killed George H.W. Bush? The 2000 election was "stolen?" Please.

I expect that from the same forthing fringe that insists "9/11 was an inside job," but I expect better from both Time and Klein.

All this rant firmly establishes is that Joe Klein has a deep, seething hatred for President Bush, and that he not above trashing his own credibility to display it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:31 AM | Comments (51)

April 05, 2007

Montel Williams: At it Again

As a rule, I couldn't care less about daytime television, but the agenda-driven jihad of talk show host Montel Williams continues, once more attempting to use military veterans and their families as political props.

On March 12, I commented on Montel's ambush of military families, that saw some family members leave in tears before the taping was over, and at least one escorted out by security.

This morning, a reader tipped me to this article, discussing the experiences of Keli Frasier, a 24-year-old who served 11 months in Iraq and came home with symptoms later diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This is the part of the article that caught my emailer's eye:

For Frasier, the sharpest memories are of moments that never made the air from the show taped in New York.

When she told Williams she was treated well by the Department of Veterans Affairs, he seemed to lose interest and moved quickly to another segment, she said.

During a commercial break, though, he gestured to her and commented, “This soldier’s not going to complain,” Frasier said.

She was whisked away to the airport and never spoke again to Williams, she said.

This is at least the second time Williams has attempted to use military veterans and their families as political pawns, a move especially despicable, considering that Williams himself is a veteran and knows—or should know—what these servicemen and their families are experiencing.

As now demonstrated twice in less than a month, Williams has chosen to obscure any anecdotal evidence that conflicts with his political views, by simply editing them out of the show.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:57 AM | Comments (4)

April 03, 2007

Drudge Might Have Been Right

If this is accurate, will I have to issue an apology for my apology now?

I only ask because I just stumbled across an account from an AFP journalist at the John McCain press conference in Baghdad, confirming that a reporter was giggling during the press conference:

"I studied warfare. I'm a student of history. If you control the capital city of a nation you have a significant advantage," countered McCain as one reporter giggled at the back.

Considering how this same article describes how the "slightly incredulous" journalists who covered the press conference "openly scoffed afterwards," it doesn't seem that far-fetched that someone in the press corps might have taken the opportunity to slip in a mocking comment in a stage whisper, just loud enough for fellow journalists to hear it, but not loud enough to be picked up by microphones directed at McCain.

If the press conference official that leaked to Drudge was standing behind the last row of reporters as I've seen them do in the past, he might have been in a position to hear someone quietly mocking McCain's comments, even if those comments were perhaps meant from private consumption.

If Raw Story is correct, Michael Ware happened to be sitting in the back row at that press conference, just where this AFP reporter places the giggler.

Let the games begin, again.

Update: Nope, Drudge is still wrong. The giggling reporter was not Ware, and the press conference was not interrupted, according to Raw Story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:47 PM | Comments (27)

BREAKING: AFP Reporter Doesn't Like Terrorists

Actually, it would be more accurate to state that Jenni Matthew doesn't like the word "terrorist."

In an operation targeting presumed Al-Qaeda fighters near Anbar's former rebel town of Fallujah, a US warplane killed six "terrorists" in an air strike while forces on the ground arrested another seven, the military said.

Perhaps I'm just reading too much into the tone of the overall article, but it seems that Jenni Matthew detests having to use the word terrorist to describe, well, terrorists.

She doesn't like to assign blame to them, either:

Since the launch of a massive security operation in Baghdad in February, Iraqi and US troops have reduced execution-style killings in the capital, but car bombings carried out by suspected militants remain a major headache.

I shouldn't have to point out the obvious fact to Ms. Matthew that when people carry out car bombings, they are not suspected of anything; they are militants, period. As somebody once said, "words means things," and to label those guilty of manufacturing and detonating bombs often targeting civilians as "suspected" militants is deceptive.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:20 PM | Comments (4)

April 01, 2007

Michael Ware's CNN Career: Dead, and Loving It

A few days back in the comments at Hot Air I somewhat defended CNN's Michael Ware.

I can't defend this:

During a live press conference in Bagdad [sic], Senators McCain and Graham were heckled by CNN reporter Michael Ware. An official at the press conference called Ware’s conduct "outrageous," saying, "here you have two United States Senators in Bagdad giving first-hand reports while Ware is laughing and mocking their comments. I've never witnessed such disrespect. This guy is an activist not a reporter."

Senators McCain and Graham flew into Iraq and drove into Bagdad, making stops at an open market and a joint Iraq/American military security outpost before appearing at the press conference.

This is not the first time Michael Ware has taken issue with Senator McCain's comments about early progress in Iraq. Last week, after Senator McCain told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he needed to catch up on the news coming out of Iraq, Michael Ware responded, saying:

“I don't know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.”

Michael Ware has also publicly expressed his views on the war last year in an interview with Bill Maher, saying, "I've been given a front-row ticket to watch this slow-motion train wreck... I try to stay as drunk for as long as possible while I'm here … In fact, I'm drinking now."

I'll be somewhat surprised if Ware receives anything more than a slap on the wrist for his actions. Ware isn't any more of an activist than reporters from other news organizations in Iraq. At least he didn't stoop to hiding his agenda behind imaginary police captains.

Update: Hmmm... I'm starting to wonder if Drudge got "April Fooled."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:17 PM | Comments (11)

March 30, 2007

Dollard on Limbaugh

I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but Pat Dollard was on with Rush Limbaugh yesterday talking about his Marine war documentary, Young Americans. He shot me a YouTube link to the exchange.

For those of you not familiar with the name Pat Dollard, a bit of brief background may be in order.

Dollard is a former Hollywood agent with an admittedly checkered past, who , with no military or filmmaking experience, took off the Iraq to embed with the Marines to film a raw documentary. The easily offended need not apply, but if you want to see some video clips, go here. Definitely NSFW.

Wikipedia offers up this biographical background:

Pat was a Hollywood talent agent, manager, and producer most known for guiding the career of Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh from his neophyte "sex, lies & videotape" days on up through "Ocean's Twelve" and his multi-picture deal with Mark Cuban's HDNET cable channel. Dollard came from a long line of liberals, and Robert Kennedy, Jr. delivered the eulogy at the funeral of his sister, Ann Dollard. Despite this, Dollard became known as a rare Hollywood conservative in the mid-90's, and is now known as a conservative filmmaker, journalist and pundit. He has been widely attacked by the left for the pro-war stance displayed in early clips of his documentary series "Young Americans". He is becoming known as the right wing version of Michael Moore and Hunter S. Thompson.

Wikipedia also offers up this summary of his activities in Iraq:

While still running a management company, repping Soderbergh and helping to service Soderbergh and George Clooney's production company at Warner Brothers (Section 8 Films), Dollard decided to do a little side project for a few weeks in the three worst combat zones in Iraq: Fallujah, The Triangle of Death, and Ramadi. What was supposed to be a 2-4 week quickie documentary, morphed instead into a 7 month, graphic, unfettered portrait of the frontline hell of these three combat zones. Dollard lived constantly in the dangerous "hootches" with the Marines he covered, and patrolled with them and was severely wounded on more than one occasion. He shot 700 hours of hi-def footage, as reported by the website "Confederate Yankee". His work has been discussed at U.S. News and World Report, Variety, the Huffington Post, the New York Times, Fox News (Guest Appearance), The Washington Times, and "Vanity Fair".

The Wikipedia bio is a bit scant in describing how Pat got wounded: Dollard was in Humvees hit by IEDs not twice, one of which killed two of the Marines he was with, and filled his legs with shrapnel. Crazy, brave, or perhaps a lot of each, Dollard returned each time, and intends to return again.

Like many embeds, Pat is self-financing his ventures. If interested, you can donate here. Look for the PayPal button.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:56 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2007

The Silencer

This is U.S. Army General Vincent K. Brooks.


He might look familiar as the man once known as the "the face of the U.S. military" for his role as spokesman for U.S. Central Command during the beginning of the Iraq War, He was the former chief PAO (Public Affairs Officer) of the US Army. He is currently the deputy commanding general - support for Multinational Division-Baghdad.

Vincent Brooks is also the general that has just threatened to kick Michael Yon out of Iraq.

A general emailed in the past 24 hours threatening to kick me out. The first time the Army threatened to kick me out was in late 2005, just after I published a dispatch called “Gates of Fire.” Some of the senior level public affairs people who’d been upset by “Proximity Delays” were looking ever since for a reason to kick me out and they wanted to use “Gates of Fire” as a catapult. In the events described in that dispatch, I broke some rules by, for instance, firing a weapon during combat when some of our soldiers were fighting fairly close quarters and one was wounded and still under enemy fire. That’s right. I’m not sure what message the senior level public affairs people thought that would convey had they succeeded, (which they didn’t) but it was clear to me what they valued most. They want the press on a short leash, even at the expense of the life of a soldier.

Brooks was chief PAO when the miltary wanted to kick Yon out of Iraq in 2005 over his the "Proximity Delays" and "Gates of Fire" dispatches, and apparently Brooks still harbors a grudge. Now that Yon finds himself in Brooks' territory again, it appears he has taken special interest in trying to kep Yon from doing his job.

Austin Bay weighs in on the witch hunt:

This is stupid... Telling Michael Yon to exit the theater is the WWII equivalent of telling Ernie Pyle to quit filing dispatches.

With terrorist propaganda blanketing the Internet, General Brooks seems intent on silencing one of the few long-term combat journalists in Iraq that can offer a competing voice.

Not a smart move, at all.

Update: Yon speaks about the media war.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:50 AM | Comments (35)

March 20, 2007

Iraqi Police, Tribesmen Brutally Suppress Anti-Coalition War Group; Dozens Killed While Attempting To Speak Truth To Power

Or at least that is how Keith Olbermann is likely to report it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

Questionable Caption of the Day

I don't think there is a lot to this AFP photo and caption, but there is just barely enough to make it interesting.

The photo shows a pair of parked HMMWVs on the left, a single U.S. soldier running, and a mostly hidden HMMWV that appears to have been hit by an IED between two large trucks that may (or may not) be recovery vehicles.


The caption reads:

A US soldier takes cover as a roadside bomb targets a US convoy in Baghdad's Bayaa district. Meanwhile, Iraq hanged Saddam Hussein's former deputy Taha Yassin Ramadan as the nation entered the fifth year of the US-led war still battling a raging insurgency and sectarian conflict.(AFP/Wissam Sami)

The caption is present tense, and is is quite possible that combat engineers have detected another IED near the site where the one HMMWV was disabled. It is not uncommon of insurgents to place multiple IEDs at an ambush location.

That said, there is no sign that the attack happened with the immediacy the caption suggests.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that mounted vehicle patrols in Baghdad typically do not bring recovery vehicles with them, and yet, it appears that two recovery vehicles are positioned in front of and behind the damaged HMMWV. The close proximity of the two other HMMWVs in the picture on the left-hand side (both in relation to the damaged vehicle, and to each other), strongly suggests that security had already been established and the site cleared of other possible IED threats.

Then there is the fact we see recovery vehicles and no movement other than the one soldier, suggests that those soldiers in the damaged HMMWV have already been evacuated from the area.

An AP picture taken in the same neighborhood on the same day seems to be from the same incident (the door in the street the AP photo also seems to match up with the missing door in the AFP photo), and states that casualties were medevaced by helicopter from the scene. This would have happened in advance of a vehicle recovery effort. Perhaps more telling, the AP caption mentions only one bomb.

Is the AFP exaggerating the immedicacy of this photo in order to sell it to news outlets? It's impossible to tell from just a pair of photos, but it would not be all that surprising if that turned out to be the case.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:30 AM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2007

Learn the Tech, Or Take Up Baking

As you've probably come to understand by now, reporters that don't understand the subject matter they write about really irritate me. Enter the Associated Press' Kim Gamel (my bold):

The U.S. military said the attack against the Americans began when a bomb went off as a U.S. unit was returning from a search operation, Moments later, a second bomb exploded, killing the four and wounding two other soldiers.

A demolition team that searched the site after the attack found an explosively formed projectile, a type of high-tech bomb the U.S. military believes is being supplied by Iran in support of Shiite militias. The device was detonated by the team.

This is an explosively formed projectile:


It is a spent bullet, an expended hunk of metal, no longer a threat.

What Gamel meant to write that they detonated an explosively formed penetrator, one of these:


This is a live explosive device, and a very dangerous one. This is what EOD team destroyed, not the inert slug of metal as Gamel misreported.

It's rather disappointing that we can't trust a professional war reporter for the world's largest news organization to get such important distinctions correct, but a disappointment that is now hardly surprising.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:20 PM | Comments (2)

March 13, 2007

Air America Offers to Host Republican Presidential Debates

Please understand that this is meant purely as a snub by the floundering liberal radio network.

On the other hand, if the state Republican chairmen of Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, or New Hampshire accept the offer, Air America can revel in something entirely new on a liberal talk radio network... listeners.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)

Ernie is Dead

Mike Yon's latest dispatch, "Ernie is Dead" will be posted soon on

"Ernie" is Ernie Pyle, the highly respected war correspondent from Scripps-Howard newspapers who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944. A collection of 40 of Pyle's columns have been collected by Indiana University's Journalism School here.

Pyle's most famous column, The Death of Captain Waskow, shows care, respect, and unvarnished humanity for the American soldier. It is doubtful that a similar column could be printed by today's media, which vacillates between treating our soldiers as unfeeling automatonic criminals and childlike victims. Today, many liberals would refer to someone like Pyle as a right wing propagandist. We just think of him as an American legend.

I'll link Yon's article in an update when it comes online.

Update: Yon's dispatch is now online at before transitioning over to the extended entry at Michael Yon Online.

True to the title, Michael makes some very interesting observations about combat journalism, and dings both the professional media and bloggers as warranted.

The rules, like the times and tents, have changed. Joe Galloway is retired. Journalists who in previous wars might have spent long tours with combat forces are rare. There have been a few, such as Lee Pitts who was here to cover a Tennessee National Guard deployment for a Tennessee paper. Or Rich Oppel of the New York Times, who has been here repeatedly for longer than typical journalists. John Burns needs no introduction. Likewise Dexter Filkins or Michael Ware. But journalists who roam the battlefield with the troops and write freely for long periods are completely gone. That doesn’t mean good journalists are gone. There are plenty of those, but mostly they are somewhere else, or they only come to Iraq for quick tours.

There is the new brand of journalists, the independents, of which I am a charter member. Many bloggers, along with their readers, are changing the face of journalism. Glenn Reynolds, from the immensely popular blog "Instapundit," which I check regularly, calls the new media "An Army of Davids," who are already changing the media by holding it more accountable. A number of very effective blog-storms have provided a needed check to balance the system. Don’t ever fake a photo: Bob at Confederate Yankee is watching.

Huge amounts of blog-energy go into attacks on mainstream media war coverage that might be better spent ignoring the irritant and offering alternative sources, in view of how critical any and all media coverage is to shaping public opinion which in turn determines the outcome of this war. These skirmishes between mainstream and alternative media produce only friendly fire casualties, and neither side can claim a monopoly on accuracy and objectivity. While the reliability and/or agendas of many mainstream media sources are questionable, the blogworld is also often too eager to anoint anyone who's not mainstream as a guru-of-something. If this were the art-world, it would be like anointing anyone with some skill at putting brush to canvas as the "new Rembrandt."

But the dirty secret known to only a few is that many of these "new Rembrandts" are clever forgeries. Some bloggers who advertise themselves as war correspondents with numerous "embeds" in the war, with the implication that they've spent more time on the ground than their mainstream war correspondent counterparts, mostly have spent very little time here, especially in comparison to those mainstream war correspondents.

This week, journalists are all around this area—ABC, Fox, New York Times, Associated Press, The Telegraph, Stars & Stripes (DoD publication) and others, all flagships—but where are the bloggers? Prohibitive costs, very high risks, and an increasingly shrinking market for the work probably contribute to the poor showing. Will the blog-world still maintain the attack on coverage from the mainstream media? Instead of looking for mistakes in some coverage, the common cause might be better served by well-informed bloggers searching all sources for the reports that get it right and driving readers to those.

As if often the case, Yon is direct and offers his honest opinion of the problems of both the media and blogosphere.

Perhaps Yon is right, in that bloggers such as myself should spend more energy directing readers to alternative sources of information, than merely exhaust our resources shooting down erroneous media accounts. I know that in my case, I spent quite a bit of time proving that Associated Press source "Jamil Hussein" was every bit as much a fake as were the 24 people that never died in AP's Hurriyah mosque attack coverage, but for all my efforts, it accomplished very little. We forced Jamil into silence as a named source, and perhaps causing certain AP executives and reporters some heartburn, but none of them were held accountable for what I still feel is a serious case of journalistic fraud. I still think the story was worth pursuing, but might my efforts have been better spent trying to track down alternative sources? It's tough to know, and may vary from story to story, but it is something I'll now consider as I move forward.

As for the "new Rembrandts," I was a participant in a series of heated email exchanges over the past few days (still on-going) involving Yon and a blogger Yon clearly considers a "clever forgery." I'd prefer not to get into the details as I respect both Yon and the work of the person he suspects, and hope that this is a situation where a lack of clear communications, not deception, is the culprit. Time will tell.

That said, the point Yon makes is correct: we must police our own, just as surely as we police the professional media, and hold both the mainstream media journalist and citizen-journalist (blogger) to similar standards of accuracy and credibility.

The focus of Yon's article is also quite true, in that we have very few combat journalists dedicated to long-term embeds with U.S. and Iraqi forces, and when we lack that perspective, we lose something in our war coverage. I can certainly understand it we simply don't have the journalists willing to commit to long-term embeds with our forces, and certainly understand that most bloggers, which tend to hold other full-time jobs, simply can't afford to self-finance the substantial cost of embedding. I hope however, that if journalists and bloggers are willing and able to embed, that they can get the financial backing of media organizations to embark on that most dangerous of journalistic missions.

Ernie Pyle is dead. I wonder if his successors are being given the chance they need to keep his legacy alive.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:27 AM | Comments (3)

March 12, 2007

Montel Hell

You would expect a former military man like talk show host Montel Williams to take good care of the military families he invited on his show to talk about the stress deployments take on the husbands, wives and children left behind when our armed forces deploy overseas into a combat zone.

Instead, the 22-year veteran of the Marines and Navy ran a bait-and-switch, changing the subject to another topic, the problems encountered by some troops as the result of anthrax vaccinations. Williams heavily skewed reality to present only the side of this topic that would cause the most consternation, referred to the troops as "guinea pigs" repeatedly, and asserted that our military was being treated so badly that no one would ever volunteer for the armed forces again and that the draft would have to be reinstated.

The ambushed families were shocked and angered, as can evidenced in an accounting of the ordeal at SpouseBuzz, a military families web site:

The trouble started during the second taping, when we learned that Montel's agenda with military people wasn't what it had been portrayed to be when our group was invited to attend. And as military families have been burned so often by unscrupulous media members (I'm not attacking the ones who work professionally here!), we probably should have sensed it from the beginning. We were going to be ambushed.

And later:

But it got worse. The show was being presented in the most scaremongering fashion possible. There was only attention given to the worst cases. There was no attention given to those who had experienced no adverse affects, or only the mild swelling and soreness around the injection site, even though we had people like that present with us. There was no mention about the actual percentages such reactions actually occur in. And there was no mention of those, like an EOD friend of mine, who actually requested the vaccine and makes sure to keep it updated.

Finally, we all got up and left during a break before the taping was over. And I should probably add that there was a quite acrimonious exchange with Montel that resulted in one person being escorted out by the show security (who were very polite and professional, for the record). I did say, "You told us this was going to be about deployment, Montel!" to which the reply was, "Please, just leave." If there was any discussion of how deployment issues affect family members after we left, it happened without us. All I can say is that the direction and tone of the show definately made it look like the topic was not going to come up.

Ambushing military families is something that no American should stand for. If you would politely like to tell Montel Williams that you find his bait-and-switch attack deplorable, please contact the show via this form.

Our military families deserve better, especially from someone who should understand what these families are already going through with their military family members deployed overseas.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:26 AM | Comments (5)

March 09, 2007

Who Is Writing the Captions for AFP?

As I do from time to time, I was scanning though Yahoo! News images to see if anything interesting might be going on, when I came across the following.


Unless Nancy Pelosi snuck something into law in the past hour or so, the AFP caption writer is apparently going far beyond bias to outright fabrication.

There is a certain amount of editorializing that we are used to in many news organizations, and the "Brushing aside US public opinion" comment is a clear example of that, but then the writer goes beyond editorializing to complete fabrication, whe he or she states (my bold), "the Pentagon is to send more soldiers to Iraq on top of the extra troops announced in January which may now have to stay in the country until February 2008."

There is no set timetable for the withdrawal of U.S forces in Iraq in February 2008, nor at any other time. The writer is simply making up the news.

And no, I'm not buying the explanation that the writer might mean that the troops announced in January might be there until February 08. As many of the troops of the "surge" announced in January will not even deploy until later this spring or summer, that means their deployments would be roughly 6-9 months long, and that is clearly not what the writer is trying to convey.

I suspect that is the same caption writer the wrote the captions here:


I was able to find several stories discussing Clinton's comments, and yet in neither account can I find Clinton using the term "shabby rehabilitation," nor anything even reasonably close.

Well, that isn't entirely true.

I was able to find the words "shabby rehabilitation" in one account.


Did AFP crib from the Iranian-government controlled news agency, or was the AFP caption biased enough that it fit perfectly into the headline of the press agency of a repressive government?

In either event, I'm not sure it matters. What is clear is that our AFP caption writer seem quite content to make up the news as they go along.

Update: Added links to the Yahoo! photos.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:59 PM | Comments (7)

March 06, 2007

She Just Can't Help It

Ann Coulter just labeled John Edwards' campaign manager a terrorist supporter.


I've got a screen capture as well, should the comment disappear.

I suppose it is just a matter of time before Coulter takes a sudden fancy to Kevin Federline.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:41 AM | Comments (4)

March 03, 2007

Vile Coulter Does It Again

Should we bomb Connecticut, kill their pundits, and convert them to Christianity?

Ann Coulter is a verbal suicide bomber, willing to blow away her credibility and that of those around her for a few extra moments of infamy. Sooner or later, CPAC and other conservative and Republican groups are going to learn that Coulter is far more interested in promoting herself than any ideology they share.

Captain Ed said it a bit more tactfully than I might, but he said it well:

At some point, Republicans will need to get over their issues with homosexuality. Regardless of whether one believes it to be a choice or a hardwired response, it has little impact on anyone but the gay or lesbian person. We can argue that homosexuality doesn't require legal protection, but not when we have our front-line activists referring to them as "faggots" or worse. That indicates a disturbing level of animosity rather than a true desire to allow people the same rights and protections regardless of their lifestyles.

Ann Coulter can be an entertaining and incisive wit. Unfortunately, she can also be a loose cannon, and CPAC might want to consider that the next time around.

Ann Coulter stopped being an asset for conservatives a long time ago. I think it is time we move on past her.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:41 AM | Comments (27)

February 28, 2007

Eric Boehlert's Creepy Obsession

I've only come across this story several days late, but has anyone noticed that Eric Boehlert of Media Matters is obsessed with Michelle Malkin?

It would appear to be an unhealthy obsession at best, but perhaps what irritates me about his posts the most is not his opinion of Malkin, to which he is certainly entitled, but the fact that Boehlert can't keep his facts straight, which seems to be a long-running problem.

He concludes his most recent attack by listing bullet points of what he considers "Malkin’s recent lowlights,” including the following:

  • In April 2005, Malkin was leading the charge (i.e. "raising troubling questions") in accusing a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer with the Associated Press of working in concert with Iraqi insurgents to stage the public assassination of a Baghdad election worker. (The photog was tipped off by terrorists, Malkin claimed.) The allegations were proven to completely fictitious.

Entirely ficticious, Mr. Boehlert?

You wouldn't find it in Boehlert's article—he does not have the integrity to link directly to the Malkin post in question—nor does he link to the April, 2006 article on Malkin's site that shows that the charges were far from "completely fictitious." As a matter of fact, it appears that the charges may have been quite accurate. What is Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Bilal Hussein doing now?

Cooling his heels in an Iraqi jail after being captured with al Qaeda leader Hamid Hamad Motib and another terrorist. Somehow, I doubt Boehlert will apologize for being wrong.

But this wasn't Boehlert's only questionable lowlight, as he concludes with this gem, near and dear to my own heart:

  • In January, Malkin experienced a particularly humiliating setback. For months, Malkin had been pushing a far-fetched media "scandal" by accusing the Associated Press of manufacturing a "phony" and "bogus" Iraqi police source who was reporting false stories about the daily carnage inside Baghdad. She claimed the phony AP source proved that all of the AP's Iraq reporting was suspect. (Malkin and company cling to the notion that the situation in Iraq is not as bad as biased journalists make it out to be.) In January, the Iraqi government confirmed the police source's existence, thereby ruining Malkin's press-hating conspiracy theory. (The Post remained silent when Malkin's Jamil Hussein allegation imploded.)

This may be a news flash to Boehlert, but as regular readers of Confederate Yankee know, there is no Jamil Hussein, there never has been, and despite what Boehlert and the Associated Press maintain, Iraqi General Abdul-Karim Khalaf says he never confirmed the existence of Jamil Hussein, and he has gone on the record to set the story straight.

Instead of the General confirming the existence of Jamil Hussein, Associated Press reporters confirmed to General Abdul-Karim that Jamil Hussein was a pseudonym; the name of the source the AP misrepresented as Jamil Hussein was actually Jamil Gulaim Innad XX-XXXXXXX [Name redacted for security reasons — Ed.], which AP reporters confirmed both during a conversation with General Abdul-Karim prior to Steven R. Hurst's deceptive January 4 article, and with a phone call to General Abdul-Karim after XX-XXXXXXX was interviewed by the Ministry of the Interior.

Eric Boehlert's obsession with Michelle Malkin is a bit creepy, but the fact he seems quite willing to lie—or is just an incompetent researcher—goes far beyond his obsessionwith Michelle Malkin, to whether or not we can trust him to be the least bit honest or accountable for the things that he writes.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:20 PM | Comments (13)

BDS, EFPs, and the NY Times

One of the (often deserved) knocks against journalists is that many reporters are generalists, covering a wide range of breaking news stories, but lacking the specific knowledge one needs to write cogently or with any depth on a specific issue. That is especially true in smaller news organizations, where a general news reporter may have to cover a crash, a zoning board meeting, or an anti-hobo-kicking rally, depending on the news of the day.

At larger news organizations, however, reporters often fall into "silos," covering a certain beat, where they are expected to specialize on a specific kind of news story. This is why we have financial reporters, foreign affairs reporters and that guy who talks about "hog futures" (I tend to think that hog futures are almost all the same, usually involving their role as an entrée, unless they have an exceptionally literate spider nearby, but I digress).

A clear example of this kind of stellar, specialized reporting was published in the NY Times yesterday morning, U.S. Displays Bomb Parts Said to Be Made in Iran. After reading the article, I was left wondering if James Glantz and Richard A. Oppel, Jr., had transcended being mere reporters, as their insightful commentary was clearly approaching the level where they could soon be rubbing elbows with a frigid of Maureen Dowds or a pod of Oliver Willi.

Take a moment to bask in the glory of their perfectly honed lede:

— In a dusty field near the Baghdad airport on Monday, the American military laid out a display of hundreds of components for assembling deadly roadside bombs, its latest effort to embarrass the country it contends is supplying the material to armed Shiite groups here: Iran.

All along, I've been under the delusion that we were fighting Sunni insurgents, al Qaeda terrorists, and Shia militias in an attempt to bring some sort of stability to the 26 million people of Iraq. What was I thinking? As the razor-sharp team of Glantz and Oppel astutely noted, our military goal—of which this is just the "latest effort"—is the embarrassment of Iran. How did I miss that? Well, that is why they are the professionals, and I'm just a blogger.

It takes a sharp dedicated mind to cover the war for the NY Times. Listen to how these crack experts can turn even the most technical matter into speech even us common folk can understand:

The cache included what Maj. Marty Weber, a master explosives ordnance technician, said was C-4 explosive, a white substance, in clear plastic bags with red labels that he said contained serial numbers and other information that clearly marked it as Iranian.

See? C4 is a "white substance" with "red labels" in a "clear plastic bag." That I can grasp. It has, as we say, meat on it.

Why, if someone had tried to tell us that C4 was a durable, moldable RDX-based high explosive, it would have been far too complex to comprehend. I guess we're just lucky our soldiers didn't find any triacetone triperoxide.

But sometimes, even such experts as Glantz and Oppel can find the more technical aspects of their job, well, confusing:

But while the find gave experts much more information on the makings of the E.F.P.’s, which the American military has repeatedly argued must originate in Iran, the cache also included items that appeared to cloud the issue.

Among the confusing elements were cardboard boxes of the gray plastic PVC tubes used to make the canisters. The boxes appeared to contain shipments of tubes directly from factories in the Middle East, none of them in Iran. One box said in English that the tubes inside had been made in the United Arab Emirates and another said, in Arabic, “plastic made in Haditha,” a restive Sunni town on the Euphrates River in Iraq.

The box marked U.A.E. provided a phone number for the manufacturer there. A call to that number late Monday encountered only an answering machine that said, “Leave your number and we will call you back.”

Quite confusing, indeed.

These tubes made of the very rare element PVC. The fact that none of these tubes was made in Iran "cloud[s] the issue," for Glantz and Oppel in much the same way that Toyota's manufactured in Tennessee are still "Japanese cars."

The thing is, these commonly-found components didn't really seem to cloud the issue at all. At least, it didn't cloud the issue for the guys who created a series of PowerPoint presentations for a security services company in Iraq that just happened to fall into my lap.

The tubes, be they plastic or metal, made in Tehran, Haditha, or Boise, don't really matter. Any tube of the right size can be used to make an EFP, as even I can figure out. What matters are the explosive charge and the copper liners that form into slugs when the EFP detonates.

Why, one might even think that Glantz and Oppel were the ones purposefully trying to cloud the issue, but I guess that even professionals can get confused, so I'll see what little I can do to help.

This is a captured EFP.


It doesn't have a "made in Iran" stamp on it, so I can see how two of the Times best could get confused.

It isn't shiny, and it isn't pretty, but then, it doesn't have to be. What matters is that the copper disk liner on the front is manufactured to precise tolerances to form a slug when the explosive blast wave hits it. These aren't very easy to make without the right manufacturing equipment, and the kind of manufacturing equipment used to make them can often be determined from tool marks left on the copper disks. These marks are like fingerprints if not quite as precise, and can often determine where an EFP came from, especially if the EFP is captured intact before firing.

That is essentially what Maj. Jeremy Siegrist attempted to tell Glantz and Oppel, but they still seemed confused and captivated by the tubes. They even apparently misplace Siegrist's quote to make it appear he is talking about the PVC tubes in this cache, as opposed to the machined copper disks to which he seems to be rather obviously referring. Journalism? It's hard.

Items in the cache included the concave copper dishes called liners that cap the canisters and roll into deadly armor-piercing slugs when the explosive detonates. There were also various kinds of electronics, presumably for arming and triggering the devices, the PVC tubes, and two types of rockets and mortar shells that Major Weber said had markings and construction that identified them as being Iranian in origin.

The PVC tubes, of several different sizes, appeared to be fittings of the kind of used to splice two stretches of PVC tube together in routine applications.

“It’s worth pursuing that it’s machine-made and you can track the country of origin,” said Maj. Jeremy Siegrist of the First Cavalry Division. “And it’s manufactured for a specific purpose.”

The terrorists that use them have found that when EFPs are shiny and pretty, soldiers tend not to drive in front of them, and so they started camouflaging them by burying them in dirt mounds, or other roadside debris, or in fake rocks, like this one.


This particular fake rock EFP is quite nasty, as many of the newer EFPs are. This is a bank of 5 EFPs hidden in one fake rock, aimed at slightly different angles to create a wider spread of fire across a larger area.

As stated earlier, and mentioned above by Maj. Siegrist, these copper disks have a very specific purpose behind their design; the blast wave created when the explosive charge goes off will turn a properly shaped copper disk into a explosively-formed penetrator like the one below, moving at up to 2,000 meters/second.


These penetrators do very nasty things, as you might imagine, but you'll have to go elsewhere to see the results. Unlike CNN, I'm not interested in promoting the results of a terrorist attack. I will however, show you what an EFP looks like even after it has hit its target.


As you can see, a properly manufactured EFP still holds together rather well even after hitting an armored vehicle and injuring or killing those inside.

Improperly manufactured EFPs, presumably, don't work as well. If not shaped properly, they will, instead of forming a dart-like penetrator, will be thrust forward as some sort of misshapen blog blob with far less penetrative power that could go wildly off target, or simply shatter on detonation in far less lethal shrapnel.

I hope this little bit of information eases the confused clouds surrounding and created by Glantz and Oppel, and yet somehow, I doubt it. They're covering the war to embarrass Iran, not the one we are actually fighting.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:46 AM | Comments (3)

February 26, 2007

The Scandal that Refuses to Die: AP PR Director Alleges Iraqi General Lied About Jamil Hussein

The Jamil still-not-Hussein story is getting interesting again, with the AP's Director of Media Relations & Public Affairs, Linda Wagner, sending me an email early Saturday morning strongly implying that Iraqi Interior Ministry Spokesman Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf lied when he stated that he never confirmed the identity of the AP's two-year source as Jamil Hussein in an exclusive to Pajamas Media last week.

Wagner stated:

Mr. Owens,

AP knows that police officer Jamil Gholaim Hussein was its source. We did wish to obtain from Brigadier General Khalaf confirmation that Hussein is on the Iraqi police force, after Khalaf had earlier denied that fact. Khalaf provided that information on January 4.

An AP reporter attended the Iraqi Interior Ministry briefing on January 4. After the briefing, the AP reporter spoke to Khalaf who confirmed for the record what he had told that same reporter on the phone unofficially the night before:

* that Jamil Hussein's name could not be found in their initial search of their Iraqi police employee records.
* that subsequent searches of those records turned up Jamil Gholaim Hussein, which is the name AP reported in late November 2006.

Khalaf has since told the same thing to another AP reporter.

Linda Wagner
Director of Media Relations & Public Affairs
The Associated Press

I'd be very interested to see how BG Khalaf "provided that information" on January 4, if he in fact did so. He maintains, of course, that the story is quite the opposite, that the AP reporters he spoke with confirmed their source as someone with a different name (Jamil Gulaim Innad XX XXXXXXX [Name redacted for security reasons — Ed.]), on two occasions.

If the Associated Press has documentation proving their allegation, then things could get very interesting for the Interior Ministry spokesman, but at this point, Wagner has refused to answer whether or not they have anything to support their contention, or if they are simply going on the word of their reporters, which are apparently the same reporters that have been completely unable to substantiate the claim that 24 people died in the Hurriyah mosque attacks with any physical evidence over the past three months.

The burden of proof rests fully on the Associated Press to prove that "Hussein" exists, and so far, they have fallen woefully short.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:50 PM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2007

Raceless Female Raped by Raceless Male at a Party Hosted By a Raceless Fraternity in the Same City Where Rich White Boys Raped A Poor Black Stripper

I'd provide more details, but the News & Observer still can't seem to find any.

Update: It's even more ironic when you consider the N&O headline: "Warrant reveals details in rape case."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:14 PM | Comments (16)

Back to the Board

Last Thursday, I provided Associated Press Media Relations Director Linda Wagner with confirmation that a January 4 Steven R. Hurst article appears to be 180-degrees from the truth. To date, neither Wagner nor any other AP contact has deemed to provide any sort of response. Frankly, I didn't expect one. The Hurst article was a CYA piece written to provide cover for shoddy Associated Press reporting, and it is not in their personal interests to admit that they've been caught apparently fabricating that story from the ground up.

I've thus resorted to contacting several members of the AP Board of Directors with the following letter sent out just moments ago, hoping that they will display the integrity that neither AP reporters nor senior management seem to have any interest in maintaining.

If they decline to investigate this extended "Jayson Blair" moment, then their integrity and credibility as a news organization, to put it mildly, is shot.

Here is a copy of the letter, with links added for context and HTML formatting added:

Julie Inskeep
The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne, Indiana

David Lord
Pioneer Newspapers, Inc.
Seattle, Washington

R. John Mitchell
Rutland Herald
Rutland, Vermont

Jon Rust
Southeast Missourian
Co-president, Rust Communications
Cape Girardeau, Missouri

William Dean Singleton
Vice Chairman and CEO
MediaNews Group Inc.
Denver, Colorado

Jay R. Smith
Cox Newspapers, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Publisher Inskeep, President Lord, Publisher Mitchell, Publisher Rust, CEO Singleton, and President Smith:

I write to you today as members of the Board of Directors for the Associated Press. I have uncovered conclusive evidence that The January 4, 2007 article by Associated Press reporter Steven R. Hurst titled "Iraq threatens arrest of police captain who spoke to media" is highly deceptive to the point I think that most reasonable people would consider it an outright lie.

The post is currently online here:

In that post, Hurst states:

"The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.

"Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.

"The captain, whose full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, was one of the sources for an AP story in late November about the burning and shooting of six people during a sectarian attack at a Sunni mosque.

"The U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry raised the doubts about Hussein in questioning the veracity of the AP's initial reporting on the incident, and the Iraqi ministry suggested that many news organization were giving a distorted, exaggerated picture of the conflict in Iraq. Some Internet bloggers spread and amplified these doubts, accusing the AP of having made up Hussein's identity in order to disseminate false news about the war.

"Khalaf offered no explanation Thursday for why the ministry had initially denied Hussein's existence, other than to state that its first search of records failed to turn up his full name. He also declined to say how long the ministry had known of its error and why it had made no attempt in the past six weeks to correct the public record."

People who read the report are led to believe that Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf confirmed that AP's source is named Jamil Gholaiem Hussein. BG Abdul-Karim Khalaf did no such thing.

In fact, on January 11, LT. Michael Dean, LT, US Navy assigned to Multi-National Corps-Iraq Public Affairs forwarded to me and several other bloggers the following an email from Bill Costlow, a civilian liaison with the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) working with the Iraqi Interior Ministry in Baghdad. The email said, in part (my bold):

"Seems like every time I talk to somebody about this guy, his name changes. His personnel record says his name is: Jamil Gulaim Innad XX XXXXXXX [name redacted for blog publication -ed.]. Spokesman BG Abdul-Kareem has spoken with members of the AP in Baghdad and has confirmation that he is their source."

Note the last line in that paragraph. BG Abdul-Karim Khalaf did not confirm that the AP source was named Jamil Hussein. Quite to the contrary, AP reporters confirmed that the AP source was not Jamil Hussein, but was instead a man named Jamil Gulaim Innad XX XXXXXXX. To put it quite bluntly, Hurst's article is a categorical and blatant lie.

I followed up on this email, and got the following direct quote from BG Abdul-Karim Khalaf, forwarded to me by Bill Costlow, the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) liaison to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, on February 15:

"We couldn't identify CPT Jamil right away because the AP used the wrong name: we couldn't find a "CPT Jamil Hussein" — but later, when we saw the name "Jamil Gulaim Hussein", it became obvious that they were talking about CPT Jamil Gulaim Innad XX XXXXXXX" as the only 'Jamil Gulaim' assigned there (ever) and whose assignment records show he previously worked in Yarmouk, as also reported by the AP. Since the issue for us is the release of false news into the media, we're satisfied that the AP is no longer quoting a questionable source."

The General flatly states that Jamil Hussein is not Jamil Hussein as AP still contends, but is instead, CPT Jamil Gulaim Innad XX XXXXXXX.

Multiple levels of Associated Press employees, from stringers in the field in Iraq all the way up to Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll, International Editor Daniszewski, and Media Relations Director Linda Wagner, may have been knowingly perpetuating this pseudonym, and in essence, participating in a long-running fabrication.

They have apparently been deceiving Associated Press readers worldwide for over a month, and perhaps for as long as two years, if they knew his actual identity from the beginning.

AP Media Relations Director Linda Wagner was provided Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf’s direct quote for comment on the morning of February 15, but has declined to respond this far.

I have in my possession Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf's phone number for a direct confirmation of these charges, and I will gladly provide you with that number.

The Associated Press lied about the identity of Jamil Hussein, and still persists in maintaining this fabrication.

As readers and consumers of news provided by the Associated Press, we deserve a full retraction of the deceptive January 4 Steven R. Hurst article, an investigation of how long this willful deception has been on-going, and a formal apology. It is past time for the Associated Press to live up to these words in "The Associated Press Statement of News Values and Principles:"

"In the 21st century, that news is transmitted in more ways than ever before – in print, on the air and on the Web, with words, images, graphics, sounds and video. But always and in all media, we insist on the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior when we gather and deliver the news.

"That means we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions. It means we will not knowingly introduce false information into material intended for publication or broadcast; nor will we alter photo or image content. Quotations must be accurate, and precise.

"It means we always strive to identify all the sources of our information, shielding them with anonymity only when they insist upon it and when they provide vital information – not opinion or speculation; when there is no other way to obtain that information; and when we know the source is knowledgeable and reliable.

"It means we don't plagiarize.

"It means we avoid behavior or activities that create a conflict of interest and compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action.

"It means we don't misidentify or misrepresent ourselves to get a story. When we seek an interview, we identify ourselves as AP journalists.

"It means we don’t pay newsmakers for interviews, to take their photographs or to film or record them.

"It means we must be fair. Whenever we portray someone in a negative light, we must make a real effort to obtain a response from that person. When mistakes are made, they must be corrected – fully, quickly and ungrudgingly.

"And ultimately, it means it is the responsibility of every one of us to ensure that these standards are upheld. Any time a question is raised about any aspect of our work, it should be taken seriously."

A serious question has been raised regarding the apparent fabrication of a self-serving Associated Press claim, one that the management of the Associated Press seems to have no inclination to correct.

As members of the Board of Directors for the Associated Press, you have the responsibility to fully investigate this matter. If you decline to do so, your stated values and principles will be revealed for merely empty, self-serving words.


Bob Owens
Confederate Yankee Blog

Regular readers many note that I've approached these members of the Associated Press Board of Directors in the past to address problems with the AP's Hurriyah reporting, where the AP still maintains that 24 people died in mosque attacks on November 24, 2006, even though no bodies have ever been recovered, and despite the fact that photographic evidence shows conclusively that an "inferno" at one mosque where AP wrote that 18 people died, frankly, never burned at all.

I therefore have very little confidence that even the clear lies printed about what Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf actually said will be addressed by the AP Board of Directors, though I welcome you to use the email addresses provided above to let your dissatisfaction with the quality of the AP's reporting on this matter be known.

The Associated Press published an apparent bald-faced lied on January 4, and has made no noticeable effort to atone for that most egregious of journalistic sins.

BG Abdul-Karim Khalaf never said AP's source was Jamil Hussein. Instead, AP reporters confirmed to him that their sources name was Jamil Gulaim Innad XX XXXXXXX. The story Hurst published was in direct opposition to what BG Abdul-Karim Khalaf says occurred.

The Associated Press apparently fabricated a cover-up. The only question is just how high up that cover-up goes.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:02 AM | Comments (10)

February 19, 2007

More Fauxtography

You would think that after the downfall of Adnan Hajj that the professional media would have developed a sharper eye for noticing crudely PhotoShopped photographs, but even though Charles Johnson and others debunked a crude Iranian PhotoShop purporting to show U.S. munitions being used to subvert the government of Iran over the weekend, it didn't keep the ever-gullible L.A. Times from running the photo today.

Bloggers did a good job showing the PhotoShopping faults that Times photo editors should have quickly and rather easily caught, but simply doing a Google image search should have quickly proven the rifle ammunition claim questionable.

The ammunition box in the Iranian PhotoShop shows the front of a box of ammunition with the words "CAL. 7.62x39mm 123 GR. BALL" and the distinctive Winchester USA brand logo on the right side of the box. Here is the photo with the ammunition box isolated as it appeared on LGF:


Here's the thing: The Winchester USA brand ammunition I'm familiar with (I sell it in multiple calibers) doesn't look anything like the box on the photo. Typically, when ammunition is stacked, the top of the box is obscured, and so most ammunition manufacturers, including Winchester, put the caliber of the bullets on the end of the box, as seen here in a picture of showing the common packaging of a box of Winchester USA brand 7.62x39mm ammunition.


Is it reasonable for the photo editors of national news organizations to do some rudimentary checking to make sure pictures they publish aren't crudely PhotoShopped propaganda? You would think so, as that would seem to cut to the heart of their job responsibilities these days where image manipulation is now available to the masses.

It seems reasonable that if a news organization is going to run a picture of a certain building that they might want to take steps to make sure that is the building pictured, and so it seems reasonable that if they are going to run pictures from a foreign regime purporting to contain U.S. bullets and munitions, that they would do some basic fact checking to see if the bullets are in the correct packaging, and perhaps they should check to see if the grenades in the photo aren't Russian.

It isn't rocket science to check pictures for fauxtography, but it apparently eludes the best minds that the L.A. Times has to offer.

Update: Apparently, I'm not alone in keying in on the ammunition packaging. Outside the Wire has links to pictures showing the differences between military and civilian ammunition packaging.

As you might suspect, they aren't that subtle.

Update: YNET is now running with the story, and a reader states in the comments that the ammunition boxes shown in the Iranian story appears to be Winchester USA commericial (civilian) ammunition boxes from approximately 20 years ago.

Some smoking gun.

Update: Reader Don Jordan send along a couple of pictures of some 7.62x39mm Winchester USA ammunition he owns dating to 1994.


He thinks he saw box design used in the Iranian photo being sold around San Diego about 11-12 years ago. He also has a friend with an extensive collection of older 7.62x39mm Winchester USA ammunition who might be able to get a better handle on the date this particular civilian ammunition box design was in use.

Update: It looks like we can pin down the date of manufacture to circa 1993.


That spring, says reader Robert Miller, is when he got this Winchester USA 9mm ammunition that shows packaging indistinguishable from that used in the Iranian photo (nice background, Robert). The Iranians are claiming we're supplying their insurgency with economy civilian practice ammunition made about 14 years ago.

I'm less than impressed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:03 PM | Comments (13)

Onward Christian Soldiers

The Jawa Report notes the canonization of "Saint Harry" today (h/t Hot Air) and provides examples of other, less flattering photo compositions of conservatives that made it on the front pages of media sites over the past few years.

With that as a guide, I must wonder: does this count as another example of biased photo composition?


The blurred object in the background bears a resemblence to the Maltese Cross carried into battle by Christian warriors since the first Crusade.


Now, the media would never use a creative photo angle or strategic photo composition imply that Vice President Cheney is carrying on a crusade against Islam, would it?

Heavens, no.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:09 PM | Comments (8)

CY On the Air

I'll be on KSFO 560 With Lee Rodgers & Melanie Morgan this morning, talking about the recent development in the AP's Jamil Hussein scandal, where Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf revealed that the Associated Press lied when they said he confirmed the identity of Jamil Hussein.

It turns out that AP reporters instead confirmed to General Abdul-Karim Khalaf that "Jamil Hussein" was just a pseudonym, and that the Associated Press has been lying to it's audience for weeks now, if not months.

Should make for some interesting radio.

You can listen via online streaming at 6:35 PST/9:25 EST at KSFO 560 via the "listen now" link.

Update: 6:35 PST/9:35 EST has come and gone, so it appears I've probably been bumped. That's talk radio for you. If I end up going on the air at another time, I'll let you know.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2007

Iraqi General Disputes AP Claim on Jamil Hussein

Note: This is a background article to the exclusive posted today at Pajamas Media.

From the very beginning of the controversy surrounding the Associated Press' coverage of a series of Shia militia attacks on Sunni homes and mosques in the Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad on November 24, 2006, Iraqi government officials, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, and bloggers have questioned the identity of one of the primary Associated Press sources for the accounts, an Iraqi Police Captain called Jamil Hussein.

The controversy erupted after the Public Affairs Office of Multi-National Corps-Iraq disputed claims made in the Associated Press articles, which claimed that four Sunni mosques in Hurriyah were "burned and blew up," and that 24 people had been killed in the attacks.

According an AP article released on November 24:

Revenge-seeking Shi'ite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near an Iraqi army post. The soldiers did not intervene, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

A follow-up Associated Press article printed on November 25 stated:

Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in Friday's assault by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia or subsequent attacks that killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same neighborhood, the volatile Hurriyah district in northwest Baghdad, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

In the same article, a second source, a Sunni elder named Imad al-Hasimi:

...confirmed Hussein's account of the immolations. He told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were drenched in kerosene and then set afire, burning to death before his eyes.

When approached by investigators from the Iraqi Defense Ministry, al-Hasimi recanted his claim that six worshippers were pulled from the Mustafa mosque in Hurriyah, which an AP report by Steven R. Hurst confirmed in a November 28 article. Hurst seemed to imply that as Hasimi was pressured into recanting his testimony in a January 4th article where he stated that he recanted only after Defense Ministry investigators "paid him a visit," a loaded phrase often used in Hollywood accounts of mafia goons strong-arming the witnesses of crimes into silence.

AP later claimed that several anonymous sources in Hurriyah confirmed the claimed immolation attack to AP reporters, but these accounts could not be verified by any other news organization's reporters, including Baghdad correspondent Edward Wong of the New York Times:

When we first heard of the event on Nov. 24, through the A.P. story and a man named Imad al-Hashemi talking about it on television, we had our Iraqi reporters make calls to people in the Hurriya neighborhood. Because of the curfew that day, everything had to be done by phone. We reached several people who told us about the mosque attacks, but said they had heard nothing of Sunni worshippers being burned alive. Any big news event travels quickly by word of mouth through Baghdad, aided by the enormous proliferation of cell phones here. Such an incident would have been so abominable that a great many of the residents in Hurriya, as well as in other Sunni Arab districts, would have been in an uproar over it. Hard-line Sunni Arab organizations such as the Muslim Scholars Association or the Iraqi Islamic Party would almost certainly have appeared on television that day or the next to denounce this specific incident. Iraqi clerics and politicians are not shy about doing this. Yet, as far as I know, there was no widespread talk of the incident.

The Washington Post also spoke with two local imams, who denied the immolations took place.

On November 30, The Public Affairs Office, via email, dropped the bombshell that the Iraqi Interior Ministry had no record of a police officer by the name of Jamil Hussein.

Iraqi Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf later confirmed that statement in a press conference, which brought the following response from Associated Press International Editor John Daniszewski later that same day:

The Associated Press denounces unfounded attacks on its story about six Sunni worshipers burned to death outside their mosque on Friday, November 24. The attempt to question the existence of the known police officer who spoke to the AP is frankly ludicrous and hints at a certain level of desperation to dispute or suppress the facts of the incident in question.

AP reporters who have been working in Iraq throughout the conflict learned of the mosque incident through witnesses and neighborhood residents and corroborated it with a named police spokesmen and also through hospital and morgue workers.

We have conducted a thorough review of the sourcing and reporting involved and plan to move a more detailed report about the entire incident soon, with greater detail provided by multiple eye witnesses. Several of those witnesses spoke to AP on the condition that their names would not be used because they fear reprisals.

The police captain cited in our story has long been known to the AP reporters and has been interviewed in his office and by telephone on several occasions during the past two years.

He is an officer at the police station in Yarmouk, with a record of reliability and truthfulness. His full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein.

The AP stands by its story.

AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll then piled on, oddly:

We are satisfied with our reporting on this incident. If Iraqi and U.S. military spokesmen choose to disregard AP's on-the-ground reporting, that is certainly their choice to make, but it is a puzzling one given the facts.

AP journalists have repeatedly been to the Hurriyah neighborhood, a small Sunni enclave within a larger Shiia area of Baghdad. Residents there have told us in detail about the attack on the mosque and that six people were burned alive during it. Images taken later that day and again this week show a burned mosque and graffiti that says "blood wanted," similar to that found on the homes of Iraqis driven out of neighborhoods where they are a minority. We have also spoken repeatedly to a police captain who is known to AP and has been a reliable source of accurate information in the past and he has confirmed the attack.

By contrast, the U.S. military and Iraqi government spokesmen attack our reporting because that captain's name is not on their list of authorized spokespeople. Their implication that we may have given money to the captain is false. The AP does not pay for information. Period.

Further, the Iraqi spokesman said today that reporting on such atrocities "shows that the security situation is worse than it really is." He is speaking from a capital city where dozens of bodies are discovered every day showing signs of terrible torture. Where people are gunned down in their cars, dragged from their homes or blown apart in public places every single day.

At the end of the day, we have AP journalists with reporting and images from the actual neighborhood versus official spokesmen saying the story cannot be true because it is damaging and because one of the sources is not on a list of people approved to talk to the press. Good reporting relies on more than government-approved sources.

We stand behind our reporting.

Executive Editor Carroll's comments seem to say, "how dare they question us, the Associated Press."

Carroll followed up on December 8, 2006, strongly implying that forces in the Interior Ministry may be participating in a cover-up of the attacks because of sectarian influences, and implied that questioning the Associated Press accounts of the Hurriyah accounts, and Jamil Hussein's identity by bloggers, the Iraqi government, and Multi-National Corps- Iraq amounted to a witch hunt:

Some of AP's critics question the existence of police Capt. Jamil Hussein, who was one (but not the only) source to tell us about the burning.

These critics cite a U.S. military officer and an Iraqi official who first said Hussein is not an authorized spokesman and later said he is not on their list of Interior Ministry employees. It’s worth noting that such lists are relatively recent creations of the fledgling Iraqi government.

By contrast, Hussein is well known to AP. We first met him, in uniform, in a police station, some two years ago. We have talked with him a number of times since then and he has been a reliable source of accurate information on a variety of events in Baghdad.

No one – not a single person – raised questions about Hussein’s accuracy or his very existence in all that time. Those questions were raised only after he was quoted by name describing a terrible attack in a neighborhood that U.S. and Iraqi forces have struggled to make safe.

That neighborhood, Hurriyah, is a particularly violent section of Baghdad. Once a Sunni enclave, it now is dominated by gunmen loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Many people there talked to us about the attack, but clammed up when they realized they might be quoted publicly. They felt understandably nervous about bringing their accusations up in an area patrolled by a Shiite-led police force that they suspect is allied with the very militia accused in these killings...

As careful followers of the Iraq story know well, various militias have been accused of operating within the Interior Ministry, which controls the police and has long worked to suppress news of death-squad activity in its ranks. (This is the same ministry that questioned Capt. Hussein’s existence and last week announced plans to take legal action against journalists who report news that creates the impression that security in Iraq is bad, “when the facts are totally different.”)

The Iraqi journalists who work for the AP are smart, dedicated and incredibly courageous to go into the streets every day, talking to their countrymen and trying to capture a portrait of their home in a historic and tumultuous period.

The work is dangerous: two people who work for AP have been killed since this war began in 2003. Many others have been hurt, some badly.

Several of AP's Iraqi journalists were victimized by Saddam Hussein’s regime and bear scars of his torture or the loss of relatives killed by his goons. Those journalists have no interest in furthering the chaos that makes daily life in Iraq so perilous. They want what any of us want: To be able to live and work without fear and raise their children in peace and safety.

Questioning their integrity and work ethic is simply offensive.

It's awfully easy to take pot shots from the safety of a computer keyboard thousands of miles from the chaos of Baghdad.

The Iraq war is one of hundreds of conflicts that AP journalists have covered in the past 160 years. Our only goal is to provide fair, impartial coverage of important human events as they unfold. We check our facts and check again.

That is what we have done in the case of the Hurriyah attack. And that is why we stand by our story.

On January 4, 2007, AP reporter Steven R. Hurst announced the Iraqi Ministry Brigadier General Abdul-Kareem Khalaf had acknowledged that "Jamil Hussein" was indeed who the Associated Press said he was the entire time:

The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.

Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.

The captain, whose full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, was one of the sources for an AP story in late November about the burning and shooting of six people during a sectarian attack at a Sunni mosque.

The U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry raised the doubts about Hussein in questioning the veracity of the AP's initial reporting on the incident, and the Iraqi ministry suggested that many news organization were giving a distorted, exaggerated picture of the conflict in Iraq. Some Internet bloggers spread and amplified these doubts, accusing the AP of having made up Hussein's identity in order to disseminate false news about the war.

On January 11, 2007, LT. Michael Dean, LT, US Navy assigned to Multi-National Corps-Iraq Public affairs forwarded to me and several other bloggers the following an email from Bill Costlow, a civilian liaison with the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) working with the Iraqi Interior Ministry in Baghdad. The email said, in part (my bold):

Seems like every time I talk to somebody about this guy, his name changes. His personnel record says his name is: Jamil Gulaim Innad XX-XXXXXXX [name redacted- ed].

Spokesman BG Abdul-Kareem has spoken with members of the AP in Baghdad
and has confirmation that he is their source.

"BG Abdul-Kareem" was later confirmed in direct follow-up emails to Bill Costlow of CPATT as being the exact same Interior Ministry spokesman, Iraqi Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf, cited by the January 4 Hurst article... but telling a quite different story about the identity of Jamil Hussein.

According to Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf, not only was "Jamil Hussein" actually
Jamil Gulaim Innad XX-XXXXXXX, the AP itself confirmed this identity, and then apparently decided to print an apparently fictitious account saying that Jamil Hussein was Jamil Hussein.

I personally contacted Associated Press reporter Steven R. Hurst via email on January 11 to confirm Hussein's true identity with him, and instead, within 90 minutes, received the following email reply from Linda M. Wagner, Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs for the Associated Press, which read in part:

Steve Hurst passed your e-mail inquiry along to me. AP stands by the story below, which provides the full name of the source whose existence was acknowledged to AP by Iraq's Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf in an interview on Thursday, January 4. I have bolded the relevant passages for ease of finding them in the text.

I've since conducted follow-ups with CPATT liason to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, Bill Costlow, and he provided me this morning with the direct quote of Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf as noted in the Pajamas Media Exclusive.

A direct copy of Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf's quote was forwarded to Linda Wagner of the Associated Press this morning, asking her if the Associated Press still stood behind Hurst's January 4th article, now that that article has been contradicted by their own source.

Thus far Wagner has declined to respond. If she so desires, she can contact me for Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf's phone number for confirmation of this quote.

I think he is expecting her call.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2007

Spin Job

Ask not to whom the AP lies: it lies to thee.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:50 PM | Comments (1)

February 08, 2007

"Is Anna Nicole Smith still dead, Wolf?"

The sensitivity of Jack Cafferty on display in CNN's The Situation Room, moments ago.

Classy guy, that Cafferty.

Update: Allahpundit has the video.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:14 PM | Comments (7)

February 07, 2007

His Name Was Scott

If you are going to write about the contractors killed by a mob in Fallujah, at least do them the honor of getting their names correct, you careless AP hacks:

The deaths of the four, all former members of the military, brought to U.S. television some of its most gruesome images of the Iraq war. A frenzied mob of insurgents ambushed a supply convoy the guards were escorting through Fallujah on March 31, 2004. The men were attacked, their bodies mutilated; two of the corpses were strung from a bridge.

At the hearing, Kathryn Helvenston-Wettengel, mother of Stephen Helvenston, read a statement on behalf of the families. She stopped several times to collect herself as she recounted the emotional day.

His name was Scott Helvenston.

He was a fitness instructor, a celebrity trainer, Navy SEAL, and most importantly, a father. I don't expect AP to go into those details of his life, but I do expect them to pay enough attention to at least get his name right.

Update: I stand corrected. Via email from Eddy Twyford, Scott Helvenston's best friend:

His full name is Stephen Scotten Helvenston but as you know he was always called Scott.

The reporter simply chose to use Helvenston's lesser known given name, instead of his preferred nickname. I apologize to the Associated Press for calling them "careless hacks."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:42 PM | Comments (29)

February 06, 2007

Coming Clean

Isn't it cathartic? (h/t Instapundit)

On Friday night's edition of Inside Washington airing locally on Washington PBS station WETA, the first topic was whether the media's been unfair to President Bush, given his abysmal approval ratings. NPR reporter Nina Totenberg said Bush received a "free ride" for years, so now the worm has turned and the coverage is fierce. Then the host turned to Newsweek's Evan Thomas, who was frank in his assessment of the media's role:
Gordon Peterson: "What do you think, Evan? Are the mainstream media bashing the president unfairly?"

Evan Thomas: "Well, our job is to bash the president, that's what we do almost --"

Peterson: "But unfairly?"

Thomas: "Mmmm -- I think when he rebuffed, I think when he just kissed off the Iraq Study Group, the Baker-Hamilton Commission, there was a sense then that he was decoupling himself from public opinion and Congress and the mainstream media, going his own way. At that moment he lost whatever support he had."

The message in that is very simple: the president must never "decouple" himself from the "mainstream media," because they are the key players in maintaining public opinion.

Honesty is such a lonely word.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:09 AM | Comments (3)

February 02, 2007

Appropriate Responses

William Arkin has garnered quite a bit of heat for some of his comments in a blog entry posted earlier this week that labeled those who wear the uniform of the American military "mercenaries," and stated, "Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform..."

It was, in a word, disgusting.

Yesterday, Arkin offered up a response to the immense blowback his previous post generated, and Arkin, much to his dishonor, chose to single out the most angry responses to his initial post, while utterly refusing to engage the most thoughtful ones. In some ways, his response was more outrageous than his initial post, apparently labeling those serving in our nations military as fascists:

These men and women are not fighting for money with little regard for the nation. The situation might be much worse than that: Evidently, far too many in uniform believe that they are the one true nation. They hide behind the constitution and the flag and then spew an anti-Democrat, anti-liberal, anti-journalism, anti-dissent, and anti-citizen message that reflects a certain contempt for the American people.

A very interesting point about his response was that it was not posted on his blog's main page; it was only available through a direct hyperlink. Was Arkin or WPNI (Washington Post Newsweek Interactive, the company running attempting to hide the post?

By early this morning, another oddity occurred: The second post was back on Early Warning, but as a sharp-eyed reader of Stephen Spruill's Media Blog noted:

Hmm, this is interesting. Now there's a third post sandwiched *between* the other two, offering a somewhat more sincere (but halfhearted, frankly) apology for the use of the term "mercenary".

That post simply wasn't there before, even when the "Arrogant and Intolerant" post was added to the table of contents.

By my account, the apology *followed* his second tirade. But now it's showing up before it. Is Mr. Arkin trying to reorder the timeline here, to make it look like his detractors are blowing right past it?

Sure enough, that is exactly what I found when I checked Arkin's blog around 9:00 AM, but minutes later, the posts had flip-flopped with his third screed now posted in a correct chronology.

I don't know if Arkin was playing as fast and loose with the posting order and the transparency of these articles as he played with the pejorative statements he aimed at our military in not one, but two separate posts, but it does bear asking.

On another front in this discussion, some bloggers are calling for a boycott of the Washington Post's advertisers over Arkin's inflammatory (and to my mind, unnecessarily vicious and indefensible) attacks, and still others are calling upon the Washington Post to flatly fire Arkin for expressing these opinions.

I don't agree with either approach.

Arkin is entitled to his apparent contempt for the military, and has the right to share his opinion, no matter how offensive we find it to be. If Arkin was misrepresenting facts, that would be another case entirely, but his posts were clearly opinion pieces.

That said, Arkin's rants—and I feel that his specific, intentional and acknowleged choice of wording justifies the term "rant"—along with the rather questionable re-ordering and obfuscation of his posts should be reviewed by both pundits and the Washington Post itself as two separate, but related issues.

The purpose of Arkin's blog Early Warning is stated to be this:

Starting Sept. 14, Early Warning will report daily on the comings and goings of the national security community -- military, special ops, intelligence, homeland security -- part blog, part investigative journalism (a jog!). Here I can post documents, go into great detail, stick with a story when others have moved on, and introduce one that has escaped the mainstream media.

There's no question that The Washington Post is mainstream media, but in this space of theirs, I'll have more freedom. Still, I won't fudge facts or feed an even more confused and conspiratorial picture of the secret agencies.

My basic philosophy is that government is more incompetent than diabolical, that the military gets way too much of a free ride (memo to self: Don't say anything bad about the troops), and that official secrecy is the greatest threat citizens actually face today.

Earlier this year, I wrote a book -- Code Names -- that not only lays out my views on secrecy, but also provides the goods (and thanks friends for keeping code names coming). As you'll find out, I'm an obsessive compulsive kind of collector - acronyms, code names, nomenclatures, events, dates, documents. For 30 years I've been putting together little pieces of information to try to produce the BIG PICTURE.

Early Warning is an opportunity to put my stockpiles to good use. As I dig into the hundreds of documents already in my possession, I'll be looking for your comment and dissent (and for those of you with your own stockpiles, for your contributions). I know I'm writing mostly for a hyper-informed world of national security geeks, but my larger objective is a more informed public and to demolish false authority, in government, in the special interests, and in the media. My target list, frankly, is too vast to even summarize. I also hope to have some fun in writing without the straitjacket of traditional journalistic conventions.

Calling those in our military "mercenaries," stating that we have "indulged" them through "every rape and murder," only to later imply they are fascists in a follow-up post, shows that Arkin has clearly failed in his memo to himself: "Don't say anything bad about the troops."

This is a failure on Arkin's part, but we all fail or contradict ourselves at some point if we write long enough; human beings are, unfortunately, often hypocritical beasts. If any blogger feels that they have not been hypocritical or contradictory at some point they are simply deluding themselves. This alone is not a firing offense. All he is sharing is an opinion, though an unpopular one.

What perhaps the Washington Post should perhaps consider in the future is whether or not Arkin is the best person to continue writing this particular blog. It seems quite possible that this series of rants has created an adversarial relationship with the very national security community he was apparently hired to cover. It might be that because of his opinions, he has poisoned the proverbial well, and that the editors of the Washington Post may find that his stated opinions have made him unsuited to continue this particular assignment. That decision, I hasten to add, is completely and wholly a decision to be made by the editors of the Washington Post. He either retains his ability to do his job effectively, or he doesn't, and that can only be determined by his future performance. If the editors determine in the future that his ability to continue in this position has been diminished, perhaps they will opt to find another person of equal or greater ability to continue writing on this subject, but in no way should Arkin's employment by the Washington Post be determined purely for the opinions stated in these two posts.

The separate but related issue of the rather questionable re-ordering and obfuscation of his posts is another matter entirely.

If it can be reasonably determined that this was merely a technical issue or an honest mistake by either Arkin or someone at WPNI, then this is quite understandably something that can be forgiven. If however, it is determined that Arkin or someone else purposefully kept his second post from appearing on the front page of Early Warning, or if someone purposefully re-ordered the post order to intersperse his second response in order to make his critics appear harsh, or unforgiving, then we are discussing an ethical matter which may require a more immediate and permanent response.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:04 AM | Comments (3)

February 01, 2007

Changing Opinions

It seems that WaPo blogger William Arkin has created quite the firestorm with the most recent entry to his Early Warning blog, where he labeled those brave members of our military mercenaries, and suggested "it wasn't for them to disapprove of the American people" and their opposition to winning the war in Iraq. Arkin also said that our soldiers should be grateful that the American people still support and respect them, and send them "obscene amenities."

I can only assume Arkin means such "obscene amenities" as body armor, bullets and MREs. I can hear the new Marine recruiting slogan now:

"The Few. The Proud. The Pampered."

I guess that is why Parris Island is considered quite the four-star resort. Allow me to introduce you to your leisure-time directors.


Why, it's just like a Disney vacation.

And so while my friends in the blogosphere have a slight difference of opinion with Mr. Arkin, let me suggest that getting angry with him is not the way to get him to change his opinion. In fact, he's libel to get quite defensive, and become even more firmly ensconced in his beliefs, which I've heard rumor that he first acquired while a Greenpeace activist, when other GPers once sent him to spend the evening on a cold, isolated beach to protect nearby sea-going mammals from the particularly evil U.S. Navy sport of "whale-tipping," before leaving him to go to a party in town. That Arkin's disgust for the military has only hardened since that night, where he was traumatically assaulted by a male sea lion, is perfectly understandable.

I think that perhaps what Mr. Arkin needs now, more than anything, is a supportive environment, where he can face his phobias and apparent disgust for our military. He would probably be much more willing to change his opinion were he to spend more time with those he derides, to better understand them.

But where could he find such an environment?

If recent dispatches from elsewhere in the blogosphere may be a worthy guide, I'd suggest that he partake of the opportunity shared by bloggers such as Bill Ardalino, Bill Roggio, Michelle Malkin, Bryan Preston, and of course, Michael Yon. Perhaps what would go the furthest in changing his opinion of our soldier is a simple, short embed with our military in Iraq.

Towards that end, and wanting to help out, I sent to the following emails to people that I am quite sure would be very hospitable towards the idea of helping Mr. Arkin find common ground with our soldiers in the field.

To embedded blogger Michael Yon, with whom I correspond regularly, I sent the following:

William Arkin of the "Early Warning" WaPo blog just called our soldiers mercenaries, among other pleasantries.

Michelle, Allah, Blackfive, etc are trying to reem the guy for his opinion, but I'd suggest another route.

Michael, how would you feel about offering Mr. Arkin a guided tour of the Iraq battlespace, so that he would actually get to know our troops, and then perhaps change his opinion? Can I ask him if he'd like to embed with you? Would that be okay?

As Michael is probably cavorting at a local-themed spa, he hasn't yet responded. I'm sure he will as soon as he has completed his mud bath.

I also contacted my friends at MultiNational Corps-Iraq PAO and asked them if they've be willing to help:

I'm probably sure by now you've heard of the controversial remarks made by Washington Post blogger William Arkin about the "obscene amenities" that our soldiers have in the field in the Middle East, and I was wondering if you could tear yourselves away from the hot tub and polo grounds long enough to post an invitation to Mr. Arkin to come experience these extravagances for himself as an embed. Posting an embed offer might just provide the feeling of warmth and acceptance he needs to come over and experience the posh resort lifestyle that all of you joined the military to enjoy. Please consider extending Mr. Arkin such and invitation after your next tanning session.

Once Mr. Arkin has the opportunity to experience these posh amenities firsthand, I hope that this opinion he has harbored will be open to change.

Update: Arkin responds to his critics, in The Arrogant and Intolerant Speak Out:

These men and women are not fighting for money with little regard for the nation. The situation might be much worse than that: Evidently, far too many in uniform believe that they are the one true nation. They hide behind the constitution and the flag and then spew an anti-Democrat, anti-liberal, anti-journalism, anti-dissent, and anti-citizen message that reflects a certain contempt for the American people.

Update: The single most impressive response thus far to Arkin, by an injured active duty Army officer:

Mr. Arkin-

I am an officer in the United States Army. I have deployed to Iraq twice, and been wounded once. I have had my soldiers killed and wounded, I have killed and wounded other human beings. I have carried wounded soldiers and civilians in my arms; crying in pain. I myself am permanently physically damaged by my experience.

Through all those events, I never shed a tear. Yet I sit here today crying; reading your original article and your rebuttal to the overwhelming response.

I am proud of what I do, what my soldiers do, the freedoms we defend, and everything we stand for. I proudly defend your right to publish your article, and it actually warms my soul to see free debate and discourse about any topic, because this is the only nation in the world where such completely unbridled discussion and opinion rage on in an organized fashion. That is the United States I am proud of, the one that has given me so much.

I decry and am ashamed of my fellow warriors who have lost their thin veneer of civilization and chosen to engage in the atrocities committed in Iraq. May God have mercy on their souls.

I have chosen to shelve my right to have an opinion on the war in Iraq. I support our effort to help the Iraqi people, depose Saddam, and promote a free(er) Iraq. Are we (or can we) still doing that? I don't know anymore. I have an opinion, but it is too visceral to be truly rational anymore, so I keep it to myself.

Overall, it does not matter. My country, almost unanimously, asked me to refresh the tree with my blood in Iraq/Afghanistan 6 years ago. That was this country, by referendum. As my country comes to terms with what she has done, and possibly chooses a different path, I will soldier on. I will guide and inspire my Soldiers to do the same. But, it saddens me to see so many of my brothers and sisters killed and maimed, only to find out my country either didn't mean it or had no stomach for it.

None of these are the reasons I cry. I cry for the lack of purpose, the apparent lack of caring, the lack of compassion you displayed in your original article and in this subsequent failure to apologize to me, my fellow warriors, and all those who came before me. Here's why.

1. I am not a mercenary. You could make me work two jobs and this would still be one of them, because I am that passionate about defending you and your rights. Many in the National Guard and Reserves do just that. My country needs professional warriors to do her bidding, and he is me, and thousands like me.

2. I have the right to express my opinion within the bounds of the UCMJ, as do my Soldiers. How dare you imply that I do not, or that I should reprimand them? We already accept an abbreviated set of rights willingly. Do not attempt limit my liberties that I have already willingly limited while I defend without complaint the unabridged version you are so rightly entitled to.

3. As an officer, my needs are met. However, in the three months leading up to my first deployment and the entire 13 month adventure, my pay amounted to 173 cents an hour. My friends and I logged our hours as a joke, but $1.73 is the reality. That equates to 19-20 hour days, 7 days a week, for 16 months. That's with the relatively lavish bonuses and benefits we receive while deployed. And I am an officer. Think of our junior enlisted, and find someone else in our great country that is willing to work so hard, day and night, no weekends, under fire, threat of death over their head, for so little? Find me one and I will retract this comment graciously. Of course, even when not deployed, it takes my wife and me quite some time to get through the line at the grocery store. That's because we get in line behind one of my fellow warriors, who with shame in their eyes and faces flush with embarrassment fill out their WIC paperwork because they don't make enough to support their wife and two kids (an average sized family).

4. This response is taking an inordinate amount of time to type, because I have only one functioning hand after being wounded in Iraq. I am trying as quickly as possible to use the medical system your (and my) taxes paid for to recover, so I can go back to Iraq and continue to fight for what you don't believe in, because I believe in you and my Soldiers. Still, I count myself lucky, as I received my Purple Heart next to a 19-year old warrior with both his legs amputated above the knee. No matter how wrong the majority feels the decision was at this juncture, that Soldier gave (I use the word gave deliberately) his legs at his nation's calling. Not for money. Not because he was too stupid to get into college. Not for the great benefits. Just because you asked him to. Please don't imply that this fallen hero is not entitled to the basic medical care he receives.

5. Given the opportunity, I would fight the Germans in 1944. Oh, to have that definition of purpose, that sense of righteousness! But, that is not to be. This is the war that this country has chosen for me, my peers, and my Soldiers. With its vagueness, dirtiness, ambiguity, undefined enemy, amorphous center of gravity, and undefined purpose. The actions of our administration, the decisions higher-echelons of our military, the blunders of the CPA, (I could go on) etc. aside; it comes back to one thing. America chose this fight for me, and I will fight it with all my skill and might until she tells me to stop. The woes and throes of the majority, hawks, doves, liberals, neocons, etc. mean nothing to me or those Soldiers you quoted. What matters to us is that you told us to be there, 3000+ of our brothers and sisters have died there, and we are still there. Change that - in reality, not in the abstract - and we will gladly leave and prepare ourselves for the next challenge and opportunity to defend your freedoms.

I am a Warrior, a Soldier, a Scholar, and a Patriot. This country has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to train and educate me. I am well-versed in our government, our demographics, our history, and our Constitution. Perhaps I am an idealist. To the end of my life or capability I will defend your rights and this country. I am proud that I live in a country where a free-thinker such as you can write an article so critical of current policy. But I am deeply hurt by the insinuations and accusations listed above. I request an apology, on the behalf of all the Armed Forces, for your insensitive and boorish comments. I only wish I could communicate with your entire readership the bitter taste of betrayal that is in my mouth as easily as you communicate your speech and thoughts.

With Respect,

A United States Army Officer
"Army Strong"

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:26 AM | Comments (7)

January 31, 2007

AP Re-Enters Hurriyah; Is Unable to Find Lost Credibility

I received an email from Linda Wagner of the Associated Press late this afternoon, alerting me that AP has posted a pair of new news reports by Sally Buzbee about Hurriyah, and that Wagner herself has issued forth a new statement. All three are available at the following link:

As Linda was nice enough to contact me directly, we'll start with her statement first:



From Linda Wagner
Director of Media Relations & Public Affairs
The Associated Press

All news organizations covering the war in Iraq have faced a severe security situation since the conflict began. The risks have risen dramatically in recent months as sectarian conflicts have escalated.

Some have criticized AP’s use of anonymous sources and its refusal to identify by name all AP staff members who have contributed to reporting about violent incidents in the Hurriyah district of Baghdad.

AP has already lost four staff members killed in Iraq. Upon the death earlier this month of the most recent AP staff member killed there, AP President and CEO Tom Curley said, "The situation for our journalists in Iraq is unprecedented in AP's 161-year history of covering wars and conflicts. The courage of our Iraqi colleagues and their dedication to the story stand as an example to the world of journalism's enduring value."

Without protecting the identities of many of its sources and staff members from the extraordinary dangers in Iraq, it is impossible to provide news coverage of many events in the violent conflict about which the public has the right to know.

AP’s use of anonymous sources and unnamed staff members adheres to its ethics and journalism guidelines, which are among the most thorough and strict in the news media profession.

You can see AP’s ethics and journalism guidelines from the home page of -- click on this link at the top right : The AP Statement Of News Values and Principles. (direct URL:

You can learn more about AP’s concern for the public’s right to know about the war in Iraq and many other public issues by visiting another link from its home page: AP and the People's Right to Know. (direct URL:

Iraq is indeed a dangerous place, both for it's residents, and for those attempting to cover the war for news organizations. In 2006 alone, 32 journalists died.

It has been a long-standing journalistic tradition to have anonymity to when naming the journalist or the source might place their lives in danger. All of this is understood.

But Wagner's release flatly dodges the elephant in the room, the Iraqi police source hiding behind the pseudonym Jamil Hussein. It is quite clear that using an undeclared* pseudonym is a serious breach of journalistic ethics.

As perhaps a few of you may be aware, Associates Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll has officially maintained, for over two months now, that the AP's primary source for it's Hurriyah reporting has been a man she insists is Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein. We know, however, that Jamil Hussein is not his real name, according Iraqi Interior Ministry personnel records, as provided to this blogger and others via CPATT and Multinational Corps-Iraq/Joint Operations Command Public Affairs.

Wagner has been contacted multiple times to explain this discrepancy, and others. To date, she has refused to address the issue of the pseudonym. For that matter, she’s refused to answer almost all questions about Hurriyah, or problems with AP’s stringer-based reporting methodology, so this does fit a pattern.

And now to the news, brought to you by Sally Buzbee, AP's chief of Middle East News.

The leading story, "Mosques still show damage from attacks in Hurriyah" has been covered extensively by Bryan Preston, Michelle Malkin and Curt at Flopping Aces. I have very little to add, except this: it is very interesting that of the four mosques "burned and blew up," this new AP account does not speak of any apparent fire damage at either the al-Muhaimin mosque or al-Qaqaqa mosque.

The relative intactness of the al-Muhaimin mosque is quite important, as AP's reporting claimed that 18 people, including women and children burned to death in an "inferno" during the November 24 attacks.

This picture captures worshipers in al-Muhaimin the very next day.


Soot and corpse free. The claim is apparenty a complete falsehood.

al-Qaqaqa? I'll let AP tell it:

The fourth mosque named in the AP's original report, the al-Qaqaqa mosque, also known as the al-Meshaheda mosque, has a broken window and is closed, guarded by Iraqi army troops outside and adorned with a picture of al-Sadr's father. It also has Mahdi Army graffiti scrawled on its side, partially whitewashed over but still readable.

A broken window and graffiti. By that standard, several apartment buildings I've lived in have been "burned and blew up."

Buzbee's second article, which focuses more fully on the transition of Hurriyah from a mixed neighborhood to one populated almost entirely by Shiites and run by Madhi Army militiamen, is a very well-written article, perhaps the most informative article on life in these neighborhoods after it has been overrun that I've seen thus far.

That said, when the subject of the November 24 attacks came up, the reporting just. gets. weird.

The fighting included a Nov. 24 attack by Mahdi Army militiamen on a number of Sunni mosques. At one, the AP reported -- based on statements of residents, a local Sunni sheik and a police officer -- six men were doused with fuel and burned alive by Shiite militiamen.

Getting vague on the number of mosques... interesting. That broken window must be bothering them.

As for the witnesses, they've suddenly reversed their order of importance. Originally, Jamil Hussein was the primary source, with Sunni elder Imad al-Hashimi playing a supporting role. The accounts from anonymous residents were added in follow-up stories.

Now, the anonymous residents are suddenly more important Why? The "Sunni sheik" Imad al-Hashimi has renounced his statement. Funny how they neglected to mention that. As for the police officer, I doubt many will forget the name of their primary source for dozens of stories leading up to this one. Hiding the name of Jamil Hussein simply seems duplicitous at this point.

And so, a statement and two stories later, the following questions still remain purposefully ignored and unresolved:

Do Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll and International Editor John Daniszewski intend to stand behind the AP-reported claim that 18 people died in an "inferno" at the al-Muhaimin mosque?

Do Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll and International Editor John Daniszewski intend to stand behind the AP-reported claim that 6 men were pulled from the al-Mustafa mosque and immolated?

Whatever happened to the claim by AP that AP Television captured videotaped footage of the al Mustafa mosque after the attack? Why has (to the best of my knowledge) that film never been made public?

Do Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll and International Editor John Daniszewski intend to stand behind the AP-reported claims that the four mosques "burned and blew up"?

Does the AP intend to issue any corrections or retractions based upon new evidence showing that the initial claims were over-exaggerated and inaccurate?

Does the AP feel it was responsible to refer to the Association of Muslim Scholars and an "influential" Sunni group, without revealing the fact that they are a radical Sunni group affiliated with the Sunni insurgency and al Qaeda that reputedly derives their income from kidnapping?

The Associated Press has not used Jamil "Hussein" as a source since the Hurriyah stories became contentious. Why has the Associated Press quit using him as a source?

Did Associated Press reporters in Baghdad ever question why "Hussein" was able to provide accounts far outside of his jurisdiction?

As more time goes by and the Associated Press story continues to founder, it appears more and more that their emphasis has changed from credible journalism to corporate damage control.

*added later. Following the link would have made it clear that an undeclared pseudonym, that is, a pseudonym that the author fails to identify as such, is unethical.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:46 PM | Comments (5)

January 30, 2007

Keeping Enemies Close

When a CBS News reporter Lara Logan uses an al Qaeda propoganda film as part of her story, and refuses to identify it as such, do you begin to wonder just how credible and trustworthy of a journalist she is?

I do.

Update: Comments back open ( was under huge influx of comment spam last night, so I instituted a manual shutdown). I'd direct new visitors to read the comment policy before posting.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:13 PM | Comments (10)

The Case for Outing Jamil?

I'm presenting working on what will likely be my last post on the Jamil Hussein/Hurriyah mosque attacks debacle. I've got some emails out to several sources and the AP itself attempting to tie up loose ends, and I won't write a final draft until those addressed have a reasonable amount of time to respond.

I did, however, have one question I addressed to all of those I queried, that I'd like to ask my readers as well:

Should I "out" Jamil, revealing his real, full, and complete name?

I'm generally quite opposed to the concept of outing. Interestingly enough, this is the entennial of outing as practiced by the leftist press. It is typically used typically to attack politicians for their sexual preferences, but occasionally to hurt celebrities as well. According the Wikipedia entry on outing linked above:

Gabriel Rotello, once editor of OutWeek, called outing "equalizing"...

If outing is an acceptable method of equalizing the gay and the straight, can't it also be applied to "equalize" claims made by the honest and dishonest?

A key contention made by "Jamil Hussein" and never retracted by either Hussein or the Associated Press is that Iraqi Army units were aware of the attacks on November 24, and stood by and did nothing.

According to an AP story printed in the Jerusalem Post on the day of the attack, Hussein claimed:

Revenge-seeking Shi'ite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near an Iraqi army post. The soldiers did not intervene, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Further down in the same article:

The Shi'ite-dominated police and Iraqi military in the area stood by, both residents and Hussein said.

Of course, AP never identifies these anonymous residents, nor does it mention that other anonymous area residents disputed these accounts, so with the anonymous residents canceling each other out, we're back to Jamil, once again.

In another, more detailed account, Hussein's statement attacking the Iraqi military are replayed:

Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in Friday's assault by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia or subsequent attacks that killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same neighborhood, the volatile Hurriyah district in northwest Baghdad, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.

let’s overlook for a moment the fact that not a single soul died, and look at Jamil's claim about the IA "failing to intervene."

Interestingly enough, official accounts from the U.S. Army's Dagger Brigade and the 1/1/6 unit of the Iraqi Army indicate that IA soldiers were on a scheduled patrol in Hurriyah early in the morning, received word of the attacks late in the morning, and were on-scene within the hour and started securing the area. The exchanged fire with the militiamen in the vicinity of Nidaa Allah mosque, and drove them from the neighborhood.

Jamil's story does not match up with what American and Iraqi forces reported.


Do you trust the single policeman hiding behind a pseudonym who lied to his superiors about his involvement with the AP, and who lied about other key elements of this story? Or is it much more likely that the dozens of involved American and Iraqi soldiers, policemen, and fire department personnel are telling the truth?

As someone involved with the story noted this morning, while playing devil's advocate:

Jamil is a proven bad source whose stories do seem designed to help the Sunnis and the insurgents at the expense of the Iraqi Army. That part in the original AP Hurriyah story about the IA doing nothing about the attacks is blatantly wrong and apparently an intentional smear. The unit that responded, which included an IA general, did what it was supposed to do according to the official report--it helped with the fire and it tried to catch the attackers. It is fair game to out sources who lie like that.

So should Jamil be outed, and why or why not? I'm leaning towards not, but would like to hear arguments either way.

Update: Comments back open ( was under huge influx of comment spam last night, so I instituted a manual shutdown). I'd direct new visitors to read the comment policy before posting.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:46 PM | Comments (48)

January 29, 2007


In the wake of my January 25 26 letter to the Board of Directors of the Associated Press concerning the news organization's inaccurate reporting of the November 24 Hurriyah assault by Shia militias on Sunni mosques--a letter in which I provided to the Board of Directors the real name of AP source "Jamil Hussein"--the official Associated Press web site containing all of AP's official responses regarding Hurriyah has curiously withdrawn the January 4 article by AP reporter Steven R. Hurst claiming that Jamil Hussein is Jamil Hussein.

A screen capture of the AP web page from January 8 containing the Hurst article is captured here.

A screen capture of the AP Web page, minus the Hurst article, as captured this morning, is online here.

Is the Associated Press beginning a walkback of it's Hurriyah coverage? If so, quietly attempting to scrub their reporting to date is perhaps not the best way to do so.

Perhaps they should start with a formal retraction acknowledging their comedy of errors.

As I have stated from the very beginning of this debacle, what we are witnessing in action via the Hurriyah scandal and the 39 of 40 AP stories attributed to Jamil Hussein that cannot be corroborated by a rudimentary search of other English-language news organizations of the same events, what we are witnessing is a flawed methodology for gathering the news that places far too much credibility in the words of questionable sources and local stringers with dubious allegiances, and no readily apparent internal mechanism for fact-checking the reports provided.

The advice I issued on December 18 is looking better all the time.

Update: Curt at Flopping Aces notes (via email) that while the AP has scrubbed the one file linked above where AP has been consolidating their Hurriyah reporting, they still have the Hurst claim posted here. Don't worry... if they attempt to scrub that, I have a screen capture of that page, as well.

Update: By the way... notice anything funny about the image used by AP in their "Freedom of Information" section? It appears to be a photo of terrorist detainees at Guantanemo Bay.

Does the Associated Press consider capturing terrorists a violation of AP's freedom of information?


It certainly does not apply to Jamil Gulaim XXXXX XX-XXXXXXX, who is presently back at work as an Iraqi police officer.

Update: Confirmed. The picture was of detainees arriving at Camp X-Ray in 2002.

Update: Linda Wagner, Associated Press Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs, states that the disappearance of the Hurst article is "purely a technical issue." It has since been restored to the AP web site.

Does anybody here with an IT background want to explain precisely how AP's "technical issue" would delete just the one post on the page, and not all of the posts on that page? I assume it could be a technical glitch, but my experience tells me that human involvement is a far more likely culprit.

Update, for the kids over at Sadly No!: who apparently can't figure out how to click a link. A whole indignant post, dedicated to something that did not happen... how sad. No?

As for CMS systems, they are typically set to default to a set expiration after "X" days. This was not in evidence here, nor was this what AP's Linda Wagner alleged happened.

While you are at it, why won't you discuss the other mosques (not that you've finally learned to spell Nidaa Allah correctly), particularly how it is impossible for AP's al Qaeda-linked source of the Association of Muslim Scholars to be correct that one mosque was gutted in an "inferno" that left 18 dead, only to have the same mosque open for regular services the next day, and soot free at that?

Why, that might require independent thought and actually looking at facts instead of reflexively attacking any evidence brought forth by a conservative, and we can't have that, can we?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:59 AM | Comments (7)

January 22, 2007

Fox Pulls an AP

And Captain Ed has the details:

The curse of single sourcing has bitten more than just the AP lately. Insight Magazine, a publication of the Washington Times, ran a single-sourced story last Friday about Barack Obama regarding the choice of school his stepfather made while they lived in Indonesia, and Fox News spent all day talking about it. In this case, Fox used the news item to hit at both Obama and Hillary Clinton without ever confirming anything about the sourcing. Howard Kurtz, in his indispensable media-watch column, explains:
Insight, a magazine owned by the Washington Times, cited unnamed sources in saying that young Barack attended a madrassah, or Muslim religious school, in Indonesia. In his 1995 autobiography, Obama said his Indonesian stepfather had sent him to a "predominantly Muslim school" in Jakarta, after two years in a Catholic school -- but Insight goes further in saying it was a madrassah and that Obama was raised as a Muslim. Fox News picked up the Insight charge on two of its programs, playing up an angle involving Hillary Clinton. The magazine, citing only unnamed sources, said that researchers "connected" to the New York senator were allegedly spreading the information about her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. ...

On the morning show "Fox & Friends" on Friday, co-host Steve Doocy said that madrassahs are financed by Saudis and teach a radical version of Islam known as Wahhabism, though he said there was a question whether that was the curriculum in the late 1960s, when Obama attended the school. Another co-host, Gretchen Carlson, said that those on the show weren't referring to all Muslims, only "the kind that want to blow us up." ...

On Friday afternoon, John Gibson, host of Fox's "The Big Story," began a segment this way: "Hillary Clinton reported to be already digging up the dirt on Barack Obama. The New York senator has reportedly outed Obama's madrassah past. That's right, the Clinton team reported to have pulled out all the stops to reveal something Obama would rather you didn't know -- that he was educated in a Muslim madrassah."

Kurtz reminds readers that reputable news agencies used to refuse to run stories from anonymous sources unless they could get independent confirmation. Those days are apparently over. Instead, we have the dynamic of one news agency running a story, and then other news agencies report on the reporting of that story, until everyone forgets that the basis of the entire issue came from one source, and one who refused to go on the record at that.

I'm admittedly very late to the table on this one, but both Insight and Fox were well out of bounds in heaping such uncorroborated scorn upon Barack Obama. Politics is a hard-nosed business, but no child can control what school he goes to, and to imply that Obama is some sort of Islamist Manchurian candidate—the angle Fox seemed to be trying to promote across several shows—goes beyond the pale.

Fox and Insight should either produce named sources to back their allegations—I find that doubtful—or they should retract their commentary during these same time slots by these same hosts and publicly apologize to both Barack Obama for making the slur, and to Hillary Clinton for stating her campaign was behind it.

I disagree with the politics of both individuals, but there are certainly valid issues upon which someone can criticize either of these candidates without having to stoop to such scurrilous single-sourced accounts.

Update: Insight strikes back. Ouch. Getting catty...

Update: Allah has CNN's debunking.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Hurriyah: Where We Go From Here

As you well know by now, thanks to a n investigation launched by Curt of Flopping Aces and followed up on by Michelle Malkin and Bryan Preston's visit to the Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad as reported in the NY Post, Michelle's personal blog, and now via video at Hot Air, the Associated Press' reporting of massacres on November 24 were grossly exaggerated, and parts were apparently fabricated by a longtime Associated Press source they still call Jamil Hussein, even though we know otherwise.

The Associated Press released several very graphic versions of what they claimed occurred in Hurriyah on November 24, 2006. I'll now reproduce the relevant portions of two of those Associated Press accounts, so that you will know exactly what they claimed.

On November 24, the day of the attack, the Associated Press ran this version of the story, as captured in the Jerusalem Post:

Revenge-seeking Shi'ite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near an Iraqi army post. The soldiers did not intervene, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

The savage revenge attack for Thursday's slaughter of 215 people in the Shi'ite Sadr City slum occurred as members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques and several homes while killing 12 other Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood, Hussein said.


Gunmen loyal to radical anti-American Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr began taking over the neighborhood this summer and a majority of its Sunni residents already had fled.

The militiamen attacked and burned the Ahbab al-Mustafa, Nidaa Allah, al-Muhaimin and al-Qaqaqa mosques in the rampage that did not end until American forces arrived, Hussein said.

The gunmen attack with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and automatic rifles. Residents said militiamen prevented them from entering burned structures to take away the bodies of victims.

The Shi'ite-dominated police and Iraqi military in the area stood by, both residents and Hussein said.

Later Friday, militiamen raided al-Samarraie Sunni mosque in the el-Amel district and killed two guards, police 1st. Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq said. Two other Sunni mosques in west Baghdad also were attacked, police said.

A day later, on November 25, the Associated Press ran this version of the story, as captured for posterity on

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Revenge-seeking militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left Friday prayers and burned them alive with kerosene in a savage new twist to the brutality shaking the Iraqi capital a day after suspected Sunni insurgents killed 215 people in Baghdad's main Shiite district.

Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in Friday's assault by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia or subsequent attacks that killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same neighborhood, the volatile Hurriyah district in northwest Baghdad, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.


But burning victims alive introduced a new method of brutality that was likely to be reciprocated by the other sect as the Shiites and Sunnis continue killing one another in unprecedented numbers. The gruesome attack, which came despite a curfew in Baghdad, capped a day in which at least 87 people were killed or found dead in sectarian violence across Iraq.

In Hurriyah, the rampaging militiamen also burned and blew up four mosques and torched several homes in the district, Hussein said.


President Jalal Talabani emerged from lengthy meetings with other Iraqi leaders late Friday and said the defense minister, Abdul-Qader al-Obaidi, indicated that the Hurriyah neighborhood had been quiet throughout the day.

But Imad al-Hasimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, confirmed Hussein's account of the immolations. He told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were drenched in kerosene and then set afire, burning to death before his eyes.

Two workers at Kazamiyah Hospital also confirmed that bodies from the clashes and immolation had been taken to the morgue at their facility.

They refused to be identified by name, saying they feared retribution.

And the Association of Muslim Scholars, the most influential Sunni organization in Iraq, said even more victims were burned to death in attacks on the four mosques. It claimed a total of 18 people had died in an inferno at the al-Muhaimin mosque.

For those of you following this story closely, you know that Imad al-Hasimi quickly retracted his claim when asked for details by the Iraqi Interior Ministry, and that the Associated Press was perhaps deceptive in not noting that the Association of Muslim Scholars is "the most influential Sunni organization in Iraq" largely because of their deep suspected ties with both the Sunni insurgency and al Qaeda itself:

The Association of Muslim Scholars ... ...also sometimes called Association of Muslim Clerics or Muslim Scholars Association), are a group of Sunni Muslim religious leaders in Iraq. The Association is believed to have strong links with Al-Qaeda terrorists...

They did not recognize the U.S. appointed government as legitimate and have at times questioned any democratically elected government and democracy itself. They have previously asked for withdrawal of American troops, who they accuse of causing the deaths of over 30 000 Iraqis since the war began. They publicly support Al-Qaeda and support the car bombs and the sectarian violence. The group has negotiated (along side with the Iraqi Islamic Party) the cease-fire for the city of Fallujah and the release of several hostages for money. They have poor relations with nearly all Iraqi groups, most notably Shia groups, including followers of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The Association claims dozens of its members have been killed by US troops, Sunni militants and Shi'ite militias.


It was formed on the 14th of April 2003, only four days after the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Baghdad by a U.S.-led invasion in 2003 by a group of former regime loyalists who oppose any democratic changes and consider democracy as and ant-Islamic concept. They finance their activities through the ransoms they get from the kidnapping activities in Iraq.

Of course, we can't forget "Jamil Hussein," the long-time (two year) source for the Associated Press, who it is turns out, isn't Jamil Hussein at all.

Is it now time to serve AP and their defenders a nice, heaping serving of you know what? Perhaps, but what, precisely, would that accomplish?

I'm not absolving the Associated Press of their faulty response by any means—I still think the manner in which AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll in particular handled this incident requires her organization to ask for her resignation, and perhaps some AP reporters and local editors deserve dismissal—but I am far more interesting in fixing what I first postulated was a terminally-flawed methodology for gathering the news way back on November 30, 2006, when this story was in its infancy:

In short, we aren't questioning all of AP's stories based upon a single story, we are questioning a broken methodology that lead to such a story. There exists in the media’s reporting in Iraq no effective editorial checks at the very root level of reporting, to verify that the most basic elements of the story are indeed factual, much less biased.

This is not just about one questionable story, or even one questionable source.


The flawed methodology that weakens the essential credibility of the news-gathering process effects the overwhelming majority of stories printed and broadcast about Iraq each week. This weakness, this inherent and unchecked instability and inability to verify the core facts and actors in the most basic of stories, points out a methodological flaw in the news gathering efforts common to every major news organization reporting in Iraq.

Am I attempting to say that all AP reporting, or all news media reporting in general coming from Iraq, is fraudulent? Of course not. There is a great deal of violence occurring in the city, a fact buttressed by verified and corroborated news accounts every day.

But what is strongly suggested by Jamilgate is that the media in general, and the Associated Press in this instance, are simply unable to account for how sectarian, tribal and political biases may shape the information passed from source to reporter, from reporter to editor, and editor to publication.

It seems at readily apparent that due to the dangers of reporting in a warzone, and the language barriers that are in place, that it is very difficult for the Associated Press and other news organizations to verify the facts of stories before they are published using their current fact-checking methodologies.

They are, in many instances, apparently reduced to "faith-based reporting, " where sources who have been reliable in the past are taken at their word once they have established a certain degree of credibility. This leads us to a situation where those with biases can entrench themselves as credible sources, and then use their trusted relationship with the media to disseminate agenda-based information after that credibility has been established.

Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll herself based her defense of Jamil Hussein thusly (my bold):

No one – not a single person – raised questions about Hussein’s accuracy or his very existence in all that time. Those questions were raised only after he was quoted by name describing a terrible attack in a neighborhood that U.S. and Iraqi forces have struggled to make safe.

Jamil Gulaim "XX" sold himself to the AP, and Carroll's apparent defense is that no one questioned his reporting before. Of course, not. He was establishing his credibility in the period before AP started using him as a named source, and afterward... well, that is where we stand now.

The current situation, where we know that the overwhelming majority of reporting coming out of Iraq is more than likely accurate, but because of such egregious failures as evidenced by AP's Hurriyah reporting (and perhaps other "Jamil Hussein" stories that I am still following up on) and pattern of denials and ignoring valid criticism to the point of attacking those that dare question their methods and accuracy from top AP officers, we find it difficult to trust even this mostly accurate reporting for fear another Hurriyah is lurking just outside the headline.

It is past time for an independent investigation to determine how AP not only fell for a story with elements both grossly exaggerated and in parts falsified, but to come up with a new and more rigorous methodology to verify the factual accuracy of its reporting.

I begrudge no one their view of what the think of the success or failures of the Iraq War thus far may be, but they have the right to base those opinions upon factual, transparent reporting, something that the Associated Press under Kathleen Carroll's "stonewall and deny" leadership cannot apparently provide.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 21, 2007

Hussein of Cards

And finally, we get to the truth of the matter:

AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll indignantly attacked those who had questioned the global news organization's reporting: "I never quite understood why people chose to disbelieve us about this particular man on this particular story," she told Editor and Publisher. "AP runs hundreds of stories a day, and has run thousands of stories about things that have happened in Iraq."

Well, Bryan Preston and I visited the area during our Iraq trip last week. Several mosques did, in fact, come under attack by Mahdi Army forces. But the "destroyed" mosques all still stand. Iraqi and U.S. Army officials say that two of them received no fire damage whatsoever. Another, which we filmed, was abandoned and empty when it was attacked.

WE obtained summary reports and photos filed at the time by Iraqi and U.S. Army troops on the scene. They contain no corroborating evidence of Hussein's claim that "Shiite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near Iraqi soldiers who did not intervene."

There is more, much more, in Michelle's NY Post article, and I suggest that you take the time to read it all, but the heart of the matter is that AP's reporters seem to have greatly exaggerated what took place in Hurriyah on November 24.

Not a single mosque was "burned and blew up" as AP reported, though they did come under some small arms fire and two were attacked with primitive Molotov cocktails. Not a single soul died in an "inferno" at the al-Muhaimin (var. al Muhaymin) mosque, much less the 18 including women and children, as reported by an al-Qaeda-aligned group (the Association of Muslim Scholars) that the AP wouldn't even identify as extremists as other news organizations have done.

AP's most graphic element, missing from all other news organizations' coverage of Shia attacks in Hurriyah and elsewhere, was a single-sourced report by longtime AP source Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein (an apparent pseudonym) that six men had been pulled from the al-Mustafa mosque, doused in kerosene, and burned alive. While al-Mustafa was subject to small arms fire and an attack with a crude incendiary device, no one was pulled into the street and immolated.

The Associated Press reporting of the incident in Hurriyah doesn't stand up.

And did I mention that this wasn't the only account sourced to Jamil Hussein that cannot be corroborated?

* * *

I've continued to do some digging into one of the stories sourced to Jamil (not really) Hussein, the alleged assassination of Iraqi Police Captain Amir Kamil on June 20, 2006.

According to AP:

Elsewhere in the capital, police Capt. Amir Kamil, who provided security for Yarmouk hospital, was shot to death Tuesday at a bus station, Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

Unlike most of Hussein's rather vague claims, this one provided specific detail I could attempt to follow up on. We know the name of the victim, who he worked for, where he worked, and at what rank, and even know how and where (in general terms) he was killed.

Unlike all of AP's other stories sourced to Jamil Hussein (including the Hurriyah attacks), this story even has a picture associated with it.

A caption provided with the picture in a sidebar here reads:

Two friends of police Capt. Amir Kamil comfort each other at al-Yarmouk hospital after he was shot...

It seems like this story could be easily verified, doesn't it? Alas, that is not the case. As I noted previously, I was unable to find any English-language stories from other news agencies corroborating the AP's claim of Captain Kamil's assassination. A reader with Lexis-Nexis access reported the same.

Hoping to run it down through other channels, I asked CPATT and MNC-I to also try to verify this account, and turned it over to a journalist with solid ties to the Arab Press (the journalist wishes to remain anonymous) to see if any local Iraqi or Middle Eastern Press agencies might have corroborating accounts. Previously, they (CPATT, MNC-I, Arab media contacts) were able to confirm the assassination of Iraqi Defense Ministry employee Mohammed Musaab Talal al-Amari. To date, the al-Amari murder remains the only Jamil Hussein account of 40 I investigated that was conclusively corroborated.

Two sources, CPATT and MNC-I PAO, often work together on MOI related issues, and this is what MNC-I PAO Lt. Michael Dean was able to relay to me via email about police deaths reported to MNF-I in Baghdad on June 20:

Mr. Owens:

On June 20, 2006, MNCI has reports of only 2 incidents that
involved the deaths of Iraqi Police.

1) At 11:28 a.m., the Iraqi Police reported murder of 1 civilian (unknown employment) and 2 National Police officers. Mehmond Hamade's corpse was reported to be located at the Kadhimiya Hospital (northern Baghdad on east side of Tigris). Also, the heads of two 1-1 National Police officers, NOC Monsa Uttawi and SGM Mehmond Muter Lefta, were discovered in the Tigris.

2) A 4.5-hour small arms fire incident in Al Rasafah in eastern Baghdad (Yarmok is on the western side of Tigris) during the afternoon of June 20