July 24, 2009

AP Headline On Obama-Gates Critical of Prez; Actual Story Lapses Into Cliches, Ignores Gibbs’s ‘FOP for McCain’ Remark

Someone at the Associated Press got a headline mostly right (“Obama rushes to quell racial uproar he helped fire”) — although you still have to wonder if it had been almost anyone else, if something along the lines of “xxxx stop short of full apology” would have been used instead.

AP writer Nancy Benac’s story does note a couple of clear negatives in Barack Obama’s behavior in the Henry Gates matter, but it also lapses into blather about “the nation’s keen sensitivities on matters of race.”

Benac also blew by an incendiary comment by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the President’s police union critics reported earlier today at the Politico — “I think the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed McCain, if I’m not mistaken” — that surely would not have been ignored had a Republican president’s PressSec had made a similar statement about a Democrat-endorsing group. It as if, in Gibbs’s world, partisanship is the only reason the FOP defended officer James Crowley.

Here are key paragraphs from Benac’s report (bold is mine):

Knocked off stride by a racial uproar he helped stoke, President Barack Obama hastened Friday to tamp down the controversy. Obama, who had said Cambridge, Mass., police “acted stupidly” in arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., declared the white arresting officer was a good man and invited him and the professor to the White House for a beer.

Obama conceded his words had been ill-chosen, but he stopped short of a public apology. He personally telephoned both Gates and Sgt. James Crowley, hoping to end the rancorous back-and-forth over what had transpired and what Obama had said about it.

…. Hours earlier, a multiracial group of police officers had stood with Crowley in Massachusetts and said the president should apologize.

It was a measure of the nation’s keen sensitivities on matters of race that the fallout from a disorderly conduct charge in Massachusetts – and the remarks of America’s first black president about it – had mushroomed to such an extent that he felt compelled to make a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room to try to put the matter to rest. The blowup had dominated national attention just as Obama was trying to marshal public pressure to get Congress to push through health care overhaul legislation – and as polls showed growing doubts about his performance.

…. The president did not back down from his contention that police had overreacted by arresting the Harvard professor for disorderly conduct after coming to his home to investigate a possible break-in. He added, though, that he thought Gates, too, had overreacted to the police who questioned him. The charge has been dropped.

Obama stirred up a hornet’s nest when he said at a prime-time news conference this week that Cambridge police had “acted stupidly” by arresting Gates, a friend of the president’s. Still, Obama said Friday he didn’t regret stepping into the controversy and hoped the matter would end up being a “teachable moment” for the nation.

Oh, it was “teachable,” all right. One lesson is that an AP writer covering Obama can wait until the sixth paragraph to report the President’s long since-refuted claim that the police overreacted. Another is that a Press Secretary’s blatant politicization of a clearly non-political event can be ignored at the Essential Global News Network and still meet whatever remains of its journalistic standards.

Commenters can weigh in on other lessons learned.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Who’s In YOUR Wallet?

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 1:03 pm



Who’s in YOUR Wallet?

PJTV rocks.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Reuters Takes Sides on Climate Change’) Is Up (Related Item: BBC’s Descent)

ReutersHelpFightGW0709It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

The column demonstrates that the conventional wisdom in current news releases about climate-change developments is provably wrong. Beyond that, Reuters, as shown in the graphic at the top right, has gone beyond biased reporting, which is bad enough, and has descended into open climate-change advocacy as a corporate policy. This has served to make the wire service’s so-called “journalism” even more opinionated than one might expect, and far beyond what its audience should be willing to tolerate.



Early in the piece, I mentioned the indispensable CCNet email from English climate policy analyst Benny Peiser.

Peiser has also chronicled the BBC’s dive into openly-admitted climate-change bias. His latest cross-reference is to a July 15 column in the UK Daily Mail by retiring BBCer Peter Sissons.

Sissons’s column is worth reading for reasons beyond BBC’s environuttiness, as the network’s professionalism and standards in general appear to be in free-fall. But here is the key excerpt relating to the network’s climate-change/globaloney bias (bold is mine):

On a wintry Saturday last December, there was what was billed as a major climate change rally in London.

The leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, went into the Westminster studio to be interviewed by me on the BBC News channel. She clearly expected what I call a ‘free hit’; to be allowed to voice her views without being challenged on them.

I pointed out to her that the climate didn’t seem to be playing ball at the moment. We were having a particularly cold winter, even though carbon emissions were increasing. Indeed, there had been no warming for ten years, contradicting all the alarming computer predictions.

Well, she was outraged. I don’t have the actual transcript, but Miss Lucas told me angrily that it was disgraceful that the BBC – the BBC! – should be giving any kind of publicity to those sort of views.

I believe I am one of a tiny number of BBC interviewers who have so much as raised the possibility that there is another side to the debate on climate change.

The Corporation’s most famous interrogators invariably begin by accepting that ‘the science is settled’, when there are countless reputable scientists and climatologists producing work that says it isn’t.

But it is effectively BBC policy, enthusiastically carried out by the BBC environment correspondents, that those views should not be heard – witness the BBC statement last year that ‘BBC News currently takes the view that their reporting needs to be calibrated to take into account the scientific consensus that global warming is man-made’.

Politically the argument may be settled, but any inquisitive journalist can find ample evidence that scientifically it is not.

I was not proud to be working for an organisation with a corporate mind so closed on such an important issue. Disquiet over my interview with Miss Lucas, incidentally, went right to the top at the BBC although, naturally, they never sought to discuss it with me.

For me, this is not an issue about the climate, it is an issue about the duty of the journalist.

But BBC doesn’t seem interested in journalism any more, only in propaganda, particularly in environmental matters.

It also seems that the inmates are running the asylum:

At today’s BBC, a complaint I often heard from senior producers was that they dared not reprimand their subordinates for basic journalistic mistakes – such as getting ages, dates, titles and even football scores wrong – it being politically incorrect to risk offending them.

To subscribe to Peiser’s CCNet e-mail, send an e-mail to listserver@ljmu.ac.uk (Subject Line “subscribe cambridge-conference”). Even if you never get past the daily headlines list, that alone will be a breath of fresh, non-warming air.