Patterico's Pontifications


Captain Ed on CBS Memogate Report

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 11:36 pm

If you haven’t read Captain Ed’s analysis of the CBS Memogate report, you should. It’s here.

Rutten on Memogate

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:09 pm

All you need to know about Tim Rutten’s incoherent piece on Rathergate is that he said this:

Unfortunately, while the 224-page Thornburgh-Boccardi report meticulously documents the details of what already is known — that CBS ignored the basic journalistic practices and its own policies to rush the segment onto the air — it adds little of value to our understanding of whether political bias was at work at any level of the process.

Anyone who is remotely familiar with the report will laugh out loud upon reading this absurd statement. Power Line has already extensively documented the new revelations in the report that tend to show that Mary Mapes had a political agenda. My favorite example:

[O]n August 31, only eight days before the 60 Minutes show aired, at a time when Smith and Mapes were desperately trying to persuade Bill Burkett to give them the anti-Bush documents that they had heard he possessed, Smith sent an email to Mapes proposing that they set up a book deal for Burkett so that he could be paid in exchange for turning over the documents:

Today I am going to send the following hypothetical scenario to a reliable, trustable editor friend of mine…

What if there was a person who might have some information that could possibly change the momentum of an election but we needed to get an ASAP book deal to help get us the information? What kinds of turnaround payment schedules are possible, keeping in mind that the book probably could not make it out until after the election.

Mapes replied: “that looks good, hypothetically speaking, of course.”

Does that prove Mapes was motivated solely, or even primarily, by political bias? Not necessarily. As I have argued, she may have been largely motivated by a desire to get the Big Story. If that desire is what caused her to lie, misrepresent, and omit key facts, I don’t see why that is so much better than lying, misrepresenting, and omitting key facts due to political bias. The result is the same.

But while these e-mails may not prove that Mapes was primarily motivated by political bias, they certainly add something of value to “our understanding of whether political bias was at work at any level of the process.”

But Rutten, in claiming the contrary, doesn’t even mention these e-mails.

Rutten isn’t necessarily trying to deceive his readers. Perhaps he read only the section of the report that specifically discussed the “political bias” issue. Because, as Power Line noted, that section inexplicably omits any discussion of the damning e-mails such as the one quoted above — choosing instead essentially to take Mapes’s and Rather’s word for it that they were not biased.

Did Tim Rutten try to fool his readers? Or did he bother to read only a small section of the Memogate report before declaring that the entire report added nothing of value to the “political bias” question? I don’t know for sure. But either way, his piece makes a stunningly misleading statement.

Was Mary Mapes politically biased, or just so full of “myopic zeal” that she ignored and distorted the facts to get the story? I don’t know for sure. But either way, her story was a travesty.

Earth’s Lights at Night

Filed under: Space — Patterico @ 10:20 pm

This is cool. (Link via Eugene Volokh.)

Local Liberty Blog

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 6:41 pm

The Claremont Institute has a new blog: the Local Liberty blog. It got a nice plug from Dan Weintraub today and is well worth checking out. The blog has a good take on the education funding mess I discuss in the post immediately below. I have added the Local Liberty blog to my blogroll and will check it regularly. I suggest you do the same.

The Power of the Jump™: Déjà Vu All Over Again, or, The Curious Math of Evan Halper

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:18 pm

(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)

Beginning tomorrow, I am going to scale back the number of calories I take in. Today I consumed 1500 calories’ worth of food. Tomorrow I will eat 2000 calories’ worth.

I’m scaling back, you see, because I originally intended to consume 2500 calories’ worth tomorrow.

If that makes sense to you, then you must be either Evan Halper or Nancy Vogel. They are the authors of this morning’s Page One L.A. Times story on Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget. The first sentence of the story reports:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a $111.7-billion state budget Monday that includes tough cuts in healthcare and transportation, scales back payments to schools and relies on billions in borrowing to make it through next year.

The editors bury on Page A20 the news that the Governor is actually proposing an increase in education funding, which is misleadingly described this way:

The Schwarzenegger administration had earlier promised not to cut their funding this year in exchange for their agreement to take a $2-billion cut last year. . . . But now the governor is breaking the deal.

Although schools would actually get more money than the year before, the governor is proposing to reduce by $2.2 billion the payments owed under voter-approved funding formulas.

In fact, the Governor didn’t “cut” education spending last year — though Mr. Halper falsely claimed the contrary. Nor is the Governor cutting education spending this year, either. As Dan Weintraub has said, the Governor is proposing a “big increase” in the school budget. Under his proposal, according to the Orange County Register, “K-12 school spending would jump $2.9 billion.”

By now this is a tired refrain from Mr. Halper and his editors. The tactic is the same each time: the front page says there will be a “cut” in education spending, and the editors save for the back pages the news that education spending will increase. Today, the only wrinkle is the language used on Page One: rather than use the word “cut,” Halper uses the phrase “scale back.”

Personally, I don’t see the difference. But I can tell you this: I have decided to “scale back” my attacks on the L.A. Times.

“Possibly in his Socks”?

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:33 am

The New York Post reports:

The criminal probe into why former Bill Clinton aide Sandy Berger illegally sneaked top-secret documents out of the National Archives — possibly in his socks — has heated up and is now before a federal grand jury, The Post has learned.

Well, I guess it’s technically true. It’s also “possible” the documents were shoved up his rectum. But there’s no real evidence of either.

Unless I’m missing something, there has never been any but the most tangential hint of evidence that Berger took documents out of the room in his socks. Wild-eyed Bob Somerby explained back in July 2004.

The Post doesn’t do itself any favors with such reporting.

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