Archive for the ‘Washington Post’ Category

Media Bias Reaches New Low? Or High?

November 11, 2008

With the messiah safe at last, some of the notabilities of press and tube are climbing out of Barack Obama’s  media tank with tales of what’s been going on in there.

By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times

It’s an article of media faith that everybody with a press card is incapable of showing bias – with the exception of a few newspapers like this one, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post and, of course, Fox News. Anyone who says otherwise is a vacuous irrelevancy. So when someone strays off the reservation it’s front-page news, even when it’s not on the front page.

Deborah Howell, the ombudsman (a Swedish word her newsroom now defines as “newsroom harpie”) at The Washington Post finally had enough on Sunday and took her newspaper’s best and brightest severely to task for allowing its reporters and editors to climb into that tank. “Readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama,” she wrote. “My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that [readers] are right on both counts.”

Even before Election Day, Harold Evans, once editor of the Times of London and the London Sunday Times, was even blunter, perhaps because as the former editor he no longer has to risk life and limb walking among his former colleagues: “It’s fitting that the cynicism ‘vote early and vote often’ is commonly attributed to Chicago’s Democratic boss, Mayor Richard Daley, who famously voted the graveyards in 1960 to help put John F. Kennedy in the White House. In this 2008 race, it’s the American media that have voted very early and often. They long ago elected the star graduate of Chicago’s Democratic machine, Barack Obama.”

In fact, Reuters, the British news service that most slavishly follows the line of least resistance to bias, isn’t even waiting for the inauguration. Most of the media refers to the new president as “President-elect Obama.” To Reuters, he’s occasionally already “President Obama.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/11/fairer-to-one-than-the-other/

Washington Post Admits Lack of Objectivity In Obama Coverage

November 8, 2008

By Deborah Howell
Washington Post Ombudsman
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page B06

The Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.

My assistant, Jean Hwang, and I have been examining Post coverage since Nov. 11 last year on issues, voters, fundraising, the candidates’ backgrounds and horse-race stories on tactics, strategy and consultants. We also have looked at photos and Page 1 stories since Obama captured the nomination June 4. Numbers don’t tell you everything, but they give you a sense of The Post’s priorities.

The Washington Post

The count was lopsided, with 1,295 horse-race stories and 594 issues stories. The Post was deficient in stories that reported more than the two candidates trading jabs; readers needed articles, going back to the primaries, comparing their positions with outside experts’ views. There were no broad stories on energy or science policy, and there were few on religion issues.

Bill Hamilton, assistant managing editor for politics, said, “There are a lot of things I wish we’d been able to do in covering this campaign, but we had to make choices about what we felt we were uniquely able to provide our audiences both in Washington and on the Web. I don’t at all discount the importance of issues, but we had a larger purpose, to convey and explain a campaign that our own David Broder described as the most exciting he has ever covered, a narrative that unfolded until the very end. I think our staff rose to the occasion.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/0
7/AR2008110702895.html

Obama Up by 10 Points as McCain Favorability Ratings Fall

October 13, 2008

By Anne E. Kornblut and Jon Cohen
The Washington Post

With just over three weeks until Election Day, the two presidential nominees appear to be on opposite trajectories, with Sen. Barack Obama gaining momentum and Sen. John McCain stalled or losing ground on a range of issues and personal traits, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Overall, Obama is leading 53 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, and for the first time in the general-election campaign, voters gave the Democrat a clear edge on tax policy and providing strong leadership.

McCain has made little headway in his attempts to convince voters that Obama is too “risky” or too “liberal.” Rather, recent strategic shifts may have hurt the Republican nominee, who now has higher negative ratings than his rival and is seen as mostly attacking his opponent rather than addressing the issues that voters care about. Even McCain’s supporters are now less enthusiastic about his candidacy, returning to levels not seen since before the Republican National Convention.

Conversely, Obama’s pitch to the middle class on taxes is beginning to sink in; nearly as many said they think their taxes would go up under a McCain administration as under an Obama presidency, and more see their burdens easing with the Democrat in the White House.

The poll was conducted after Tuesday night’s debate, which most voters said did not sway their opinions much. Still, voters’ impressions of Obama are up, and views of McCain have slipped.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/12
/AR2008101202333.html?hpid=topnews

Consequences of Speedy Withdrawal From Iraq?

March 31, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 31, 2008

Every time I hear someone like Barack Obama talk about an immediate removal of American troops from Iraq, I say to myself: “you will condemn unknown millions to death and torture.”Even former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski believes a speedy U.S. troop removal will be a good thing.  And he said he supports Mr. Obama.

Writing in the Washington Post yesterday (March 30, 2008), Mr. Brzinski said, “The contrast between the Democratic argument for ending the war and the Republican argument for continuing is sharp and dramatic. The case for terminating the war is based on its prohibitive and tangible costs, while the case for ‘staying the course’ draws heavily on shadowy fears of the unknown and relies on worst-case scenarios. President Bush’s and Sen. John McCain’s forecasts of regional catastrophe are quite reminiscent of the predictions of ‘falling dominoes’ that were used to justify continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Neither has provided any real evidence that ending the war would mean disaster, but their fear-mongering makes prolonging it easier.”

Ironically, many of the same liberals who demand an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq are the same ones who believe they are great protectors of human rights and also suffer from the dream that America’s withdrawal from Vietnam was justified and made Southeast Asia a better place.

The truth is: America’s departure from Vietnam meant death, torture and imprisonment for millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians. Both contries became communist — which is hardly a good thing. 

In my view, America’s withdrawal from Vietnam was the biggest tragedy of American foreign policy during the last century. America’s withdrawal from Vietnam is a gigantic black mark on America’s history.

Yesterday, Dith Pran died. Dith Pran is the person who called the carnage in Cambodia after America left Vietnam “The Killing Fields.”

Mr. Max Boot, writing in today’s Washington Post said, “Why am I not reassured by Zbigniew Brzezinski’s breezy assurance in Sunday’s Outlook section that ‘forecasts of regional catastrophe’ after an American pullout from Iraq are as overblown as similar predictions made prior to our pullout from South Vietnam? Perhaps because the fall of Saigon in 1975 really was a catastrophe. Another domino fell at virtually the same time — Cambodia.”

Mr. Boot continued, “Estimates vary, but a safe bet is that some two million people died in the killing fields of Cambodia. In South Vietnam, the death toll was lower, but hundreds of thousands were consigned to harsh ‘reeducation’ camps where many perished, and hundreds of thousands more risked their lives to flee as ‘boat people.’”

How do I know personally about the carnage of refugees when America departs from a far away war zone? I am married to a former prisoner of communism and a refugee who was born in Vietnam.

Saigon fell to the communists in 1975. My bride made it to America in 1998. She considers herself one of the “lucky ones.”

Just yesterday, as my wife and I were teaching English to Vietnamese-Americans, a man named Chien told me that in 1975 his father was given three days notice by the communists to report for reeducation. He was gone for six years and ten months. When he returned, he had lost nearly half his body weight due to overwork, malnourishment and harsh conditions with no medial care.

Chien’s father considered himself one of the “lucky ones” — because he had seen so many tortured and seen so many deaths.

One of the most degrading and harmful crimes committed against refugees is rape. Pirates, criminals, police, guards, soldiers even sometimes representatives of the United Nations have been known to rape refugees.

The criminal act of rape is not so much a sexual act of gratification, according to psychologists. Instead, in the case of refugees, it is a barbaric act of power, control and forced compliance with any order or directive.

After hearing countless stories of rape and humiliation related to me by Vietnamese refugees and “boat people” who fled communist Vietnam between 1975 and the late 1990s, I thought it might be useful to share some small bits of these stories without using the real names of any of the victims.

May was about 25 years old when she left Saigon and began to run away from communism and toward freedom. She traveled with her family to the sea coast and as a group they paid a broker about $1,000 per person for the privilege of leaving Vietnam by boat.

They transited by sea toward Thailand and freedom but they had never heard about the pirates plying the seas in search of the vulnerable and weak.

May’s entire family and everyone else in her boat suffered the horrible fate of being descended upon by armed pirates. Four Vietnamese men were killed in the attack and two more were slaughtered because they did not react quickly enough to the orders of the pirates. One man was beheaded by the pirates in front of the horrified refugee women and children.

May and all the other women in the boat were raped repeatedly. But, because she was one of the youngest and most beautiful women in the boat, May was singled out for special humiliation, abuse and torture. Her arms were tied so each spread out parallel to the deck and away from her torso. The lines were knotted painfully tight so that she could not move. She looked like someone subjected to crucifixion. Then her ankles were bound and tied so that her legs were apart. More than 22 men had they way with May before she lost consciousness.

When she regained the ability to think, she felt unbearable pain and shame and embarrassment. He own mother cut her down after the pirates left and tended to her bleeding.

When this refugee boat made landfall in Thailand, every woman was “rinsed out” without her own consent or authorization. The Thais didn’t want any pregnant refugees on their hands.

“And the cost of entering Thailand and the cost of entering the refugee camp was rape,” a Vietnamese American woman told us.

“My sister was raped 13 times,” she said.

“Many of my relatives disappeared. We are sure they must have been killed.”May wound up in the infamous Thai refugee center called “Sikhiew Camp.” She estimated that in her two year stay there she was raped about 60 more times.

Another Vietnamese woman named Suan told me a heartening story about the value of human life.

Like May, Suan was raped on the boat trip from Vietnam to Thailand. When she debarked from the boat in Thailand and saw the women being rinsed out, she faked an illness and refused the procedure. For some reason the Thai police sent her on her way to the refugee camp.

A few months later Suan realized that she was pregnant. All of her relatives and friends told her to abort the baby – and an old woman said she knew how to carry out the procedure as painlessly as possible.

Suan, a Roman Catholic who believed abortion to be a sin, prayed for two weeks for guidance. Then she told her mother she would need help having “her baby.”

Suan gave birth to a baby boy while in the refugee center. Today he is an American citizen who is a policeman in New England.

Suan’s decision to have her baby — a baby forced upon her by a man she didn’t know and didn’t love — turned out to be a good one. A real lesson in the value of human life and our ability to overcome hardship.

So when I hear people talk about quickly pulling American troops out of Iraq without discussing the implications for so many in that region who will then be at risk, I think about the refugees and their hardship. I live among them every day.

I live among the “lucky ones,” because millions died and we’ll never know how many.

Related:
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Plan to End Iraq War

How Not to End the War
By Max Boot

‘Killing Fields’ survivor Dith Pran dies

Disaster of Hasty Withdrawal
By Henry Kissinger

Vietnam After the Fall of Saigon: 1975 Until Present

The Fall of Saigon: 1975 (Part II)

The Fall of Saigon: 1975 (Part I)

Thailand’s Criminal Abuse of Refugees: a Shameful 30+ Year Saga

U.S. Concern Over Economy Is Highest in Years

February 4, 2008

By Michael Abramowitz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, February 4, 2008; Page A01

Public views of the national economy are now more negative than at any point in nearly 15 years, and few people believe that the kind of stimulus plan being devised by President Bush and Congress is enough to stave off or soften a recession, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Read the rest:
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/03/AR2008020303148.html?hpid=topnews

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

November 3, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 3, 2007

As of October 15, 2007, according to the Washington Post, 118 journalist-reporters had been killed in Iraq.

At least 3,830 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to the Associated Press.

We asked the U.S. State Department about any and all deaths and we got this in reply:

“More than 1,200 of 11,500 eligible State Department personnel have already served in Iraq. By 2008, we need to fill 250 posts in the Embassy in Baghdad and we have had 200 volunteers.”

“At least three department employees have been killed in Iraq since the 2003.”

Three.

And one more point: who was in charge of protecting the diplomats of the State Department and the Foreign Service? Why, the State Department itself. State hired Blackwater to do the job: and now there are rumors that Blackwater is very unhappy with the way the department behaved in protecting them and managing the contract.

When the city of Washington DC has too much crime in a short time span, the Police Chief and the Mayor declare an “All Hands on Deck.” The city gets flooded with police officers and crime goes down.

After September 11, 2001, I thought I heard the President of the United States declare war on terror: in effect, a national “All Hands on Deck.” Reporters and military people streamed into Iraq.

The Foreign Service? Many ran for cover with no repercussion.

Related:

Defense on Steroids; State on Life Support

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath
and
A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

and
Diplomatic Infighting
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR2007110201754.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

See also:
War’s Necessary Sacrifices

New Arrival From Vietnam Talks About Communism; Including China

August 20, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 20, 2007
Updated September 6, 2007

Thieu grew up in Vietnam. He was a professional teacher of literature and history. After the communists took over all of Vietnam in 1975, Thieu fell in love and married a woman who worked for the communist government.

Today, at the age of 55, Thieu came to the United States; sponsored by his 84 year old Mother.

Mother will become a U.S. citizen tomorrow. Thieu will be on hand to witness this grand event along with his three brothers and three sisters.

One of Thieu’s sisters is Diep, who came here from Vietnam only 15 months ago at the age of 65.  She is working toward her citizenship and learning to drive. (see story on Diep at the end of this essay)

Thieu left behind in Vietnam his wife of almost thirty years. She thought she could not change her ways away from the communist system.

Thieu also left behind two daughters aged 26 and 22. They both speak English, have good jobs, and read the Washington Times and Post on the internet.

When I asked Thieu about internet restrictions, he only said, “Smart ones can get around that in Vietnam. Not like China that has the famous ‘internet wall.’”

Blogging is huge.  Guys like you with good information blogs are like rock stars!” Thieu told me.

Imagine that!

Thieu obviously knew what he was talking about.

When I visited with Thieu I was with my own Mother-in-law of about his mother’s age. He said, “These are both Mothers that visited sons in communist re-education prisons after 1975 [when the communists took over]. Sometimes for seven, eight or more years.”

Since Thieu is an educated man who spoke to me about the communists in China, I asked him to compare Vietnam to China.

He said, “The Chinese people do not know what they do not know. China has no history or tradition with democracy. The people, many of them, have learned to live as sheep. We in Vietnam lived with the French for many decades, maybe 100 years. And we had a democratic tradition and experience with democracy and western religions. In South Vietnam, there is still longing for democracy. Many of the communists in Vietnam tell you how grand their system is; yet they no longer believe in the words spoken by the party. They have learned to know better.”

I thought this was a very meaningful statement coming from the husband of a communist functionary.

I asked Thieu to think a moment and then tell me the worst aspect of communism.

Thieu did think, but only for a moment, and then said, “Communist governments always lie.”

I was stunned. I told Thieu that I had written about this very thing many times, and most recently for The Washington Times on August 8, 2007.

Thieu asked, “How did you know such a thing?”

I told him I lived for a time in China, I considered myself a “China watcher,” and still had many friends who communicated with me from China.

He asked what I knew about Vietnam; but my bride interrupted before I could answer.“The Church asked us to teach English as a Second Language (ESL)” said my wife to the startled newcomer, “to the newcomers from Vietnam this year.”

I asked Thieu if Vietnam would still be a communist nation at the end of our lifetimes. Maybe 50 years from now (I am an optimist).

Thieu said, “Even before 1975, the people in communist North Vietnam were told that South Vietnam was poor and uneducated. The communists said first the French enslaved the South Vietnamese and then the ‘White Devils’ [Americans] did the same thing. But as communists came from North Vietnam to Saigon, they found a happy contented, educated and prosperous people. But in the first few years of communist rule, all of South Vietnam collapsed into poverty and near starvation. People were forced from Saigon and into the fields to do farm labor — to make food.”

Thieu finished this line of thought with, “Every communist knew they had been lied to. The stories about South Vietnam were wrong and the communist system was the one that didn’t function well.”

Thieu said he would immediately seek work and he invited us to come to his Mom’s citizenship ceremony tomorrow.

More importantly, Thieu asked us to come to his U.S. citizenship ceremony: whenever that should occur.

Related:

China: You Won’t Get The Truth

My Day With Diep: Seeing America Through Immigrant Eyes

Vietnam After the Fall of Saigon: 1975 Until Present

The Fall of Saigon: 1975 (Part II)

Product Safety Fear Inflated, China Says

August 11, 2007

By Audra Ang
Associated Press
Saturday, August 11, 2007

BEIJING, Aug. 10 — China’s Health Ministry accused foreign media Friday of exaggerating problems with the safety of the country’s food, and a Chinese tiremaker at the center of a huge U.S. recall accused the company importing the tires of distortions.

While China faces “severe challenges” in ensuring food safety, foreign media are playing up the problems and have ulterior motives, Health Ministry spokesman Mao Qunan said at a news conference.
“The question of food safety is a problem the whole world faces,” Mao said.

“Foreign media are using irrelevant cases or just a few cases to make the safety issue much bigger than it is and have linked this to the success of hosting the Olympics,” he said. The Olympics are to be held in Beijing next summer.

Read the reast from The Washington Post at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/10/
AR2007081002098.html