Balkinization  

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

What news about our war in Pakistan will be "fit to print"?

Sandy Levinson

The New York Times, in its editorial "Pakistan and the War," which generally supports the Obama policy, includes the following sentences:

"Such strikes have killed several top extremists, but the program is hugely unpopular in Pakistan and Mr. Obama must be judicious about expanding it. That means three things: extremely careful targeting, no civilian casualties or as few as possible, and no publicity."


Isn't it interesting that our leading "paper of record," whose slogan is "all the news that's fit to print," is suggesting that a program of attacks on a foreign country that will inevitably involve civilian casualties, however careful the targeting, should receive "no publicity." Does this mean that the Times will refrain from publishing any articles about the frequency of such attacks or, indeed, the inevitable civilian casualties? Does it mean that the Times will support efforts by the Obama Administration, should they choose to take them, to enjoin the Times from publishing such "sensitive" information whose publication would "harm national security" (according to the Times own editorial)? It is one thing, of course, to say that newspapers should refrain from publishing (and the public thereby prevented from knowing) sensitive information about very short-term future events (troop movements and the like). It is another thing to say that we should be kept in the dark about past events that may have extremely serious consequences for many different polities and populations.

Comments:

The Times has become a newpaper that I refuse to read. After holding up the story on the wiretapping till George Bush was re-elected ended it with me.

To announce that they will keep this secret is beyond belief. And newspapers cry about how blogs are killing them...

hl
 

I assume the publicity that matters is in Pakistan, not in this country. There is no public outcry here over the drone program.
 

The NYT is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party. Discretion in national security matters is reserved for Dem Presidents while disclosing top secret information to the enemy is the political weapon of choice against GOP Presidents. Can you imagine the felonious rag that disclosed the top secret NSA and Treasury operations to al Qaeda even inferring that it would not disclose CIA operations in Pakistan during the Bush Administration?
 

What might Will Rogers have said about our former* Backpacker's claim that:

"The NYT is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party."

*Has he umpacked the burdens he garnered 1/20/01 - 1/20/09? Or does he have on order a larger backpack to accommodate his ever increasing lies? Or might he be following in the footsteps of Andrew Sullivan in deserting the right-wing? A picture may be worth a thousand words, even if not worth repeating.
 

Shag:

Yeah, I am lying. The NYT is actually a clever plot by Karl Rove to have a major paper pretend to be completely in the tank for the Democrats and then commit felony crimes and make up pure fiction attacking the GOP in order for conservatives to have something to complain about on the internet.

As a member of the "great rightwing conspiracy," I was made privy to this plot through a message written in invisible ink on the Limbaugh Letter. That message also instructed me to come to Balkanization and call the NYT a "wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party."

Damn you for blowing my cover!
 

Hold on. Are we really to the point where one can't express an opinion about what might constitute an effective course of action without being expected to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure that course of action?

Couldn't a non-supporter come to the same conclusion that if we are concerned about the popularity of our actions, then we need to manage publicity?

However, isn't it a little ridiculous to suggest "no publicity" for a strafing or bombing run that leaves a permanent scar on the (social) landscape? How does one hold the tongues of those who witness such an attack? How does one erase the memory of a people?

That ridiculousness makes me think the paragraph you've quoted is not so much about advancing the correct course of action, but underscoring how "in a world of difficult strategic and diplomatic challenges, this may well be Mr. Obama’s toughest."
 

Gee, our now unpacked former Backpacker may even admit to now holding hands (politically) with you know whom, further blowing his cover.

BTB*, isn't the Republick-ing Party a wholly owned subsidiary of either Fox or the WSJ, keeping things all in the family?

*By the Bybee (my sweet impeachable you)
 

Shag:

The editorials for Fox and the WSJ are reliably conservative and often pro GOP. However, the Pew studies find that Fox's news is indeed the most balanced and the WSJ news is actually left.

Since the creation of the Republic, the press has been biased toward or against political parties and ideologies. This is not news. I am merely observing that the NYT is a Dem paper.
 

Bart: Would you be so kind as to supply a citation for the claim that "the Pew studies find that Fox's news is indeed the most balanced and the WSJ news is actually left."?

Pew, in fact, typically only surveys public opinion. Their most recent survey shows that that Dems, Repubs, and Indeps have different views of various outlets. It seems unlikely to me that the Pew center, itself, has determined bias for any media outlets.
 

I guess that the old backpack just wasn't big enough for our unpacked former Backpacker to accommodate all his lies since 1/20/01. Here's the correct version of his first sentence:

"The editorials for Fox and the WSJ are conservative, unreliable and virtually always pro GOP. "

As for this next sentence:

" However, the Pew studies find that Fox's news is indeed the most balanced and the WSJ news is actually left."

the attempt to utilize the word "news" displays his qualification as a DUI specialist who has ingested his clients' fumes. Perhaps a cite or two to back this up should be forthcoming. I also notice that the word "fair" was not included with "balanced" for Fox. No doubt this was intentional. But seriously, how much of "Fox" is indeed "news"? At least with the WSJ the opinion pages usually run no more than two pages. As to the WSJ "news," presumably supporting cites to be furnished will reflect post-the-man-from-down-under.

As to this:

" ... I am merely observing that the NYT is a Dem paper."

the NYT has had many more disagreements with Pres. Obama and the Democrats editorially than the WSJ had with Bush/Cheney over 8 years. And on the NYT news side, many more news articles have attempted to put Obama and the Dems in bad light in less than a year than Fox in 8 years with Bush/Cheney. The NYT editorially often leans liberal, which can differ from Dems. But on the "news" side the NYT that is not the case, as the Dems have pointed out after 1/20/09. The use in the earlier comment describing the NYT as "a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party" was well beyond the more recent "merely observing that the NYT is a Dem paper."
 

CTS:

I was mistaken about the source being Pew. There have been two recent bias studies involving Fox News. "Election Study Finds Media Hit Hillary Hardest," Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), George Mason University (December 21, 2007), looked at partisan bias during the 2008 election and found Fox the most balanced. Groseclose, Tim, and Jeff Milyo. "A Measure of Media Bias" December 2004, looked at ideological bias based upon their application of the ADA rating system for legislators and found Fox to be conservative and WSJ to be liberal.

As a regular viewer of Brit Hume and now Brett Baer's Special Report, these findings appear to be reasonable to me. Take them for what they are worth to you.
 

So instead of vaunted Pew studies, we got rank P-U studies Perhaps that backpack is being aired-out or fumigated.
 

Shag:

If you have a problem with the methodology used by the two universities, you are free to come out with it. Did snarking and name calling work for you in your practice of law?
 

General Sir Rupert Smith points out in his marvelous book,The Utility of Force that the availabilty of real time press coverage disadvantages nation states fighting guerilla wars,as the state home front canot tolerate pictures of dead and injured civilains,a constraint less felt by irregular forces.The press thus not only reports the news but it becomes a factor in warfare.
Marc Stern
 

While this closing paragraph by our unpacked Backpacker responded to CTS's inquiry:

"As a regular viewer of Brit Hume and now Brett Baer's Special Report, these findings appear to be reasonable to me. Take them for what they are worth to you."

I can't speak for CTS but they are not worth much to me. (I could go along with philosopher Hume and Brett of the Minnesota Vikings but not Brit and Baer.)

As to this comment addressed to me:

"Did snarking and name calling work for you in your practice of law?"

Yes, when dealing with those of your ilk. And it still works after more than 50 years. And never an ethics complaint. Perhaps you were not exposed to the "dirty dozens" in your military career. That experience plus urban street smarts have been effective in dealing with the crap you try to deliver.

You mention only one university in your response to CTS: George Mason, not two. And I wonder how its study published December 21, 2007, covered the 2008 election? With a crystal ball?
 

Seems to me that the "no publicity" part is one of three things "Mr. Obama" (Mr.?) should be doing.

As with the other two things, it is OBAMA, not the NYT that is being discussed. This is not the NYT saying it is going to censor itself.

Coverage of said attacks will continue.
 

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
_____________________________

nursing dissertation
 

Actually the entire Times message is creepy including its phrasing e.g. "publicity". So no press agent for the drones? I suspect they'll get by somehow.

Presumably the Times is referring to publishing, not publicity. But if it's somehow confused on the difference, the more prole it. Long words and sentences are no substitute for seeing and understanding clearly, or for doing what you claim to do, e.g. subject heading of this item.

WaPo and NYTimes are increasingly prone to this sort of nonsense. The idea of the newspaper of record is fast becoming an outmoded antique. WSJ gave up long ago. And all your blogs will not fill the void, oh no, not by a long shot: they never aimed that high in the first place.

The Times will not be missed.

Journalism and reliable reporting will be.
 

I looked at the two reports Bart cited (thanks for the links). I have no idea what to make of them.

In the first case, no raw data seems to be available, and a pro-Obama comment made by Oprah Winfrey 'on Fox' is treated as an example of Fox News being balanced!

The paper by the two professros employs a really strange methodology. Basically, they (1)looked to see what think tanks are most often referenced by various outlets, then (2)compared the number of references to those think tanks made by members of Congress and (3) checked (I think) the ADA ratings of the congressmembers. This, they claim, establishes an ADA rating of the media outlets.

I did not read the whole piece, so I do not know if they explained the methodology or the assumption that an ADA rating is a reliable standard of an outlet's being 'biased' in a pro or anti 'liberal' direction.

Jeesh.
 

CTS:

To get the George Mason data, you would probably have to communicate with the university project conducting the study. The press release is all I can link to. Even the internet has limitations.

The ADA methodology is explained in much greater detail, but I do not pretend to understand much of it. They do not do a very good job making their analysis accessible to the lay person.

Any attempt to objectively measure something as subjective as bias is necessarily going to be a hot or miss affair. However, for the purpose of this thread, there is little disagreement in these studies - one from a conservative perspective and the other from a liberal one - that the NYT is way to the left compared to its peers.
 

I think everyone agrees that the NYT Editorial page is liberal leaning (not quite the same as 'left'). To some extent, this spills over into the news reporting. This is par for the course.

But to suggest that the WSJ is 'liberal' or 'leftist' and that FOX News is more balanced/less biased than other outlets just flies in the face of common sense and evident facts.
 

CTS:

I agree that Fox has a conservative POV just as the NYT has a liberal POV. However, a media outlet may be balanced in that it fairly presents both sides of an issue. In its news programming, Fox makes a great show of doing this as part of its attempt to distinguish itself from its competitors.

In very stark contrast, the NYT and its fellow Dem outlets studiously spike major stories which do not fit their agenda. The most recent and egregious example is the nearly complete blackout of the Climategate story in the United States when it was a fixture of foreign news leading up to Copenhagen. When it did start running here some days after the fact, it was buried and spun as a few problematic emails.

Fox was the only major news outlet reporting the Climategate story and they also reported on the statements by CRU and its involved climatologists.

This is not to say that Fox is neutral across the board. Their opinion programming ranges from conservative (O'Reilly) to muckraking populist right (Beck). I am pretty sure this is what liberals think of when they think of Fox. That is too bad because the news content is good.
 

That is too bad because the news content is good.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 10:41 AM


Baghdad, that is a load of crap. Jon Stewart recently had a great segment on his show where he detailed exactly how Faux "News" "content" is driven by Faux News opinion.

And the reason why "Climategate" isn't being covered is because it's a non-story. Climategate is nothing but rightwingnut propaganda.
 

Why do you keep calling it "Fox News"?

It's Fox entertainment.

Fox is in the entertainment business. It does great.

It is not in the news business and has not been for years.

Why call it "Fox News"?

Because that's what it calls itself?

There's some reason I was not aware of to repeat an incorrect term? Won't make it the case, folks.
 

Here's a paragraph from Tim Rutten's LATimes (12/12/09) article "The Silliness of Climategate":

"Long ago, Cicero suggested that a mysterious public act could be best assessed by asking: Who benefits? Is it really any accident that Palin and most of the GOP lawmakers trying to discredit the science on global warming come from states enriched by petroleum production and industries with sizable carbon footprints? (The delegate from Saudi Arabia has taken a similar position at Copenhagen.)"

With climate change, may we expect in years to come a new photo accommpanying our former Backpacker's comments in a Speedo? (Or is that too chilling?)
 

Here's a paragraph from Eric Alterman et al (12/10/09) article "Think Again: Conservatives Turn to CNBC and the WSJ for Stimulating Propaganda":

"Hosts at CNBC and the editorial pages of WSJ have been on the same page, metaphorically speaking, in their unwavering criticism of February’s stimulus spending. This despite the fact that the reporting in that respected newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, has more than once demonstrated the contrary."
 

Fox was the only major news outlet reporting the Climategate story and they also reported on the statements by CRU and its involved climatologists.

Of course this is incorrect, but I expect a clarification to the effect that Fox was first or covered it [and continues to do so] most aggressively.

A real news outlet is not going to have much to say about these emails after a few reports or comments, unless absolutely nothing else is going on. Because there is so little 'there' there.

At any rate, this is all beside the point. I don't know what to make of the NYT commentary. I doubt that they will stop reporting on the strikes themselves.

I do agree with jpk that serious journalism is in danger, and that worries me.
 

Today's NYT Business Day section (12/14/09) features on its first page David Carr's The Media Question column "Tilting Rightward at Journal" commenting on what's been happening at the WSJ on its news pages since Murdoch's takeover two years ago. The only surprise to me is what took him so long? Here's the closing paragraph:

"But Mr. Murdoch and his lieutenants have made two significant bets: the cachet and reputation of The Wall Street Journal are elastic enough to encompass a much broader array of news and that objectivity in a general-interest newspaper is a losing strategy."
 

This is off topic, but since this is Sandy's post, I thought I would bring attention to the article of Jonathan Estrin and Marshall Crody (both of the Constitutional Rights Foundation) in today's (12/15/09) LATimes: "A bill of rights--then and now. Could we find wise leaders today who would put aside politics for the good of the country?" The only flaw I found was the statement that today is the 118th anniversary of the Bill of Rights - it's 218 years.
 

CTS said...

BD: Fox was the only major news outlet reporting the Climategate story and they also reported on the statements by CRU and its involved climatologists.

Of course this is incorrect, but I expect a clarification to the effect that Fox was first or covered it [and continues to do so] most aggressively.


No. It was a source of ongoing ridicule on the conservative blogosphere for days after the story broke overseas how Fox's competition was studiously ignoring the story.

A real news outlet is not going to have much to say about these emails after a few reports or comments, unless absolutely nothing else is going on. Because there is so little 'there' there.

Apart from the open discussion of fraud in their science, avoiding FOIA requests, spiking competing articles and running editors who published heretical articles out of their jobs, nothing much at all is there. Compare this to months of baseless stories about the Bush Administration's "anti science" policies.

The real story is in the leaked temperature data and the programming notes inserted in the code. It appears that the raw temperature data showing very little warming after 1940 was transformed into the surge in warming you see in UN graphs my duplicating and removing real weather stations and creating completely fictional weather stations ala the fictional congressional districts in Obama's jobs saved and created data. The result was artificially depressing earlier temperatures and artificially increasing later temperatures. I have multiple lengthy posts with several links detailing this scandal in detail at my blog.
 

As I read our unpacked Backpacker's response to CTS, I imagined his new photo in a "Speedo" accompanying his comments on climate change a few years from now in the Colorado hills with lake-formations below. Our unpacked Backpacker has been taking a dive in the Bush/Cheney tank from 1/20/01-1/20/09, so perhaps he's ready to jump in the lake. But he just might need that backpack for buoyancy.
 

Bart,

Either you have been hiding your intellectual accomplishments under a bushel, and actually have the scientific background to assess the issues you pretend to understand, in which case we have to ask why such a brilliant mind was never noticed so you could be steered into science,

or -- you are simply parroting what you have read somewhere else, without adding insight or understanding, in which case you are dishonestly pretending that you actually understand what you are speaking of.

To settle the question, do please unravel string theory for us.

If you can't, then we must accept, as a working hypothesis, the second explanation.
 

C2H50H challenges our unpacked Backpacker science credentials:

"To settle the question, do please unravel string theory for us."

We'll have to await his response because our unpacked Backpacker's yo-yo is in the shop for repairs.
 

The "only experts can understand science defense" is the last refuge of scoundrels. Laypeople in juries can and do understand technical material every day in criminal cases similar to the fraud perpetrated by CRU.
 

Bart,

I didn't speak of ordinary people, I spoke of you. Ordinary people may, indeed, have the ability to understand things if explained to them. The question is, who explained it to you, because, as I pointed out, it's obvious from your own description of your background, you don't have the necessary skills or education to understand it on your own.

You were either dishonestly presenting someone else's analysis as your own, or you have insight into what's really causing the climate change we see around us -- and I, for one, find that difficult to believe. Having read your description of your investment strategy, I think your numerical, analytical, and statistical skills are simply not up to the task.

Either present your original work, and get it published, or tell us where you are getting your confirmation bias from so we can judge it. Reading the twaddle of people who don't understand statistical analysis is bad enough, but to get it second-hand and partially digested is insufferable.
 

Here is the lame response of our unpacked Backpacker to C2H50H's challenge:

"The 'only experts can understand science defense' is the last refuge of scoundrels. Laypeople in juries can and do understand technical material every day in criminal cases similar to the fraud perpetrated by CRU."

So our unpacked Backpacker cavalierly replaces Samuel Johnson's "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" but ignores the Daubert standards (1993) on the requirements for expert testimony by failing to qualify himself as an expect on climate change. His majoring in DUI cases in Colorado and minoring in economics in college seem a tad short of his qualifying on the subject of climate change. "Laypeople in juries" have the benefit of Daubert standards in order to understand technical material, which is tested with cross-examination. So let's see if our unpacked Backpacker can qualify under Daubert standards - and then we can cross-examine him. Or will our unpacked Backpacker find his refuge in patriotism, i.e. the Bush/Cheney variety.
 

I tried to get Baghdad Bart to respond to C2H50H, but apparently he's a coward. Is anyone surprised?
 

The mistake is not in correct application of Daubert.

The mistake is in thinking there's some controversy. There isn't.

An underlying mistake: thinking climate gives a rat's ass whether we understand it. It doesn't.

Behavior with respect to a future starts by accepting facts like those.

There's also no reason we have to have behavior with respect to a future, or a future. We could instead opt for the fairy tale pushed by the extraction industries. Fucks the future, but oh, the happy present.
 

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