Sunday, October 09, 2005

NYT: Denise Grady and Carl Hulse try, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Kirk Semple phone it in from "secure lines"

But scientists say that although the threat from the current avian virus is real, it is probably not immediate.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a bird flu pandemic was unlikely this year.

"How unlikely, I can't quantitate it," Dr. Fauci said. But, he added, "You must prepare for the worst-case scenario. To do anything less would be irresponsible."

The above is from Denise Grady's "Danger of Flu Pandemic Is Clear, if Not Present" in this morning's New York Times. Lynda e-mails to highlight it. I'm soloing on this entry because we're on a break from The Third Estate Sunday Review. Everything's written but the editorial (and of course the note to the readers) but plans of finishing quickly went out the window as I got call after call yesterday evening about CNN. (See yesterday's entry.)

Though I know members enjoy the roundtable (as do I) on Sundays when everyone who's able to participates in pulling from the Times and we have a conversation about it, they take a long time (and the transcript is heavily edited). So I'm using the break while everyone regroups to try to knock out this morning's entry on the Times.

I'll be posting the "Third Estate Sunday Review News Review" and if there's something in the e-mails about a story in the Times that covers what's already covered there, I'll be skipping it. In additon, we have a new The World Today Just Nuts by Isaiah that also inspired a piece at The Third Estate Sunday Review (not yet posted, so no link to the piece itself). We'll also be reposting Celibacy in the City. Members know to click on the illustrations to get a larger view but some visitors do not, so if it's too small for you to read, click on the illustration and it will enlarge. (Some browsers will also allow the enlargement to then enlarge slightly.)

Micah e-mails to note Carl Hulse's "In Raucous House Vote, G.O.P. Oil Refinery Bill Squeaks By:"

It took more than 40 raucous minutes of pleading and cajoling, bargaining and begging on Friday. But House Republican leaders managed to squeeze through an oil refinery bill in a tumultuous floor vote that severely tested a leadership team rocked by the indictment of Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas.
After teetering on the verge of an embarrassing defeat, desperate party leaders managed to persuade enough of their members to switch positions to win narrow 212-to-210 approval of a measure that its backers said would expedite refinery construction and crack down on price gouging.

If you listened to The Laura Flanders Show last night, you heard the audio on that and know that Hulse's words don't do it justice. (The booing, et al.) Remember, one of tonight's guests on
The Laura Flanders Show will be:

educator, civil rights activist, and author, Jonathan Kozol about how school segregation has reverted to a level that the nation has not seen since 1968.

Glen Justice has a lifestyle piece in the Week in Review. Cindy notes it. It's entitled "When Lawmaking and Lobbying Are All in the Family:"

PERHAPS it was inevitable in a city where passion and power live side by side: people who start as colleagues or contemporaries often wind up cohabitating. Journalists marry spokespeople. Government workers marry activists. Lawmakers marry lobbyists.
[. . .]
But critics are still wary of these situations. Lobbying, they say, need not take place in a Congressional office or the halls outside. It can happen at the dinner table, on an evening walk or while watching television. If nothing else, the relationships could open doors for lobbying spouses, who may get more calls returned and attend functions they otherwise could not.

That's as deep as Justice gets. (We're told it's primarily "about appearances." That's a self-comforting thought for the Times but others would beg to differ.)

Richard A. Oppel Jr. wants to share about Basra . . . about Iraqis in Basra. The article's entitled "Basra Militias Put Their Firepower Above the Law" and strangely the Times still has no interest in what the two British troops, disguised as Iraqis, that were captured in Basra (by police) last month were doing there. While other publications (notably ones out of Scotland) explore the weapons said to be on the two troops, said to include bombs, the Times is as quiet as a church mouse. From the article:

The extent of its power became clear in September when a force of British troops in armored vehicles tried to rescue two special operations soldiers who had been abducted and taken to the Jameat's headquarters, in a police building in southwestern Basra.

Pru notes that the Times is once again changing the story. She also notes that printing new estimates (ten times the original) fly in the face of photographs (ones that the Times really hasn't seen fit to publish) of the townspeople gathered around the tanks. (The Times goes with a new estimate that ups the 200 to a thousand . . . maybe even two thousand!)

Pru sees it as an attempt to white wash the Basra incident before what the Times has been silent on seeps into the coverage in this country. It's what people in England have been discussing from day one: why were two British agents disguised as Iraqis and what did they have on them when they were arrested by Iraqi police?

Apparently bombs and other weapons to follow coverage outside the Times (and the US). Hmm. Disguised as Iraqis and carrying bombs. Now what do you think of that?

I'll note that Oppel also is dismissive of the charges of Israeli spies which is humorous considering that a) we've got Larry Franklin in this country pleading guilty and b) those "rumors" (that Oppel's panties are wadded up over because the Iraqi press won't refute them) started from Israel. He's counting on the fact (or the Times is) that their readers don't follow the international press. But we noted it here when they emerged in a Sunday entry pulling from press outside the US mainstream. (I'm not sure but I think one of the articles either came from Aljazeera or Haaretz.)

It's a dumbed down story intended for a dumbed down audience that won't ask questions, not even the obvious one of why were two British troops masquerading as Iraqis while carrying bombs?

Silly little fluff that, no doubt, pleases Negroponte. But then the Times spent the eighties bending over backwards to please Negroponte so let's not act surprised that they're still a schill for Negroponte. Negroponte, Negroponte, Negroponte. Say it three times and, like a ghoul or Beetlejuice, he may appear. Maybe that's why the Times is so reluctant to discuss him?

Junior obviously never learned the fable of George Washington and the cherry tree.

Kirk Semple channels Wally Lamb in "Reporters' Mysterious Deaths Chill a Press Corps Immersed in Violence:"

This alone seems certain about the killing of the American freelance journalist Steven Vincent: about 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, he and his Iraqi interpreter, Nooriya Taiz, were dragged by several armed men into a government pickup truck on a busy commercial street in the southern city of Basra, and found several hours later, riddled with bullets. Ms. Taiz survived.

There's nothing in this article. This is the Times being shamed into writing an article that the international media (and some in this country) have covered for some time. The Times stands alone on issues like these. They're for freedom of the press as long as it involves the Times staff.

Anyone remember their editorial against Daniel Schorr years ago? I mean, Judy's out of jail, we can talk about this now, right? The cases weren't disimilar but the sides the paper took then and more recently were.

For those not suffering from years of Times damage or those to young to remember, the House of Representatives conducted an investigation and the summary of that was the Pike Report. (No one ever talks about it these days. Why?) It was passed on to Schorr and then the House decided not to release it. Schorr was then working for CBS. Schorr wanted it published as a book reportedly. Things got messy and the short story is that it was published by The Village Voice. All hell broke loose. (Not helped by what some say, though Schorr's always denied, was an attempt by Schorr to finger Lesley Stahl as the leaker since her then boyfriend wrote the introduction to The Village Voice report.) When Schorr owned up to it a number of things happened including the fact that he lost his job at CBS and the government went after him. And where did the Times come out on this? The ones who so strongly supported the First Amendment re: Miller (I did as well, once she made that the argument)? They trashed Schorr in an editorial.

It only matters if it happens to the Times or in the Times. So since Judith Miller's out of jail and the First Amendment is presumably no more threatened than it was before she went to jail, let's skip down memory lane and recall that the Times' support for the First Amendment is, at best, selective.

(Semple's "This alone seems certain" echoes Lamb's book title I Know This Much Is True.)

We're going to leave it at that. Most members were expecting a roundtable discussion so there aren't that many e-mails on this morning's Times and I honestly think a historical flashback (one that I kept waiting for someone, anyone, to make re: Miller while she was jailed) suffices. But Daniel Schorr's not spoken of that much in terms of press freedom these days. (Not intended as a slap against Schorr, it was a neutral comment.) And the Pike Report's all but forgotten. (I know I sometimes called it the Peak Report. I'm not sure if I've done that here or not but a friend always corrects me on that when I'm tired and make the mistake.) That's too bad because in this talk of "reform" (water down) to allow the intel community more "flexibility" (less oversight), the Pike Report is relevant and should be discussed.

And it really is surprising to me that no one drew a compare and contrast between the editorial stances by the Times for Miller and for Schorr.

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[Note: Post corrected for bold print, italics and typos.]