Thursday, September 20, 2007

Enemy Media Reconnaissance

I am, once again, late to the party on some of these items, but they will remain forever unresolved until I weigh in on them.

***Did you know that the New York Times made a large (effectively about $102,000) de facto contribution to via a 65% discount on the bill for the smear ad against General Petraeus last week? Just please don't say you're surprised, or that the one-time "paper of record" doesn't make the National Enquirer look like....well, like the New York Times before the Sulzbergers flushed it down the left-wing commode.

***Do you realize that this is what the WaPo thinks is a "gotcha" on Fred Thompson's recent declaration that Americans "have shed more blood for other people's liberty than any other combination of nations in the history of the world?":

The number of overall U.S. military casualties, while high, is still relatively low in comparison to those of its World War I and World War II allies.
That's true; it's also irrelevant to what FDT actually said.

In World War II alone, the Soviet Union suffered at least eight million casualties, or more than ten times the number of U.S. casualties for all wars combined. According to Winston Churchill, the Red Army "tore the guts out of the Nazi war machine."
They suffered a lot more than that, apart from the casualties Josef Stalin himself inflicted upon his own people before, during, and after the war. But that, again, is not germane to what Fred actually said.

The key phrase for the intrepid fact-checkers at the WaPo is "....shed more blood for other people's liberty...." Given that the United States, with the exceptions of Pearl Harbor, Attu & Kiska, and 9/11, has not been attacked on its own soil since the British sacked Washington, D.C. 195 years ago, simple logic should indicate even to the purblind writer that comparisons to a country liberating itself (with a ton of unappreciated Western material assistance) is not a valid comparison.

The lights try to come on in Michael Dobbs' mental attic, but his lefty bias is just too strong:

It can be argued that Soviet troops were primarily fighting to free their homeland from Nazi occupation. [duh] After fighting its way to Berlin, the Soviet Union imposed its own dictatorship over Eastern Europe. [double duh - I'm astonished they pointed that out] Even so, Soviet sacrifices contributed greatly to the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi domination. Soviet forces died for their own country and their own tyrannical government, but they also spilled blood on behalf of their Western allies.
The bleep they did. Before Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, Stalin and the entire international Left looked upon the plight of the Western democracies with callous and calculated indifference. The USSR didn't lift a finger, even rhetorically, to condemn Nazi aggression. It was only after the Nazi blitzkrieg was turned on him that Stalin pirhouetted and suddenly rediscovered Russian history and culture and, yes, religion (which he and the Bolsheviks had been doing their level best to stamp out) as propaganda tools, and instantly and brazenly began demanding that the West come to the Evil Empire's aid and rescue.

Once the substantially Western-equipped Red Army began turning the tide on the Eastern Front (and also due to Allied foot-dragging about opening a second front in northwest Europe), Stalin was motivated not by any gratitude or altruism toward his Western benefactors, but beating them to as much European territory as he possibly could before the guns fell silent so as to be in the strongest possible position for his next war - against his erstwhile "neoNazi" allies.

In point of fact the Red Army wasn't fighting for anybody's freedom, but rather for the same basic objective Hitler had: eventual world domination.

Even if the Soviet Union is not included in the calculation [leading to the question of why the WaPo included it], U.S. military casualties in all wars combined remain lower than those of the British Commonwealth ("a combination of nations," in Thompson's phrase) in World War I and World War II. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the British Commonwealth lost 1.7 million troops in the two world wars.
Yes, they did; and they were not fighting for anybody else's freedom but their own and their imperial interests around the world.

Amazing, isn't it, how FDT can run up the score on the Enemy Media without lifting a finger? It's almost....reaganesque.

***Why does a purported "journalist" (Wolf Blitzer), as a purported host of a purported "news" program (Situation Room) on a purported "news network" (CNN) interview a purported "comedian" (Bill Maher, a name almost identical to Bill Moyers, a designational convergence worthy of a Jack Palance "Believe it....or not") who is what you would get if you spent six months starving and shaving down Rosie O'Donnell on a topic of which his vile ignorance spews forth with a nausea-inducing putrescence reminiscent of the mound of cat poop I finally managed to rouse my daughter into evacuating from our utility room this evening?

Watch it for yourself and see just how rhetorical that question really is.

***Fareed Zakaria still thinks there's a middle ground to be had in Iraq:
The most significant way we can help Iraq is to be there for the long haul, assisting it economically and politically, but maintaining a much smaller, more enduring military presence. That is a far more strategic role for U.S. troops than policing the streets of Baghdad. Making clear that we aren't going to disappear entirely will change the calculus of all those groups in Iraq that are keeping their "post-American" options open....

The President is wasting his limited political capital buying the surge a few more months. There is a much more important deal to be had here—go down in troop levels, but go long.
Mr. Zakaria is forgetting a few things:

1) The President doesn't HAVE any political capital; he's simply using the constitutional powers of his office to their fullest, not unlike the early days of his presidency. Come to think of it, that's how he started building political capital in the first place.

2) The calculus of "all those groups" in Washington, D.C. that have seen their post-2006 mid-term election momentum dissipate with the success of the "Surge," and which would be given a much-needed second wind if the White House adapted Zakaria's dimwitted "strategery".

There can be no "going long" that includes premature drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anything else. There can also not be final victory in the war without a huge build-up of forces for the final battle with Iran. That's the eight-hundred-pound gorilla in the bird cage nobody wants to acknowledge; but as with most gorillas, it won't be ignored for long.

***Dan Rather is suing CBS, Viacom, and three of his former bosses for $20 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages for....

Wait for it....wait for it....

....making him a "scapegoat" in an attempt to "pacify the White House."

No, we're not kidding:
Mr. Rather, 75, asserts that the network violated his contract by giving him insufficient airtime on 60 Minutes after forcing him to step down as anchor of the CBS Evening News in March 2005. He also contends that the network committed fraud by commissioning a “biased” and incomplete investigation of the flawed Guard broadcast and, in the process, “seriously damaged his reputation.”...

In the suit, filed this afternoon in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Rather charges that CBS and its executives made him “a scapegoat” in an attempt “to pacify the White House,” though the formal complaint presents virtually no direct evidence to that effect. To buttress this claim, Mr. Rather quotes the executive who oversaw his regular segment on CBS Radio, telling Mr. Rather in November 2004 that he was losing that slot, effective immediately, because of “pressure from ‘the right wing.’ ”
I realize that expressions like "You can't make up s[tuff] like this" have long since become cliches in the Bushophobic era, but it's difficult to think of a more applicable one. Dan Rather tried to perpetrate a defamatory journalistic fraud in the middle of a presidential campaign in order to bring down a president he personally and philosphically detested, and he got busted on it within the space not of days but of hours by "guys in pajamas". It cost him and his employer whatever tattered reputational remnants they had left and propelled him into well-earned and -deserved ignominy. And after stewing in simmering, egomaniacal resentments for a couple of years, this is the result.

How pathetic is "Rather's revenge"? Even those who should be on his side are saying he's gone frakking nuts:
Several former colleagues said they were baffled by the move. "I think he's gone off the deep end," said Josh Howard, who was forced to resign as executive producer of 60 Minutes II after CBS retracted the story. "He seems to be saying he was just the narrator.

"He did every interview. He worked the sources over the phone. He was there in the room with the so-called document experts. He argued over every line in the script. It's laughable."

Rome Hartman, a former executive producer of CBS Evening News who now works for the BBC, said: "It's got to be about this lasting sense of hurt and pride. I was flabbergasted. I just don't get it."
Neither, apparently, does Rather's shyster legal counsel:

Rather's attorney tried to fill the zone with inanities yesterday. He insisted that Rather didn't really want the money, and that any cash taken from CBS would get donated to "journalistic causes". That would, of course, come after Martin Gold's cut. Gold also insisted that the memos had not been proven as forgeries, despite the source's inability to authenticate the memos and an avalanche of evidence that shows clearly that the memos got typed on a computer, using typeset-style word processing software. Maybe Gold spent September and October 2004 in a coma, and Rather hopes to help Gold pay off his medical bills.
Any ambulance-chaser who would take this gig has got to be a blind optimist, to say nothing of an egotist second only to his client. It takes an abiding intolerance for humility, not to mention a case of galloping dementia, to actively claim, as Bernard Goldberg put it, that "the man who signed off his newscast with 'courage,' [is] now....alleging 'they made me do it, they just put the words in front of me.'"

This is not the way the uberjournalist's career is supposed to end. Accountability is only supposed to flow in one direction - toward Republicans. It's not supposed to back up on the unelected, self-appointed "watchdogs" and "guardians of democracy and freedom of expression". They're supposed to be above responsibility and objectivity and the law itself. Nobody's supposed to be allowed to question them. That press pass is supposed to be a "do whatever the hell I want and get away with it" card.

That Dan Rather found out otherwise the hard way, and was brought down by dorks with computers some of whom never spend a day at Columbia [heh] or even a lesser "J" school, is a humiliation he obviously has decided he cannot live with. So he's blaming everybody else, but going after the entity with the deepest pockets.

As Steve Dallas once said, "It's the American way!"

The sad commentary is that that's no punchline.

The poetic justice is that Dan Rather has become one.

UPDATE: You can add "incoherent" and "paranoid" to the Rather adjective list. Could we be looking at a mental breakdown from "the least trusted man in America"?