How the Associated Press perpetuates the “Israel is the enemy” myth (UPDATED)

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Associated Press

A disturbing, revealing tweet from the Associated Press earlier this morning (screen-capped in case they delete it):


As you’ll see below in the original piece published by the AP and written by journalist Bradley Klapper, this wasn’t just a headline writer gone wild. It was in the actual piece as well, the first two lines:


I’m not sure how long the article stayed up this way, but someone got a hold of it and revised it (even though as of this writing, the tweet is still there in all its infamy), and it now reads:

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the war in Gaza escalates, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military campaign against Hamas.

It’s fascinating, really, when you think about it – even the revised version is biased. Where the original article implied the Palestinians were being unfairly and horrifically targeted by IDF and ganged up on by US politicians who were “falling all over themselves” to support Israel, the revised version insinuates that Israel started the “military campaign” against Hamas without provocation. Ignored throughout the piece is the real horror behind the Gaza war, and not just this one but many prior: Palestinian children are taught from birth to loathe the Jewish people. And as soon as they’re able to hold a gun, the children are militarily trained on how to target and kill Jews. Not much later than that in their young lives, they’re instructed about martyrdom and how it is an “honor” to blow yourself up “for the cause.” Also not mentioned in Klapper’s hit piece is how Hamas routinely uses children and other innocents as human shields in their battles against Israel, how they deliberately store weapons they want to use against Israel near hospitals and schools so Israel looks like they bad guy when they destroy those weapons of war and innocents get caught in the crossfire.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Sadly, this isn’t just standard operating procedure for the Associated Press, but other news orgs as well, like Reuters and the BBC, all of which are seemingly incapable of putting their “#FreePalestine!” bias aside in favor of straight news reporting on a very delicate and dangerous subject. I’d like to think the light shined on the Associated Press today on the glaringly obvious bias in Klapper’s article will cause them and other news outlets to be a little more careful in the future when it comes to how they word their reports on the conflict in Gaza, but I won’t hold my breath. Israel-shaming is popular today, and – unfortunately – not just in media circles.

And besides, Hamas is just a “humanitarian organization“, right? o=> 8-|

Update – 12:50 PM: The AP has now ‘officially’ revised their tweet:


Never change, AP. Never change.

Headline of the day: ‘Barack Obama locks out the press — again’

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President Obama in toast

Our celebrity President held a couple of high-dollar fundraisers on the left coast this week – and the mainstream media are not happy that they weren’t granted access whatsoever to either of them (via):

SAN FRANCISCO — President Barack Obama went to the West Coast to meet donors from two top Democratic super PACs, but the press wasn’t invited.

Tuesday, the reporters and photographers traveling with the president on Air Force One and in his motorcade were left on the gravel path not even within sight of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal’s house in the Seattle suburbs where Obama sat for a Senate Majority PAC fundraiser with a $25,000 entrance fee.

Wednesday morning, when he met with big donors for the House Majority PAC at the Four Seasons hotel in downtown San Francisco, they weren’t even told what room or floor he was on.

“We think these fundraisers ought to be open to at least some scrutiny, because the president’s participation in them is fundamentally public in nature,” said Christi Parsons, the new president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. “Denying access to him in that setting undermines the public’s ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing. It’s of special concern as these events and the donors they attract become more influential in the political process.”

Despite constant complaints from the press corps and promises from White House officials, access to the president continues to be limited. The constantly repeated line that they’re running the “most transparent administration in history” tends to prompt snickers. Halfway through Obama’s West Coast swing, it’s tipping toward outrage.

Make sure to read the whole thing as Politico writes about other events that the press were only allowed very limited access to, and notes two meetings with high profile Democrats that the media only found out after the fact.

This is nothing new. In fact, the secretive nature of this administration is so absurd that they have actually blocked reporters from covering meetings about … transparency!  So it’s about freaking time someone in the mainstream media got outraged.  Bring on the chorus of frustrated journalists. Let’s hear more about it!

“Transparency” you can believe in – only it’s the kind of  phony”transparency” that I described here….

Related: Via the SF Chronicle – Signs of donor fatigue at Obama’s Bay Area fundraisers

Hypocritical White House criticizes journos for use of anonymous sources

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obama-mirror

The two-faced nature of this administration continues.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest angered a lot of journalists at today’s press briefing over his comments regarding the anonymous sources of a story he was questioned on.  Via The Hill:

Complaints from White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday about anonymous news sources prompted a testy exchange with reporters who noted that administration officials regularly demand anonymity.

Earnest was asked about a Washington Post report charging that the administration ignored predictions last year from the Department of Homeland Security about the surge of unaccompanied minors who have flooded across the border in recent months.

ut the spokesman looked to challenge the report by arguing it was “based entirely on anonymous sources.” Earnest also offered a broader critique on the use of anonymous sourcing in a bid to challenge the credibility of the story.

“In the course of reporting, I think it’s important, based on my own personal view, for those kinds of quotes and those kinds of stories to be given greater weight than just anonymous sources,” Earnest said. “So, what that means is, if you have anonymous sources at the White House who are telling you something, and you’re gonna say to them — that anonymous source — ‘Look, I’m willing to give your side of the story a little less weight right now, because you’re telling me this anonymously.’ “

That prompted complaints from reporters who noted that the White House routinely insists on anonymity when unveiling new efforts.

“Would you guys commit then, when you have situations like today’s call, which is people specifically picked by the White House to roll out a policy of the White House, would you commit to have those people speak on the record?” asked Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace. “Because there doesn’t seem to be a reason to put them on background.”

[….]

“What I will commit to is a case-by-case evaluation of the background or the ground rules of each of these kinds of calls and a commitment to an open dialogue with you about the ground rules that will serve your interests and the White House interests the best,” Earnest said.

Make sure to click on the link above from The Hill to read how some Washington Post journos responded on Twitter to a particularly ridiculous criticism Earnest leveled at them about not sending anyone to the briefing to “defend themselves” on their border story published today.  It goes without saying that the write-up wasn’t exactly flattering to the administration, and for that – of course – journalists must be punished.  It’s the Chicago-on-the-Potomac way.

As always with this White House, it’s do as I say – not as I do.  “Transparency” you can believe in, and all that … 8-|

.@SkyNews journo rifles through #MH17 luggage, network apologizes after backlash

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Unreal. A new low in modern journalism – via the WaPo:

A Sky News reporter drew criticism over the weekend when he rummaged on camera through a bag belonging to a victim of the MH17 air crash in Ukraine, even as he said he “probably shouldn’t be doing this, I suppose.”

It appeared to be a momentary lapse and the reporter, Colin Brazier, quickly put an item back in the bag after picking it up to display to viewers. Coming as foreign leaders were criticizing Ukraine separatists for piling up bodies of victims and going through personal belongings, the footage was not well received.

According to the Guardian, Sky News later apologized:

Huffington Post has documented the widespread outrage from both journalists and non-journos alike. Twitchy Team has more.

Here’s an image from the “news” segment, which you can watch at YouTube. I didn’t feel comfortable posting the video here.

Sky News

Sky News journalist Colin Brazier sifts through the luggage of dead MH-17 passenger.

Just an incredible, stunning lack of judgement, basic sensitivity and common decency, not to mention a total disregard for the feelings of the families of those killed in the crash. As the WaPo noted, even Brazier realized as he was doing it that it was wrong – but really, the whole segment was about sifting through the personal effects of dead passengers. Highly unseemly, to say the least.

I’m sure Sky News has heard quite an earful about this – if you haven’t let them know your thoughts, tag their Twitter account and let them know. And please rise above and express your thoughts respectfully, as hard as it may be to lash out over the completely inappropriate on-scene reporting of Brazier.

Team Hillary to the NYT: Stop writing ‘negative’ stories about La Clinton

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Hillary Clinton speaks in Gastonia, NC - 5/2/08. Photo taken by ST.

Hillary Clinton speaks in Gastonia, NC – 5/2/08. Photo taken by ST.

The Washington Free Beacon has an exclusive report on a ‘secret meeting’ between senior members of Team Clinton and the New York Times in which the Clintonistas told the Times to “back off” (via):

Some of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides blasted the New York Times for what they said was unfair coverage of the former first lady during a recent secret meeting with the paper’s Washington bureau, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

Sources said the meeting included Clinton advisers Philippe Reines and Huma Abedin, as well as Times Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan and national political reporter Amy Chozick, who has been on the Clinton beat for the paper.

During the closed-door gathering, Clinton aides reportedly griped about the paper’s coverage of the potential 2016 candidate, arguing that Clinton has left public office and should not be subjected to harsh scrutiny, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

Neither the Times nor the Clinton camp would discuss on the record specifics. However, sources familiar with the meeting describe it as an attempt to brush back and even intimidate the staff of the Times. The sometimes fraught relationship between Clinton and the press has been well documented.

“We are not going to comment,” said a Times spokesperson when contacted by the Free Beacon.

Reines and another spokesperson for Clinton did not respond to requests for comment.

Newsbusters’ Tim Graham astutely points out:

Scott Whitlock also noted a puffy Chozick front-pager on how the Clintons would seek to reclaim “populist” (i.e. ultraliberal) ground on income inequality, so it’s not like the Clintons have a lot of complaining to do. But part of the Clintons maintaining their “inevitable” grip on the Democratic nomination clearly means keeping their partisan press operatives in line.

Absolutely.  It’s not like the New York Times treat La Clinton like they would your average Republican politico, and even “negative” stories (by the loosest of definitions) are far fairer on HillaryCo than anything you’d see about her opposition … unless the opposition’s name was Barack Obama, of course.

This is, as Graham noted, just a way for Hillary and her operatives to try and make sure her typical media allies don’t stray too far off course in the coming months as she gears up for a likely presidential announcement. It’s  all part of the massive Clinton media-machine, which will try and break reporters who don’t fall in lockstep with her PR agenda, and which will reward those who regurgitate the Approved Talking Points™.  

If you still had any doubts at this point as to whether or not she would run for President, this report should give you your answer: Yes.

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker: Our network has no shame whatsoever

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CNN Jeff Zucker

Image via Salon.com

There’s really no other way to interpret Zucker’s remarks, as quoted from a Monday interview he did with thew New York Times – which was recorded by Capital New York (via):

Last night, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker gave a hint of where the network will go next now thats its two-plus-month coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is subsiding.

“I don’t think there’s any question about our commitment to breaking news, as evidenced by all the questions about the plane,” he told New York Times television reporter Bill Carter during an interview at the Deadline Club’s annual awards dinner. “So we’re still there whenever that happens, but we’re going to supplement that with some different kind of storytelling.”

[…]

CNN’s round-the-clock coverage of the search for the missing Malaysian flight was mocked widely for its obsessiveness, and was the “so-called 777 in the room” at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in midtown, where the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists was celebrating its annual awards.

Asked whether he considered his channel’s ratings-elevating coverage of the event was ever excessive, Zucker said, “If I take a step back from our coverage of the Malaysian plane’s disappearance, I’m incredibly comfortable with it. I believed early on, right from the start, that it was an enormously important story: an American-made Boeing jet liner, with Rolls Royce engines with 239 people, disappears into thin air…That’s why we devoted the resources that we did to it.”

CNN continues to mention the story every day, Zucker said, noting that the families of the 239 people aboard the plane still ask for updates. Yesterday, CNN reported that raw satellite data about the plane’s course could soon be made public.

Zucker was also asked if his network would devote any significant amount of time covering the upcoming Benghazi special committee hearings where House Republicans will try to get to the bottom of who knew what and when:

“We’re not going to be shamed into it by others who have political beliefs that want to try to have temper tantrums to shame other news organizations into covering something,” he said. “If it’s of real news value, we’ll cover it.”

Translation: If they can figure out a way to sensationalize the hell out of the murders of four innocent Americans on foreign soil for ratings, as they did the MH 370 disaster, they’ll be all over it.  Keeping a watchful eye on government hearings purely for the sake of a little thing like oversight and accountability is not enough. As far as politically “shaming” his network into covering an issue, it all depends on who is having the “temper tantrums” and doing the “shaming”, however (natch):

Carter asked if the network, which has been criticized for its oversight of climate change, might devote more live airtime to the subject.

“Climate change is one of those stories that deserves more attention, that we all talk about,” Zucker said, “but we haven’t figured out how to engage the audience in that story in a meaningful way. When we do do those stories, there does tend to be a tremendous amount of lack of interest on the audience’s part.”

Don’t ever change, CNN.  Please don’t ever change.

QOTD: @JakeTapper grills WH Chief of Staff on VA hospital deaths

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Jake Tapper

Jake Tapper – CNN’s Chief Washington correspondent and anchor of ”The Lead” afternoon program.

CNN’s Jake Tapper is one of the few DC journalists who hasn’t forgotten that their jobs involve holding the government accountable for their actions and digging beyond their standard talking points no matter the party, and he doesn’t disappoint here – as Newsbusters’ PJ Gladnick recaps:

[Thursday] White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough kept defending the record of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinkseki over his handling of the Veterans Administration hospitals scandal on CNN’s The Lead. Finally an increasingly agitated Jake Tapper grew frustrated with the excuses until he exploded in anger: “How Many Dead Veterans Do You Need?”

It was an all too familiar administration two-step but the normally mild-mannered Tapper wasn’t going to have any of it. In the dramatic video below the jump, you can see a clearly  upset Tapper finally lash out at McDonough.

Gladnick provides video of the exchange at the link above.  Below is a contextual transcript of the back and forth:

MCDONOUGH: And we work with Chairman Miller, we work with Chairman Sanders, we work with all of the members of the House and Senate to make sure that they have it.

That’s why the president has seen dramatically expanded investments in Veterans Administration operations over the course of these last five years, year on year, historic increases in that budget, at a time, by the way, Jake, when we have seen budgets under intense pressure. We will continue to make those investments.

-Gladnick – Finally Tapper could take no more of the excuses:

TAPPER: How many stories like this, how many letters like this, how many dead veterans do you need before somebody asks the question within the White House, maybe this guy isn’t the best steward of these veterans?

MCDONOUGH: The question, Jake, is, are we doing everything we can every day to get the veterans the care and the opportunities that they deserve?

TAPPER: But you are not. This letter was sent a year ago. And you guys ignored it.

MCDONOUGH: And we have been working aggressively to ensure that not only is health care expanded, opportunities made more ready to our vets, but that people are held to account, as Ric is doing in this case. We will continue to do that.

TAPPER: Last question, sir. And that is, I appreciate your being here and I appreciate your coming and facing these questions live on television.

Drew Griffin has been trying to get an interview with General Shinseki for months, literally. He is the one that broke the story. He’s the reason there was a hearing today. Why has Shinseki avoided reporters like Drew Griffin? Why does the VA cordon itself off from accountability, not only from lawmakers and the public, but the press? Doesn’t there need to be a bigger cultural change there?

Well done, sir. Make sure to watch the video clip at the link above as well.

Tapper, formerly of ABC News, is no stranger to issues impacting veterans and their families.  He has a book titled The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor which you should promptly buy and read, if you haven’t already.

#TBT: Congressman @TGowdySC owns media on questions surrounding #Benghazi (VIDEO)

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Congressman Trey Gowdy

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC-4
Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I present to you this awesome video of Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC-4) – recently named Chair of a new select committee on Benghazi – taking the media to task (presumably) last October for their failure to ask important questions of the President and his administration on the Benghazi issue. My friend @KatMcKinley, from who I saw this video on Facebook, sets it up:

This is epic. Watch at the end when Trey Gowdy asks the media questions. Such a grand takedown that I hope all media there slithered away in shame. If you watch nothing else today, watch this. He basically drops the mic at the end. My respect for him just tripled.

I think yours will, too, after you watch it:

Doubly cool is the fact that Gowdy is ignoring recent reported threats against him and is pressing on for answers:

While appearing on Fox News Wednesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., laughed off a death threat he received after being tapped to head a select committee on the Benghazi terror attack, Newsmax reported. He also told Megyn Kelly he intends to subpoena former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As we reported Tuesday, Politico said journalists had received emails saying harm would come to Gowdy over the Benghazi investigation. Capitol Police did not provide any details, but said “an active, open investigation” is underway.

“I was a prosecutor for 16 years. This is not my first death threat,” he said. “I’m always happy when it doesn’t come from my wife, and this one did not. So, I’m going to be fine, and it’s not going to keep me from doing my job.”

I really like this guy.