This morning my wife got online to look up an earthquake that occurred a little after 5 a.m. this morning. Turns out there wasn’t one; it was a sonic boom from the landing of the Space Shuttle flight.
The New York Times runs an editorial today on Cindy Sheehan:
Summertime often produces unexpected media figures, and this is Cindy Sheehan’s season. Ms. Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq last year, is camping out near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Tex., and says she won’t leave until Mr. Bush agrees to meet with her to discuss the war. There are many reasons for the flood of media attention she is attracting: she has a poignant personal story and she is articulate – and, let’s face it, August is a slow news month. But most of all, she is tapping into a growing popular feeling that the Bush administration is out of touch with the realities, and the costs, of the Iraq war.
Ms. Sheehan’s 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in Baghdad. She says she and her family met privately with Mr. Bush two months later, and she is sharply critical of how the president acted. He did not know her son’s name, she says, acted as if the meeting was a party and called her “Mom” throughout, which she considered disrespectful.
Ms. Sheehan has traveled from her California home to Crawford, where Mr. Bush will be spending much of the month, in the hope of having a more substantive discussion. On Saturday, Mr. Bush’s national security adviser and the White House deputy chief of staff met with her beside a road a few miles from the ranch, but she is still insisting on a meeting with the president.
Nowhere does the editorial disclose that Ms. Sheehan once had a different account. In a June 24 article in the Vacaville Reporter, Ms. Sheehan described the meeting quite differently:
“‘I now know he’s sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,’ Cindy said after their meeting. ‘I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he’s a man of faith.’
“The meeting didn’t last long, but in their time with Bush, Cindy spoke about Casey and asked the president to make her son’s sacrifice count for something. They also spoke of their faith.
. . . .
“The trip had one benefit that none of the Sheehans expected.
“For a moment, life returned to the way it was before Casey died. They laughed, joked and bickered playfully as they briefly toured Seattle.
For the first time in 11 weeks, they felt whole again.
“‘That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of being together,’ Cindy said.”
This story surfaced yesterday on Drudge — after the New York Times had run a news article [UPDATE: make that two!] that similarly failed to mention Ms. Sheehan’s previous praise for the President during the meeting. The story is now widely known — surely editors were aware of it when they wrote their editorial.
I’m not interested in criticizing Ms. Sheehan. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my son, and neither can anyone else who hasn’t experienced it.
But if a news outlet is going to report her current statements — even in an editorial — they have an ethical duty to report her earlier ones that directly contradict what she is saying now. Completely failing to mention those comments at all, anywhere in the paper, is rank distortion.
The L.A. Times reports: 2 Jurors Now Say Jackson Is Guilty:
Two of the 12 jurors who acquitted Michael Jackson of child-molestation charges said Monday that they were pressured to do so by other jurors and now regret their decision.
The jurors — Eleanor Cook and Ray Hultman — made their statements to interviewer Rita Cosby on cable network MSNBC.
“People just wouldn’t take their blinders off long enough to really look at all the evidence that was there,” said Hultman, 62, of Santa Maria, Calif., where the trial was held.
“People”? Weren’t you on that jury, ma’am?
Get a load of the title of her upcoming book:
As are a number of other jurors, both Hultman and Cook, 79, are planning to write books about their five months on the high-profile case. Cook’s will be titled “Guilty as Sin, Free as a Bird” and Hultman’s will be called “The Deliberator,” according to Larry Garrison, who said he will help co-write both projects.
For once I am going to have to agree with Thomas Mesereau:
[Jackson’s] lead defense attorney, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., discounted the jurors’ interview Monday as “embarrassing and outrageous.”
That’s exactly right. If you think someone is “guilty as sin,” the time to express that opinion is in the jury room, not in a book you write after voting not guilty and setting them “free as a bird.” I’d like to think that not one American will buy either of these books.
And of course, I know they will.
P.S. Although the L.A. Times prints this story today, the story is actually several days old. I e-mailed one of the other jurors a few days ago for her reaction, and she sent me one via e-mail — but I am still awaiting her permission to print it on the blog.
UPDATE: We may have to wait a while for the response to be printed; the juror wishes to remain off the record for now. I’m hopeful that she’ll give me a wide-ranging and on-the-record interview in the coming weeks.
The ad features a woman who was injured in a bombing of an abortion clinic. It says: “Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber.” The woman who was injured in the bombing says: “I am determined to stop this violence, so I’m speaking out.”
As the Power Line post I linked to explains, the ad is deceptive in the extreme:
No bombing or violence of any kind was at issue in Bray [the Supreme Court case in which Roberts, as a deputy Solicitor General, filed an amicus brief]. Nor was there any question about the legality or propriety of the demonstrations carried out by Operation Rescue; they were plainly illegal under Virginia law.
The post explains that Roberts specifically refused to support the protestors’ illegal actions, but argued (successfully) that a federal law did not apply because opposition to abortion is not the same as gender discrimination. Small wonder the Court agreed; after all, many women oppose abortion. As Power Line says:
So NARAL misrepresents the Bray case in every particular. Roberts didn’t “support violent fringe groups” or a “convicted clinic bomber.” He supported the federal government’s position on a specific question of law–correctly, as the Court found. NARAL’s reference to a “convicted clinic bomber” is especially outrageous. The Bray case had nothing to do with a bombing by Eric Rudolph or anyone else, and Rudolph attacked the Birmingham clinic–the bombing that is referred to in the NARAL ad–eight years after Roberts wrote the brief on the Section 1985(3) issues.
For NARAL to suggest that John Roberts has ever done anything to support violence against abortion clinics (or anything else) is so far outside the bounds of civilized debate that one can hope that, even in today’s far-gone Democratic Party, sane voices will be raised to denounce NARAL’s advertising campaign.
So I read this morning’s L.A. Times article eagerly, looking for those sane voices. I searched out the quotes from independent experts who would explain how outrageous the ad really is.
But not one independent expert is quoted. The controversy over the ad is portrayed as a “he said, she said” controversy between the White House and pro-abortion activists.
My question is: did they not even approach any experts? Or did they approach them — but not like what all the experts had to say?
A newspaper has editorialized against the New York Times‘s decision to investigate the adoption records of John Roberts’s children. The Delaware County Times, a Pennsylvania newspaper, opines:
It has been reported that at least one news organization took preliminary steps to look into the sealed adoption records of the children of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. What the reporters were hoping to find is anybody’s guess, but the response to this effort has been swift and negative.
The argument can be fairly made there is very little about a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court that we should not know. But even with these lifetime appointments, which have the capability of having such a dramatic effect on our lives, there are some things that should be off limits. And when individual organizations fail to recognize such lines exist, they do harm to us all.
In the debate over this controversy, some people I respect have raised hypothetical scenarios asking: what if the newspaper was tipped off that there was something potentially illegal about the adoptions? That would present a closer question — not enough to attempt to obtain sealed records, in my view, but (if the tip seemed legitimate and not politically motivated) perhaps enough to ask some questions. The editorial addresses this distinction:
It would be one thing if a legitimate question had been independently raised about the legality of the Roberts’ adoption. But this sounds more like a fishing expedition. Or worse, a witch-hunt for any damaging information that can be found to derail Roberts’ nomination.
Back when Sen. Joe McCarthy sought to out real and imagined communists from the U.S. government in the 1950s, it took a lawyer named Joseph Welch to publicly shame him with the question, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
Some of us should be asking ourselves the same thing.
Nice job. Sounds like the folks at this paper have their heads screwed on straight, which is more than you can say for the folks at the NYT.
UPDATE: The New Hampshire Union Leader runs this letter to the editor on the controversy, with a special introduction by the editors.