Thursday, August 18, 2005

Other items in the Times

Gov. Bob Taft, scion of Ohio's most famous Republican family, was charged yesterday with violating state ethics law by failing to report 52 gifts, including golf outings, hockey tickets and meals, on his annual financial disclosure reports. The charges, all misdemeanors, bring the first prosecution of a major political figure stemming from a widening investigation of Thomas Noe, a rare-coin dealer, Republican fund-raiser and friend of Mr. Taft. State officials have accused Mr. Noe of mishandling and possibly stealing millions of dollars from a state workers' compensation fund.
[. . .]
The charges carry maximum penalties of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail on each of the four counts. But state officials said it was unlikely that Mr. Taft - great-grandson of President William Howard Taft, and son and grandson of United States senators - would face jail time.

The above is from James Dao's "Governor of Ohio Is Charged With Breaking Ethics Law" in this morning's New York Times. Note the last paragraph pull quoted above because members e-mailing are applaed by it, the facts not the writing.

Graham Bowley's "Reports of Police Inquiry Into Subway Killing Stir Outrage in Britain" in this morning's New York Times deals with the fallout ("outrage") over the report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission that directly contradicts the police's public statements in 'explaining' how Charles de Menezes ended up killed:

The report, from an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, includes accounts by witnesses, interviews with police officers and film from the surveillance system. The findings indicated that contrary to earlier reports by the police, Mr. Menezes seemed to be unaware that he was being followed from his home and into the Stockwell subway station, that he was not wearing a heavy jacket that could have concealed explosives and that he did not run from the police or jump over the subway station's ticket turnstile.
Although Ian Blair, the director of London's police, later apologized for the killing, the leaked reports directly contradict the police's version of events.

Pru e-mailed to ask what it takes for the Times to use the word "lie" and, if that's just too harsh for them, might they attempt to utilize "fib" or "stretched the truth?"

Pru, read this morning's Times and note how officials are portayed throughout (a long term problem with the paper that once went into fits attempting to figure out what "title" to refer to Agnew with). File it under one of the many Exceptions to the Rulers and note the way it plays out. We just present the "facts?"

Scott Shanes' "Eavesdropping Isn't Easy, the Master at It Says" (or as I like to think of it, "When Scotty Gets Snotty") wasn't based on "facts" (it ran yesterday) when it included statements such as:

The new director noted that the agency had long fought the notion, rooted partly in real abuses of the 1970's and partly in Hollywood exaggeration, that it routinely eavesdrops on Americans.

That statement's so far from basic journalism on so many counts that it's hard to figure out where to start. From a paper that's whined repeatedly about being lumped in, as "press" or "mainstream media" or . . ., with others they consider their lessers, the use of "Hollywood" is, frankly laughable. (As one person said to me yesterday, "the only business conducted in Hollywood these days is drug deals and sexual trafficking." But the Times, so sensitive of with whom they are lumped in, uses "Hollywood" as code when it lacks precision and factual basis.) How about the fact that "Hollywood exaggeration" (if one overlooks the factual basis of Culver City, Burbank, et al) is presented with no support backing the claim? Shane apparently missed the need to try to make nice with "Hollywood" as the Times tries to poach the LA Times territory. Regardless, it's bad journalism, an editorial broadside, contained in a non-editorial, with no backing offered yet the piece was waived on into print. They'll suck up to Bob Iger, for instance, but they'll continue their derision aimed at the non-power players. (And they still don't grasp who is a power player and who isn't which is why their coverage has elicted howls in "Hollywood" although now it's moving into far less amusing terrain.)

Adam Nagourney and David D. Kirkpatrick provide an embarrassment of riches in this morning's New York Times article entitled "Bad Iraq War News Has Some in G.O.P. Worried Over '06 Vote." Strategists embarrass themselves to some by speaking so frankly (Iraq matters only in terms of voting in 2006), Republicans and Democrats embarrass themselves (those holding office and those wanting to hold) by having nothing to say of any substance other than, on the right, "Uh, I, uh have concerns" and, on the left, "Uh, no one's been uh more supportive of the Bully Boy than I." It's disgusting, it's corrupt, it's your big money system. Embrace it and embrace Adam Nagourney who might get in a trouble at a political magazine but, fortunately, no one at the Times raises an eyebrow at his limited rolodex. (Actually, run from both Nagourney's article and the big money political system.)

One of the few article impressing members today in the Times is Carlotta Gall's "Fatal Bombing Mars Start of Afghan Parliamentary Race:"

Afghanistan's parliamentary election campaign opened officially on Wednesday with political rallies in Kabul, but the day was marred by an explosion in Kandahar that killed one policeman and wounded 14 others. Officials had already been expressing concern that violence, mostly by insurgents, might disrupt the campaigning for the national and regional elections on Sept. 18.
The explosion was caused by a remote-controlled bomb that was hidden in a vegetable cart and hit a bus filled with police officers driving into the center of Kandahar, in the south, from a training school, said Col. Abdul Malik Wahidi, the Kandahar Province police chief. He blamed fighters loyal to Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers.
Nearly 6,000 candidates are running for parliamentary and provincial council seats, which will create a lower and upper house of a new National Assembly and give Afghanistan the first truly representative legislature in its turbulent history.

In other reality based news, American troops casualites in Iraq for the month of August now stands at 63.

Scheduled topics for Democracy Now! today include:

We speak with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) who is calling for an investigation into the role of former Attorney General John Ashcroft in the outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Jailed Haitian priest Gerard Jean-Juste has reportedly almost died after collapsing in his cell on Sunday. We speak with his attorney, Bill Quigley, who recently visited with him.

And remember that the Un-Embed the Media tour continues:

* Amy Goodman in Hopland, CA:
Sat, August 20
TIME: 3:30 PM
10th Annual Sol Fest Benefit
Solar Living Center
Hopland, California
Tickets: $20/day or $30/weekend
For more information, visit
More details will be coming soon.

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