Examples of how the media distorts the news
Home  -  TOC

-
- Nation of Islam Allowed to Review PBS Documentary on Moderate Muslims
- PBS 'Sympathetic' to Radical Islamists - 8/30/2007
- Morning Shows Promoting Democrats - 8/29/2007
- Missing Explosives in Iraq - 10/26/2004
- ABC, Jennings Biased Pre-War Coverage - 3/19/2003
- The missing gun - 1/25/2002
 

  XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX TUE OCT 26 2004 11:02:38 ET XXXXX

In 1992 it was the Iran Contra charges brought days before the election... In 2000 it was the DUI charges a few days before the vote... And Now...

60 Mins Planned Bush Missing Explosives Story For Election Eve

News of missing explosives in Iraq -- first reported in April 2003 -- was being resurrected for a 60 MINUTES election eve broadcast designed to knock the Bush administration into a crisis mode.

Jeff Fager, executive producer of the Sunday edition of 60 MINUTES, said in a statement that "our plan was to run the story on October 31, but it became clear that it wouldn't hold..."

Elizabeth Jensen at the LOS ANGELES TIMES details on Tuesday how CBS NEWS and 60 MINUTES lost the story [which repackaged previously reported information on a large cache of explosives missing in Iraq, first published and broadcast in 2003].

The story instead debuted in the NYT. The paper slugged the story about missing explosives from April 2003 as "exclusive."

An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.

According to NBCNEWS, the explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived. [VIDEO CLIP]

It is not clear who exactly shopped an election eve repackaging of the missing explosives story.

The LA TIMES claims: The source on the story first went to 60 MINUTES but also expressed interest in working with the NY TIMES... "The tip was received last Wednesday."

CBSNEWS' plan to unleash the story just 24 hours before election day had one senior Bush official outraged.

"Darn, I wanted to see the forged documents to show how this was somehow covered up," the Bush source, who asked not to be named, mocked, recalling last months CBS airing of fraudulent Bush national guard letters.

Developing...

-----------------------------------------------------------
Filed By Matt Drudge
Reports are moved when circumstances warrant
http://www.drudgereport.com for updates
(c)DRUDGE REPORT 2004
Not for reproduction without permission of the author

 MRC Accuses ABC, Jennings of Biased Pre-War Coverage
By Jeff Johnson
CNSNews.com Congressional Bureau Chief
March 19, 2003

Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - A conservative media watchdog group Tuesday accused ABC News and World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings of blatant bias in their coverage of the build-up to war with Iraq.

Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center (MRC), noted that the respected chronicle, the Columbia Journalism Review, wrote in its current issue that reporting prior to a war "is even more necessary than following the action or counting the dead." Bozell believes ABC's news division has failed its viewers in that reporting.

"During this critical period before war, Peter Jennings used World News Tonight not to offer an objective look into the international crisis," Bozell alleged, "but to beat the American administration with a deceptive double standard."

During a press conference in the National Press Club's First Amendment Room Tuesday, Bozell charged Jennings and his colleagues at World News Tonight (WNT) with "harshly criticizing America and its policies, all the while taking a much lighter hand to congressional Democrats [who oppose military action against Iraq], U.N. bureaucrats, France, China, Russia, even Iraq."

Four Areas of Alleged Bias

After examining 234 WNT stories broadcast between January 1 and March 7, 2003, the MRC identified four categories in which it believes Jennings and WNT misled viewers:
  • Championing France and the U.N. over the U.S. - The MRC noted the example of WNT reporter Terry Moran describing the White House policy on Iraqi disarmament as "hard-line" while ascribing no descriptive term to the U.N.'s policy of inaction;
     
  • Channeling Iraqi Propaganda - Bozell pointed to a WNT report by Dan Harris, which ended with a "peace activist" interviewing Iraqi children. The report made no mention of the fact that Iraqis are not allowed to speak freely to the press;
     
  • Sanitizing Radical Protesters - The MRC, which is the parent organization of CNSNews.com, criticized WNT for its coverage of anti-war protests in Washington and elsewhere because the network failed to mention that the protests were largely orchestrated by the Workers World Party, an organization that openly pledges "solidarity" with communists in China and Cuba; and
     
  • Manipulating Poll Data - Bozell noted that on January 21, Jennings reported a five- point drop in support for military action against Iraq. WNT did not note an equivalent increase in the polls a week later, and Jennings referred to an even greater increase following the State of the Union address by saying polls were "essentially unchanged."

Bozell noted that, during a Jan. 17 Nightline/Viewpoint special broadcast, ABC News President David Westin promised viewers that the network's coverage would be "objective and give just the facts to the American people."

"It should not have been difficult for Peter Jennings to have covered the run-up to war in a manner that approached ABC News President David Westin's standard of 'objective,'" Bozell opined. "Both NBC and CBS' News' coverage, while not perfect, came far closer to meeting this standard."

'Dissenting View[s] Are Very Inconvenient'

Cliff May with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies spent more than 20 years as a working journalist. He believes he knows why the allegedly biased coverage is happening.

"The elite media, very often, will establish a 'prevailing narrative' - or are persuaded of a 'prevailing narrative' - early on, and then they defend it with an almost religious zeal," May said. "In this case, the 'prevailing narrative' has been that President Bush wants to go to war against Iraq and that such a war will be resented and resisted by Iraqis, by Arabs, by Muslims.

"So Iraqis, Arabs and Muslims with a dissenting view are very inconvenient," May added. "They get in the way of the story [the elite media] want to tell."

Zainab al-Suwaij, executive director of the American Islamic Conference, grew up in Iraq. She charges the establishment media in the U.S. with grossly underreporting support inside Iraq for the removal of Saddam Hussein.

"Ninety-five percent of the Iraqi population share the same view, but the only problem is they are afraid of the government, and they cannot talk in public about that," al-Suwaij said. "People inside America, they think that Iraq is just like America; a free press, everybody can talk about their opinions, and so on and so forth. But unfortunately, this is not the case."

Al-Suwaij related the story of a third-grade classmate who - during the Iran-Iraq war - questioned in class whether the Iranian leadership was as bad as the Iraqi government had led its people to believe.

"She disappeared the next day with her whole family," al-Suwaij recalled. "At 9 years of age, we were always asked in the classroom, 'Did your family say anything about the government last night?'"

Networks Don't Seek Iraqis in Exile for Iraqi Viewpoint

Eleana Gordon also works with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies on a project called "Women for a Free Iraq." The project is designed to provide reporters with access to Iraqi citizens who are outside of the control of the Hussein dictatorship.

"Who do you see representing, supposedly, the Iraqi point of view? There are people from [the Council on American-Islamic Relations], which is a Saudi-backed Muslim organization. They're not Iraqi people," Gordon charged.

"We don't see a lot of Iraqis, and yet there are four to five million Iraqis in exile; about 20 percent of the Iraqi population," she added.

Bozell suggested four changes that ABC News, World News Tonight and Jennings could make to reduce the bias he sees in their coverage:

  • Apply skepticism equally to all parties in the conflict, not just the U.S. and its allies;
     
  • Carefully scrutinize any information coming from Iraq to eliminate propaganda or coerced statements in support of Hussein;
     
  • Fully identify the organizations behind the anti-war movement and report objectively on controversial statements by anti-war activists; and
     
  • Provide straight-forward coverage of polling data, regardless of whose position on the war it supports.

Bozel noted that the MRC's criticism of Jennings and WNT is not personal. He recalled that - when Jennings was criticized for statements that were taken out of context after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - the MRC publicly defended Jennings and chastised his accusers.

"Unfortunately, the way the World News Tonight operation has been going, especially since January 1, is just simply indefensible," Bozell explained. "He is the top dog in that news department in the sense that he's got the power to do a better job if he so chooses.

"One wishes he would," Bozell concluded.

Five calls to ABC News and World News Tonight offices in both New York and Washington, D.C., seeking comment for this story were not returned.

E-mail a news tip to Jeff Johnson.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.

Home  -  TOC  -  Top

 THE MISSING GUN

By JOHN R. LOTT, JR.

January 25, 2002
-- ANOTHER school shooting occurred last week and the headlines were everywhere the same, from Australia to Nigeria. This time the shooting occurred at a university, the Appalachian Law School. As usual, there were calls for more gun control.

Yet in this age of "gun-free school zones," one fact was missing from virtually all the news coverage: The attack was stopped by two students who had guns in their cars.

The fast responses of two male students, Mikael Gross, 34, and Tracy Bridges, 25, undoubtedly saved multiple lives.

Mikael was outside the law school and just returning from lunch when Peter Odighizuwa started his attack. Tracy was in a classroom waiting for class to start.

When the shots rang out, utter chaos erupted. Mikael said, "People were running everywhere. They were jumping behind cars, running out in front of traffic, trying to get away."

Mikael and Tracy did something quite different: Both immediately ran to their cars and got their guns. Mikael had to run about 100 yards to get to his car. Along with Ted Besen (who was unarmed), they approached Peter from different sides.

As Tracy explained it, "I aimed my gun at him, and Peter tossed his gun down. Ted approached Peter, and Peter hit Ted in the jaw. Ted pushed him back and we all jumped on."

What is so remarkable is that out of 280 separate news stories (from a computerized Nexis-Lexis search) in the week after the event, just four stories mentioned that the students who stopped the attack had guns.

Only two local newspapers (the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Charlotte Observer) mentioned that the students actually pointed their guns at the attacker.

Much more typical was the scenario described by the Washington Post, where the heroes had simply "helped subdue" the killer. The New York Times noted only that the attacker was "tackled by fellow students."

Most in the media who discussed how the attack was stopped said: "students overpowered a gunman," "students ended the rampage by tackling him," "the gunman was tackled by four male students before being arrested," or "Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, who dropped his weapon."

In all, 72, stories described how the attacker was stopped without mentioning that the student heroes had guns.

Unfortunately, the coverage in this case was not unusual. In the other public school shootings where citizens with guns have stopped attacks, rarely do more than one percent of the news stories mention that citizens with guns stopped the attacks.

Many people find it hard to believe that research shows that there are 2 million defensive gun uses each year. After all, if these events were really happening, wouldn't we hear about them on the news? But when was the last time you saw a story on the national evening news (or even the local news) about a citizen using his gun to stop a crime?

This misreporting actually endangers people's lives. By selectively reporting the news and turning a defensive gun use story into one where students merely "overpowered a gunman" the media gives misleading impressions of what works when people are confronted by violence.

Research consistently shows that having a gun is the safest way to respond to any type of criminal attack, especially these multiple victim shootings.

John Lott is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "More Guns, Less Crime."

Home  -  TOC  -  Top

 Morning News Shows 'Promoting' Democrats, Study Finds

August 29, 2007    By Nathan Burchfiel    CNSNews.com Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) - In covering the 2008 presidential campaign, the network morning news shows are "overwhelmingly focused on Democrats, [and] they are actively promoting the Democrats' liberal agenda," according to a study released today by the conservative Media Research Center (MRC).

The study examined 517 campaign segments on the morning news shows broadcast on ABC, CBS and NBC in the first seven months of 2007. It found that the shows covered Democrats "nearly twice as much" as Republicans and framed interview questions from a liberal perspective most of the time.

The study was produced by the MRC's News Analysis Division. The MRC is the parent organization of Cybercast News Service.

The study found that 55 percent of campaign stories on ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show" and NBC's "Today" focused on Democratic candidates while only 29 percent focused on Republicans. The remaining 16 percent were classified as "mixed/independent."

The morning shows aired 61 stories focused exclusively on Sen. Hillary Clinton, 44 stories on former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, and 41 stories on Sen. Barack Obama, all of whom are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Former Vice President Al Gore, who is not officially running, was the subject of 29 stories.

Republican candidates received less attention, according to the study. Sen. John McCain was the focus of 31 stories. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the focus of 26 stories and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney was the focus of 19 stories.

Interviews with Democratic candidates or their representatives accounted for more than four-and-a-half hours of airtime in the first seven months of 2007. Interviews with Republicans candidates or their representatives accounted for less than two hours, according to the study.

In addition to the time disparity, the report alleges that "the top Democratic candidates received much more favorable coverage than their GOP counterparts, with Sen. Clinton cast as 'unbeatable' and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama tagged as a 'rock star.'"

In contrast, the most-featured Republican candidate, McCain, "was portrayed as a loser because of his support for staying the course in Iraq," the report says. "[M]uch of McCain's coverage has emphasized the sinking nature of his campaign - declining poll ratings, and fundraising that has failed to meet expectations."

MRC Director of Research Rich Noyes told Cybercast News Service that the organization is not calling for government imposed standards of fairness like those that could be established under a Fairness Doctrine. "The remedy," he said, "is for the networks to cover the campaign in a fair and balanced manner."

He said that while it is "theoretically possible that the Democrats have made 80 percent more 'news' this year ... I would argue that the media have helped make all three Democratic frontrunners into something akin to celebrities, and then use their quasi-celebrity status to justify more coverage."

Noyes acknowledged that it is legitimate for news programs to cover the stumbles of Republican candidates like McCain, but added that "the Democrats have had their share of stumbles and gaffes. Some of those have been reported, and some have been downplayed, but the network storyline on all the Democratic frontrunners is mainly positive."

He said that former Sen. John Edwards "could be getting the same 'deathwatch' coverage that McCain's been getting, but instead he got a huge gift of a town hall meeting on ABC (something no Republican has received)."

"That doesn't mean McCain's problems should be buried. But it does show the networks seem to have a different approach for candidates of different parties," Noyes said. "It's like the networks tried to throw Edwards a life preserver, but dropped an anvil on McCain."

Spokesmen for ABC, CBS and NBC did not respond to requests for comment.

 PBS 'Sympathetic' to Radical Islamists, Filmmakers Say

August 30, 2007    By Kevin Mooney    CNSNews.com Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) - High level officials in the Public Broadcasting System are operating from a mindset that is overly sympathetic toward the concept of "parallel societies," where sharia (Islamist laws) holds sway over democratic norms, according to documentary filmmaker Martyn Burke.

Burke, also a Hollywood producer, collaborated with some conservative national security experts to produce a documentary on moderate Muslims, entitled, "Islam versus Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center."

WETA, the Washington, D.C., affiliate of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) declined to air the film as part of the "America at a Crossroads Series" earlier this year. (See Related Story)

The objections WETA-PBS officials had to the film were outlined in a series of notes "Crossroads Series" producer Leo Eaton addressed to Burke and his partners at ABG Films.

The documentary "created a one-sided narrative," wrote Eaton. "You present the ongoing struggle between your chosen 'moderates' and 'extremists' in very subjective and very claustrophobic terms," he continued. This sentiment was apparently shared by other top officials connected with the series.

For instance, Robert MacNeil, formerly of "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour," who served as a host for the series, described the film as being unbalanced and "highly alarmist" during an appearance on National Public Radio this past April. MacNeil's own film, "The Muslim Americans," was inserted as a replacement for the ABG documentary.

This arrangement does not sit well with Frank Gaffney, president and CEO of the conservative Center for Security Policy (CSP), who collaborated with Burke in producing the documentary.

"Not only did they [PBS] suppress our film, but they put in MacNeil's film, which was unmistakably pro-Islamist," said Gaffney. "It's hard to dispute the idea that there was an agenda here hostile in the extreme toward the idea of courageous anti-Islamist Muslims telling their story."

But the WETA-PBS team responsible for overseeing the "Crossroads" series insists the film did not live up to editorial specifications.

In a letter addressed to Gaffney explaining their rejection of the film, Jeff Bieber, WETA's executive producer, cited "serious structural problems" that proceed from "incomplete storytelling" and a "limited focus" that raise questions of fairness.

This sentiment was also conveyed through Eaton in his correspondence with ABG’s Films.

In their response to WETA-PBS officials, Burke and his colleagues claim the criticisms proceeded from a "distorted understanding" of radical Islam. The notes were characterized in AGB's response as "a hatchet-job based on a serious, perhaps willful, misinterpretation of both the message and method of the film."

In an interview with Cybercast News Service, Burke said: "We encountered a mindset that we thought was more than a little predisposed toward portraying the extremists attacking the moderates as being more sympathetic than what we thought was warranted. We were asked to portray their actions in way that would give them more legitimacy and understanding than what we thought conformed with reality. Context was always the word they used as a Trojan horse for watering down our point of view."

A "transparent bias" stood out in Eaton's notes that weighed in favor of the "Islamist interpretation" of sharia law, the ABG team declared. At one point in his notes Eaton insisted the film offer "objective clarity" on the question of whether or not "sharia' law can co-exist within Western society side-by-side with a democratic judicial system," they wrote.

The suggestion was "truly preposterous, since the basic tenets of sharia by definition cannot operate simultaneously within a democratic system," stated ABG.

Some of the more problematic features of Islamic law that Burke and Gaffney noted included the following:

- A Muslim man is allowed to beat his wife.

- A woman needs four male witnesses to prove rape or adultery and could be stoned to death for adultery if she fails to find them.

- A Muslim cannot be condemned to death for the murder of an infidel.

- Judges in an Islamic state could only be Muslim. A non-Muslim judge can only adjudicate for infidels.
 

 Nation of Islam Allowed to Review PBS Documentary on Moderate Muslims

August 30, 2007    By Kevin Mooney    CNSNews.com Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) - A conflict of interest involving the radical Nation of Islam and the Washington, D.C., affiliate of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is an example of unethical journalism that benefits extremist Muslims, according to a national security expert and a Hollywood filmmaker.

Martyn Burke, director of documentary films at ABG Films, and Frank Gaffney, president of the conservative Center for Security Policy, produced a documentary for a PBS series - "America at a Crossroads" - that focused on Muslims in America, Europe, and Canada who speak out against Islamist extremists.

Their documentary, "Islam versus Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center," was, after a protracted battle, rejected in April by WETA, the PBS affiliate in Washington, D.C.

The film is going to air on an Oregon PBS affiliate this month, and some other affiliates may run it as well. However, one of the more controversial aspects over the film is that PBS chose to have the documentary reviewed by the radical Nation of Islam prior to its decision to cancel the film.

The Nation of Islam (NOI) and its long-time leader Rev. Louis Farrakhan have a history of espousing racism and anti-Semitism. Farrakhan stepped down as NOI's leader in 2006 for health reasons.

PBS's decision to pass the film to NOI for review was a serious "breach of journalistic ethics," said Burke.

"Is there anyone who understands that no functioning journalist - or network, or publication can ever allow this kind of outrageous action?" Burke wrote in an e-mail to PBS officials.

"This utterly undermines any journalistic independence. ... It virtually hands the story to the subject and allows them to become an active party in shaping it. That is advertising, not journalism. Is that not obvious?" he added.

Burke noted that PBS hired Aminah McCloud as an adviser for the "Crossroads" series. McCloud, director of Islamic World Studies at DePaul University, is a "radical professor," according to Burke, and it was she who gave a "rough cut" of the documentary to the Nation of Islam.

Burke, in an interview with Cybercast News Service, further said that the PBS producers and advisers involved in the "America at a Crossroads" series were favorably disposed to the Islamist perspective and this was detrimental to the filmmaking. PBS officials claimed the "Muslim Center" film, a part of the series, was overly subjective and one-sided. They thus decided against airing it as part of the series. (See Related Story)

In addition, Jeff Bieber, WETA's executive producer, demanded that Gaffney and his CSP colleague Alex Alexiev - a national security expert who specializes in Islamic extremism - be fired from the filmmaking because they are conservatives, said Burke.

But "I'm not going to fire anyone from the right or the left unless their politics start skewing the truth as we understand it," Burke said. "So, when WETA asked me 'don't you check into the politics of the people you work with?' I said I can't believe I'm hearing this in America."

When PBS officials failed to blacklist conservatives associated with the project, they shifted strategy and began to attack the film directly, Gaffney told Cybercast News Service in an interview. Leo Eaton, the "Crossroads" producer for WETA, and other PBS officials pushed for editorial changes that would dilute the over-arching theme and central message of the film, said Gaffney.

The criticisms Eaton presented on behalf of PBS-WETA in a series of notes called for significant modifications to the content - changes that would portray Islamic extremists in a favorable manner, detached from reality, according to Burke and his CSP partners.

"What began as a struggle to prevent people like me from playing in the left's sandbox at PBS mutated into a concerted effort to ensure that a film that told the story of anti-Islamist Muslims never made it on the air," said Gaffney.

"I am personally committed to preventing PBS from doing business the way it has been doing it up until now. There's no doubt that part of what was going on at PBS with our film was a naked antipathy toward conservatives," he added.

A letter from Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA, to Gaffney was dismissive of the concerns the filmmakers expressed over the hiring of McCloud and her subsequent activities.

With regard to McCloud's decision to exhibit a portion of the film to the Nation of Islam, Rockefeller wrote: "I am informed that while she regrets causing you and WETA any concern, she thought it was her duty as an advisor to check out the accuracy of information she believed to be incorrect, both for the benefit of WETA and the show producers."

The "Crossroads" series was conceived and financed through the liberal Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) with $20 million in federal funds. The Burke and Gaffney film, "Islam versus Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center," cost $675,000.

Allegations directed against public television officials that touch on questions of journalistic ethics have caught the attention of key congressional figures who are now seeking an investigation.

In a letter to Kenneth Konz, the inspector general for CPB, three Republican senators and two Republican representatives expressed concern over apparent conflicts of interest that may have affected PBS's decision to not run the "Muslim Center" in the series.

When the "Crossroads" project was initially launched, top officials within CPB, including former Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, expressed a strong desire to bring in a mix of views, including conservative voices, not traditionally heard on public television.

Tomlinson resigned in 2005 after an inspector general's report raised issues about some of his political activities.

Concerning this mix of views, it "was an initiative that came from CPB that did not necessarily have the concurrence of PBS," said Steve Bass, president and CEO of the Oregon Public Broadcasting System, which is now airing the "Muslim Center" film.

"The fact that you are broadening the pool of people involved in the film series and casting a wider net is almost by definition going to cause some problems," he said.

The creative and political differences that typically beset film projects were further exacerbated in the case "Islam vs. Islamists," Bass surmised, because public money was involved.

"We were attacked for having a point of view, which is astonishing since my understanding is that by definition documentaries have a point of view," said Burke.

"We set out to answer a simple question: Where are the moderate Muslims? What we found is they are speaking out, but they are speaking out in a vacuum and often at great peril and always with great difficultly," Burke added.

In his written correspondence with the filmmakers, Eaton described the film as a "one-sided narrative" that featured the conflict between so-called moderates and extremists in "very subjective and very claustrophobic terms."

For his part, Burke told Cybercast News Service that "wherever possible" anyone in the film advocated radical behavior was permitted to say so at length.

Although he found the film to be "quite compelling" and worthy of airtime, Bass said he felt some of the proposed changes the filmmakers were asked to make could have improved the overall product.

"If I found any fault with it, there were parts of the story that to me needed a little bit more information," he said.

"The film assumed a level of understanding on the part of the viewer that may not be there universally. That's why we decided to add the panel discussion. We think it poses the film in a greater base of understanding with more information," Bass added.

A panel discussion featuring Zuhdi Jasser, co-founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AISD), Rafia Zakaria, an associate executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, and Ahmed Rehab, the executive director of CAIR in Chicago has been produced to run alongside the film.

But individual stations are free to decide whether or not to include the panel, Bass explained.

Although Burke and Gaffney think the film's treatment at WETA warrants further investigation, they agree "Islam vs. the Islamists" has the potential to reach an even larger audience than it otherwise would have if aired as was originally intended on the "Crossroads Series."

Cybercast News Service attempted to contact Eaton and Bieber via e-mail, but did not receive a response.
 

Home  -  TOC  -  Top