Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Circulation Drops Again

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 1:34 pm

I have fallen down on the job, failing (until now) to note that the L.A. Times circulation continues to tank.

My defense: it’s a Dog Bites Man story.

Why Linda Greenhouse Lies to New York Times Readers

Filed under: Abortion,General,Media Bias — Patterico @ 1:21 pm

The New York Times‘s Linda Greenhouse distorts the impact of a federal law banning partial-birth abortion in an article today misleadingly titled The Roberts Court Takes on Abortion:

The administration describes the [partial-birth abortion ban] as taking “only the limited step of proscribing a rarely used and inhumane abortion procedure resembling infanticide.”

“Infanticide” is a potent label, frequently used by abortion opponents. One brief describes the procedure as “killing a child in the birth process.” While this description is true in the sense that uninterrupted gestation leads to birth — “He not busy being born is busy dying,” in the words of the Bob Dylan song — it is well off the mark as a description of what actually occurs.

The standard procedure used by Dr. Warren M. Hern, the author of a widely consulted textbook on abortion and one of the leading providers of abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy, is to “induce fetal demise” by injecting a drug one or two days before the abortion.

The suggestion that the law would ban such an abortion is utterly dishonest. Matthew J. Franck notes that the relevant statute does not ban abortions in which death takes place before delivery. He quotes the words of the statute and says:

If the “standard procedure” described by Greenhouse were in fact what happens in the abortions the debate is about, we wouldn’t be calling it “partial-birth” abortion, now would we? It is the perversion of birthing into killing, when a living unborn child is present and could actually be delivered, that prompted the act of Congress. “Fetal demise” induced by drugs a day or two beforehand, followed by removal of the fetal remains . . . simply is not an abortion that falls within the law’s terms. Whatever Dr. Hern’s “standard procedure” is, it isn’t banned by this legislation if it is as described here.

Mr. Franck then asks:

Contrary to Greenhouse’s false depiction, “killing a child in the birth process” is an unquestionably accurate description of the act banned by the statute. One could ask, why can’t she get this right? But I suspect the real question is, why won’t she?

Mr. Franck’s question appears to be rhetorical, but let’s answer it anyway, just for fun. Greenhouse is not a dumb woman, and I have absolutely no doubt that she knows that what she is writing is not true. So what’s going on here? The answer is obvious when you recall Greenhouse’s speech to a Radcliffe audience from June 2006:

I cried that night in the Simon and Garfunkel concert out of the realization that my faith had been misplaced. We were not doing a better job. We had not learned from the old mistakes. Our generation had not proved to be the solution. We were the problem.

And of course my little crying jag occurred before we knew the worst of it, before it was clear the extent to which our government had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other places around the world. And let’s not forget the sustained assault on women’s reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism. To say that these last years have been dispiriting is an understatement.

It is quite clear that Linda Greenhouse considers the federal ban on partial-birth abortion as part of the religious fundamentalists’ “sustained assault on reproductive freedom.” Apparently, she believes that the acceptable responses to that “assault” include dishonesty in the pages of the New York Times.

Greenhouse’s conscience is clear, even if she is lying and she knows it — because she believes that it’s all for a good cause. If she can help persuade Anthony Kennedy to vote the way she likes, then maybe she’ll smile at the next Simon and Garfunkel concert.

Honesty is secondary to that. Isn’t it?

L.A. Times Mocks Hussein Trial

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 9:11 am

The lede of today’s L.A. Times story about the Saddam Hussein guilty verdict is pure spin:

Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity today, bringing to an end the first trial examining the alleged crimes of the former regime — a theatrical, yearlong televised odyssey dogged by questions of legitimacy.

Take it to the op-ed page, pal.

Here’s more:

The trial, or circus as it sometimes seemed, transfixed Iraqis as controversy swirled around every twist: its opening day when an imperious Hussein declared that he was still president and challenged the legitimacy of “this so-called court,” the slayings of two defense lawyers, the resignation of the chief judge and the naming of a successor, and a hunger strike that led to Hussein’s hospitalization for several days as the end neared.

Look. The Hussein trial operated by different rules than we operate under here in America. Hussein had the right to address witnesses himself. And he is a loudmouth.

That doesn’t make the trial illegitimate, or the overwhelming evidence of his guilt less compelling.

Yet the paper spins like a top, trying desperately to neutralize any sense of success Americans might feel at seeing this evil man brought to justice for his crimes.

The rest of the piece is simply a modified version of a previous story filled with similarly snide comments. I have already criticized that story, in this post.

UPDATE: Even the New York Times manages to keep this sort of editorializing out of its lede. As does the Washington Post.

Saddam Hussein Is Guilty; Sentenced to Hanging

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:36 am

Saddam Hussein has been found guilty of crimes against humanity.

I don’t really care about what the Hussein verdict might mean for the U.S. elections. But I do care about what it means to Iraqis like my friend Mohammed, who says:

We have been dreaming for such a day to come and it will be a true turning point, not only for Iraq but for the middle east, for it will be the first time a ruler gets paid back for what he’d done by a court of law.

Saddam will indeed get paid back. He has been sentenced to death by hanging.

UPDATE: The above Mohammed quote was from before the verdict. Mohammed reacts here.

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