Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Politico’s Dylan Byers has a hint of what’s going to come out in Columbia Journalism School’s review of the Rolling Stone UVA story, and it’s not going to be pretty:

The highly anticipated review of Rolling Stone’s disputed story about a University of Virginia gang rape was submitted to the magazine this week, the On Media blog has learned, and its contents are apparently quite damning.

The review, which was submitted by Columbia Journalism School dean Steve Coll, is significantly longer than the original 9,000-word article, sources with knowledge of its contents said. They also said the review offered a blunt indictment of Rolling Stone’s reporting and its violation of journalism ethics. A significant portion of the review is slated to run in the magazine next month, they said.

  • The Big Kahuna: This guy may well have pulled off the greatest surfing trick of all time.
  • The New Pravda: Buzzfeed has an excellent look at the propaganda editorial standards and management practices at Russia Today.
    On a related note, see this Twitter flame war between former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul and RT staffers over the network’s coverage of the events in Ukraine.
  • Your Next Vacation Spot: I’ve added Navagio to my bucket list based on the photos at this Huffington Post article alone. I still hate myself for the fact that I lived in Italy for four years and never went to Greece in all that time.
  • It Was Twenty Years Ago Today: One of my favorite albums of all time, NIN’s The Downward Spiral, turned 20 last week! They grow up so fast… One more year and TDS will be able to drink legally.
  • Game of Bieber: It turns out the two most insufferable people in popular culture have a lot in common… E! compares Justin Bieber to Joffrey.
    On a related note [SPOILER ALERT], somebody at Buzzfeed compiled the 14 most brutal deaths on Game of Thrones as animated 8-bit GIFs. Take a wild guess which is number one.

homer
According to J.M. Berger, Al Qaeda has taken to Twitter to solicit feedback for media ops using the hashtag اقتراحك_لتطوير_اﻹعلام_الجهادي (which, when run through Google translator, comes out as “Suggestion _ development _ Media _ jihadist”), which is now being spammed with parody tweets by Berger and others. Click on the hashtag in Berger’s tweet to watch the fun.

The Obama campaign released this simple but brutal ad yesterday: A series of headlines from recent weeks about Romney’s tenure at Bain, outsourcing jobs, and use of offshore tax havens, set to audio of Romney’s off-key performance of “America the Beautiful” at a campaign event in Florida last January. TPM’s David Kurtz compares this ad to the Lyndon Johnson campaign’s now legendary “Daisy” ad from the 1964 election.

The Atlantic’s James Fallows appeared on NPR yesterday to discuss the ad, and during the course of that conversation, the comparison was made between what Obama is doing to Romney now to what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Republican operatives did to John Kerry’s military record in Vietnam during the 2004 Election. An excerpt from that conversation:

FALLOWS: It has. And I think it’s worth focusing on why this is such a potential problem for the Romney campaign. The entire reason behind his campaign through the last year in the Republican primaries and now in the next four months in the general election is that America has business problems. He is a businessman, therefore, he’s the right person for the job.

And what the Obama campaign is doing on the basis of this Bain imbroglio is something similar to what George W. Bush was doing to John Kerry back in 2004 in the episode known as swiftboating. And by that, I mean making something that a candidate has assumed to be his strength, which, in John Kerry’s case was his military background, into a weakness.

RAZ: And so if the Obama campaign can make Mitt Romney’s business background not the presumed basis of his campaign, but instead a source of controversy, a source of potential weakness for him, that really does make problems in the campaign for the Romney team.

So if the Obama campaign is swiftboating, as you say, Mitt Romney – I mean, one of the criticisms of John Kerry was that he didn’t respond to this back in 2004, and Romney is only started to respond to it.

FALLOWS: Exactly. And I should make clear, in saying swiftboating, I’m not asserting that these are false accusations. I’m just saying they have this jujitsu effect. And it’s actually surprising the Romney team is not better prepared for them than it is. Number one, because they’ve had the last eight years since the John Kerry episode. Number two, over the last year, this is what Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and others were using as their angle of attack on Mitt Romney’s business background too.

Fallows’s analogy of the Bain attack being political jiujitsu by turning a candidate’s strength into a potential liability is correct. However, there are a few other reasons why the swiftboating analogy is not accurate here that are worth pointing out (Full disclosure/background: I reviewed hundreds of pages of military records for Kerry and others while working at CNN during the course of the Swift Boat controversy as it was playing out in 2004.)

  • After having reviewed multiple incident reports and service records obtained independently through Freedom of Information Act requests, documents filed contemporaneously at the time backed Kerry’s version of the events, every single time. In other words, the underlying basis for challenging Kerry’s service record was entirely false. In Romney’s case, independent reporting of multiple news organizations, as well as Bain Capital’s SEC filings and his 2002 testimony before the Ballot Law Commission in Massachusetts are the basis for questioning his version of events.
  • The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were an independent 527 group. This ad – and the entire strategy of attacking Romney’s record at Bain – was a direct hit organized by the Obama campaign.
  • Romney was attacked for his Bain record during the 2012 Republican primaries. He could have put a lot of these issues to rest if he had put the information out there months ago. Kerry’s military service was never challenged during the Democratic primaries, and did not become an issue until the Swift Boat group started running ads shortly after Kerry accepted his party’s nomination.
  • His continued refusal to release tax returns beyond 2010 is also compounding the problem. Also consider that when Romney was being vetted to be John McCain’s possible running mate back in 2008, he gave the McCain campaign 23 years’ worth of tax returns. Even though his tax returns and the end of his tenure at Bain are two completely separate issues, the Obama campaign has effectively joined them together at the hip. In this respect, Romney’s response is similar to Kerry’s refusal to release his full personnel and medical file (Standard Form 180) back in 2004.

The Obama campaign has effectively turned Romney’s record in the private sector – in his words, one of the main reasons why he should be elected president – into a liability. However, after looking at everything the Swift Boat campaign did to John Kerry, the analogy should end there. Romney’s current problem is almost entirely of his own making – the conflicting answers he’s given in the past and last week, as well as the SEC documents and his own refusal to release more tax returns.

Update: Business Insider compares Romney’s handling of the Bain questioning to Bill Clinton’s infamous and widely mocked “the meaning of the word ‘is'” during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Update II: Fallows has written a blog post elaborating on his swiftboating comments during the NPR interview. The whole thing is worth a read.

Update III: Another Kerry 2004/Romney 2012 comparison that has nothing to do with swiftboating –  both candidates used the same slogan, “Believe in America.”

 

I can’t believe Politico published this with a straight face [emphasis mine]:

A senior Romney strategist said Thursday that the campaign had a plan and wouldn’t be distracted from implementing it, despite pressure from outsiders. The strategist called the new charges part of an old line of attack that had already been thoroughly aired.

“We went through this in the primary,” the adviser said. “You have a lot of people inside the Beltway, who like to sit back and be armchair quarterbacks, strategists who talk to you and don’t go on the record. We have a plan. We know what the plan is, and we’re going to implement the plan.”

So the Romney strategist who won’t go on the record bashes other strategists for not going on the record? See if you can make sense of that one…

The New York Post must have had a field day putting together this front page…

Not making this up – An FCC commissioner who voted to approve the NBC/Comcast deal is taking a new job lobbying for… the new NBC/Comcast conglomerate.

If you only read one story today, it should be this report from the Center for Public Integrity (via the Daily Beast):

Some journalists develop a delicate relationship with law-enforcement officials as they try to obtain sensitive information without getting too close to the government.

But a once-classified FBI memo reveals that the bureau treated a senior ABC News journalist as a potential confidential informant in the 1990s, pumping the reporter to ascertain the source of a sensational but uncorroborated tip that the network had obtained during its early coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing.

The journalist, whose name is not disclosed in the document labeled “secret,” not only cooperated but provided the identity of a confidential source, according to the FBI memo—a likely breach of journalistic ethics if he or she did not have the source’s permission.

The ABC employee was even assigned a number in the FBI’s informant database, indicating he or she was still being vetted for suitability as a snitch after providing “highly accurate and reliable information in the past” and then revealing information the network had obtained in the hours just after the terrorist attack by Timothy McVeigh.

The journalist “advised that a source within the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service advised that the Oklahoma City bombing was sponsored by the Iraqi Special Services who contracted seven (7) former Afghani Freedom Fighters out of Pakistan,” an April 17, 1996 FBI memo states, recounting the then-ABC journalist’s interview with FBI agents a year earlier on the evening of the April 19, 1995 bombing. (The Iraqi connection, of course, never materialized.)

This story has profound ethical questions for journalists and ABC News in particular. Journalists are supposed to get information from government sources, not the other way around. Obviously, until we know more about the identity of the reporter, it would not be useful or productive to speculate on his or her motives. But this revelation puts reporters, particularly investigative reporters who cover law enforcement, intelligence, or military beats, on the defensive. Don’t be surprised if at least one reporter, if not several, comes out publicly and says he or she has never been a government informant.

Update: Gawker is identifying the mole as current CBS News Washington Bureau Chief Christopher Isham.

Isham declined to comment when reached by Gawker. A CBS spokeswoman responded, “This is a matter for ABC News.”

Update II: Isham has released a statement denying he was the mole.

The suggestion that I was an informant for the FBI is outrageous and untrue. Like every investigative reporter, my job for 25 years has been to check out information and tips from sources. In the heat of the Oklahoma City bombing, it would not be unusual for me or any journalist to run information by a source within the FBI for confirmation or to notify authorities about a pending terrorist attack. This is consistent with the policies at every news organization. But at no time did I compromise a confidential source with the FBI or anyone else. Mr. Cannistraro was not a confidential source, but rather a colleague – a paid consultant to ABC News who had already spoken to the FBI about information he had received.

Former DNC chairman Howard Dean spoke at Carnegie Mellon University a few days ago and blasted Republicans, the Tea Party, and Fox News.  The speech was videotaped and uploaded to YouTube by The Blaze.

Dean on the Tea Party movement:

“I mean the Tea Party, it’s not a coincidence the Tea Party is all over 55 and white, right? This is the shrinking minority, ever-shrinking. And the shrinkier they get, the madder they get, which is why they’ve gotten so off the deep end. So you know… I mean, I don’t want to say all we’ve got to do is wait, wait out the change. We can’t do that. But the idea you’re going to suddenly change some right-wing guy who for his own, who can’t keep himself together without saying that Obama is a socialist, you’re not going to do that. That’s a deep problem that you can’t fix.”

On the right and left wings of American politics, past and present:

“Hillary Clinton talked a few years ago, and was made fun of, of course, about some of you may remember this, a vast right-wing conspiracy. And she was only wrong in one way. It’s not a conspiracy. When you do things in the open, you can’t call it a conspiracy. [flash] But this notion of the right wing desire to run things differently is threatening to the country. [flash] Not that the right wing is bad or the left wing is bad. I grew up in an era when the left wing was as awful as the right wing is today. They were burning down buildings. Their cause may have been a cause that I was sympathetic with, we shouldn’t be in Vietnam. They were doing appalling things that they had no business doing, just as the right is doing today.”

His comments on Fox News and media bias:

“We’ll start with Fox because that’s the easy one. There’s a difference between Fox and MSNBC. They’re both biased. The New York Times is biased. The Wall Street Journal is biased. The New York Post is biased. Newspapers are biased. The Pittsburgh Post is biased, or is it the Tribune, I forget. Which one is the right wing paper here? OK. [flash] Bias is not the problem. It’s something that makes us mad, but it’s not the problem. It’s when you become a propaganda outlet. What Fox News is not says, is often not true, and they know it’s not true, and they say it anyway. It is not a news organization. It is a very expensive, incredibly well funded right wing propaganda organization. The definition of propaganda is you take something with a small kernel of truth to it, you add, you twist, and you make it into a story. The death panels is a perfect example [flash]I forgive Sarah Palin for doing this. I mean I don’t think she’s going to be President of the United States, and politicians can say things and anybody can say anything they want. But I don’t forgive a supposed news organization who put that out every single day knowing it was a lie. [flash] In this country, people who listen to Fox because they prefer to be angry at the left, just like we listen to NBC, MSNBC, because we like what they’re telling us.  The truth is the facts on MSNBC are true, and when they’re not true, I mean you may not like the spin, the kind of nasty smarmy stuff that people say about other people. They’re not nice, I’m saying. I go on those shows sometimes. They’re usually nice to me, but they go on because I’m not nice to the Republicans. But if they make a mistake and get the facts wrong, they correct it the next day. [flash] Look, I’m a professional media hater, right? I’m a politician. I never got a break from the media. The scream speech, right? They dressed it all up. Anybody in the room at the scream, anybody that was in Iowa at the scream speech, nobody here? Well, it was very different. It didn’t quite sound the way it did by the time Fox got done with it. So I have every reason to dislike them.”

Watch Dean’s comments (the comments about Fox News and media bias begin at 1:18):

FYI, I asked Howard Dean about Sarah Palin’s “death panels” comment about a year and a half ago. Here’s his response as I reported for CNN:

“About euthanasia, they’re just totally erroneous. She just made that up. Just like the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ that she supposedly didn’t support. There’s nothing like euthanasia in the bill. I practiced medicine for a long time, and of course you have to have end of life discussions – the patients want that. There’s nothing… euthanasia’s not in this bill.”

Palin is now a paid commentator for Fox News. I’ve reached out to Fox News and Dean for comment, will update this post if I hear anything.

H/T Mediaite.

Update: I’ve gotten no response from Fox News yet, but Greta Van Susteren wrote the following on her blog:

It is sort of weird….but it seems that Howard Dean can’t get Fox News Channel out of his mind. Every time I see him quoted (or maybe not every time), he is taking a swipe at Fox. First, he needs to understand Fox is not why he lost Iowa in 2004. Even the “Dean scream” is not why ( the scream occurred AFTER he lost… and came in 3rd.) Second, his constant swipes makes him look like he is afraid of Fox – he makes his cracks but has turned down all our (ON THE RECORD AT 10pm) requests that he be a guest. Third, while he is highly critical of Fox he has not explained his recent remark that a government shutdown would be good for the Democrats (seemingly wanting a shutdown for political reasons at the expense of what is good for the country.)

I am actually curious what ideas he has for the country. We need ideas….he might want to focus on ideas instead of old grudges.

CNN:

“Coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill (CNN)
CNN
The science, the economics, the politics, the toll on human livelihoods and animal lives – CNN’s coverage of the Deepwater Horizon disaster defined comprehensive.”

Congrats to my current and former colleagues who worked so hard covering this story!