Monday, September 19, 2005

Hooray for Pallywood!

My gosh -- has it been nearly two weeks? Sorry for the lack of posts.

I'm sure you will all forgive me, however, after I direct you to your own private screening of "Pallywood," a new documentary showing how Palestinians stage casualties for the benefit of a gullible (at best) Western media. Not surprisingly, 60 Minutes and the French co-star in the role of "useful idiots." A not-dead Palestinian has a great cameo as "dead Palestinian." The 20-minute documentary is freely available for download at a great site, The Second Draft. More info here, here, and here (h/t: Belmont Club).

Now, here's the interesting twist: CBS has just started a new "blog" (I use the scare-quotes because: a) it's likely to be just a post-Rather corporate CYA maneuver; b) they only allow readers to make comments of 500 characters (!) or less. The test of their sincerity and openness may come in the next few days, when they sponsor a Q&A with "60 Minutes" Producer Rome Hartman. So far, I am the only reader to have submitted a question publicly online, and I submitted a longer (>500 characters!) version in an email (slightly redacted below):
Dear Mr. Hartman,

How often do you rely on foreign stringers or videographers with a fighting interest in a conflict? Please respond to the "Pallywood" documentary ( which demonstrates how 60 Minutes was duped by staged Palestinian "casualties." Similar charges have been raised about Iraqi photogs who seem to "coincidentally" find themselves at the location of terrorist attacks.

As I wrote in response to the Public Eye's
piece on the detention of CBS Iraqi stringer Ameer Younis Hussein, there are serious ethical issues involved in working with foreign stringers. In fact, I think there is a serious risk that the MSM could find itself unwittingly abetting terrorism. There are two key ingredients to successful terrorism: 1) the explosion itself, which is propaganda-of-the-deed, and 2) someone able to capture this propaganda on film and willing to broadcast it to the world, to instill fear and despair. As documented by the Belmont Club, there have been far too many instances of unnamed Iraqi "stringers" potentially being enemy operatives. CBS and other American MSM have not taken this risk at all seriously.

Thank you again for your new forum.



Let's see if, and how, they respond.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

NY Times Disses Eerily Prescient Blogger

Greetings Luskinites and TimesWatchers!

No time for a long entry tonight, but I thought you would enjoy this correction (scroll all the way down). In the context of a largely positive article about blogger Brendan Loy, who issued a series of increasingly urgent warnings about Katrina days before the storm hit the coast, the Times managed to (inadvertently, I assume?) diss his fiancee:

An article in Business Day about Brendon Loy, the Notre Dame student who was one of the earliest to sound the alarm about the potential threat to New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina, misstated the name of Mr. Loy's dog. It is Robbie, not Becky (which is his fiancée's name).

While that is merely amusing, I was not quite as happy about the lede:
One of the earliest and perhaps clearest alarms about Hurricane Katrina's potential threat to New Orleans was sounded not by the Weather Channel or a government agency but by a self-described weather nerd sitting on a couch in Indiana with a laptop computer and a remote control.
Now, what other major institution failed to sound the alarm, but is somehow not mentioned here? Hmmmm.....

Sunday, September 04, 2005

NY Times: Eerily Non-prescient

In the post-Katrina blame game, much has been made of the eerily prescient articles in the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Scientific American, predicting with deadly accuracy the disaster awaiting New Orleans. No less an authority than the New York Times' famed meteorologist Maureen Dowd, with her trademark blend of mature insight, clever wordplay, and sober analysis, offers this nugget of now-conventional wisdom:
Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.
An unsigned NYT editorial dispenses with Dowd's qualification that people needed to actually read the "endless" warnings, stating that "everyone knew [the disaster] was coming." [emph added]

Everyone, that is, except New York Times readers the day before Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. Because the Times did not run a single article on Katrina on Sunday the 28th! Readers of the paper of record only learned of the storm's potential with their Monday morning coffee, as Katrina was making landfall.

Remember (as NY Times editors won't)-- George Bush was already actively preparing the federal response, and urging the governor and heel-dragging mayor to order an evacuation on Saturday the 27th, as detailed in the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
President Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, authorizing federal emergency management officials to release federal aid and coordinate disaster relief efforts...New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin followed at 5 p.m., issuing a voluntary evacuation. Nagin said late Saturday that he's having his legal staff look into whether he can order a mandatory evacuation of the city, a step he's been hesitant to do because of potential liability on the part of the city for closing hotels and other businesses.
These dramatic developments, along with the rapid intensification of Katrina, went completely unreported in the hundreds of pages in the Sunday New York Times (though bloggers such as Brendan Loy and Instapundit were on top of the story on Saturday).

The paper was not devoid of references to hurricanes that Sunday, however. A Lexis-Nexis search turns up three (in retrospect, bizarre) hits with the keyword "hurricane":

  1. An eerily non-prescient review of a book entitled "FALSE ALARM: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear," By Marc Siegel.
  2. An eerily non-prescient warning of a major hurricane that might devastate -- Long Island!
  3. A women's fashion feature, titled "IS THERE A DIVA IN THE HOUSE?"

I guess we were supposed to read between the lines.

(for more NY Times hypocrisy, see this Powerline piece, via NRO's Media Blog, by way of Don Luskin, courtesy of EU Rota)