Dig yourself in, dig yourself out

Major Garrett, senior White House correspondent for Fox News, was tweeting the president’s town hall on Wednesday when this came through from him at 1:59 p.m. CT:

RT @c…….: why even listen to this a–hole. he should be impeached and then tried for treason//Warning. No profanity of that kind. [Dashes not in original tweet; user name withheld.]

A minute later came this tweet from Garrett:

To all followers….if you use profanity against POTUS or other followers or are abusive to me or anyone, you will be blocked. No appeal.

Which was weird, because Garrett had just retweeted such. But then came this another minute later.

Did not mean to retweet that earlier tweet to me…it was errant. Hence the across-the-board warning to everyone.

And, four minutes later:

Everyone. That retweet was a mistake. I hit send before I edited it as I did. This is a sane, civil place. As long-time followers know.

It’s a simple mistake (how many times have you hit the send key when you didn’t mean to?), but it helped me seeing someone else have to dig themselves out of a hole they themselves dug. I’ve had to do it plenty of times in my life, just by saying something that I shouldn’t have and then over-explaining it or overapologizing for it. It’s even rougher if you’re a reporter at a major news outlet with 18,536  18,534 followers on Twitter. (The drop there occurred between the first and second tweets.)

Update, 2:27 p.m. CT: Tweet from MajoratWH:

RT @c9758langwaters i dont think that was a mistake by you retweeting that. otherwise you would just delete it?/ I DID delete it.

And the digging goes on. 🙂

Assume what you write …: Part 2

Here I warned that we should all assume that anything we send in e-mail, leave in voice mail, etc., will end up on the front page of the paper, because sometimes it does.

Now comes the resignation of Washington Post reporter/blogger Dave Weigel after some e-mails he sent to a group of journalists were exposed.

FishbowlDC has confirmed that WaPo conservative-beat blogger Dave Weigel has resigned after a slew of his anti-conservative comments and emails surfaced on FishbowlDC and Daily Caller over the past two days.

NY Times’ story on Blumenthal flawed

I’d never heard of Richard Blumenthal, a Senate candidate in Connecticut, until today, when the New York Times ran a story that he had lied about serving in Vietnam.

I say that to point out that I have nothing for or against Blumenthal.

But the NYT story by Raymond Hernandez that raised the accusations had some classic biased journalism. In this case, biased against a Democrat, for a change.

What it is, though, is sloppy journalism.

Many politicians have faced questions over their decisions during the Vietnam War, and Mr. Blumenthal, who is seeking the seat being vacated by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, is not alone in staying out of the war.

But what is striking about Mr. Blumenthal’s record is the contrast between the many steps he took that allowed him to avoid Vietnam, and the misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life now, especially when he is speaking at veterans’ ceremonies or other patriotic events.

Sometimes his remarks have been plainly untrue, as in his speech to the group in Norwalk. At other times, he has used more ambiguous language, but the impression left on audiences can be similar.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the Times is a bastion biased reporting and all of that. I’ve read Bernard Goldberg’s books, I’ve read the Times for years. But this is simply over the top. In the middle of an alleged news story, Hernandez, without the slightest hesitation, decides to characterize Blumenthal’s actions.

He goes on to cite instances of Blumenthal having claimed to serve in Vietnam, but apparently didn’t want to let the reader come to the conclusion on his own about whether Blumenthal had been misleading. He is in essence quoting himself on whether Blumenthal’s language was untrue, and decided on his own whether “the impression left on audiences can be similar.”

This is another example of how horribly unprofessional the Times can be. Do reporters have opinions? Of course they do, they’re human. Should they or their editors allow them to put them in their news stories? Of course not. Not, that is, if they’re trying to claim some type of objectivity. If they’re the National Review Online or the Daily Kos, they’re not going to worry about creating a sheen of objectivity.

But that reporters can unblushingly write such garbage is pathetic.

It’s a tea partier! Except, it’s not …

This is hilarious.

The Nation contributing editor Robert Dreyfuss, described as an “investigative journalist,” mused on May 3 (h/t The Daily Caller) that

it seems far more likely to me that the perpetrator of the bungled Times Square bomb plot was either a lone nut job or a member of some squirrely branch of the Tea Party, anti-government far right. Which actually exists in Connecticut, where, it seems, the car’s license plates were stolen.

This “investigative journalist” based his conclusions, apparently, on the fact that the car’s plates were stolen in Connecticut, where the Tea Party has some support.

What does this guy investigate? High school government corruption?

Here’s more:

as in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, when self-appointed experts blamed Muslims only to find out that it was a Gulf War veteran named Tim [McVeigh] who did it, there has once again been an unseemly rush to judgment.

He then quotes Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano as “intelligently” saying:

“I caution against premature decisions one way or another. … The last thing we want to do is draw premature conclusions. … I’m not going to speculate on speculation.”

Which, of course, is the exact “unseemly” thing he did in the previous several paragraphs.

And, as of 12:51 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, a few hours after the arrest of Pakistani-born U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad, there had been no retraction, no, “Boy, did I ever screw up!” coming from Dreyfuss. Instead, he has only bothered to speculate there will be attempts by right-wingers to play up the threat of terrorism.

Maybe he’ll link Shahzad to the Pakistani arm of the Tea Party.

The Daily Caller piece also looks at NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s assertion that the would-be bomber probably was opposed to The Ø’s health care plan. Whatever that actually was.

Assume everything you say will be made public–because it will be

The lesson of Lance Baxter’s dumb voice mail left on the Freedom Works system is this:

Whenever you send an e-mail, whenever you leave a voice mail, whenever you sit in a cubicle and speak loudly on the phone, whenever you have a conversation in a hallway at work, even when you and your spouse have a conversation in the car with the kids in the back seat, assume that everything you’re saying might end up on the front page of the newspaper or on drudgereport.com … because it might. Tailor your conversation according to that possibility.

That lesson was drilled into us when I worked at a daily newspaper. It helps avoid a lot of libel problems, to begin with. Plus, it keeps things civil and keeps you from saying something you’ll regret later.

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. (Proverbs 21:23, ESV)

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! (James 3:5, ESV, my itals)

Even more important are the eternal implications. Saved or not, we’ll answer for everything we’ve done, which includes every word we’ve spoken. Everything, even done in secret, will be brought into the light.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:12, ESV)

For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. (Luke 8:17, ESV)

Questions for James Cameron re: Avatar

via Big Hollywood » Blog Archive » Time to Call Out James Cameron.

So, Jimmy Cameron, tell us….

Why is capitalism – you know, the economic system that allowed you to make Avatar – so bad?

Why are primitive societies – you know, the kind you manifestly do not live in – so morally righteous?

And why are the deaths of American fighting men – you know, the folks who are keeping at bay the bastards who would saw your open-minded, tolerant, liberal head off with a butter knife given half a chance — something you think ought to bring cheers from the audience?

Hey, Jimmy, you made your stupid movie. Now we’re going to make you make your case.

No GOP proposals until now, AP claims from an alternate reality

The Associated Press, historically a great news service, tipped its hand Tuesday by letting through a story with wild-eyed inaccuracy, claiming in its lead that Republicans until now haven’t come up with any of their own health care proposals.

The story by Erica Werner says that

After months spent criticizing Democrats’ health overhaul plans, House Republicans have produced a draft proposal of their own. It’s much shorter and focuses on bringing down costs rather than extending coverage to nearly all Americans.

Actually, Republicans produced a “draft proposal of their own” as far back as May. That’s when Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Rep. Devin Nunes of California and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin offered their own version of health care reform, “Patients’ Choice Act.” It was introduced in both houses of Congress on May 20, 2009. Another bill was later offered by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.

In his Sept. 8 address to a joint session of Congress, Barack Obama claimed that Republicans hadn’t offered any alternatives. He did this while Republicans held up copies of their health care bills. The news media couldn’t ignore this, at least not then. Apparently, they’re back to ignoring it, at least in whatever world Werner and Obama live in.

The AP inaccuracy was a result of one of the following:

  • Werner really didn’t know that more than one GOP bill had been introduced, albeit ignored. In that case, what’s she doing writing about national policy debates?
  • She knew, but wanted to mislead her readers. Hard to believe, coming from the great AP, but possible.
  • The story was rewritten at the editing level and Werner’s name left on it.

At any rate, it’s hard to understand how such an inaccuracy survived the editing process. Everybody makes mistakes, but this is a doozy.

White House critique of the news media

Not since the Nixon administration have we had a White House from which something like this could come:

“We’re doing what we think is important to make sure news is covered as fairly as possible,” a White House official told POLITICO, noting how the recent ACORN scandal story started because Fox covered it “breathlessly for weeks on end.”

The source is talking, of course, about the White House’s declaration that Fox News is not a real news organization. (A friend of mine pointed out that this could be said of all TV news outlets, but I digress.)

My question is, why in the world should anyone in the White House be worried about how a news org is covering something? Where in the Constitution does it say that the federal government is responsible for how a news organization covers something?

This is something that is normally discussed in a classroom or in the media, or on the Net. In other words, by private citizens. But it’s totally inappropriate for the White House to take upon itself the role of judging the validity of a news organization. And they know it, too. Witness this give-and-take between ABC’s Jake Tapper and the White House’s Robert Gibbs.

What’s next? Movie recommendations? CD suggestions?

This is another example of Barack Obama’s unfitness to govern.

‘What I was trying to say …’

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele dissed Rush Limbaugh on a CNN program, and then offered this explanation later:

“I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking,” Steele said. “It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people … want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he’s not.”

“I’m not going to engage these guys and sit back and provide them the popcorn for a fight between me and Rush Limbaugh,” Steele added. “No such thing is going to happen. … I wasn’t trying to slam him or anything.”

Say what? The words you said “weren’t what I was thinking”? How does that happen?

Steele does not have a backbone of steel. It’s closer to jelly. He comes across as trying to please the mainstream media as well as Obama backers instead of standing up for what the Republican Party used to stand for. It’s not a pretty sight.

Classic headline disconnect

Here is a perfect example of what C. John Sommerville writes about in “How the News Makes Us Dumb.”

On my Yahoo home page, the Associated Press has the headline:

Bernanke: Recession may end in ’09; stocks climb

The Reuters headline is:

Bernanke fears recession may extend to 2010