Patterico's Pontifications


Hillary Clinton (D) And Brian Williams (D-NBC): Two Peas In A Pod

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:19 pm

[guest post by Dana]

NBC News Anchor Brian Williams came clean today, admitting that he lied when he claimed to be aboard a helicopter that was shot down by an RPG in Iraq in 2003:

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years.

Williams himself repeated the claim Friday during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, he said he had misremembered the events and was sorry.

After being taken to task for his mis-remembering (in a REALLY BIG WAY), Williams responded:

You are absolutely right and I was wrong. In fact, I spent much of the weekend thinking I’d gone crazy. I feel terrible about making this mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in ’08, and I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp,” Williams said in a statement in to Stars and Stripes.

“Because I have no desire to fictionalize my experience (we all saw it happened the first time) and no need to dramatize events as they actually happened, I think the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area — and the fog of memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two, and I apologize.

Look, I can’t imagine how many stories Williams has covered in his tenure, how many miles he has logged on planes, helicopters, trains and rickshaws, nor how many different time zones he has has found himself in over the course of a year, and yes, I get it – time passes and details can become murky, but honestly, getting SHOT AT AND FORCED DOWN in a war zone is something you don’t forget! It’s not something you think happened, or something that you sort of remember happening. You. Know. If. You. Were. Shot. Down. I suspect that any civilian aboard a helicopter that gets hit by an RPG will forever have that moment undeniably and indelibly etched in his mind. Unless it didn’t happen.

Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire, according to crew member interviews.

That Chinook took no fire and landed later beside the damaged helicopter due to an impending sandstorm from the Iraqi desert, according to Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller, who was the flight engineer on the aircraft that carried the journalists.

“No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft,” he said Wednesday.

And, according to Mike O’Keeffe, who was a door gunner on the damaged Chinook:

“Over the years it faded,” he said, “and then to see it last week it was — I can’t believe he is still telling this false narrative.”

At this point, can the public, and NBC Nightly News, trust anything Brian Williams tells us from the anchor desk?


The Patterico Music Project: The Original Version of “Creation”

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 7:47 am

On Monday I debuted a song written by me in the early 1990s, and recorded by Jay Semko of the Northern Pikes this year — part of my crazy project to persuade my musical heroes to record my songs. Yesterday, I shared the lyrics.

Today, with no small degree of trepidation, I am releasing the original recording that I did well over 20 years ago. I’m going to stop apologizing for the muddy sound quality and the poor playing and singing, and describe how I did this and what you’ll hear.

I did the recording on a cassette-based TASCAM recorded that allowed me to lay down as many as eight tracks. I played and sang everything and take full blame for the whole thing. On this recording you will hear piano as well as an acoustic guitar (a three-quarter-size guitar with nylon strings, which helps explain the sound quality). Since I lacked any vocal effects, I tried to make up for it by simply double-tracking every vocal line. Put simply, I sang and recording each vocal line twice. You will also hear background vocals in a couple of places — something Jay Semko could not pull off as a solo musician doing a live recording. Because it’s three-part harmony and I am double-tracking the vocals, that’s six of me singing there. (The mere thought of it is enough to make me second-guess publishing this.)

Astute musicians will notice a few differences between this recording and the one by Semko. In addition to the piano and the harmony, you can hear that our fingerpicking styles are different. I use standard alternate thumb picking, while Semko uses a rather unique style that he hilariously described to me as a “mutant form of fingerpicking.” It’s actually very interesting and creative. Also, you may notice that his vocal line is occasionally a smidgen different from my original, and at least one of the chords is changed.

Oh — and also, my version is horrific and his is awesome. (Nothing gives you appreciation for a good recording of a song as much as a bad one.)

One final note, about the band name. I called my “band” (which was just me) “Mangled Grapes.” I was a fan of the Grapes of Wrath as well as the Northern Pikes, and the name was a tribute to the Grapes as well as to the fact that I was mangling the songs. In keeping with my penchant for double meanings, I consoled myself with the idea that even mangled grapes can sometimes develop into fine wine.

And sometimes, they just remain mangled grapes. Which is as good a lead-in as any to my version of “Creation”:

As a reminder, for comparison purposes, here is the version recorded by Jay Semko:

L.A. Times Columnist Robin Abcarian Falsely Denies That Obama Supports Parental Choice on Vaccines

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

Robin Abcarian has written two columns mocking Chris Christie for saying vaccines are a matter of parental choice. This morning, Abcarian revealed she is unaware that is also Obama’s official position.

In a sloppy piece titled GOP 2016 primary field gets case of indigestion over measles vaccine, Abcarian bemoaned the notion that Chris Christie considers vaccinations to be a “choice” for parents:

For this turn of events, we can thank New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who responded Monday to a question about measles vaccines in the wake of our current outbreak of the disease by saying they are a “choice” for parents. (His office later clarified that he thinks all children should be vaccinated against measles.) Christie’s poorly thought out response set off a chain reaction among fellow potential Republican White House seekers.

She similarly pooh-poohed the idea that immunizations are a matter of parental “choice” in a piece titled Christie’s vaccination wobble: Predictable, cynical and unacceptable:

“I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. So that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”

That would have been an appropriate response to a question about, say, who decides whether a 6-year-old boy is ready for first grade. Or whether a smart kid should be moved to gifted classes. But immunizations as a choice? No. With rare exceptions, they are a social responsibility.

What Robin Abcarian does not seem to realize is that Obama’s official position is . . . that vaccines should be a choice made by parents. Josh Earnest said on January 30:

Q And obviously it [the measles outbreak] has revived the debate over vaccines. Does the President, does the White House have a message about that and who will be getting vaccinated?

MR. EARNEST: Well, the President certainly believes that these kinds of decisions are decisions that should be made by parents, because ultimately when we’re talking about vaccinations, we’re typically talking about vaccinations that are given to children. But the science on this, as our public health professionals I’m sure would be happy to tell you, the science on this is really clear.

Yet when I tried telling this to Robin Abcarian, she denied it:

“No,” she tells me. “No.”

Saying “there should not be a law to make parents do the right thing” is certainly the gloss that Earnest put on Obama’s position yesterday. Three different reporters asked Earnest whether Obama believes that vaccinations should be mandatory, and he dodged it each and every time by robotically repeating that formulation. But that doesn’t change the fact that, on January 30, he said quite clearly that “the President certainly believes that these kinds of decisions are decisions that should be made by parents.”

This is precisely the sort of position that Big Media in general — and Robin Abcarian in particular — has mocked in recent days when it comes from Chris Christie. Could it be that they simply didn’t even know that Obama’s position is the same? Or are they aware of the facts, but also aware that “Obama shares GOP views on vaccines” makes a poor headline?

I’ll give Abcarian the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is not lying, but is merely exemplifying the too-familiar indolent lefty herd mentality and ignorance that is characteristic of Big Media types. Abcarian is exactly the type Ted Cruz was talking about when he said: “Nobody reasonably thinks Chris Christie is opposed to vaccinating kids, other than a bunch of reporters who want to write headlines.” He might have added: “and lazy opinion columns.”

Please understand: I’m not saying that Robin Abcarian writes her columns by reaching a consensus with her liberal friends at the water cooler, and then heading straight to her computer to type to write down that consensus, with zero intervening research. I would not make such a claim, as I have no way of knowing whether it’s true.

But I am asking: if she did write her columns that way, how would they come out any different?

The Selectivity And Motives Of The Media Questioned

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:45 am

[guest post by Dana]

After the Paris massacre last month, many media outlets declined to publish or air the Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cartoon. Fox News was one such outlet. There was no explanation given other than a spokesperson stating there were “no plans” to air them.

Yesterday, however, Fox News chose to air pictures of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh as he burned to death. An explanation was given for their decision to air the very disturbing images:

“Tonight we are going to show you some of the images ISIS has put out from a long slickly-produced video,” Bret Baier began Special Report. “The images are brutal, they are graphic, they are upsetting. You may want to turn away. You may want to have the children leave the room right now.”

He continued: “The reason we are showing you this is to bring you the reality of Islamic terrorism and to label it as such. We feel you need to see it so we will put up one of the images on your screen right now.”


That image was of al-Kasaesbeh standing in his cage with flames rising at his feet, clearly about to engulf him in real-time. After the photograph aired for several seconds, Baier told his audience, “The picture is down. You can look back here if you turned away.”

Also, after the terrorist attacks in France, the New York Daily News ran a 2011 photo of Charlie Hebdo publisher Stéphane Charbonnier holding a copy of the magazine with the cover art depicting Mohammed – yet they had made a point to blur out the likeness.

However, yesterday that same media outlet saw fit to publish some of the grisly images from the released ISIS video.

Immediately after the attacks in France, media outlets were self-censoring as they rationalized their decisions not to print or air the Mohammed cartoon. Reasons such as not showing headlines or cartoons that could be viewed as insensitive or offensive and policies against using provocative images and so forth were given. Yet now we see many outlets choosing to print and air that which is offensive and provoking. In light of this, the question being asked, “What’s more “offensive,” a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammed or photos of terrorists burning a man alive?” is a valid one. And yet, too, the decision to release the photos begs further question: Do media outlets that release the images play into the hands of ISIS by giving them publicity and notoriety, and does this then emboldened our enemy (as far as the West is concerned)? Do the images instill fear of the “organization” into the collective public heart and mind, which is also what ISIS wants? Or do the images being viewed by millions, instead brutally and effectively and without question define and identify precisely who and what our enemy is? And if the latter is true, is this administration listening?


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