Patterico's Pontifications


Apparently the L.A. Times Got It Wrong Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:07 pm

I have warned you about the L.A. Times’s use of the word “apparently” before, saying:

Apparently, the editors at the Los Angeles Times believe that using the word “apparently” in front of a factual assertion relieves them of the responsibility to back up that assertion with evidence.

A journalist friend later told me that he had been taught in journalism school not to use the word “apparently,” ever. Times editors should have taken that advice when publishing yesterday’s story on Bush’s speech, which said:

Hundreds of troops stood at attention without applauding as Bush entered, and refrained from clapping during most of the address.

There was one round of applause in the middle of the speech, apparently sparked by a White House aide.

The story nowhere set forth the basis for this assertion, nor did it provide the context for the troops’ silence (they had been warned not to turn the event into a pep rally). Now, via Cori Dauber comes a New York Times article that not only provides the missing context, but provides substantial reason to doubt the assertion that a White House staffer “apparently” started the applause:

Capt. Tom Earnhardt, a public affairs officer at Fort Bragg who participated in the planning for the president’s trip, said that from the first meetings with White House officials there was agreement that a hall full of wildly cheering troops would not create the right atmosphere for a speech devoted to policy and strategy.

“The guy from White House advance, during the initial meetings, said, ‘Be careful not to let this become a pep rally,’ ” Captain Earnhardt recalled in a telephone interview. Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, confirmed that account.

As the message drifted down to commanders, it appears that it may have gained an interpretation beyond what the administration’s image-makers had in mind. “This is a very disciplined environment,” said Captain Earnhardt, “and some guys may have taken it a bit far,” leaving the troops hesitant to applaud.

After two presidential campaigns, Mr. Bush has finely tuned his sense of timing for cueing applause, especially when it comes to his most oft-expressed declarations of resolve to face down terrorists. But when the crowd did not respond on Tuesday , he seemed to speed up his delivery a bit. Then, toward the end of the 28-minute speech, there was an outbreak of clapping when Mr. Bush said, “We will stay in the fight until the fight is done.”

Terry Moran, an ABC News White House correspondent, said on the air on Tuesday night that the first to clap appeared to be a woman who works for the White House, arranging events. Some other reporters had the same account, but Captain Earnhardt and others in the back of the room say the applause was started by a group of officers.

Not that Terry Moran has ever shown any hostility towards the Bush Administration or the war, but I’m not sure that I’m willing to accept his word over that of Capt. Earnhardt and the other military men who say Moran was wrong. As a guy who firmly maintains that he is not anti-military, I’m sure Moran would agree.

Anybody want to demand a correction? Feel free to write the Reader’s Representative at My guess: if you write them, they’ll tell you they never said the aide started the applause; just that the aide “apparently” did so.


Filed under: Court Decisions,Crime — Patterico @ 7:19 am

Andrew D. Cohen, legal analyst for CBS News, has an op-ed in this morning’s L.A. Times. The op-ed’s theme is encapsulated in this curious statement:

The court’s majority this term consistently and sometimes passionately rose to protect the interests of criminal defendants, who have been some of the most consistent, if unmourned, legal “victims” of the so-called Rehnquist Revolution.

I’m sorry? Was there a “Rehnquist Revolution” cutting back on the rights of criminal defendants before this term? Can someone explain to me what this guy is talking about?

Is he talking about the Dickerson case, which reaffirmed Miranda?

Is he talking about the Stogner decision, which shielded numerous unquestionably guilty pedophile priests from prosecution, by invalidating a California law modifying statutes of limitations for sex crimes?

Is he talking about the nullification of the death penalty for the mentally retarded?

Oh, wait — I know: he’s talking about the Crawford case, which severely limited the nature of hearsay exceptions that prosecutors can use.

No? That’s not it?

Maybe he meant the Blakely case, which invalidates any sentencing enhancement not found true by a jury?


Well, then, fill me in. I’m sure there’s a decision or two out there that hasn’t been sympathetic to the rights of these criminal defendant “victims.” (The upholding of California’s Three Strikes law comes to mind.) But in the main, what I have seen is a steady stream of decisions like Crawford that have prosecutors shaking their heads and cursing Antonin Scalia’s name. If there has been an anti-defendant “Rehnquist Revolution,” I must have missed it.

UPDATE: More in the extended entry.


I’d Call Him an “Arrogant Jackass” — but Can a Jackass Really Be “Arrogant”?

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Morons — Patterico @ 6:41 am

Brian Leiter is a braying jackass. (I’d say it more politely, but Prof. Leiter says that politeness is unnecessary on “easy questions” — and what could be an easier question than this one?)

Reminder: Patterico on Pundit Review Radio Sunday Night

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 6:40 am

Just a reminder that I will be on Pundit Review radio Sunday night. More details here.

Happy 75th Birthday to Thomas Sowell

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:38 am

Thomas Sowell is 75 years old. Happy Birthday! (Via Power Line.)


More on that Slanted LAT Coverage of Bush’s Speech

Filed under: Dog Trainer,War — Patterico @ 10:36 pm

Don’t miss the updates to my post from this morning. A little comparison of the L.A. Times‘s portrayal of recent polls, compared to actual data as provided by the Washington Post, is very revealing.

I Never Thought I’d See the “Day”

Filed under: Humor,Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:35 pm

Eugene Volokh reports, quite accurately, that Sandra O’Connor is retiring.

UPDATE: The cruelty started with Howard Bashman.

L.A. Times on That Shifting and Retooling

Filed under: Dog Trainer,War — Patterico @ 7:06 am

This morning, the L.A. Times continues to push its pet myth that President Bush hardly said a word about democracy in Iraq until after we failed to find stockpiles of WMD. Moreover, the paper accuses Bush of shifting and retooling his rhetoric, when Bush has been consistent in arguing that we must prevent Iraq from becoming a safe haven for terrorists. The paper is predictably defeatist in attitude, no doubt revealing the anti-war biases of those involved in covering the speech.



This Is Too Easy

Filed under: Morons — Patterico @ 12:41 pm

Here’s the scenario: Douglas Wood is kidnapped by Islamic terrorists. His kidnappers:

snatched him, kicked him in the head, kept him blindfolded and bound for 47 days, shaved him bald, killed two of his colleagues, made him beg for his life, and — says a fellow hostage from Sweden — shot several other prisoners in front of him.

Then he calls them “assholes.” Pretty understated, right? Not for Andrew Jaspan, who says:

I was, I have to say, shocked by Douglas Wood’s use of the a—hole word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through and I think demeans the man and is one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives and everything else.

The issue really is largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive.

Mr. Jaspan’s profession?

You guessed it: newspaper editor.

(Via Bill Ardolino.)

UPDATE: Via a Michael Totten commenter comes word that Jaspan once had some profane words about a critical profile of him in The Sunday Times Scotland. Jaspan called the profile a “shitty piece of journalism.” As Totten’s commenter says:

Oh dear oh dear, Mr. Jaspan–such language! But of course I would imagine those profiling him in The Sunday Times Scotland were a lot crueler than Douglas Wood’s kidnappers.

Indeed. I bet they didn’t feed him a thing.

“Something Has Gone Seriously Awry” T-Shirts

Filed under: Court Decisions,Judiciary — Patterico @ 12:16 pm

Randy Barnett is selling T-shirts with Justice Thomas’s line from his Kelo dissent:

Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution.

You can get one by clicking on this link.

I am tempted to buy one and send it to Justice Thomas — but the second I do, the L.A. Times will probably run a front-page story about how he is accepting gifts from extreme right-wing bloggers.

CORRECTION: Barnett is not selling the T-shirts himself; he just helped publicize the effort. He says in comments below: “A portion of the proceeds will go to the Institute for Justice.” Apologies for the error.

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