Patterico's Pontifications


More on Those Oh-So-Nonpartisan Diplomats

Filed under: 2004 Election,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 9:31 pm

The local Dog Trainer ran another story yesterday on the anti-Bush letter signed by those 27 oh-so-non-partisan diplomats. (I thought there were only 26 of them?)

The other day, I provided evidence that the group was simply a bunch of Democrats criticizing Bush. Stop the presses!

The group claims, by contrast, that they are a mix of Republicans and Democrats who have simply been alienated by Bush’s performance in office.

If this were true, of course, a good percentage of them would have voted for Bush in 2000, before they could have been alienated by Bush’s performance as President. Knowing that they were accused of being a largely Democratic group, signatories of the letter would naturally want to respond to allegations of partisanship in the strongest possible terms — ideally by showcasing any members of the group who voted for Bush in 2000.

In yesterday’s story, the diplomats responded to the accusation that they were a group of anti-Bush partisans by arguing that 2 of the 27 voted for Bush in 2000.

That’s 7% of them.

Who ever heard of a group of people who consider themselves primarily moderate — yet only 7% of them voted for the Republican candidate for President?

(Click on the links for the answer.)

No wonder journalists consider these diplomats to be a bipartisan group!

Dog Trainer Joins the Rest of the Pack in Grievously Distorting the 9/11 Commission’s Staff Report

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:15 pm

I said yesterday that I wasn’t going to waste my time blogging about the fact that nearly every media outlet in the country has distorted the 9/11 Commission’s staff report. Too many news outlets have done it, and there are already hundreds of bloggers covering the issue. (A good example of a post taking the Washington Post and New York Times to task is here.)

But I’ll make an exception for our local Los Angeles Dog Trainer, because my blood boiled when I read its incredibly unfair story distorting the staff report this morning. The story bears the misleading title Despite Findings, Bush Sees Iraq Tie to Al Qaeda. With every word, the story tells us that the 9/11 Commission’s staff report contradicts what the Bush Administration has said (and continues to say) about ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq/Saddam Hussein:

President Bush insisted Thursday that Saddam Hussein had “terrorist connections” to Al Qaeda — despite a finding by the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks that there was no credible evidence of cooperation between the ousted Iraqi dictator and the global terrorist network.

In a television interview later in the day, Vice President Dick Cheney challenged the commission’s finding more strongly, arguing that the evidence of Hussein’s ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorists “is overwhelming.” Cheney criticized what he called “outrageous” and “irresponsible” media reports for distorting the issue. [Patterico says: Cheney’s being far too restrained here.]

The comments marked the latest in a series of disputes between the White House and the bipartisan panel.

Okay, you got that? According to the Dog Trainer, the White House’s claims of connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq/Saddam come “despite” findings to the contrary, and constitute a “challenge” to the commission’s findings, creating a “dispute” between the Administration and the commission.

Now let’s hear from Lee Hamilton, the Democrat Vice Chairman of the commission:

I must say I have trouble understanding the flack over this. The Vice President is saying, I think, that there were connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s government. We don’t disagree with that. What we have said is [that] we don’t have any evidence of a cooperative, or a corroborative relationship between Saddam Hussein’s government and these al Qaeda operatives with regard to the attacks on the United States. So it seems to me the sharp differences that the press has drawn, the media has drawn, are not that apparent to me.

Here’s Lee Hamilton reinforcing the point on Chris Matthews’s Hardball:

There are all kinds of ties. There are all kinds of connections. And it may very well have been that Osama bin Laden or some of his lieutenants met at some time with Saddam Hussein lieutenants.

They had contacts, but what we did not find was any operational tie with respect to attacks on the United States.

These statements echo what the Republican chairman of the commission, Thomas Kean, said recently: “What we have found is, were there contacts between al-Qaeda and Iraq? Yes. Some of them were shadowy – but they were there.”

Here’s the amazing (if predictable) part: none of these quotes appears in the Dog Trainer story. The closest it comes is to say, deep in the story, that “Thomas H. Kean, the commission chairman, told reporters Thursday that the panel did not dispute that Hussein’s government and Al Qaeda had been in contact.” The article then quickly quotes Kean as denying the existence of credible evidence that “Iraq and Saddam Hussein were in any way part of the attack on the United States” — as if that is what the Bush Administration has claimed. No quotes from Lee Hamilton appear in the piece.

The paper then positively mocks the Administration’s claim that its past statements are consistent with the commission’s findings:

“At this point, the White House position is just frankly bizarre,” said Daniel Benjamin, a terrorism expert who served in the Clinton White House. “You’ve had a bipartisan committee sift through all this intelligence. There is no indication that they have anything different at their disposal than the White House has�. They’re just repeating themselves, rather than admit they were wrong.”

White House officials gave no ground.

Scott McClellan, the president’s spokesman, repeatedly insisted Thursday that the commission report was “perfectly consistent” with the administration’s public statements about Iraq over the last two years.

That crazy Scott McClellan! He has the gall to “repeatedly insist” on something that nobody believes! Never mind that he is “repeatedly insisting” on the exact same thing said by the two top people on the 9/11 Commission! Never mind that one of those top people is a Democrat!

Also: never mind the fact that the staff report itself shows that McClellan is right! It is perfectly obvious that the staff report has not been read by the Dog Trainer reporters and editors — or seemingly anyone else in the media, for that matter.

Complaining about a similarly misleading story (and headline) on the MSNBC site, Cori Dauber sums up my frustration well: “What’s it going to take? What are we going to have to do? Buy every headline writer in the country a God damn dictionary?” My only quibble with her statement is that it’s not just the headline writers. It’s everybody in the media.

But you know how I learned about all this? I don’t watch Chris Matthews’s show. I learned it by reading the internet and watching Fox News. So when you look at what the bipartisan heads of the commission are saying about the media reports, this constitutes a clear and undeniable example of the mainstream media distorting the facts to hurt Bush — and the truth comes out mainly in the alternative media of the internet and Fox.

John Carroll, who’s the pseudo-journalist now?

UPDATE: More on this from Stephen Hayes, here.

Council Winners

Filed under: Watcher's Council — Patterico @ 6:54 am

The winners of the weekly contest of the Watcher’s Council were announced here. I won the council vote with A Tale of Two Letters — regarding those oh-so-non-partisan diplomats’ anti-Bush letter. I will have more to say about that letter later today.

A site called Ubique Patriam Reminisci won the non-Council vote with an entry titled So, What Did the U.N. Know?

As always, check them out.

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