Patterico's Pontifications

6/25/2006

Ah, the Benefits of Being an L.A. Times Non-Subscriber

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:17 pm

I cancelled my subscription to the L.A. Times yesterday, so today was our first day without the dead-trees version of the paper.

I’m still bashing them by reading the articles online. And I was even able to do a “Power of the Jump” post by looking at a .pdf of the front page of their print edition.

The only differences: I don’t have a newspaper to haul to the recycling bin. And we’re saving the subscription money (though in reality, that was a piddling amount).

Oh — and now that I’m not supporting people who make arrogant decisions that help terrorists, I feel a lot less dirty.

L.A. Times Administers Punishment to Dean Baquet for Exposing a Classified Anti-Terror Program

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Humor — Patterico @ 7:34 pm

There is photographic evidence, and it isn’t pretty.

Mr. Baquet looks like he’s ready for his spanking. The woman about to administer the punishment has not yet been identified.

OK, that may not really be Dean Baquet, but it is indeed a photo hosted on the L.A. Times web site. The URL: http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2006-06/24075731.jpg.

In case they take it down, you can still see it at this link.

Links via Allah, of course.

UPDATE: That was quick! The picture is gone. I promise you that the picture you can view at the Lou Minatti web site, linked immediately above, is the exact same picture that was hosted on the Times website, albeit for a very brief period of time.

What the hell it was doing there, I have no idea.

The Power of the Jump™: L.A. Times Buries Important Facts About Civilian Deaths in Iraq

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Terrorism,War — Patterico @ 7:12 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.)

Today’s L.A Times reports on Page One:

War’s Iraqi Death Toll Tops 50,000

A deck headline reads:

Higher than the U.S. estimate, the tally likely is undercounted. Proportionately, it is as if 570,000 Americans were slain in three years.

And the story opens:

At least 50,000 Iraqis have died violently since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to statistics from the Baghdad morgue, the Iraqi Health Ministry and other agencies — a toll 20,000 higher than previously acknowledged by the Bush administration.

It is not until Page A29 that we learn that the overwhelming number of deaths are the result of terrorist attacks:

At the Baghdad morgue, the vast majority of bodies processed had been shot execution-style. Many showed signs of torture — drill holes, burns, missing eyes and limbs, officials said. Others had been strangled, beheaded, stabbed or beaten to death.

These are not people killed by the United States, folks. These are victims of terrorism — many at the hands of the same Baathist thugs who ran the country and tortured people to death before we ever got there. The next two paragraphs make this clear:

The morgue records show a predominantly civilian toll; the hospital records gathered by the Health Ministry do not distinguish between civilians, combatants and security forces.

But Health Ministry records do differentiate causes of death. Almost 75% of those who died violently were killed in “terrorist acts,” typically bombings, the records show. The other 25% were killed in what were classified as military clashes. A health official described the victims as “innocent bystanders,” many shot by Iraqi or American troops, in crossfire or accidentally at checkpoints.

Were all these deaths caused by the war? To know that, you’d think you’d want to know how many similar deaths were occurring before the invasion. Oddly, this information is missing from the article.

But you can read it here.

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Direct Your Anger at the NYT and LAT, Not the WSJ, for Leaking Classified Information About a Successful Anti-Terror Program

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Media Bias,Scum,Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:04 pm

Some commenters and bloggers have suggested that the Wall Street Journal is equally culpable as the New York Times and Los Angeles Times for leaking classified information about a successful anti-terror program. Now that I have had a chance to read the full Wall Street Journal piece, I disagree.

Based on my reading of the relevant articles, the responsible parties here are only the New York Times and the L.A. Times. The Wall Street Journal simply printed a story using on-the-record interviews with named government officials who knew the East and West Coast Timeses were going to print the story anyway.

The key questions are: 1) which papers were conducting an investigation by speaking with anonymous officials about classified information? and 2) which papers were asked by the government not to print the stories? The answer to both questions, based upon reading the stories, is: the New York Times and the L.A. Timesnot the Wall Street Journal.

As to question #1, the New York Times story reported:

Nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives discussed aspects of the Swift operation with The New York Times on condition of anonymity because the program remains classified. Some of those officials expressed reservations about the program, saying that what they viewed as an urgent, temporary measure had become permanent nearly five years later without specific Congressional approval or formal authorization.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Times article reported:

More than a dozen current and former U.S. officials discussed the program with The Times on condition of anonymity, citing its sensitive nature.

The Wall Street Journal article, which I can’t link because it is behind a paid subscription wall, contains no similar passage. John Snow and Stuart Levey are quoted by name. The words “anonymous” and “anonymity” do not appear in the article. The article contains no clear indication that any information was provided to the paper by anonymous officials concerned about the classified nature of the program. Instead, the article says:

U.S. officials agreed to discuss the program after concluding that knowledge of its existence was emerging and public disclosure was inevitable.

This is a clear reference to the imminent publication of articles by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

As to question #2, the New York Times reported a statement from its editor, discussing the pleas that government officials had made for the paper not to print the article:

The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts. Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value.

Bill Keller, the newspaper’s executive editor, said: “We have listened closely to the administration’s arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.”

And the L.A. Times similarly reported a statement from its editor:

Bush administration officials asked The Times not to publish information about the program, contending that disclosure could damage its effectiveness and that sufficient safeguards are in place to protect the public.

Dean Baquet, editor of The Times, said: “We weighed the government’s arguments carefully, but in the end we determined that it was in the public interest to publish information about the extraordinary reach of this program. It is part of the continuing national debate over the aggressive measures employed by the government.”

By contrast, the AP reports:

The Wall Street Journal received no request to withhold the story, said Daniel Hertzberg, a senior deputy managing editor. He declined to comment further.

It sounds to me like the Wall Street Journal, like the Washington Post, printed on-the-record reactions from government officials who knew that the N.Y. Times and L.A. Times were going to publish articles anyway — because these officials had pleaded with the editors of those papers not to print the stories, to no avail.

Direct your anger at the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Leave the Wall Street Journal alone.

UPDATE in extended entry.

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Thanks to Power Line for Making Patterico Its “Blog of the Week”

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Many thanks to the guys at Power Line for making my blog the Power Line “Blog of the Week,” and welcome to Power Line readers. Like most people who follow the conservative blogosphere, I have read Power Line for as long as I can remember, and I very much admire the three gentlemen who run that fine blog. So it is a distinct honor for this humble site to be selected as one of their favorite blogs.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my site, I have put together a short collection of highlights of the blog:

  • I am probably best known for my relentless (some would call it “obsessive”) bashing of the Los Angeles Times (known to long-time readers of this site as the Los Angeles Dog Trainer). Each year I do a comprehensive annual review of the performance of the paper, rounding up all the paper’s follies from the previous year. Here are my annual reviews from 2005, 2004, and 2003.
  • I published two op-ed pieces (here and here) in the Los Angeles Times critical of the newspaper’s bias in coverage of significant issues.
  • I conducted interviews with the first known people to express doubts about the authenticity of the forged CBS National Guard documents (here and here ).
  • I interviewed the editor of the Sunday Opinion (now “Current”) section of the L.A. Times, here.

Those are just a few of this blog’s highlights. I hope everyone who visits this blog from Power Line will bookmark the main page and return daily. Bloggers, please blogroll the site, and e-mail me at patterico AT patterico DOT com for consideration of a reciprocal link. And Bloglines subscribers can subscribe by clicking on this button:

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