Friday, February 25, 2005

ABORTION RITES. The creepiest story of the day - and perhaps a sign of what's to come - is the news that Kansas attorney general Phill Kline is trying to obtain the records of women and girls who've received late-term abortions. According to the New York Times (check out this blog-friendly permanent link), Kline wants the documents as part of a statutory-rape investigation. But Kline is a pro-life activist, and it's telling that he's taking flack from pro-choice forces and winning praise from pro-lifers.

According to the Times' Jodi Wilgoren, Kline "also spoke obliquely of other crimes that court documents suggest could include doctors' providing illegal late-term abortions." Hmmm.

The Wichita Eagle publishes an editorial today that gets right to the point. Some highlights:

The clinics offered to give the attorney general copies with irrelevant private information blacked out. But that apparently wasn't good enough. Why not, if the purpose is to prosecute criminals, not harass women who have sought abortions?

Why focus on records of patients who had late-term abortions, after 22 weeks - even though many underage teens presumably obtain abortions sooner - if the intention is to punish sexual predators, not late-term abortion providers?

And if sexual abuse of children is the issue, then why doesn't Mr. Kline also subpoena others with access to information about underage sex - school nurses, doctors, social workers - to turn over private records?


But given the attorney general's close political ties with anti-abortion activists, this latest campaign seems designed to add to an atmosphere of hostility and harassment faced daily by abortion providers - who, whatever one might think of abortion, are offering a medical service that is legal and protected under Kansas statute.

Is this sort of thing likely to become more common? Sadly, the answer is probably yes.

THE MISSING CONTEXT. Christopher Cooper and John McKinnon have an excellent story in today's Wall Street Journal on what a nutty show the daily White House briefings have become. They write: "Once the clubby preserve of big-name newspapers and networks, it has lately become a political stage where a growing assortment of reporters, activists and bloggers function not only as journalists but as participants in a unique form of reality TV."

That's why I just can't get outraged over the Jeff Gannon saga. Amused, of course. And somewhat perturbed about the hypocrisy, given what we know what would have happened if, say, Bill Clinton had allowed a ringer who was a former prostitute into the White House press room. But outraged - you've got to be kidding.

BAILEY V. BLEIDT. The Boston Herald's Greg Gatlin has more on Boston Globe columnist Steve Bailey's complaint against his erstwhile former part-time employer, Brad Bleidt, the admitted scam artist who once ran WBIX Radio (AM 1060).


AnthonyG said...

Then how about 'Principled' 'Determined' and 'Persistent'?Here are some samples of Republican Right disinformation during the past few years:

- cited forged letters from Niger in a SOTU as proof that Saddam was building nukes.

- concealed the actual cost of Bush's Medicare drug bill, pressuring their own accountants not to reveal the true figures, and possibly even bribing a Congressman.

- plagiarized a decade old graduate thesis and presented it to the UN as current intelligence about Iraq.

- presented fake photos and cited a non-existent IAEA report as evidence of Iraqi nuclear weapons facilities.

- falsely claimed that Iraq used mobile bio-weapons labs to trick inspectors.

- falsely claimed that Iraq was producing drones to deliver bio-weapons on US soil.

- promoted the hoax that Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi agents in Prague before 9/11.

- orchestrated a fake letters-to-the-editor campaign from troops in Iraq using the exact same letter under different names.

- directed business leaders to dress up as blue collar workers for a rally feigning working-class support for Bush's tax cuts.

- claimed on Polish TV that "we found the weapons of mass destruction." (this was Bush himself!).

- revealed the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame to reporters in order to discredit her husband after he exposed Bush's lie about the Iraq-Niger connection.

- threatened and censored FBI whistleblowers who tried to reveal pre-9/11 intelligence failures.

- concealed the known health environmental threats to WTC workers after 9/11.

- orchestrated fake pro-Bush letters-to-the-editor campaigns via the GOP Team Leader web site (Boston Globe discovered it printed a fake letter).

- told reporters that there wasn't much looting in Iraq --TV news was simply playing the same loop of a guy stealing a vase over and over (Rumsfeld).

- promoted the hoax that John Kerry had an affair with an intern.

- days before the Dem convention, promoted the hoax that Sandy Berger stole incriminating 9/11 documents by stuffing them in his socks.

- promoted the hoax that Pvt. Jessica Lynch was captured after fiercely fighting Iraqis, and was seen being slapped in the hospital by Baathist interrogators.

- concealed "made in China" labels at factory event touting benefits of Bush's economic policies.

- concealed that Bush had been warned before 9/11 about a potential al Qaeda terror attack involving airplanes.

- lied about the number of stem cell lines available for research.

- claimed lesbianism is so rampant in Oklahoma schools that they only allow one girl to go to the bathroom at a time.

- promoted the hoax that women who have abortions are at greater risk of cancer.

- scrubbed government web sites of any references to the health benefits of condoms.

- secretly paid columnists and pundits to promote their policies in the national news media.

- produced and broadcast TV ads disguised as news reports to promote their policies.

- orchestrated the Swift Boat smear which claimed, among other things, that John Kerry faked his war wounds...

Dan, Gannongate is just one tree in an overgrown forest of deception.

It's colorful details merely underscore how low the Right will go and how hard they will try to deceive the public.

If you can't get "outraged" about the Gannongate "tree" then how about simply being tough, determined and persistent about speaking truth to power concerning disinformation practices that are destroying your profession and corrupting our country?

How about showing some stones here???If you're the in-house media journalist and won't tackle this by connecting the dots, who will?

Anonymous said...

Anthony G:


Thank you.

--A concerned Media Log reader

Anonymous said...

Anthony G - give it a rest, already. When are you, and the rest of the liberals, going to learn that facts never cause outrage? What causes outrage is appealing to someone's sense of greed...not to their sense of greater good.

P.S. I do consider myself a pretty flaming liberal, but I'm a realist, too.

Anonymous said...

Anthony is absolutely right and performing an invaluable service with his power point presentation here. Dan, you need to be aware that many of your readers are very, very, very, very, unhappy with how you're laughing off Gannongate and are watching you very, very, very, very closely to see if you finally change your tune on this horrifying story. It's a very, very, very, very big deal to many of us, and if you value us you'll condemn it long and loud, noon and night. Show some cajones, man. Now.

Anonymous said...

Looking thru the posts and reading Dan Kennedy's article, I'd say poster Anthony does have a point about the larger issue of manipulating the public by media. Kennedy wrote that Republicans could make more hay than Democrats if the sides were reversed here because Republicans have Rush Limbaugh, televangelists and others to push the scandal. But this just begs the question of why Kennedy and other progressives don't have the same competitive instinct. Maybe Republicans are in charge because they fight harder.

Nelson in Roslindale

Anonymous said...

Don't be ridiculous Nelson. While the right pulverizes Iraqis, eliminates social security and our tramples civil rights, the liberal commentariat won't give 'em an inch on our vital Lowell broadcast stations.

Dan Kennedy said...

Nelson - Progressive journalists are simply not interested in going on a sexual witch hunt. That's not because we're less competitive; it's because we're progressives! Take the sex out of the Gannon matter, and you have a mini-scandal that has received the coverage it deserves.

AnthonyG said...

Dan --You're spinning. Nobody has advocated a "sexual witch hunt."

The White House must be taken to task for planting a Republican political operative in press briefings to deceive the public with fake quotes attributed to Democrats --wheter or not said operative is a gay prostitute.

Challenge the Republican Right for (yet again)
using systematic and widespread disinformation to smear opponents and deceive the public.

Aren't you sick of their tactics? Don't you believe that such tactics are corrupting journalism and our public discourse?

'Cause they're not going to stop unless they are publicly shamed, exposed and made to pay a political price. That won't happen until progressive opinion leaders fight as hard and as consistently for every inch as their conservative counterparts.

Indeed, Eric Boehlert, Eric Alterman, Joe Conason, Paul Krugman, Al Franken, John Stewart, Bill Maher, Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes, Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd, Michelangelo Signorile, Mark Crispin Miller, Anderson Cooper, Dante Chinni and many other progressive & centrist opinion leaders have offered their criticism of the propaganda aspects of Gannongate.

The question, Dan, is why you chose to hide under your desk.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't advocating a Kenneth Star type sexual witch hunt, only that progressive journalists openly criticize the real issues of dishonesty here as conservative journalists would do to Democrats. The prevailing view is that progressives are soft and not as willing to fight as hard for their beliefs as conservatives. I think that's not entirely unjustified, and stems from years of incidents like this one where progressive journalists and politicians simply don't criticize as forcefully or consistently.

Nelson in Roslindale

Anonymous said...

Well Nelson, who would you rather have in charge post 9/11, people who throw punches before their opponents do or people who wait until they get puched and then ask "did you mean that or was it an accident?" before defending themselves.