This 'one-day-at-a-time' method really has things going for it. It's much easier to put up, it takes a lot less time to compile, and it relieves the exact same amount of 'writer's tension' that develops after I read stuff. It's a good form - thanks for modelling it, Brian! On to today's points of interest.
While most of the journalists, like many Americans, describe themselves as "moderate," a far higher number are "liberal" than in the general population.In a related story, Bob Tarantino reminds me why I try to avoid reading the Toronto Star.
At national organizations (which includes print, TV and radio), the numbers break down like this: 34% liberal, 7% conservative. At local outlets: 23% liberal, 12% conservative. At Web sites: 27% call themselves liberals, 13% conservatives.
This contrasts with the self-assessment of the general public: 20% liberal, 33% conservative.
The survey of 547 media professionals, completed this spring, is part of an important study released today by The Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Committee of Concerned Journalists, which mainly concerns more general issues related to newsrooms (an E&P summary will appear Monday).
While it's important to remember that most journalists in this survey continue to call themselves moderate, the ranks of self-described liberals have grown in recent years, according to Pew. For example, since 1995, Pew found at national outlets that the liberal segment has climbed from 22% to 34% while conservatives have only inched up from 5% to 7%.
The Sunday Toronto Star is like the distilled essence of the purest Star, the Star qua Star. On Sundays the major tropes and underlying biases come to the fore; it's as if all the adults have left the paper for the weekend and the mooks are running the asylum. Yesterday's edition was amazing... if you're looking for pristine examples of leftist pathology.You really should read the whole thing.
A videotape obtained Sunday by Associated Press Television News captures a wedding party that survivors say was later attacked by U.S. planes early Wednesday, killing up to 45 people. The dead included the cameraman, Yasser Shawkat Abdullah, hired to record the festivities, which ended Tuesday night before the planes struck.Interesting. But what of reports saying that the video was recorded elsewhere?
A senior coalition military spokesman said Saturday that dozens of people killed in a U.S. attack in the Iraqi desert early Wednesday were attending a high-level meeting of foreign fighters, not a wedding. Photos shown to reporters in Baghdad support that contention.And what of the evidence provided by the US military to the contrary?
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said six women were among the dead, but he said there was no evidence any children died in the raid near the Syrian border. Coalition officials have said as many as 40 people were killed. Kimmitt said video showing dead children killed was actually recorded in Ramadi, far from the attack scene.
At a briefing Saturday, Kimmitt showed photographs of the interior of the targeted building that showed stacks of bedding ? more than 300 sets ? a table used for medical examinations, and medical supplies, including syringes with residue suspected of being cocaine. There were assorted firearms and a large number of packed sets of clothing.Lots of contradictory news going on here. Wretchard, over at the Belmont Club, is keeping tabs on it.
He said the setup appeared to be a way station where foreign fighters slipping through the border could get bogus identification documents and clothes that would help them blend in with the Iraqi population.
?There was no evidence of a wedding,? Kimmitt said. ?There was no decorations, no music instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration. No gifts."
Now we have the beginning of a convergence in this story, and some contradictory details. First, there is agreement that a particular set of buildings was raided while a group of people were present and that "six women were among the dead". It has been established by common account that there was no mistaken bombing raid on celebratory gunfire from 40,000 feet. It was an attack on a set of buildings, including an infantry assault.More on this as it develops.
But there is a divergence with regard to the purposes of the targeted building. The Guardian account portrays it as a normal innocent residence. Kimmitt categorically identifies it as something else. "The building seemed to be somewhat of a dormitory," Kimmitt said. "You had over 300 sets of bedding gear in it. You had a tremendous number of pre-packaged clothing -- apparently about a hundred sets of pre-packaged clothing. "[It is] expected that when foreign fighters come in from other countries, they come to this location, they change their clothes into typical Iraqi clothing sets."
At this point, either of two things can happen. The press can begin to divide on the credibility of the witnesses. The Guardian may prefer to believe Mrs. Shihab and others prefer to believe General Kimmitt, or it can seek further facts. The problem is that certain sets of facts might turn out to be both true. One possible way to solve the problem of the essential character of the gathering, though not of the house is to examine the dead. Recall that there are 27 graves in Ramadi, some said to contain more than one set of remains said to belong to the victims. At least 25 of them were in identifiable condition.? We know from the Guardian article that "Dr Alusi (of Al Qaim hospital) said 11 of the dead were women and 14 were children. 'I want to know why the Americans targeted this small village,' he said by telephone. "These people are my patients. I know each one of them. What has caused this disaster?" So we would expect nearly all the graves in Ramadi to belong to women and children if Mrs. Shihab's story were true. On the other hand, we would expect to find a lot of buried military age males if it were not.
Press freedom as we know it today is a rather recent innovation. The First Amendment didn't really do much work until just before World War Two. In World War One, people were convicted of sedition for publishing things that wouldn't raise an eyebrow today. Libel suits were easier, and in general the press enjoyed much less of a special status.Indeed.
And it wasn't really until the 1960s and 1970s, after cases like Brandenburg v. Ohio, and the Pentagon Papers case, that what we think of as press freedom today came into existence.
So the question is, is that a coincidence -- did the United States just happen to make progress in free expression over that period -- or is that expansion of press freedom tied to the fact that regard for the press, and in particular its fairness and objectivity, was (rightly or wrongly) at unusually high levels by historical standards during those decades?
[W]hat happens if the public comes to regard the press as untrustworthy and un-American? Will the First Amendment continue to be regarded expansively? Maybe. Maybe not. And if you look at the various journalistic scandals, from Jayson Blair to fake Iraq photos, and at polls like these, coupled with others showing decreased respect for journalists, and reduced viewership and readership for major media outlets, the risk seems genuine.
Press freedom is in the Constitution, but so are a lot of rights that don't get nearly as much actual protection out in the world. Members of the press have often warned business people that malfeasance and self-serving behavior puts capitalism at risk. Malfeasance and self-serving behavior by the press puts free expression at risk, too.
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