May 14, 2007

THE PRESS

The SpouseBUZZ Live went well, in my opinion. You can read the liveblogs of the panels over at SpouseBUZZ to see what we touched on. The event was really high-class and impressive; Military.com and USAA went all out for us.

After the panels, I was approached to do an interview for a local news affiliate. How bad could it be, right?

When I said at the Milblogs Conference that I had no bad experience with the press, I suppose I spoke too soon. I just didn't have any personal experience to speak of. So far I'd never been in any articles or newscasts.

For some reason, the local affiliate only wanted to talk about this blog. Why did they come to SpouseBUZZ Live and then start asking dumb questions about my personal site? And I was not savvy enough to see where this line of questioning was heading; I thought they'd ask me how I started blogging and then segue into SpouseBUZZ. Instead we segued into what I think about deployments and politics. Ugh. In hindsight, I wish I'd asked to start over or told the man I really only wanted to talk about SpouseBUZZ. But I was inexperienced and thought his questions would get more appropriate as we progressed.

As he shut down his camera, he decided to ask me off-the-record what I think about the war and if I think we're winning. Ugh again. I answered with some vague nonsense I can't even remember, but at some point I mentioned that my husband was learning Farsi. This guy's eyes got an a-ha twinkle as he said, "Waaait, that means Iran, right?" as if the fact that my husband is learning Farsi is some indicator that Bushitler is indeed planning to invade Iran. Thank heavens we weren't still on camera, because I wouldn't be surprised if he'd used the word Farsi as a way to speculate about Ahmadinejad. He acted as if he'd uncovered an Army plot to invade Iran.

Remind me not to do any more interviews in the future.

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March 21, 2007

TIME

The other day we got an offer in the mail for a subscription to Time magazine. We cancelled that rag years ago, but I was wooed by the free clock/radio/thermometer they were giving away with the subscription. My mental dialog went like this: I really want that radio, and it's only $20, but then that means I'm saddled with Time. Weighing, weighing. In the end, I decided to do without the radio because I couldn't bear the thought of giving more money to that stupid magazine. Unfortunately, Annika has a free subscription, so she's reduced to tossing her Time when it gets unfreakinreadable.

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January 19, 2007

LMAO

Confederate Yankee sent an email to the Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs for the Associated Press about discrepancies in their "Jamil Hussein" reporting. As I read this email, I couldn't help but laugh. I wonder just how deep the MSM's hatred for bloggers runs. Can you imagine if you came to work every morning only to find that some "guy in his pajamas" tore apart your stories and demanded corrections and retractions? And bloggers find problems with many stories, not just the most obvious ones like the National Guard memos or flaming tire piles in Lebanon. I bet the Associated Press and Reuters don't even know what to do now because they keep getting their butts handed to them by nobodies.

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November 27, 2006

LINK

Read Flopping Aces' Getting the News from the Enemy. He wonders why the media is running stories based on hearsay and rumors. And he's got a lot of info on it.

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November 25, 2006

WTF?

I have no idea what happened or why this groom was shot at his bachelor party by the police. The only people interviewed in this article are friends of the groom and Al Sharpton. There's no official word out yet, it seems. But what in the hell is up with the last two paragraphs of the article? Let's throw in two other completely unrelated incidents where police shot black people. What does that have to do with anything? And why does the AP do this all the time, tack on unrelated crap at the end of articles? Those two paragraphs have no business being in that article, other than to lead readers to assume that cops repeatedly shoot black people for no reason whatsoever. Shame on you, AP.

MORE:

Since MSNBC changed their link, I had to find the original article elsewhere. I found it here, but I'll copy the end of the article before it disappears again.

"I still don't want to believe it," Porter said, "a beautiful day like this, and he was going to have a beautiful wedding, he was going to live forever with his wife and children. And this happened."

In 1999, police killed Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant who was shot 19 times in the Bronx. The four officers in that case were acquitted of criminal charges.

And in 2003, Ousmane Zongo, 43, a native of the western African country of Burkina Faso who repaired art and musical instruments in a Manhattan warehouse, was shot to death during a police raid. Zongo was hit four times, twice in the back.

See what I mean? Talk about inflammatory. And completely unrelated.

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November 18, 2006

LINK

Greyhawk has a lengthy and thorough analysis of the damage the Abu Ghraib scandal did to the war effort. It's posted in two parts: A Combination of Blurring and Smearing Part 1 and Part 2 (the internal links are busted, but you can figure it out).

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November 16, 2006

RE-SHOW

CNN Headline News is re-showing the program Exposed: The Extremist Agenda on the Glenn Beck Program on Sunday night at 7:00 and 9:00. Check it out if you missed it last night.

UPDATE:

The show ended up being the second highest rated show in the history of Headline News.

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November 06, 2006

NOW THAT'S JOURNALISM

Via RWN: Steve Harrigan from Fox News gets waterboarded. Wow, that's really amazing journalism. Harrigan wanted to see the fact behind this interrogation technique, so he put himself on the line to find out. That's awesome.

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October 30, 2006

UGH

I'm sorry, but I don't see any reason it would ever be appropriate to ask a soldier in an interview "You ever worry one day your number's gonna come up?" What kind of question is that from a journalist? If you want to get to that issue, could you at least ask it in a less crass way? And then to follow up with whether or not they think their wives are screwing around on them. Sweet merciful crap. What is wrong with people?

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October 16, 2006

THAT AIN'T MY COUNTRY

They've been beating us over the head with that new Chevy commercial during the postseason, and my husband hates it too. He flies off the handle every time it's on. He's mad that someone would proudly boil the US down to Hurricane Katrina and Vietnam protesters. I'll have to point out this quote from Slate: "I wonder if they could squeeze in the Rodney King beating and the Abu Ghraib photos, too."

There was a much better commercial on AFN that tried for the same concept. I have been looking online for 15 minutes but can't find any trace of it. Those of you in USAREUR will remember the Navy Reserves commercial that laid out things worth fighting for: hot dogs, Route 66, baseball, etc. This Chevy commercial really misses that mark.

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October 03, 2006

FOOD NETWORK RULES

Is it just me, or is TV going a bit too far with snarky social commentary? I was watching Cold Case the other day, and one of the suspects was a former crackhead who'd turned his life around. So Scotty snidely quips, "Yeah, you overcame drugs and had a stint in the Guard; you could be president." Hardy har har. Shut up and solve the damn mystery. It's no wonder I find myself spending more and more time on the Food Network.

Speaking of which, look who I nearly had a heart attack to meet today...

jamiedeen.JPG

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September 18, 2006

I'M SORRY

More about apologies...

I remember my grammar professor talking about an interesting facet of the English language. We have two meanings behind the words "I'm sorry": one is in the sense of "this was my fault" and the other is "I am sympathetic that this happened to you." That is how your friend can tell you his house burned down and you say "I'm sorry" while obviously not being guilty. It is my understanding -- based on my limited experience with foreign languages -- that this distinction is more clear in other languages, usually with two different phrases to express the different meanings. For example, in Swedish you can say "Förlåt mig", which means "forgive me" when it's your fault, but you'd say something more like "Det är trakigt" for sympathy, which loosely can translate as "that sucks". I used to try to say "Jag är ledsen" for "I'm sorry", but my friend said I was always using it wrong because it never carried quite the meaning I was striving for when I tried to use it for sympathy. (Maybe Amritas can shed more light on the topic, especially if I'm misinformed.)

Anyway, as my professor explained to us, this is how we can apologize without apologizing. The Pope can say he's sorry (that Muslims are reacting in such a violent way) without saying he's sorry (that he quoted Manuel II Paleologos in a long speech about rationality in religion).

There are two "I'm sorry"s in English, and apparently the Muslims know the difference. Because they're still ticked, which is why they say things like

We shall break the cross and spill the wine ... God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome ... (May) God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen.

Goddamit, maybe it's time they apologize to us. To the Pope. And for the nun they shot in the back. And the churches they burned down.

I am so f-ing sick of the Muslim world.

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APOLOGY LIES

I was finishing up some laundry when I heard a news segment on the TV about Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb. Apparently he wrote some article in 1979 called "Women Can't Fight", in which he said that he'd never met a woman who could lead men in combat and that they shouldn't be admitted to the Naval Academy. So now that he's running for office, this stuff is surfacing and reporters are wondering why he doesn't apologize for writing this article. Got that? Reporters want him to apologize. (Well, so do women in the Navy, but that's beside the point for this blog post.) Apparently after his debate, they pressed him to offer a blanket apology for his remarks.

I don't know Webb from shinola, but I think this whole thing is weird. He wrote something in 1979 that might not have been that shocking given our military norms at the time. Since then, he has grown with the times and altered his position a little. Apparently he's since apologized for any difficulties women might've faced at the Naval Academy in light of his words. He also is apparently "'completely comfortable' with women's roles in today's military." So the short story is that his view of women has changed a bit since 1979. Pardon me if I don't think we should stop the presses.

Here's what I don't get, why I'm bothering to blog this. I wish I had recorded the reporter's exact wording of this story, but he said something to the effect that people were pressing Webb to retract his 1979 statement. They want him to publicly state that he doesn't believe what he wrote then. And it seems to me that he's doing just enough to hedge his statements so that it would appear that he still holds the same view to a certain extent but doesn't want to seem anti-woman or even anti-women in the military. He thinks they're fine in certain leadership positions but not leading men in combat. (I hope I'm not putting words in his mouth here, but this is just what I'm surmising by reading between the lines.)

So reporters are clamoring for him to retract his previous beliefs, even though they seem to still be his beliefs. That is to say, they want him to lie. They want him to come out and say that he doesn't believe all that malarky he thought back in the 70s, heavens no, women are fabulous. Why do they want him to say this? Why do they want him to lie?

Let's leave aside the fact that they're the Media and he's a Democrat, OK?

Don't we want politicians who tell the truth? I know every politician will gloss over things and sugarcoat stuff and hand us rose-colored glasses to look through. We all know this. But we don't want them to flat out lie and say that they believe in something when they truly don't. If Webb holds a belief that's unpopular or not P.C., the voters have a right to make a choice based on what the man believes. The media shouldn't hound him to apologize for something he's not actually sorry about just to make himself look better.

Why do we want all these people to apologize all the time? This comes while I'm still festering over the hubbub the Pope has caused. The Pope doesn't need to apologize for quoting some medieval text that's actually right on the money. As one Turkish columnist said, "You would think that the Pope had spent his whole speech attacking Islam. The Pope is the Pope. We didn’t expect him to praise Islam." So he can apologize for hurting people's feelings -- as Webb did -- but why this rush to get him to retract, to take it all back, to act like he never actually believed the thing he said? He's the freaking Pope! He's the head of a completely different religion; why on earth should he be expected to be nicey-nice with a religion that's *not true* according to the beliefs of his religion? Lord knows the imams say far worse things about Jews and Christians every single day.

But you know what? If you don't like what the Pope said, or what Webb said, then talk about it on your blog or in your Bible study or at your dinner party. But would it really make us feel better for them to lie to us and say they never meant to say these things? That's ridiculous.

You can't take it back and you shouldn't have to. Don't say something controversial and then just cave when people call you on it. It doesn't really help; just ask Lawrence Summers. And the media, or American society, or whomever we want to blame this on needs to lay off and stop calling for people to freaking apologize. We need for more people to tell the truth and say it like it is in this ridiculous world of ours, not be afraid that they might bring the house down with their words. We need to stop stifling people from saying what they really believe!

You don't like what Webb said? Don't vote for him. It's that simple.
(Actually, just don't vote for him: he's a Democrat. Heh.)


MORE TO GROK:

More on apologies here.

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August 30, 2006

WOAH

Wow. Did anyone just see Keith Olbermann ten minutes ago? He was completely off his rocker. I am taping the repeat at midnight because I missed the beginning of his diatribe, but apparently Donald Rumsfeld's speech got him all in a tizzy. I think he's just ticked because Rumsfeld went after journalism.

Anyway, somehow Olbermann managed to twist history so far into itself that he said Rumsfeld is the new Chamberlain and we're waiting for the new Churchill to step up. Oooh, I know, can Murtha be Churchill? Because that would complete the wacked out reverse analogy. Rumsfeld is Chamberlain? In what universe?

Olbermann made some pretty outlandish claims. While Rumsfeld said:

I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. Today -- another enemy, a different kind of enemy -- has made clear its intentions with attacks in places like New York and Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, Moscow and so many other places. But some seem not to have learned history's lessons.

Olbermann sarcastically said, "This country faces a new type of facism indeed." Referring to the Bush administration. Olbermann actually had the gall to say that the United States is a democracy, "sometimes just barely."

Sometimes.
Just.
Barely.

Is he joking or insane? Just barely. Keith, if this were a fascist state and barely a democracy, you wouldn't have made it to the end of that rant. And you wouldn't make it to work tomorrow. For all your ridiculous talk about the Bush administration being omnipotent and fascist, I bet you still have your job tomorrow.

Lord, this diatribe was too good to be true. But you know, Fox is the biased one and the other networks are bastions of middleoftheroadhood. Blogging fun like this doesn't come along every day.

Rumsfeld is Chamberlain. Just wow.

I'll be checking OlbermannWatch tomorrow for their response.

MORE TO GROK:

I hit refresh one more time after I posted this, and the OlbermannWatch for today is up! Better commentary than mine here.

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August 23, 2006

JUST NASTY

Did you know that Fox News Channel reporter Steve Centanni and freelance cameraman Olaf Wiig were kidnapped in Gaza? Maybe not, since all we hear about on TV these days is John Mark Karr. But according to some TV critic guy named Bob Lawrence, this may be more than just an oversight:

Fox has deliberately set itself apart from other news media. Starting at the top with Roger Ailes, the Fox sales pitch has been to deride other media, to declare itself the one source of the real truth, the sole source of ‘fair and accurate’ news reporting. As a result, there’s not a reservoir of kinship or good will with Fox on the part of the rest of the news media. You can’t keep insulting people and then expect friendship when you need it.

They’ve made it a policy to keep a distance between themselves and the rest of the media, far beyond the usual competitive spirit, so that’s where they are: at a distance.

So you mean I was right to make the snide comment a week ago that no one would care because the journalist was from Fox? I thought I was being overly snarky, but I guess life is stranger than parody.

I'm with Cold Fury:

So howzabout we make a little deal: since you and your liberal-media playmates find yourselves unable to muster enough patriotic spirit — or, for that matter, simple human decency — to bother concerning yourselves about the fate of a couple of fellow American journalists because their politics may not mesh with your own, from here on out, American soldiers (the overwhelming majority of whom violently disagree with your politics, which I think we can safely infer from your snide and heartless comment) will no longer be expected to go out and rescue your sorry, worthless asses when the terrorists you’re so busy propagandizing for get tired of putting up with your ass-kissing sycophancy and decide you’d be more useful as hostages instead.

In other words, if partisan politics means that much to you liberal-media jackholes, and you’re that closed-minded that you can’t even rise above your own petty liberal dogma to scrape up a plugged nickel’s worth of fellow-feeling for your American colleagues no matter who they work (or voted) for, then you have no right to expect any when you find yourself caught in a steel-jawed Islamist trap of your own devising.

If the North Kosanese getcha, don't expect any help from your "countrymen"...

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August 17, 2006

INTERNET

The joys and headaches of the internet. From Robert McHenry:

[What we have here is] the dissolution of categories, the collapse of hierarchy, that used to help us navigate information in a way that Google cannot. Time was, we understood that what is written in a scholarly monograph is different from what is written in a reference book, which is different from what is written in an informal essay, which is different from what is written in a news bulletin, which is different from what is offhandedly jotted down, which is different from what is scribbled on the bathroom wall. Different in intent, different in style, different in reliability. And not only did we understand that they were different, we could tell which was what, usually at a glance.

When the world wide web took off, I was finishing high school and starting college. We were told we could not use internet sites for research papers because they were unreliable: any old guy could write any old thing on the web. But now I think we've come full circle; I trust Charles Johnson infinitely more than I trust Dan Rather. News reports are full of lies and fake photos. Academic papers insist that Neil Prakash is a dentist. How can any high schooler or college student wade through this mass of bias and nonsense to write a paper for school? And how can any teacher decide which sources fly these days?

Thank goodness I'm done with school.

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August 07, 2006

RUBBISH

The internet is ablaze trying to find Adnan Hajj fake photos, and everyone wants to be the next Charles Johnson busting the media's chops. I too am shocked at some of the photos that have been taken at face value, but the one howler to rule them all, in my opinion, has to be the photo of the burning Koran.

koran.jpg

Ace busts some chops too:

Well! I guess a foreign Muslim photographer just got lucky again to find the inciting, dramatic picture of a burning Koran after an Israeli air strike, huh? It's the perfect visual metaphor for the Islamist cause -- the Jews destroying the Koran itself -- and I just suppose he happened to luck upon a bomb site where one was conveniently still aflame. I would imagine a book would either stop burning, or be completely burned (and hence not burning) 99% of the time you visited a scene two hours after an attack, but this phographer just got lucky once again, right?

Seriously, do people in newsrooms even think anymore? Someone runs to them with a National Guard memo or a photo of a burning Koran and they're so eager to run the presses that they don't even stop to think. Why is a book still on fire in a pile of burned building? The book burned slower than the wood and metal? Please. And a wedding dress would stay white in the midst of bombing too...oh wait, that also supposedly happened.

When the same man and woman keep popping up in photos all over Lebanon, maybe it's time to question these photographers' motives.


P.S. The comment that made me laugh out loud at Ace's post:

That mannequin has clearly been manipulated to look like Rachel Corrie.
Posted by: Kat R. Pillar on August 6, 2006 10:07 PM

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August 06, 2006

UTTER GARBAGE

When Kevin Spacey was on The Daily Show, he went on and on about how much better the news situation was in London than in the US. I couldn't help but remember that segment when I read Stressed out and anxious in Beirut. (I found this link in another article called Israeli war deaths go largely unnoticed.) It really is a piece of work: the journalist is sitting with the people of Beriut, musing over where Israel will bomb next and trying to explain his understanding of Israel's motives to the Lebanese people. Hey, newsguy, you wanna understand Israel? How 'bout, you know, going to Israel and talking to them instead of reporting your speculations as news. What a bunch of baloney, which is what passes for "articles" these days:

People keep saying to me, "We are not Hezbollah - why are they bombing our homes?"

The Israelis say that these renewed attacks on Beirut are justified because they are targeting Hezbollah. But for the hundreds of thousands of people in this city who don't support Hezbollah it feels like collective punishment.

Hezbollah's primitive, unguided Katyusha rockets hit civilians too - although far fewer have died in Israel than have been killed in Lebanon by the massive Israeli munitions.

Many Lebanese readily agree that Hezbollah gravely miscalculated when they captured those two Israeli soldiers on 12 July - but now they go on to say: "We were never Hezbollah. But we are all Hezbollah now. The Israeli response is completely unjustified."

I have met some who curse Hezbollah, and who say the Israeli bombardment is understandable. Some, but not many.

And I don't think "But we are all Hezbollah now" is just talk. The more Israel destroys, the more supporters Hezbollah will be able to recruit.

How fair and balanced. Kevin Spacey must be so proud. The article ends with:

Smoking hubble-bubble at a cafe one evening, I heard the sound of a fighter-bomber overhead.

A young man at the next table leaned over to me, gestured in the direction of the menacing rumble, and said: "This - this also is terrorism!"

What a gross misstatement of the definition of terrorism. Provided as the final punch in this craptastic article. Looks like someone at the BBC has been studying his "New Rules" For Mideast Reporting.

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July 27, 2006

SAD

The husband and I have been watching some old Ali G shows on TV lately. We're always amazed at the utter garbage that he can get people to say; I can't believe that the guests don't smell a rat. My husband also constantly wonders about The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, how they can trick their guests into sounding so stupid. I guess I know part of the reason now: Wexler falls into a comedic interviewer's trap -- and he's not laughing. I feel sorry for the people who do these shows because they come off looking like complete idiots. Ali G isn't even fun to watch, because who really wants to see someone make Buzz Aldrin look like a fool?

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June 19, 2006

GRR

The NY Post reports that Jerome Armstrong went on stock trading chat sites and hyped up stocks without mentioning that he was paid by the company. That's so dishonest I can't even believe it. I found the link via LGF and then followed it to Daily Kos to see what they had to say about the article. Several people seemed troubled by Armstrong's past, but many commenters flat out said that they were skeptical of the information because it came from the NY Post.

Frankly, I'm tired of that crap. Fox News is usually on the receiving end of that kind of nonsense: how many times have I heard someone sneeringly say something like, "Where'd you hear that, Fox News?" Fox may come off as pro-American, but people like to act like Fox is making up news stories. That's complete crap.

Armstrong was charged by the SEC in 2003; there's a civil suit on record. The NY Post didn't just make that up out of thin air. It disgusts me that people find it so easy to dismiss news just because they don't like where they heard it.

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