Washington Post Gives Huckabee A Platform On Israel

As a Jew, I would be absolutely appalled to read these sentences: “The Huckabeeans also heard from Muhammed Tamimi, national president of the Arab Organization of America, who explained to the group, according to

Mike Huckabee


Huckabee, that there’s really no such thing as the ‘Jewish People.’ ‘The idea that they have a long history here, dating back hundreds or thousands of years, is not true,’ Huckabee said.”

In fact, what appeared in the front-page article of today’s Washington Post read, “The Huckabeeans also heard from Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, who explained to the group, according to Huckabee, that there’s really no such thing as the ‘Palestinians.’ ‘The idea that they have a long history, dating back hundreds or thousands of years, is not true,’ Huckabee said.” Read more at the Foundation for Middle East Peace blog

The Global Hoodie

Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman and Stand Your Ground laws. There’s lots to learn from all of this, but one lesson is how this horrific incident and the awful verdict reflects the US’ and many other countries’ approach to foreign affairs regarding security and defense. I explore at Souciant this week.

Kerry’s Last-Ditch Effort As Quixotic As Ever

Once again, John Kerry heads to the Middle East. In just the brief time since his last trip, we have seen still more evidence of the futility of his efforts. At what point does Kerry’s behavior become the very definition of insanity? I explore at LobeLog.

America’s Digital Stasi

This week at Souciant…well, I had a different article idea, and I was halfway through writing it. But the whole PRISM thing is just overwhelming. As much as what it says about the state of freedom and democracy in the US, it says even more about the utter and shameless phoniness of Barack Obama. How much will we take?

Israel’s New Cabinet

This article originally appeared at LobeLog

The new Israeli government features a security braintrust that might be a bit more reasonable on Iran, but is likely to be even more hawkish both in the immediate region

Netanyahu has a new and untested cabinet

Netanyahu has a new and untested cabinet

and within the country itself. Gone are voices from the Israeli right who favored a more reasoned and diplomatic approach to their right-wing agenda. They have been replaced by figures who want more direct action and refuse even the pretense of a two-state solution.

On Iran, the retirement of Ehud Barak removes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leading supporter in his effort for a strike on Iran sooner rather than later, whether that be carried out by Israel or, preferably, the United States. He is replaced by Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon. Bogey is also an Iran hawk, but is not in favor of Israel launching an attack other than as a last resort. He is far more content than Barak to allow the United States to take the lead and wants Israel to act only if it becomes apparent that the US will not. That puts him pretty well in line with the Israeli military and intelligence leadership in practice, though he sees Iran as more of a threat than they do.

In fact, no one in the current or even the outgoing inner circle came close to matching Barak’s eagerness for military action against Iran. Only Netanyahu himself could match him, and he remains daunted by the lack of support for his position in Israel. The ongoing hawkishness in the US Congress and President Barack Obama’s repeated statements holding firm to a military option and refusing a policy of containment also blunt Netanyahu’s resolve. It would seem that, at least for the time being, the calls for war on Iran will be fueled more in the United States than in Israel.

Ya’alon is a former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, but he did not have a distinguished term of service there, was not well-liked and returns without a great deal of good will among the military and intelligence services’ leadership. In fact, colleagues in Israel tell me there is a good deal of consternation in those services regarding Bogey’s appointment. But for now, they will wait and see how he acts. For a deeper look at Ya’alon, see my recent piece on him here. Continue reading

Responses to Planned Parenthood Victory Show Media Bias From the Progressive Side Too

A few days ago, I wrote here about an article in the Washington Post that was clearly misleading to its readers.

That was an example of one way media distortion happens. Today, we saw another, this time from the left side of the political spectrum.

Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation

As I’m sure everyone out there is aware, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation had passed new regulations governing its grant process that would have ended its funding for Planned Parenthood. The ensuing outcry made them reverse their decision.

A great victory right? Well, yes, it was, but you would not know it if you read this Huffington Post article by Laura Basset. The headline reads: “Susan G. Komen Reverses Planned Parenthood Decision, Does Not Promise To Renew Grants.”

Sounds like not much of a victory at all, right? It certainly led some friends of mine to question the big win, and it led The Daily Kos to just about toss the whole thing out the window and call it a defeat.

Nonsense. This was every bit the victory it seems to be.

The issue for the HuffPo and Kos (really Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, whose article was mostly just echoed at Kos), is that there is no guarantee that Planned Parenthood will get its funding renewed at the next funding cycle.

Well, yeah. There isn’t. Guess what? There wasn’t such a guarantee before.

Grants are made, renewed, discontinued for all sorts of reasons. No grant is simply assumed to be renewed. If a foundation commits in writing to funding a program or organization till the end of time, fine. Otherwise, everyone has to go through the renewal process.

Sometimes there are political reasons that a foundation does not renew a grant. More often, there is simply a decision to use the limited resources at hand elsewhere, perhaps to start up a new organization or help one that is in more dire need than the one it had been funding.

That’s all there is here. That’s all there ever was. The status quo ante has been restored which is all Planned Parenthood ever wanted.

I don’t know if this is simply an example of lazy reporting by Basset and Sargent or if one or both of them wanted to make sure people didn’t get complacent about this issue. But in either case, they are misinforming their readers. Continue reading

A classic example of media distortion

I had to point this one out to my readers, even though it has nothing to do with the Middle East.

I just received an e-mail news alert from the Washington Post. The headline reads: “News Alert: U.S. deficit to top $1 trillion for 4th year in a row.”

Sounds like that bungling president is not handling our economy very well, doesn’t it?

But then, I read the story.

It starts off by echoing the headline, but then comes to the relevant facts:

The federal budget deficit will top $1 trillion for a fourth straight year, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday in a report that predicts a nearly $1.1 trillion gap between government spending and tax collections for 2012.

That figure is the smallest – both in nominal terms and as a percentage of the economy – since the Great Recession began taking a heavy toll on the federal budget in 2009.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the deficit would continue to fall, dropping sharply in 2013 and throughout the remainder of the decade if policymakers follow through with major changes in both tax policy and government spending now on the books.

So, actually, Obama has been reducing the deficit despite the need for a massive amount of funds to bail out the many “too big to fail” financial institutions and for job creation. But to discover that rather pertinent fact, one has to read past both the headline and the first paragraph, something most readers don’t do.

The Washington Post has been steadily moving to the right for years, so this comes as no surprise. But as an object lesson in how mainstream media manages to report the facts, without lying, while at the same time completely misinforming its readers, I don’t think you’d find a starker example.

UPDATE: Turns out, the Post actually changed the lede in the article. It was reported on at the bsom blog here.