Patterico's Pontifications


Blogs Once Again Correct Errors in the Mainstream Media

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 5:44 pm

Tim Blair busts the Washington Post, which had falsely claimed that Paul Bremer left Iraq without a word to the Iraqi people:

When [Bremer] left Iraq on Monday after surrendering authority to an interim government, it was with a somber air of exhaustion. There was no farewell address to the Iraqi people, no celebratory airport sendoff.

Wrong! It turns out that — as other newspapers are beginning to report — Bremer actually gave an eloquent speech, partly in decent Arabic, that changed the minds of some cynical Iraqis about America.

And how did Tim Blair first learn this? By reading Iraqi blogs. The Iraqi blogger in question described Bremer’s speech this way:

Suddenly Mr. Bremer appeared on TV reading his last speech before he left Iraq. I approached the TV to listen carefully to the speech, as I expected it to be difficult in the midst of all that noise. To my surprise everyone stopped what they were doing and started watching as attentively as I was.

The speech was impressive and you could hear the sound of a needle if one had dropped it at that time. The most sensational moment was the end of the speech when Mr. Bremer used a famous Arab emotional poem. The poem was for a famous Arab poet who said it while leaving Baghdad. Al-Jazeera had put an interpreter who tried to translate even the Arabic poem which Mr. Bremer was telling in a fair Arabic! “Let this damned interpreter shut up. We want to hear what the man is saying” One of my colloquies shouted. The scene was very touching that the guy sitting next to me (who used to sympathize with Muqtada) said “He’s going to make me cry!”

Then he finished his speech by saying in Arabic, “A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq!” (Long live Iraq, Long live Iraq, long live Iraq).

Don’t expect to see this point of view in your local paper. It sounds too much like good news.

Speaking of the suppression of good news, see what another Iraqi blogger has to say about the media. Blair has turned over his weekly column to some Iraqi bloggers. One of those bloggers, named Omar, says something I just have to share with you:

Something you may not have read about: in May, Iraqi soldiers saved the life of a US marine shot during patrols in Al Karmah, near Fallujah. Private Imad Abid Zeid Jassim dragged the injured marine away from gunfire then attacked the enemy. We (and you) don’t read any good news like this. All we get are pictures of idiots throwing bricks at burnt cars. Why don’t the media cover such stories? The attitude of the major media no longer surprises me. It only disgusts me.

Looks like Iraqis have more in common with Americans than you’d think!

And another blogger named Ali has this wonderful observation:

Like all Iraqis, I hate Americans. Of course. Here is why:

The Americans, although they brought us freedom, acted without authorisation from the United Nations. Arrogant Americans.

The Americans, although they rescued us from Saddam Hussein, defied the will of many nations. Insular Americans.

The Americans won’t leave Iraq, say newspaper reports. Get out, Americans!

Other newspaper reports say the Americans want to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible after throwing us into chaos. Stay here, Americans!

The Americans spent tens of billions of dollars to liberate Iraq and help it become a prosperous democratic nation. Don’t Americans care more about fixing their own problems? Crazy Americans.

The Americans started this whole war because of oil. That is why fuel costs are at record high levels in the US and is cheaper than water in Iraq. Selfish Americans.

The Americans are not using the necessary force to keep Iraq safe and secured. Lazy Americans! The Americans are also using excessive force in Iraq while dealing with the security problems. Brutal Americans!

The Americans support the Israeli terrorist government instead of the good peaceful people of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Says it all. Violent Americans.


More L.A. Times Lies About Iraq

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:42 am

Yesterday’s L.A. Times story on the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq strained hard to portray this apparently positive step in a negative fashion. The story opened with these paragraphs:

An interim Iraqi government took power Monday after a furtive ceremony meant to preempt insurgent attacks that could have disrupted the hand-over.

It was an inauguration on the run. After transferring authority, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer III left for the airport.

Some formerly cynical Iraqis have seen Bremer’s immediate departure as a positive signal that the transfer of sovereignty was genuine. But the L.A. Times absurdly portrays Bremer as simply desperate to get out of the country.

But the most outrageous distortion by the L.A. Times yesterday was its false portrayal of Interim Prime Minister Allawi as an unknown and unpopular leader:

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, little-known to most Iraqis after spending more than three decades in exile, took the oath of office on a red Koran and urged his countrymen to close ranks to defeat a fierce insurrection responsible for a spree of kidnappings, assassinations, car bombings and beheadings.

. . . .

Many Iraqis have questioned the interim government’s legitimacy, and insurgents have threatened to assassinate Allawi.

Where do the reporters get the idea that Allawi is “little-known to most Iraqis” and widely perceived as illegitimate? They don’t say. Which is not surprising, because it’s not true. Nowhere does the story mention a recent poll by an independent professional polling organization, reported in the Washington Post on Friday, which found:

A large majority of Iraqis say they have confidence in the new interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi that is set to assume political power on Wednesday . . . .

. . . .

There had been particular concern in Baghdad and Washington that Allawi’s many years in exile before Hussein was ousted and his long-standing association with the CIA would undermine his credibility.

But 73 percent of Iraqis polled approved of Allawi to lead the new government, 84 percent approved of President Ghazi Yawar and almost two-thirds backed the new Cabinet.

Those poll findings refute the Times‘s assertion that Allawi is “little-known to most Iraqis”:

U.S. officials are particularly encouraged because the poll showed high name recognition for the new leadership, in contrast with many members of the former council, U.S. officials said. More than 70 percent of Iraqis polled have heard or read a significant amount about the new leaders, who were named about three weeks ago.

“That’s huge penetration — and it happened quickly,” said the coalition official, who asked for anonymity because of the rules on naming officials in Baghdad. “It’s partly because Allawi is on all the Arab media every day talking about security. He’s visiting sites, and there are constantly images of the prime minister tackling security, which is what Iraqis care most about right now. It resonates, and it comes across in these figures.”

Sure, it comes across in these figures — but only if the paper mentions these figures. But, to my knowledge, these poll findings have yet to be mentioned by the L.A. Times. Placing the words “Allawi” and “poll” into their search engine yields one relevant hit: this news analysis, which does not mention the poll concerning Allawi’s popularity, but does discuss several recent polls in the U.S. showing the unpopularity of the war among American voters. (It’s okay to mention those polls, because they look bad for Bush.)

Perhaps U.S. voters would be more optimistic if more of their major newspapers would inform them of the optimism of the citizens of Iraq. As the Washington Post reported (but the L.A. Times didn’t), the new poll shows:

Four out of every five Iraqis expected that the new government will “make things better” for Iraq after the handover, with 10 percent expecting the situation to remain the same and 7 percent anticipating a decline, the poll shows.

. . . .

In a sign that Iraqis are more optimistic generally about their future after the occupation ends, two-thirds of Iraqis believed the first democratic elections for a new national assembly — tentatively set for December or January — will be free and fair, the survey shows.

This poll represents very good news for the future of Iraq. Why has the L.A. Times not found this poll worth mentioning? The answer appears clear: the paper’s editors have decided that they don’t like the war, and therefore you shouldn’t like the war. Accordingly, any news that might give you reason to be optimistic about the war is spiked, and the opposite is portrayed.

If you are relying on the L.A. Times as an exclusive source for your news, you are making a huge, huge mistake. But then, if you did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this site, would you?


Initiatives Numbered . . . Start the Chant: NO ON 66!

Filed under: Crime,No on 66 — Patterico @ 9:29 pm

Dan Weintraub says the initiatives have been numbered — 59 through 72. The one you will hear me talk most about here is 66 — the dangerous pig-in-a-poke initiative designed to water down the Three Strikes law. (For information on this horrible initiative, see my posts on the issue.)

(Hat tip: Xrlq.)

More on Moore the Moron

Filed under: Morons — Patterico @ 8:41 pm

The SmarterCop has the most compendious compendium yet of lies and distortions in “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Emily Latella Temporarily Seizes Control of the Blog

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 7:21 pm

I won’t pay money to see “Fahrenheit 9/11.” But I’ll tell you what I will pay to see: a heavyweight bruiser named Eliseo Castillo kicking Michael Moore’s ass.

You heard right. I saw an ad for it on TV. For some bizarre reason, probably having to do with his incessant quest for publicity, Michael Moore has agreed to a boxing match with someone named Eliseo Castillo. The fight will be held on Saturday, July 3, and will air on Showtime.

It seems almost certain that Moore will be pummeled into a quivering mass of bruised and bleeding flesh by the time you and I are ready to celebrate our country’s birthday. According to Castillo’s biography:

In 18 pro outings, Castillo has knocked out 78 percent of his opponents (14). The list of fighters who have gone the distance against him is as exclusive as the number of presidents on Mount Rushmore (four). In addition, the world has more living Popes (one) than boxers who have defeated Castillo (zero).

That fat lying bastard of a “documentary” maker doesn’t stand a chance.

I don’t believe in making threats against public figures I don’t like, but this is different. Moore has volunteered for this fight, and it is my right — even my duty — to root for Eliseo Castillo to punch Michael Moore’s pasty white ass into the ground.

I’m calling to subscribe to Showtime right now.

Wait . . . I’m being handed a piece of paper. One moment . . .

Uh, I’ve just been informed that Castillo is really fighting a guy named Michael Moorer.

Never mind.

Council Winners

Filed under: Watcher's Council — Patterico @ 7:17 pm

The weekly winners of the Watcher’s Council contest have been announced. I am honored to have won the vote for best Council entry, with Who Are You Going to Believe? Me, or Your Lying Transcript?. Congratulations to Protest Warrior HQ for the winning non-Council entry — a truly remarkable post by a high school student chronicling his battle against PC morons at his school. The post is titled Operation Tiger Claw — Debriefing.

Adorable Pictures of Cute Babies Who May Be Legally Murdered

Filed under: Abortion — Patterico @ 6:00 am

The BBC has this fascinating article about babies — I’m sorry, “fetuses” — and the very human acts that they perform shockingly early in their development. The story is accompanied by a set of remarkable 3-D ultrasound pictures of the bab, uh, “fetuses” from 8 weeks on.

Every time you see one of these pictures, think to yourself: it’s perfectly legal to pull babies just like these partially out of the womb, and murder them with a sharp instrument puncturing their little skulls. No more toe-sucking or yawning for them!


Wherein I Defend Michael Moore’s Right to Speak, and Other Topics Raised by Kevin Murphy

The always-valuable Kevin Murphy has two good excellent posts today that I would like to highlight.

One finds an inaccurate and biased headline in an AP article (if you can believe that): “Court Denounces Bush on Terror Suspects.” The accompanying article predictably contains no evidence of said denouncing.

Kevin’s second post notes that the advisory counsel for the FEC has advised the Commission that, in his opinion, the McCain-Feingold law prevents Michael Moore from advertising his film “Fahrenheit 9/11″ after July 30, 2004.

I am not joking.

I’ll bet a lot of you thought I was being hysterical when I equated McCain-Feingold with the repeal of the First Amendment. How do you feel now? — now that there is a serious possibility that a filmmaker cannot advertise his film because it contains speech calculated to encourage people to oppose a sitting president?

I despise Michael Moore. But people like Kevin Murphy and me believe that jerks like Michael Moore have the right to make whatever ridiculous arguments they wish to make. And if those arguments are made in a film, and Moore or the distributor of his film wish to promote that film, they have that right under the First Amendment.

The irony is that, if the FEC adopts this position, it will be seen as a partisan move by “The Bush Administration” rather than as a logical application of a clearly unconstitutional law passed mainly by Democrats. (By the way, the phrase “it will be seen as” means “it will be portrayed by our eminently objective national media as.”)

Prediction Regarding the Upcoming Coverage of the Turnover of Power in Iraq

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:06 am

It will be interesting to see how the press handles coverage of the turnover of sovereignty in Iraq in the upcoming week, as the terrorists supposedly opposing U.S. rule desperately try to create chaos, to prevent . . . the end of U.S. rule. My prediction: more headlines making claims that are not supported by the articles themselves. All in the best L.A. Times tradition.

UPDATE: The surprise turnover will throw a monkey wrench into the works. Although done to fool the terrorists, it has the side effect of fooling the newspapers, who don’t have the expected two more days to prepare fact-distorting articles on the transition.


Back from Vacation

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 9:03 pm

Yup, as that last post suggests, I’m back from vacation (just a long weekend) and am ready to resume regular blogging duties.

I met a couple of friends in San Antonio and Austin for the long weekend. Ironically, the visit apparently cost me a chance to appear on TV. Just as I was walking out the door on Thursday afternoon to catch my flight, I checked my e-mail and saw an invitation from someone who said they were with the Fox News Channel Los Angeles Bureau. They wanted to tape an on-camera interview with me regarding the Los Angeles Times. However, they wanted to do it Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, which I was unable to do because I was leaving town.

It was worth it. It’s always good to see old friends. And I got to see my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew, as well as my friends (and the child of one of my friends). And I got to tromp around some of my old haunts in Austin, where I went to law school. Fun stuff.

Thanks to those who left comments and kept the site somewhat lively while I was gone.

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