Accuracy in Media

The headline on the website of the Committee to Protect Journalists simply said: “Journalists Wounded in Iraq Blast Flown to Germany.” In fact, it was not a random blast. The bomb was planted by terrorists, and it almost took the lives of ABC World News Tonight co-anchor Bob Woodruff and ABC cameraman Doug Vogt. But how did the U.S. media react to it?

The attack was viewed as a consequence of Woodruff and Vogt doing their jobs. This, of course, was technically true. But it was also true that the Iraq-based terrorists, or “insurgents” as they are called by so many in the media, had carried out the attack.  

It was important to pin the blame. After all, can you imagine the media response if U.S. military forces had injured Woodruff and Vogt, even accidentally, during a firefight? We wouldn’t have heard the end of it. U.S. policy would have been blamed, calls would be increasing to withdraw U.S. forces from the conflict, and American troops would be depicted as trigger-happy or worse.

In fact, we should recall that some in the media, such as CNN’s Eason Jordan, raised a ruckus in early 2005 by charging that the U.S. military had been purposely firing on journalists in Iraq. There was no evidence for his charge, and his failure to back up the allegation led to his resignation from CNN. 

In this case, Woodruff and Vogt were targeted, along with the Iraqi soldiers they were accompanying, by the terrorist enemy. Some complained that the media were over-doing coverage of the attack on Woodruff and Vogt because they were U.S. news media employees. To some extent, this was probably true. 

Strangely, however, the coverage lacked the sense of outrage or anger that we thought would have naturally followed from an attack on members of the U.S. media. On one level, strictly speaking, it was a consequence of war. But it was also an attack on freedom of the press. After all, Woodruff was trying to tell the story of progress in the war and the increasing sophistication of the Iraqi Army. 

Under the circumstances, one would have excused the media if they had called for U.S. military retaliation against the terrorists responsible for this attack. Instead, however, one of the most prominent international correspondents, Christiane Amanpour of CNN, appeared on the Larry King Live television program and seemed to blame U.S. foreign policy for what happened to Woodruff and Vogt.

“The war in Iraq has basically turned out to be a disaster and journalists have paid for it, paid for the privilege of witnessing and reporting that and so have many, many other people who have been there,” she said.

The Amanpour statement was not only evidence of a liberal and anti-war media bias, but an apparent unwillingness to recognize the brutal nature of the enemy.

Where were the denunciations of the terrorists by members of the U.S. media? 

The explanation could be found in the decision by U.S. media organizations not to show the European newspaper cartoons depicting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light. One showed a bomb in his hat. The cartoons, deemed blasphemous by some Muslims, led to Islamic gunmen threatening the European Union offices in the Gaza Strip. Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries recalled their ambassadors from Denmark, where the cartoons were originally published. Muslims staged protests around the world.

CBS News, which showed the Abu Ghraib photos of Iraqi prisoners being abused in U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, said it would not show the Muhammad cartoons on its evening news program. 

The U.S. media, in short, have been targeted and intimidated by radical Islam. That helps explain the failure to hold the terrorists specifically responsible for the attacks on Woodruff and Vogt.

These attacks followed the brutal murder of American freelancer Steven Vincent, the only foreign journalist killed in Iraq in 2005, who was publicly known as a supporter of the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime.  

A website devoted to the “Iraqi resistance,” http://www.uruknet.info, openly declared, in a matter of fact manner, that “An Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded by an Iraqi puppet army column in the area of the northern Baghdad suburb of at-Taji, severely wounding American ABC TV news anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt who were traveling with the puppet troops.”

Absolutely no remorse was expressed for the injuries to Woodruff and Vogt.

Our media should be investigating the fact that this “Iraqi resistance” website has established links to organizations based in the U.S., include the International Action Center and International  ANSWER, fronts for the communist Workers World Party, and United for Peace and Justice, the group headed by Marxist Leslie Cagan. These groups constitute the main forces behind the various “anti-war” demonstrations held in the U.S.

Under the heading of “alternative news,” the pro-terrorist website recommends Al-Jazeera and the following “progressive” and left-wing sites?buzzflash,  common dreams, Counterpunch, Daily Kos, Democracy Now, Pacifica Radio, truthout, and The Nation, affiliated with  The Nation magazine.

These links are relevant when considering that some elements of the far left-wing in the U.S. have made common cause with the Iraqi-based terrorists and Osama bin Laden. In his recent audio taped message, bin Laden named Rogue State, a left-wing book by William Blum, as a field manual for understanding and undermining U.S. foreign policy.

The fact that bin Laden would cite the Blum book demonstrates that bin Laden is counting on a leftist fifth column in the U.S. to undermine the war on terrorism and hand him a victory on the battlefield.

It is also significant that Bin Laden, in his message, alluded to “documents” cited in the Western press for his complaint that President Bush had “planned to bomb” the Al-Jazeera office in Qatar.

Who’s Attacking The Press?

But considering that the network does work hand-in-glove with the terrorists, why is bombing Al-Jazeera such an outrageous thought? Bin Laden, however, knows that such a charge reinforces the anti-American bias of the international media and the tendency to believe, as Eason Jordan stated without evidence, that U.S. forces are killing journalists. In fact, as we have seen so dramatically, it’s the terrorists who are targeting members of the U.S. news media. It appears that the terrorists have intimidated the media to the point of virtual silence.

JUDGE ROY MOORE IS NO SCREWBALL

During an appearance on a Close-Up Foundation panel discussion on religion and the media, AIM editor Cliff Kincaid made the point that we still see erroneous references in the press to the “separation of church and state” being in the Constitution. Peter Slevin of the Washington Post had a variation of this theme in a January 1 article about a federal judge barring mention of Jesus Christ in the daily invocations at the Indiana state house. Slevin claimed in the second paragraph that the constitution “forbids the government to show preference for any religious denomination.”

In fact, the constitution forbids the establishment of a national church. At the time the First Amendment was ratified, half of the states had official churches or an official religion. Children in the public schools were taught to read and write using the Bible.

Clinton Justice

The 16th paragraph in Slevin’s article revealed that the document forbidding the showing of a preference for any religious denomination was the opinion of the judge, David F. Hamilton, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. Slevin reported, “In a 60-page ruling in November, he cited precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court and several lower courts in ruling that the ‘clearest command’ of the Constitution’s establishment clause is that ‘one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another.'”

It is certainly the case that Hamilton made this claim. But where in the constitution is such a “command?”

Judge Roy Moore of Alabama knows what the Constitution says on this matter. And when a federal judge ordered him to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama court house, he refused. The monument also featured religious references from the Declaration of Independence, the National Motto, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Judiciary Act of 1789.

It is tragic that Bernard Goldberg, who performed a public service with his two books on liberal media bias, listed Moore as one of “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America” in his latest book. Goldberg included Moore in a “rogue’s gallery of liberals, liars, and left-wing loonies” and insisted that Moore should have complied with the federal ruling.

As noted by Professor David Lowenthal, however, Moore was on solid ground because the federal courts have no constitutional jurisdiction over Alabama in these matters. Lowenthal, author of the book, Present Dangers: Rediscovering the First Amendment, said that the First Amendment prohibition against establishing religion was designed by the founders to make sure that Congress didn’t establish a national religion or church like they had in England. It has nothing to do with states displaying the Ten Commandments.

Lowenthal compared Moore’s position to a soldier who receives an illegal order and is bound by his oath to disobey it.

AIM Vs. Goldberg

Goldberg has responded on his website that AIM editor Kincaid is a “true believer” for challenging the inclusion of Judge Moore in his book. Goldberg says that “right wing ideologues are as intolerant as their counterparts on the Left. True believers, if they ever got their way, would make drastic changes in this country and I fear many of those changes would not be for the better.”

Intolerant? Judge Moore is included on a list that features Al Franken, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore and Howard Dean. The ad for his book referred to the people listed inside as “Hollywood elites, loudmouth talking heads, selfish lawyers and corporate crooks.” Judge Moore is none of these.

There’s no reason for going after Moore, except that Goldberg wanted to appear “fair and balanced” and get on liberal TV shows by attacking conservatives.

He should have gone after Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. There’s an excellent story about him in the February 2006 issue of Focus on the Family Citizen magazine, which described him as “the most notorious liberal judge on the most radical court in America.”

Goldberg seems to be somewhere on the left side of the political spectrum himself but has made a lot of money by appealing to conservatives. Blowing the whistle on liberal media bias, from his former point of view as a CBS employee, was welcome. But he has gone over the deep end with his latest book. It is not only wrong but defamatory in its treatment of Moore.   

In an interview published by National Review, defending his inclusion of Moore in his book, Goldberg said, “If conservatives are going to yell?correctly, in my view?about liberal activist judges, then we have to yell about conservative activist judges, too. I make clear in the book that this is not about whether the Ten Commandments should or should not be in the Rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building. But when a federal court judge tells the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Judge Moore to remove the monument, he’s got an obligation to do it. Instead he said I know better than you. That kind of thinking leads to anarchy and conservatives should be on my side on this one.”

By Whose Authority?

This begs the question of where a federal judge gets the constitutional authority to order a state judge to do this. The federal order was not lawful or constitutional. 

By way of comparison, AIM editor Kincaid co-authored a book about Michael New, the Army soldier who refused to wear a U.N. uniform and was court-martialed by the Clinton Administration. He disobeyed an illegal and unconstitutional order. The fact that courts ruled against him doesn’t mean the courts are right and he was wrong. It depends on a factual reading of the case and what the Constitution actually says. This is the point that Professor Lowenthal was trying to make.

The same goes for the Moore case. As Moore counsel Herb Titus said, “the American people understand what the Constitution means better than federal judges do. Federal judges are so wrapped up in precedent that they have forgotten what the plain words of the Constitution are. The people of the United States understand that the First Amendment does not prohibit putting up a monument in a building, putting up a picture. They understand that that’s not a law within the meaning of the First Amendment.”

There is nothing in the First Amendment that enables a federal judge to order a monument out of a state court house. 

Herb Titus, by the way, is a lawyer for Michael New.

THE DARK SIDE OF OPRAH

Oprah’s show featuring her apology for hyping the fraudulent James Frey book A Million Little Pieces was marred by the appearances of Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, the paper that employed the plagiarist and fabricator Jayson Blair. The Blair scandal forced the resignations of top Times editors. He had gotten a job at the Times through an affirmative action program that still remains in effect.

Rich, who appeared live, and Dowd, who was on tape, were supposed to represent the heightened vigilance of the mainstream press to fakers and con artists. Rich, a venomous Bush-hater, played politics by trying to connect Frey, a serial liar, to the Bush Administration’s rationale for going to war in Iraq. His obsession with the President borders on the pathological. He was even more of an embarrassment than Frey, who sat stone-faced throughout much of the show as the key ingredients of his book were shown to be lies and exaggerations. It was good television, but it would have been far better if Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd had been left off the show. They added nothing.

Dowd, another Bush-hater, made a nasty personal comment about the need for Oprah to kick Frey’s butt, but Dowd mispronounced Frey’s name in the process, showing that she was unfamiliar with the basic facts of the controversy, such as the author’s name.

Missing The Point

The Times missed the mark again on the January 29 edition of the CNN Reliable Sources program, when host Howard Kurtz asked David Carr, media reporter and columnist for the Times, about whether Oprah Winfrey has too much power. Carr responded that she had exercised her power in a positive way on issues like “New Orleans, South Africa, getting Americans reading.” 

New Orleans? On September 5, 2005, a week after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was a guest on Oprah and claimed that there were people “in that frickin’ Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people.” Nagin’s claims were false.

In another example of exercising her power in a negative fashion, the day after she issued her apology for promoting the fake memoir A Million Little Pieces, Oprah was back to the gay rights issue, one of her favorites. She featured interviews with the stars of the homosexual propaganda film, “Brokeback Mountain.” “Two gorgeous men secretly in love. It’s the movie everyone is buzzing about,” Oprah said. Put another way, it’s a story of two men engaging in dangerous and unhealthy sex, betraying their commitments to their wives and children.

Over the years Oprah has consistently promoted the homosexual movement, including teenage homosexuality, earning her recognition and awards from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which promotes acceptance of homosexuality and tries to keep critics of the lifestyle out of the media.  She avoids any discussion of the ex-homosexual movement. Indeed, one ex-homosexual, Stephen Bennett, says he has asked producers of the Oprah show numerous times to do a show on how people can leave the lifestyle and they have refused.

Transgender Television

Typical was the show “When I knew I was gay.” But the Oprah show is also big into the phenomenon of sex change operations. One such show, “From James to Jenny,” discussed “What it Means to be Transgendered.” The show featured Jenny Boylan, a “woman trapped in a man’s body.”

Oprah’s website directed people to another website advertising a film on HBO/Cinemax. “Uncle Bill is becoming a woman!,” said the site. “This lighthearted and poignant documentary profiles three sisters, ages 6, 9 and 11, struggling to understand why and how their Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. These girls love their Uncle Bill, but will they feel the same way when he becomes their new Aunt Barbara?” It was recommended that the film be used as a “resource” for sex education in the K-12 grades.

Another Oprah show, which aired on August 24, 2004, was actually devoted to children “who say they were born in the wrong body.” One was only 11-years-old and wanted a sex change. Not surprisingly, one of the “resources” listed on the Oprah website was GLAAD.

While Oprah suggests it is legitimate for children to change their sexual nature through a risky medical procedure, she operates a child predator watch list, trying to protect kids from those who target them for sexual purposes. She says that she has “had enough” of the exploitation of children.

So she should stop exploiting them on her own show. And she should drop her association with GLAAD.

What You Can Do

Please send the enclosed cards or cards and letters of your own choosing to Sean McManus of CBS News, Lisa Myers of NBC News, and Jack Romanos of Simon & Schuster.




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