Archive for the ‘fairness’ Category

China Learning To Play By The Rules?

November 17, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama told a Pittsburgh crowd this year that “trade with China will only be good for you if China itself plays by the rules.” Well, thanks to its membership in the World Trade Organization, China is learning to do precisely that.

The latest example came Thursday, when American, European and Chinese negotiators resolved a trade tiff over financial information suppliers. The dispute started in 2006 when Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, insisted that foreigners hand over private client data and use Xinhua as their sole distribution agent. The agency aimed to set up its own competing news service, Xinhua 08 — presumably after stealing foreign client lists and business plans.

The Wall Street Journal

The move upset an earlier deal between China and such foreign firms as then-Reuters (now Thomson Reuters), Bloomberg and Dow Jones, which is owned by News Corp. and owns this newspaper. Xinhua had tried to muscle foreigners out of the market in the 1990s, and the U.S. and European Union agreed at the time that their firms would be subject to content oversight by Xinhua in exchange for permission to operate in China and sell directly to clients.

After the latest Xinhua power play, the Bush Administration filed a complaint at the WTO. The European Union and Canada joined the U.S. case. After eight months of negotiation, the governments announced Thursday that China had more or less caved. Foreigners will be allowed to distribute news directly to their clients, without interference from Xinhua, and will not be forced to cough up confidential client information to obtain a business license. China also promised to set up an independent regulator to oversee the industry, removing Xinhua’s oversight, by June 1 next year.

In other words, China agreed to play by WTO rules. This isn’t a one-off event….

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122688417918232295.html

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Media Credibility Brought To Critical Review By Overwhelming Obama Bias

November 3, 2008

After the presidential election is over and the dust, animosity, glee and shock settle into something manageable, the nation will need to tackle the subject of “media bias” in a sincere and honest manner.

By Douglas MacKinnon
The New York Times
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As an “independent conservative,” I’m expected to see liberal media bias lurking everywhere, but it’s not just me — and it’s not just conservatives. I know liberals, including newspaper editors, who think the “news” pendulum had swung dangerously far to the left.

Beyond recent studies by the Pew Research Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism, other research shows that the media has tilted to the left; indeed journalists themselves have openly admitted as much.

Under the recent headline “Why McCain Is Getting Hosed in the Press,” Politico editors John F. Harris and Jim Vandehei opined:

OK, let’s just get this over with: Yes, in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press, and at Politico. And, yes, based on a combined 35 years in the news business we’d take an educated guess — nothing so scientific as a Pew study — that Obama will win the votes of probably 80 percent or more of journalists covering the 2008 election. Most political journalists we know are centrists — instinctually skeptical of ideological zealotry — but with at least a mild liberal tilt to their thinking, particularly on social issues. So what?

“So what?” Those two cavalier words alone speak to the larger problem. Who cares if “80 percent or more of journalists covering the 2008 election” will vote for Barack Obama? Journalists, their editors, management, the candidates and the American people should care.

Regarding the Obama phenomenon and the media fascination with him, a senior staffer for a rival Democrat primary opponent offered up this theory to me for part of the bias. This person reasoned that the pressure within the news business to diversify and be politically correct means more minorities, women and young people are being hired. And young and ethnically diverse reporters and editors go easier on candidates who look more like them, are closer to their age or represent their ideal of a presidential candidate.

Over at ABCnews.com, Michael S. Malone, a columnist, posted an article last week that created a firestorm of comment and interest. In part, he wrote: “The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates. The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling.”

Read the rest:
http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/
2008/11/02/media-credibility/

Fairness? Obama Favorable 65%; McCain Only 31, On All U.S. Media, Says Center for Media and Public Affairs.

November 1, 2008

In the presidential election, is the U.S. media impartial?  No says the Center for Media and Public Affairs.  Not even close.

By David Bauder, The Associated Press

John McCain supporters who believe they haven’t gotten a fair shake from the media during the Republican’s candidacy against Barack Obama have a new study to point to.

Comments made by sources, voters, reporters and anchors that aired on ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts over the past two months reflected positively on Obama in 65 percent of cases, compared to 31 percent of cases with regards to McCain, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

ABC’s “World News” had more balance than NBC’s “Nightly News” or the “CBS Evening News,” the group said.

Meanwhile, the first half of Fox News Channel‘s “Special Report” with Brit Hume showed more balance than any of the network broadcasters, although it was dominated by negative evaluations of both campaigns. The center didn’t evaluate programs on CNN or MSNBC.

“For whatever reason, the media are portraying Barack Obama as a better choice for president than John McCain,” said Robert Lichter, a George Mason University professor and head of the center. “If you watch the evening news, you’d think you should vote for Obama.”

The center analyzed 979 separate news stories shown between Aug. 23 and Oct. 24, and excluded evaluations based on the campaign horse race, including mention of how the candidates were doing in polls. For instance, when a voter was interviewed on CBS Oct. 14 saying he thought Obama brought a freshness to Washington, that was chalked up as a pro-Obama comment.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081101/
ap_on_el_pr/campaign_media;_ylt=AlfLpiFXYLVmoHZrSM1hpuus0NUE

Voters Can Still Wake Up: Corruption Defining Barack Obama’s Campaign

October 16, 2008

By David Limbaugh
The Washington Times

COMMENTARY:

Strapped to a polygraph on national TV, I would assert quite confidently that I would strongly condemn thuggish and criminal tactics by a candidate I supported. The ends do not justify the means for me and most other conservatives I know. I wish I believed the same were true for liberals, far too many of whom are deliberately turning their backs on the corruption defining Barack Obama‘s campaign.

It would be bad enough if the Stalinesque stench engulfing the messiah’s campaign were limited merely to its efforts to elect him. But what we fear is that these campaign tactics are of a piece with his policy agenda and his vision for America.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., center, and Republican candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, face off during a presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008.

Above: Senator Obama (L) and Senator McCain at the final presidential debate, October 15, 2008.  Photo: AP

Sincerely intending no melodrama here, it’s hard not to conclude that Mr. Obama aims to change America in fundamental ways, the common denominator of which would be to diminish individual liberties, the most distinguishing feature of the unique American system. Sad to say, most Obama supporters have no clue what he ultimately is about or how his innocuous-sounding ideas could permanently destroy our freedoms.

It’s inconceivable that even a low-level Republican candidate could have Mr. Obama’s associations and employ his campaign tactics without being driven from the race. Yet we have a man running for the highest office in the land surrounded with anti-American allies and covert election burglars, all protected by an unprecedented mainstream media cover-up.

Democrats tell us they place the highest possible value on the integrity of the election process, yet their uniform response to ACORN‘s systematic assault on the voter registration process is unmitigated indifference and denial.

They also cavalierly dismiss Mr. Obama’s undeniable connection to ACORN, as detailed by Mark Levin at “The Corner” blog on National Review Online. Mr. Obama worked for and represented ACORN and has given $800,000 to it from his campaign. Remember how Democrats were ready to hang Republican politicians who might have gone to lunch with lobbyist pariah Jack Abramoff? You want to talk to me about guilt by association? But Mr. Obama’s deep associations with corrupt people and organizations don’t so much as flicker the liberal eyebrow.

Related:
ACORN Now Subject of Major FBI Probe
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Barack Obama’s Famous Friends, Associates: Hate Speech, Crimes, Fraud Incorporated

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/16/voters-can-still-wake-up/

China Rejects U.S. Criticism on Human Rights

March 12, 2008

BEIJING, China (CNN) — China’s foreign minister Wednesday rejected criticism of its human rights record, accusing the United States of “clinging to a Cold War mentality” and “practicing double standards.”
Chinese workers install a billboard ahead of the Beijing 2008 ... 
Chinese workers install a billboard ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. China’s foreign minister has hit out at critics of the country’s human rights record, accusing them of double standards while vowing their complaints would not tarnish the Olympic Games.(AFP/File/Teh Eng Koon)

Yang Jiechi was responding to questions about a State Department report released a day earlier that characterized China’s human rights record as one of the most repressive in the world.

The report was released five months before the Summer Olympic Games kickoff in Beijing.

Although he chided the United States and other critics of its human rights record as “making confrontation,” Yang stressed that China is “ready for dialogue with the United States, as long as it is done in an environment of respect and fairness.”

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/03/12/china.rights/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Gorbachev heads new political group

October 20, 2007

Al Jazeera
October 20, 2007

Mikhail Gorbachev, Russia’s last Soviet leader, has founded a new political movement to rid the country of “extreme political forces” and champion liberal values.A statement issued by the movement on Saturday said that “the potential for free democratic choice and political competition is being limited.

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev
Михаил Сергеевич Горбачёв
Mikhail Gorbachev

“This is why social-democrats are uniting to fight for the values of freedom and fairness.”

At the founding congress of the Union of Social-Democrats in central Moscow, Gorbachev told delegates: “We are putting our hopes in the efforts that [President Vladimir] Putin is making” to reform Russia.

Gorbachev was the last general secretary of the Communist Party and is widely detested at home where he is viewed as responsible for a period of political upheaval and economic collapse after the Soviet Union broke down in 1991.

Unlike Russia, the West credits Gorbachev with a major role in ending the Cold War and he is a frequent speaker at international events.

Political future

In a speech, Gorbachev praised Putin for not changing the country’s constitution to allow himself to run for a third consecutive term, when his period in office runs out next year.

“The president was under pressure and the fact that he did not give in to it is important from the point of view of democracy.”

Putin, unlike Gorbachev, remains very popular in Russia as he is seen to be the instigator of the country’s economic revival and with boosting Russia’s role in world affairs.

Russians are to elect a new president in March 2008. It is still unclear what role Putin could play in Russia’s political future and who his preferred successor might be.

Gorbachev’s new movement is not a political party and will therefore not take part in parliamentary elections in December.

Leadership, Accountability and the Media

September 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
September 5, 2007

I became a believer in the “freedom of the press” and the great importance the media plays in good government and accountability during the last eleven years. It was eleven years ago this summer that I retired from the U.S. Navy, an organization with a sometimes jaundiced eye on the media. Just eleven years ago this summer I decided to become a journalist myself.

During this eleven year journey, I have seen the power of the free press “up close and personal,” as they say, here in the U.S.A. I have also witnessed the terrible and disgusting disregard for truth and free media in places like China and Vietnam. In those two countries and others, the lack of a free and open media allows government human rights abuses and downright malfeasance to thrive.

Here in the U.S. I am proud to say that I supported The Washington Post in its campaign to right the many wrongs of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and its lack of appropriate follow-up for soldiers under their care. We have also applauded many papers who stimulated the Congress to pay more attention to the equipment sent to support our soldiers during the current war.

Every now and again a journalist, even a fledgling like me, gets to see some small product of his or her work reflected in one of the great bastions of journalistic excellence.

Today I was reminded of something I wrote in 2003, which echoed across the pages of the Washington Post and New York Times just recently.

In the Washington Times on October 26, 2003 I was proud to see published my essay “District Leadership is a National Disgrace.” The piece pointed toward numerous leadership and management lapses on the part of the elected and appointed caretakers of the government of the District of Columbia.  A part of that essay dealing with the D.C. schools read, “As the school year started in 2003, School superintendent Vance was shocked to learn that the entire school system’s budget would only pay his system’s staff until Sept. 30. The superintendent is also a ‘fat cat’ with an enormous salary. Meanwhile, the schools are in a decrepit state of repair. Last winter, several school days were lost at more than one school because the furnaces wouldn’t start. Cost of educating the elementary school students in the District? Among the highest in the nation. Grades and measures of effectiveness? Among the lowest.”

Fast forward to 2007. In Fact, take a peak at the New York Times editorial of September 4, 2007, under the headline “National Disgrace.” That editorial reads in part, “remaking the schools [of the District of Columbia] will inevitably mean dismantling a central bureaucracy that has shown a disturbing talent for subverting reform while failing the city and its children in every conceivable way.”

Bravo New York Times. And Bravo also to the Washington Post, which earlier this summer ran a multiple part series exposing the many problems of the D.C. school system. And Bravo finally to the Washington Times, which has been exposing the malfeasance foisted upon the people of the District of Columbia by elected and appointed highly paid “public servants” for years.

In today’s Washington Times, a page one headline reads, “D.C. textbook chief appealed firing.” You see, one Donald Winstead, the lone manager of the school system’s often-troubled textbook department, was fired by former schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman in 1998 after books were not delivered in a timely manner. The Times’ Gary Emerling wrote that, “Mr. Winstead was reinstated in his position Dec. 19, 2000, following a settlement reached a day earlier between Mr. Winstead and the school system through the D.C. Office of Employee Appeals.”

Needless to say, the textbook situation in D.C. schools is still a disaster. In an August 7, 2007 Washington Times article Mr. Gary Emerling wrote, “The new [D.C. school system] chancellor has faced several difficulties that have plagued the system for years, including news that at least half of the city’s 146 schools may not have textbooks by the time school starts and that others will not have air conditioning.”

So, to those who doubt that a free and open media is a good thing for our nation, our society and, in fact, all nations everywhere; we ask them to look no further than the capital of the United States of America. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Washington Times may just help bring change to a very troubled and corrupt school system.

We are proud of these newspapers and the journalists who serve the people.

This brings us to the case of Virginia Tech.  Parents, in good faith, entrusted the University and the Commonwealth of Virginia leadership with the safety, care and education of their children.  Last April, many of those children died unnecessarily.

Last April 16, at Virginia Tech, two students were found dead in a campus dorm room.  This had never before occurred.  Not on this campus.  Not at Virginia Tech.

The police “assumed” a domestic dispute was the cause.  The campus remained un-alerted.

During the last academic year, at Virginia Tech, an English teacher had a student exhibiting such unusual, some said evil, writing and actions that other students would not come to class if he attended.  The teacher alerted the university and nothing happened.

The school sent the student for medical care — a mental evaluation in fact — and then never checked to verify his status or condition.  He may have been diagnosed as a threat to the university population yet the school didn’t follow up.

The Virginia Tech study panel that reported to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine recommended no accountability from anybody following scores of deaths on the campus.

Kaine said the school’s officials had “suffered enough” without losing their jobs.

The parents of the dead have questions.

USA Today asked, in a September 4, 2007 editorial, “Why did so many keep Cho’s [the Virginia Tech killer] problems to themselves? Certainly they underestimated the threat. But more important, many incorrectly believed that privacy laws prevented sharing the information. Interpreting the law narrowly is the ‘least risky’ path for a university to take, the report concludes.”

We wonder why more news media members and commentators have not spoken out about the lack of accountability at Virginia Tech?  Where is the uproar similar to the one that engulfed Senator Larry Craig and maybe will cost him his job?  More than thirty innocent students and teachers are dead and nobody is accountable.  Yet because of the media a Senator has offered his resignation.

The relatives of the Victims in the Virginia Tech massacre deserve to be heard.  And they deserve more appropriate action from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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District Leadership is a National Disgrace

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
October 26, 2003

Just after hurricane Isabel passed, there was some talk that the leadership of the District of Columbia had been less than cordial in its dealings with the federal government throughout the crisis. Metro, some said with city blessing, shut down on Thursday at 11 a.m. without very much consultation with the federal government. Consequently, the feds were compelled to cancel the workday entirely.

After the hurricane, city officials cited city ordinances in an effort to get more of the FEMA financial aid pie than their neighbors in Maryland or Virginia. FEMA and its parent, the Department of Homeland Security, rightly rebuffed District officials.

Here are a few tidbits of information we have learned about the District of Columbia during the last few years (much of it from The Washington Times).

–The police chief continues to collect perks and pay raises year after year. He was hired to reduce crime. In fact, crime is up. The crime rate in D.C. is about 50 percent greater than other cities with similar populations. What is down is the police department’s success rate in crime-solving (one of the lowest in the nation). The disgracefully inept execution of the Chandra Levy case reminds us of how badly the police department functions.

–Our fire chief a few years back, one Ronny Few, had apparently “padded” his resume to secure his job. When exposed by the newspaper, he blamed the mayor’s office. Finger-pointing in City Hall ensued but nobody took responsibility for the shoddy way candidates for city jobs are vetted. The chief had also hired several cronies. Their resumes, we discovered, were also inflated, falsified or otherwise inaccurate.Meanwhile, several fire stations were in a decrepit state, a house fire had to be doused by a nearby garden hose because the fire truck had so many problems, and someone actually died due to the inefficiency of the 911 operators.

–Recently, the District’s inspector general resigned. His resume was also inflated. Do we see a trend beginning to emerge? The incumbent mayor’s re-election committee forged many of the required signatures to get the mayor on the ballot. If he is such a great leader, how can he tolerate such conduct? And why was fraud preferred over obtaining legal signatures?

–The president of the University of the District of Columbia lives in a publicly owned mansion. The taxpayers recently paid for a “renovation” of this estate that cost more than $215,000. “Repairs” included the addition of Italian granite and marble countertops worth more than $9,000. The university president also has a handsome salary. Yet the University of the District of Columbia’s Law School is rated dead last among more than 230 law schools rated by the American Bar Association. The percentage of graduates that pass the bar the first time is 22 percent. Only two colleges have rates in the 30th percentile and two schools are in the 40th percentile. All other law schools can boast that at least half the graduates pass the bar on the first try. The cost of educating a law student at UDC? The highest in the nation.

–As the school year started in 2003, School superintendent Vance was shocked to learn that the entire school system’s budget would only pay his system’s staff until Sept. 30. The superintendent is also a “fat cat” with an enormous salary. Meanwhile, the schools are in a decrepit state of repair. Last winter, several school days were lost at more than one school because the furnaces wouldn’t start. Cost of educating the elementary school students in the District? Among the highest in the nation. Grades and measures of effectiveness? Among the lowest.

–The D.C. coroner recently resigned. The morgue is in such disastrous condition that opportunities for forensics resolution to many crimes is seriously doubted. Overall, working for the District of Columbia government provides the best pay, bonus and retirement structure of almost any city in the nation.

Finally, the District of Columbia would like to tax commuters who come to the city to work. This is one way the banana republic preys upon its neighbors. Traffic enforcement cameras, predatory parking enforcement, towing and other practices contribute to the city coffers and to the ill will the city engenders in the neighborhood.

So I ask the voters in the District of Columbia, “Do you have the best government money can buy? Are you satisfied and content? Are you proud of your city and your flag?”

Related:

D.C. Schools: A National Disgrace

Rhee raps D.C. schools ‘bureaucracy’
http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070807/
METRO/108070064/1004/metro

D.C. textbook chief appealed firing
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/METRO/109050074/
1001&template=nextpage

Virginia Tech: No Accountability

Life After Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech: ‘Least Risky’ Path Raises Risk

China: ‘Trust but verify’ needed

China Saying No to News

Pentagon says it acts as quickly as it can to meet needs
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The article above was written before the full implications of the sex scandal in D.C. fire houses was completely understood.

See:

Sex in The City