Monday, November 17, 2008

In The Media Tank

Update: More from Ed Morrissey at HotAir.
Also, see below.

Since election day, there have been a few thoughtful articles, and even a Washington Post mea culpa by their ombudsperson, Deborah Howell, about the bias in critical media coverage during this year's Presidential campaign, especially focusing on uncritical coverage of the Obama Campaign. Day by Day Cartoonist, Chris Muir (above), has been all over the post election trend.

And also at the WaPo, media critic Howard Kurtz has uncomfortably pointed out that, post election, the bias has continued unabated, which now risks being turned into a merchandizing bonanza of "mythmaking" by a complicit and corrupted press, eager, and perhaps desperate to turn their own waning fortunes around!
Are the media capable of merchandizing the moment, packaging a president-elect for profit? Yes, they are.

What's troubling here goes beyond the clanging of cash registers. Media outlets have always tried to make a few bucks off the next big thing. The endless campaign is over, and there's nothing wrong with the country pulling together, however briefly, behind its new leader. But we seem to have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking.
Will more and more in the press and media become, like MSNBC's gushing weeper, Chris Matthews, little more than sententious Obamaites? It was he who early on sprang himself free of any form of bipartisanship, by announcing a "furrowing" running up his leg. And he now insists that his job is to make Barack Obama's Presidency successful! Note that in the same sentence that he revealed his "furrowing feeling" Chris actually called what he does "reporting!"

A Pew Research Center poll-based study, released in the waning days of the campaign (Oct. 22nd), correctly identified that there was considerable media cheer-leading that favored Senator Obama during this campaign. Respondents said so by 70% - 9%, a considerably higher percentage during this Presidential election year, than the consistent media favoritism that has been shown for the Democrat candidate in prior Presidential campaigns.

From the opening graf of their release accompanying the study:
Voters overwhelmingly believe that the media wants Barack Obama to win the presidential election. By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4. Another 8% say journalists don't favor either candidate, and 13% say they don't know which candidate most reporters support.
Now, I know the clip (below) only includes 12 people Obama voters interviewed right after voting. But this little preview of a "Documentary Finds Media Coverage Left Obama Voters Uneducated About Campaign Issues," which was posted by John Zeigler (of "The Path to 9/11" fame) at It tracks closely with a post-election Zogby poll of Obama voters, the results of which will likely stun you. For example, in the Zogby poll, over half of the Obama voters (57.4%) could not correctly identify which party currently controls congress. A wild 50/50 guess would have yielded slightly better results! It gets worse.

The descriptive statement accompanying this Ziegler clip says:
"On Election day, twelve Obama voters were interviewed extensively right after they voted to learn how the news media impacted their knowledge of what occurred during the campaign. These voters were chosen for their apparent intelligence/verbal abilities and willingness to express their opinions to a large audience. The rather shocking video seeks to provide some insight into which information broke through the news media clutter and which did not."

Please, watch it all the way through.

If the press and other mainstream media in our country have so willingly thrown in with the new mantra of uncritical views as news, from whence will come actual tempered and tested news on which the voters, in the future, can draw on as a basis for their own views?

Even the senior correspondent at taxpayer-subsidized PBS, Ray Suarez, kept a straight face while he gave a speech in Michigan in early October, during which he seriously declared that virtually any criticism at all of Barack Obama, was really hidden racism. What crap!

What are we in for? Is the clip posted above our future?

Update: Tom McLaughlin, teacher & frequent commenter at HotAir noted the trend with his class about a week ago, in a guest column at Accuracy In Media.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

AP Waxes Indignant Over "Altered" Army Photo
AP Awarded Our First "Log In Yer Own Eye File!" Citation

11/15/2008 -- On the occasion Friday of the first woman in the United States Army, General Ann E. Dunwoody, to be awarded a fourth star, and thereby elevated to the rank of General,* here is the AP video of the actual ceremony.

Unfortunately, someone at the Associated Press also chose to mark the occasion by publicly suspending, until further notice, their use of any images provided to them by the entire Defense Department. They say the action is based on two incidents, ones that are obvioulsy unrelated. One had to do with the digital alteration of the face and shoulders of a soldier who has been killed in action in Iraq two months ago. The altered picture had been used in his unit for a memorial service, and was inadvertently released pubicly, according to the Army.

Regarding the so-called incident related to General Dunwoody, on Thursday the Army had given the AP a cropped image of the general, dressed in fatigues and with a flag backdrop, one that was taken before her current elevation. Here was the Army's release, issued on November 12th. The full shot would have shown her prior rank of Lieutenant General, or three stars, but the cropping eliminated that.

To the right, the smaller image (on top) is the cropped image the Army initially supplied to the press. And then, below that image, the larger image is the full picture that it was
taken from. Because the official elevation in rank took place at a ceremony on Friday, the Army obviously did not have a current shot showing her with her four star rank.

So, they supplied the press with a cropped image that did not show her prior rank, no doubt because by the time the story appeared, they knew she would be a "four-star." Well, big deal!

Sniffed Santiago Lyon of the AP, soon after the "evidence" of the prior image was "discovered" by the deputy director of photography with the San Antonio Express-News, Bob Owen, and reported to AP:
"For us, there's a zero-tolerance policy of adding or subtracting actual content from an image," said Santiago Lyon, the AP's director of photography.
Zero-tolerance? Really? Okay. So what's next? A change in policy over the actual content of AP stories?

Who knows!

Gee, maybe the AP will begin by giving similar exacting consideration to the "altered reality" aspects replete in the content of many of their stories -- like publishing such complete rubbish during the Presidential election, as a piece alleging that Sarah Palin's criticisms of Barack Obama over his years long relationship with unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, was really racist on her part!

Or, perhaps in light of their anger over what was left out of the photo, they will begin including key information they omit from stories about Barack Obama appointees -- such as background about Valerie Jarrett -- including any details about her past connections to Tony Rezko and real estate scandals in Chicago. Here was more on the connections from the Boston Globe that the AP might have referenced, but chose not to include.

Somehow, that seems a teeny-weeny little bit more serious than an over-reaching indignation, including an actual banning of all DOD photos, over a cropped rank insignia from an officer's fatigues, no?

So will AP change their content policy on their stories?

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast . . ." intoned Alexander Pope, the noted 18th century poet and satirist.

Anyway, congratulations to General Ann E. Dunwoody on her notable achievement. As commander of the U.S. Army Material Command, she will in essence be the army's "premier provider of materiel readiness." Or, as they also say, "If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, or eats it, AMC provides it."

The AP coverage of the story itself was fine. But as for the obnoxious AP sidebar trashing the Army and the DOD over a lousy cropped photo, well, they've accordingly been awarded our first Log In Yer Own Eye File! citation.

* (corrected) The General officer ranks in the United States Army include "Brigadier General" (one star) BG; "Major General" (two stars) MG; "Lieutenant General" (three stars) LTG; and "General" (four stars) GEN.

Throughout American history, there have only been two men - George Washington and John T. "Black Jack" Pershing, who achieved the preeminent rank of "General of the Armies" and only Pershing did so during his lifetime. A few others, some during the Civil War, and several others during World War II, achieved the rank of "General of the Army" (five star), although the Civil War rank of General of the Army was intended to correspond more closely with that rank (General of the Armies) that had been intended to be awarded to Washington in 1799, in anticipation of a war with France. He died before that final title was conferred, and thus only held the rank of Lieutenant-General in his later lifetime. Washington had been "General and Commander in Chief of the United Colonies" during the revolutionary period, a commission he resigned in 1783. That interesting history is traced here, and can also be
found in the "note" here, noting that the intent, for the period while the ranks existed following WW II, was to have three top grades in decending order, General of the Armies, General of the Army, and General. The first linked history interestingly concludes:
Joint Resolution of Congress, Public Law 94-479, dated 11 October 1976 provided for the posthumous appointment of George Washington to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States, such appointment to take effect on July 4, 1976. This resolution stated that "it is considered fitting and proper that no officer of the United States Army should outrank Lieutenant General George Washington."

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Norm Coleman Squeezes Out A Thin Win In Minn.

(Update: 11/11 at 11:30 am.) as of yesterday afternoon, the final totals were posted at the Secretary of State's website, located here.

Until the recount actually begins later in the month, the race will stand as is, at 206 votes in favor of Norm Coleman. All "preliminary" changes and adjustments had to be sent in to the Secretary of State by yesterday, 11/10. We waited until mid-day today to be certain all final adjustments were posted on their website, before posting this as the "final" number before the recount begins.

This article by John Lott, published by Fox, nicely sums up some of the inherent problems associated with the vote in Minnesota this year, and the peculiar problems that have surfaced during the initial "corrections" phase that ended yesterday. This, before the recount begins later this month! And note the conclusion:
With ACORN filing more than 43,000 registration forms this year, 75 percent of all new registrations in the state, Minnesota was facing vote fraud problems even before the election. Even a small percentage of those registrations resulting in fraudulent votes could tip this election.

To many, it just seems like too much of a coincidence that Minnesota's one tight race just happens to be the race with the most "corrected" votes by far. But the real travesty will be to start letting election officials divine voter's intent. If you want to discourage people from voting, election fraud is one sure way of doing it.
We will have more on the topic of election day activities later.

(Update: 11/06 at 2:22 11/07 3:50.)
The current difference on Friday, at 3:50 PM, between Coleman and Franken
is 337 239 votes.
It has been holding steady most of the day. More to come in a new post later.

Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman seems to have held on against the Democrat tide. Norm appears to have very narrowly edged out and defeated former comedian Al Franken in an extremely tight race for the United States Senate seat.

According to a CNN electronic tally, calculated after 100% of all precincts had been reported, the difference between the two men was a mere 571 votes! Update: That has since changed. The current difference now (11/07 4 PM) stands at 239 votes. See final paragraph below.

The Minnesota Secretary of State's Unofficial tally, as of 8:43.16 am Wednesday morning, indicated that all 4130 of 4130 precincts had reported, and that all 87 of 87 counties had complete numbers recorded. The Sec'y of State's vote tally listed Coleman as winning by 726 votes. Update: After reconciling totals and checked information sent them, the Secretary of State's tally (as of 2:20 Pm on 11/06) now stands at a mere 33 vote difference, with 1,211,527 votes recorded for Coleman, and 1,211,190 votes recorded for Franken. Both of their totals have flucuated a bit since the AP published a story about the recount yesterday, 11/05 at 5:23 pm. Update: Going into the weekend, and following a spate of corrections from around the State of Minnesota, the current difference is 239 votes. IMPORTANT: See also, this post from John at Powerline. There may be some indications of fraud -- see his update.
UPDATE: Hot off the press, the first apparent evidence of fraud. Last night at around 7:30, a precinct in Mountain Iron, St. Louis County, mysteriously updated its vote total to add 100 new votes--all 100 for Barack Obama and Al Franken.

Mountain Iron uses optical scanning, so the Coleman campaign asked for a copy of the tape documenting the ballots cast on election night. St. Louis County responded by providing a tape that includes the newly-added 100 votes, and is dated November 2--the Sunday before the election. St. Louis County reportedly denies being able to produce the genuine tape from election night, even though Minnesota law, as I understand it, requires that tape to be signed by the election judges and publicly displayed.
The CNN ticker and the Minnesota Sec'y of State's Office each claims to have 100% of the vote recorded for all three of the major candidates in the race -- Norm Coleman, Al Franken and Dean Barkley, but apparently small mathematical errors are being caught and reflected in the totals.

They both still agree that the winner by a hair is Norm Coleman! Update: The CNN ticker and the Sec'y of State's Office now have identical totals for the top three candidates, i.e., Coleman, Franken and Barkley. The Sec'y of State's office has some additional detail about minor candidates, including the Libertarian Party, and the Constitution Party candidates, as well as several write-in candidates.

Because of the tightness of the race, there will reportedly be an automatic recount, as the margin between the two will certainly be less that 1/2 of 1% of the vote. That, according to a 3:00 am story , later updated, and published in the Minneapolis paper, the Star Tribune. The two men held identical percentages of roughly 42% throughout the late evening, and on into the early hours of the morning, while Independence Party candidate, Dean Barkley, pulled a steady 15% of the vote throughout the evening.

The Star Tribune reported early on Wednesday morning that Coleman was the apparent winner, but they incorrectly reported that the margin was 601 votes. According to the Sec'y of State, Coleman received 1,211,627 votes, while Franken received 1,210,901 votes. Clearly, the difference is 726 votes. The Star Tribune also reports that Franken says will exercise his right to a recount. Update: 11/06 at 2:20 pm. The difference is now 239 votes. with Coleman having received 1,211,540 votes, and Franken having received 1,211,301 votes. Those have held steady much of the day friday (11/07).

And as the count came down to the wire, at about 5:15 am the results tabulator that CNN had posted on the web, showed the late returns were giving Coleman just a bit of a boost, at one point with a lead of 2,591 votes, out of a total of 2,844,571 that had been counted at that point -- i.e., the totals for all three candidates. But with only what we estimated as a little more than 13,000 votes remaining to be included in the totals for the three men, Franken was running out of potential votes to draw from in order to close the gap with Coleman.

Given the fact that Barkley was pulling a steady 15% of the vote, what it meant was that Coleman and Franken would have about 11,150 remaining votes that would be split between them. So making up 2,591 votes just seemed a bit too difficult at that point. Al would have had to get over 60% of the remaining votes, and that was not likely to happen.

As of an update on the CNN ticker at 5:58 am, Norm's lead had slightly increased to 3,753, with an 2,848,924 votes counted for all three. With there likely being only another 9,000 or so votes remaining to be included in the total for all three, Franken's chances of catching Coleman were fading very fast, even if the Democrats were holding back really good precincts.

We concluded with likely less than about 8,000 remaining votes to be split between the two leaders, the race could narrow significantly, but would not likely turn around.

A few of Al's best precincts were then reported with an update on the CNN ticker at 6:26 am, which closed the gap down to a breath-takingly close 676 votes. But since 2,857,578 total votes had been counted for the three leading contenders, and it was becoming less and less likely Franken could catch Coleman. By 8 am, a few more votes were added and the gap was up to 762 votes. The final few numbers favored Franken, but only brought him to 571.

The final total tally for the three contenders, according to the CNN ticker was 2,858,500 votes, very close to what we guessed as we were trying to project what would happen using the CNN running ticker. The Minnesota Sec'y of State's Office indicated that 2,859,836 votes were cast for those three candidates. Update: The Sec'y of State's Office now shows that a total of 2,860,095 votes were cast for just those three men. Including all minor candidates and write-ins, a total of 2,885,259 ballots were cast in that Senate race in Minnesota.

Update: After reconciling totals and checked information sent them, the Secretary of State's tally now stands at a mere 239 vote difference, with 1,211,540 votes recorded for Coleman, and 1,211,301 votes recorded for Franken. At a distant third, Dean Barkley received 437,377 votes. The last update of theirs that we examined was at 2:50:08 pm on 11/07. Both of the two leaders' totals have fluctuated a bit inn the past two days, but have held steady this afternoon. Just after noon yesterday, Franken's total reflected that 100 vote pickup -- from 1,211,089 to 1,211,189. Sometime yesterday, Coleman's total showed a 100 vote drop, from 1,211,627 down to 1,211,527. Thus, there have been several minor fluctuations in the totals of each.

Thus, the CNN ticker and the Sec'y of State's Office each claims to have 100% of the vote recorded for all three of the major candidates in the race -- Norm Coleman, Al Franken and Dean Barkley. And they both agree that the winner by 239 votes is Norm Coleman. Both have identical totals for the top three candidates, i.e., Coleman, Franken and Barkley. The recount is a certainty, according to Franken.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Did Hillary Clinton Violate New York Electioneering Law?
A Prima Facie Case

Mugging for the cameras this morning (embedded video, below), Senator Hillary Clinton displays her personal disregard for the New York State electioneering law, by stumping for Democrats visibly within a few feet of where people are casting ballots in voting booths in Chappaqua, NY.

New York State Law specifically prohibits any such activity within 100 feet of a polling place. A violation is a misdemeanor offense.

What would clearly seem to be the pertinent section of New York State law provides as follows:
§ 17-130. Misdemeanor in relation to elections. Any person who:
. . .
4. Electioneers on election day or on days of registration within one hundred feet, as defined herein, from a polling place. Said prohibition shall not apply to a building or room that has been maintained for political purposes at least six months prior to said election or registration days, except that no political displays, placards or posters shall be exhibited therefrom. For the purposes of this section, the one hundred feet distance shall be deemed to include a one hundred foot radial measured from the entrances, designated by the inspectors of elections, to a building where the election or registration is being held.
You can download the full election law at the New York State Board of Elections website (it is a large pdf file), or you can examine a much more convenient (unofficial) version of the specific section, §17 - 130, at the Justicia website, located here.

According to a recent piece in the NY City News Service, and reposted at Huffington Post, in New York State even "passive" advocacy for political candidates at a polling place could be a "misdemeanor" offense. The NY City News Service is a student publication at CUNY.

The writers of the piece were cautioning Obama supporters not to engage in "passive" electioneering by wearing campaign paraphernalia, such as Obama tee shirts, or buttons when they go to vote because they might be challenged. The story even notes that the New York Civil Liberties Union has said that they were going to include information about that law in their voter information packets.
The New York Civil Liberties Union plans – for the first time – to include a similar warning in its voter information materials.
Hillary's apparent violation, however, is not passive.

Here's betting, however, that there will be no charge for what seems to be her rather obvious violation of the state's election law.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 03, 2008

Governor Palin Did Not Violate Alaska Ethics Law
(Update: below)
The Chicago Tribune reports an AP story by Rachel D'Oro, released at 8:22 PM, saying that Governor Sarah Palin has been cleared in the the firing of the Alaska public safety commissioner.

Thought you'd like to know.

From the AP story:
The report, released Monday, said: "There is no probable cause to believe that the governor, or any other state official, violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with these matters."
The conclusion is taken from the Report that was written by Timothy Petumenos, who was hired as an independent counsel for the Alaska Personnel Board, the official body which had jurisdiction in the matter.

That, regardless of the "mind-reading" hack job the legislative committee previously cooked up -- the one where they said she had the authority to fire him, but somehow, they knew what she was thinking when she did whatever she did.

Naturally, the legislators who ran that "probe" had no comment about the official report.

Update: 11/4) Bill Dyer, who posts as Beldar over at Hugh Hewitt, has all the details, having read through the Report. He links to and quotes key portions Report itself, and the observations of several other in putting together an impressive post. He notes that the independent counsel, Timothy Petumenos, who wrote this Report for the state's Personnel Board, noted that the Legislative Counsel who drafted the legislative report not only used the wrong statute in analyzing the circumstances, but also misconstrued the evidence.

In summation, Beldar puts it this way:
The State of Alaska and, indeed, the people of the United States owe thanks, by contrast, to the Personnel Board's independent counsel, Timothy Petumenos, for his thorough investigation, clear thinking, and comparatively crisp 58-page report (125 pages when exhibits are included). It deals comprehensively with both facts and law. The bottom line is this: The report Mr. Petumenos has prepared for the Personnel Board, and that it has accepted on behalf of the State of Alaska, is as thorough and persuasive an exoneration of Gov. Sarah Palin's actions as can possibly be imagined.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Funny Comment Of The Day

Today's comment was appended to a post by Ed Morrissey at HotAir entitled, "Franken: You know what’s funny? Killing the President!" He posted a video, via Hugh Hewitt, here. We've posted it as well, below.

The video features a 2004 recording of Al Franken, former "comedian," and current United States Senate candidate from Minnesota. In the recording, which was made after the Republican convention in 2004, Al Franken is recorded on tape, showing a sign-language interpreter his sick idea of a "joke" -- i.e., that the interpreter had missed the "golden" opportunity to signal to al-Qaeda a way to "get to" the President.

Gee, that Al, he sure is a funny fellow, isn't he? Apparently, Al just couldn't resist the opportunity to make a Presidential assassination joke! At Hugh Hewitt's post, above, he also links to Franken's long history of really vicious anti-Christian "humor." And now Al he wants to be United States Senator.

Most of the comments on Ed's thread about this video at HotAir were about a mock "self-help" character Franken created years ago, named Stuart Smalley. This comment was as well.

But "Mulligan" -- the commenter -- did it in a unique way by neatly turning Franken's own Smalley schtick right on the candidate.
Doggone it, he’s not good enough to be a
senator, and people don’t like him.

Mulligan on October 31, 2008 at 8:00 PM

No need for a "mulligan" on that one, Mulligan! Good job!

Labels: , ,