Fat Steve's Blatherings

Thursday, June 23, 2005

How Much is Arrogance, How Much is Stupidity, How Much Self-Destructiveness, and How Much is Outright Insanity?


      The Newspaper Guild, official paper of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America, has an article on President Linda Foley's lie that the U.S. Armed Forces deliberately target journalists in Iraq.  It's notable for its ad hominem, evasion, and outright falsehood.  What makes them think they can get away with this?
  • An example of just how sloppy the MSM has become: the article gives a link it says will take you to a transcript of Foley's remarks.  There ain't no transcript there, as of today.

At Length:

      It's Fisking time, I think.  But first, a word about the title of this post.

      The late Arthur Koestler once spent some time in India and Japan, a trip he recorded in the book The Lotus and the Robot.  In it, he says that after meeting several Indian holy men, he decided you shouldn't ask "Is this guy a saint or a con-man?" Instead, the proper question is "What percentage saint, and what percentage con-man is this particular holy man?", because they're all both.  As the circulation of newspapers keeps dropping, the MSM responds with such intensely wrong behavior that I have to wonder what motivates it.

The Guild Reporter
Top Stories June 17, 2005

Right-wing attack-dogs savage TNG president for comments on Iraq deaths
Barrage of abusive phone calls, e-mails prompted by Sinclair, Fox and bloggers

By Andy Zipser, Editor, The Guild Reporter

      Hmmm, do you think it's possible that the "Editor" of the Union's newspaper might owe his position to the President of the Union? Don't you think it's possible that, even if he doesn't, they're personal friends? Under the circumstances, shouldn't he mention that? At the least, shouldn't he disclose his connection with Foley more fully?

      And if he's a partisan in this fight, as appears likely, shouldn't journalistic ethics require him to recuse himself from this article, and have it written by someone disinterested?

      "Nah!" 'Objectivity' is a buzz-word for journalists to use against their enemies, not a real ideal to aspire to.

      TNG-CWA President Linda Foley has become the latest target of right-wing extremists, who have mounted a multi-media attempt to force her resignation over comments made May 13 at a media conference in St.  Louis.

      I just love the unfair and unbalanced editorializing that disguises itself as reporting, and I especially love it when it appears as in the title, and the first sentence of the story.  I give you this, Zipser, you didn't attempt to hide your slant in any way.

      The campaign, started by Sinclair Broadcasting, Fox News and the Washington Times, then fanned by a growing number of bloggers, echoes a similar effort that earlier this year forced the resignation of CNN news chief Eason Jordan.

      And look, in only the second sentence, the outright lying begins.  What we wanted, from Jordan and Foley, was an explanation of their remarks.  Did they really mean that the U.S. Armed Forces deliberately, knowingly, kill journalists because they are journalists? Did they have any evidence to support their remarks? Just what was going on? Jordan resigned rather than answer those questions.  Foley went into the bunker.

      By the way, this seems like a good place to note that Zipser is throwing around charges and ad hominems here, like "campaign" and "extremists." How much would you like to bet that there won't be any evidence to support those remarks?

      No one? Damn, I was hoping for some easy money.

      Foley served on two panels at the National Conference for Media Reform, addressing labor issues and the problems of media consolidation.  She analyzed the profit-driven pressures that cause newspaper monopolies, workforce reductions, a commoditization of the news and plunging newsroom morale.  She pushed for greater diversity—in viewpoints, coverage, staffing and ownership.  And she hammered on the theme that it’s the system as a whole that’s the problem.

      In plain English, she apparently gave her opinions, something Zipser doesn't distinguish from facts.  If there was any evidence to support her comments, I'd like to know what it was, but Zipser won't be providing it.

      Still, it's amusing to read that Foley called for a greater diversity of viewpoints.  Zipser won't bother quoting any of Foley's critics in this story, for example.  Oh wait, I forgot.  "Diversity" is a left-wing code word for 'more leftists talking.'

      But it was an aside near the tail end of her remarks that got all the right-wing attention.  Journalists often are blamed for the ills that they report on, Foley said, “particularly from the right of the political spectrum.”

      She said that? I didn't notice.  Now that I know, I don't care, because it mostly isn't true.  When a journalist reports on poverty, or urban blight, or bad schools, I don't think the journalist caused poverty, blight, or non-education.  I don't know anyone who does, either.

      Occasionally, I do blame journalists for causing ills, when the ills in question are media events the journalists choose to cover.  But for the most part, Foley is wrong about everyone I know or know of, left or right.

      That's something I do blame journalists for: getting it wrong, when it would be easy to get it right.

And then, as if extending an unwitting invitation to prove her point, she added that journalists aren’t being targeted just verbally and politically.

      “They are being targeted for real in places like Iraq,” Foley said, referring to the deaths, detentions and physical abuse of American and Arab journalists.  (The full text of Foley’s remarks may be read online at www.freepress.net/conference/=sessions.)

      Ah, editing-as-lying.  As I noted above, the transcript isn't there, or at least I can't find it.  But here's a transcript from The Dusty Attic:

      The other thing, ah, I would just like to mention, the other trend that I think needs to be reversed, ah, that isn't talked about very much, is the targeting of journalists.

      Journalists have become, and this is a problem of the Republicans, Frank, (halting laugh) journalists have become a target particularly from the right side of the political spectrum, ah, journalists are blamed, ah, for many ills, that they just report on.  Ah, and I think what we have we have to be careful of in the media reform movement, is that we don't fall into that trap.

      What is happening in the media is not the fault of individual journalists.  Yes, there are some bad individual journalists in the mainstream media.  There are also some very good individual journalists in the mainstream media, and it's probably, on balance just like any other profession.

      As I noted, it's almost completely false to say that we blame journalists for the ills they report on.  But the fact that the head of the Newspaper Guild can say something so obviously false, in front of a group that included many in the news media, and not be called on it, shows that there's reason to blame journalists for the fix they're in.

      Foley continues:
      "But what's wrong is that there is a systematic corporate, ah, corporate, ahm, dissolution of what we know is credible reporting and journalism.  And that what's really wrong and that's what we need to focus on, and that's what we have to fight."

      Foley's language is obscure and confusing, by what I think she's saying is that the corporate bosses who control the media deliberately, consciously, knowingly decided not to have "credible reporting and journalism" any more, or at least to minimize it to the lowest point they can get away with.  This strikes me as an extraordinary claim.  Howze about some evidence, Linda?

      And the claim that journalists have become a target, and that this is a problem for Republicans? You wanna expand on that one?

      OOPS, sorry, I forgot -- you don't do evidence or explanations.

      Journalists, by the way, are [not? -- St.O.] just being targeted, ah, verbally or, ah, or, ah, politically.  They're also being targeted for real.  Um…in places like Iraq.  Ahn and, ah, what outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there's not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq.  I think it's just a scandal.

      And it's not just US journalists, either, by the way.  They target and kill, ah, journalists from other countries, particularly Arab countries like Al -, like Arab news services like Al-Jazeera, for example.  They actually target them and blow up their studios, ah, with impunity … and, ah, this is all part of a culture that it's okay to blame the individual journalists and it just takes the heat off these media, ah, conglomerates who are actually at the heart of the problem.

      Again, what stands out is the lack of clarity.  Is Foley accusing the U.S. military of killing journalists, deliberately, consciously, with malice aforethought? Or is someone else doing it, but Foley is mad because the U.S. military doesn't take the situation seriously? Or something else? Enquiring minds want to know.

      Oh by the way, last time I looked, al-Jazeera's studios in Iraq had NOT been blown up.  An electrical generator that al-Jazeera used, located next to the studio, had been destroyed; a hole had been made in the street near the studio; but the studio itself was reasonably intact, and fully functional, throughout the Iraq Campaign.

      Finally, the idea that someone unnamed is killing journalists and destroying facilities, because of the actions of corporate bosses, is fascinating in its sheer looniness.

      So, um, so, I would, I'm working with you, my members want to work with you, to try and change this.  We do have to have other alternatives to corporate media out there, so that people...  real people's voices can be heard, but you also have to help us change from within.  And so as you go forward on this struggle, keep in mind that the other part of the First Amendment, besides the free speech and the free press part, also talks about the freedom of association.  And I'm telling you right now, not just in media, ah, but, um, but media companies are kind of leading the way in this area, but all across America, the ability of workers in media and elsewhere to form free trade unions, is imperiled as it's never been imperiled before.

      And I'll just leave you with this, there never has been a democracy, in this world, that has not had both a free press and a free trade union movement.  We need to work on both if we are going to change the media in this country, because the people from within have to push while you're pulling from the outside to change things.


      Really bizarre.  She's working to change from "corporate media," whatever it is, to non-corporate, which isn't defined (or maybe she explained it in the other part of her remarks, which she has never seen fit to publish anywhere I can find them)? Or she's working to keep journalists alive? Or she's working to change to 'non-corporate' media because she thinks that will somehow stop journalists from being killed? No, wait, she's doing it so that "real people's voices" can be heard.  Gee, I never thought the folks I'd seen on TV were all artificial people.  Is this insanity? Or is it the old left-wing technique of calling those you dislike "vermin" and such, as a first step towards murdering them? Or something else? I doubt we'll ever know.

      As for the allegedly imperiled freedom of association, well, I'd refer Foley to the National Labor Relations Board, which protects union organization and collective bargaining, but I'm afraid she'd make such a bad impression she'd hurt the cause of unionism among media workers (and I'm not being sarcastic when I say that).

      Well, back to Zipser:     
Brief as they were,

      Halt! The comments were brief, but not nearly as brief as you made them out.  I got the above from a "right-wing" attack site.  How come you responsible professionals can't give us any context?
.  .  .  those comments uncorked a torrent of bile—once the right took notice.  Four days after the panel, Sinclair started calling TNG-CWA headquarters with requests to interview Foley.  The next day, Tony Snow from the Fox network followed suit.  Although both were rebuffed, Fox and Sinclair commentaries May 18 triggered hundreds of e-mails to Foley and the Guild office.  Scores of phone callers were so abusive that for a couple of days all calls to Guild headquarters were routed through voice mail.

      Question, is it just sloppy writing that leads to the implication that a request for an interview is part of a "torrent of bile?" Or do you really believe that being interviewed is inherently abusive to the interviewee? Or what? My, the questions that rise and don't get answered in this piece.

      As for the abusive phone calls, I wish to express my sincere outrage at this.  It's almost as bad as implying that members of the U.S. military are murdering journalists, then refusing to answer questions about your remarks.  Almost.

      Then the blogosphere rumbled into action, including creation of the web site foleygate.com (“Watching Left Wing Journalists So You Don’t Have To”) “to report on what will happen to Linda Foley”—presumably as a result of the campaign it began orchestrating.  Right-wing bloggers with quaint populist names (“Ankle Biting Pundits,” “Tennessee Rant,” “My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy”) piled on, shuttling around the same few links to Foley’s selected comments while urging all red-blooded Americans to voice their displeasure.  More e-mails flowed.

      Now, if Zipser was a real journalist, he'd know that we wing-nuts don't need to organize campaigns.  Having watched the left for a while, we've learned to swarm all over such stories and react in the same way, without any central committee telling us what to do.

      The sneer adjectives ("quaint," "populist," "red-blooded") are a nice touch, Zipser.  But for sheer bald-faced hypocrisy, the palm goes to "the same few links to Foley's selected comments." Jackson's Junction put up video, The Dusty Attic has a partial transcript, you quote one sentence and refer us to a complete transcript that doesn't exist.  We righties have a long way to go in learning how to lie.  You're much better at it than we.

      “I would love to hear the proof you have to support your irresponsible claims that the military ‘target and kill journalists.’ If you have proof, then say it.  If you don’t have proof, then keep your stupid biased asinine comments to yourself,” wrote David Wiseman.  “Listen you piece of human garbage—American soldiers do not waste bullets on crap like you,” chimed in H.  Olszowy.  “Traitors and scum like you deserve to be shot, but our military has too much pride and courage to waste time on newspaper reporters.  It figures however that someone with a union mentality like you would fabricate a story along the lines of CBS and Newsweek.  You have zero credibility.”

      Another fascinating question: does Zipser really believe that asking for evidence of a charge is abuse? Or does he figure that by lumping it in with actual insults, he discredits the idea that people making accusations should be able to back them up?

      While few e-mails acknowledged that journalists had been killed or wounded in Iraq, some suggested perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  “Just saw your idiotic comments concerning the collateral damage of journalists in Iraq,” wrote someone with the online name civwar46.  “Now my comment.  We should have open season on journalists in Iraq.  Traitors.” Added Slimpknsanytime: “The mission of the military is to destroy the enemy, his equipment and will to resist.  When the military follows this directive it is defining the enemy, even if they are ‘Journalists.’ ”

      Oh, how awful, people who called wanting to know about Foley's comments didn't acknowledge that journalists have been killed or wounded in Iraq.  Of course, Foley didn't acknowledge that (as I've mentioned before) the Committee to Protect Journalists lists 66 killed in Iraq by name and circumstance, forty seven by the other side, eleven by our side, seven unknown circumstances, one accident.  That the bad guys kill five, almost all deliberately, for every one we kill, probably all accidentally or mistakenly, is interesting.  That the anger is directed at us, not them, is telling.

      By the way, I'd like to go on record here as disagreeing with the idea that the military should deliberately kill journalists just for being journalists.  I also wish to go on record as saying that I do NOT disagree with the idea that many journalists are traitors.

      There’s more at work here, in other words, than just anger at a union leader for trying to defend her members.

      How is Foley trying to defend them? Explain, in detail, using short simple sentences, which actions of Foley were intended to "defend" union members, who and what they were to be defended from, and how the actions she took were supposed to prevent future attacks.  Please.

For the looniest fringe of the right wing, an independent press and its “journalists” are the problem.  The irony is that such extremists are trying to prompt the mass media into attacking .  .  .  the media.

      No, for us "looniest fringe of the right wing," the problem is a press that sides with terrorists who murder at random, and kill U.S. troops, especially when we're at war with said terrorists.  (By the way, have you ever written about left-wingers, and called any of them loony?)

      As for what we're trying to do, you're wrong there too.  But why should I tell you?

      The attempt to obscure discomfiting truths with a smokescreen of allegations about the truth purveyor—challenging his or her motives, techniques or basic character—is not new, but in recent years the volume has been ratcheted way up.

      Oh my God, I admire that.  You're going to accuse us of doing what you do in this very article.  Sir, I am in awe of your talent as a dishonest propagandist.

For Paul Waldman of Media Matters for America, a progressive research and information center that tracks conservative disinformation campaigns, the poster child for such tactics is Ward Churchill, a much vilified University of Colorado professor.

      "Progressive" is of course another left-wing code word, meaning "left-wing, and therefore good, honest, and correct."

      This past January, the extreme right wing stumbled across an essay Churchill had written—more than three years earlier—in which he argued that the money changers at the World Trade Center had suffered the consequences of U.S. military aggression and unjust foreign policies.  The result was a blizzard of right-wing outrage, flogged relentlessly by shouting heads like Bill O’Reilly.  “Were some people offended by what Churchill had to say? Yes,” Waldman says.  “Was he worth hundreds and hundreds of stories? Obviously not.”

      That Ward Churchill isn't worth paying attention to isn't obvious to me.  Some things I find worth noticing, though, are the lies in this paragraph, told by editing.  Were all the thousands who died in the Towers worthy of death? Were they in any way responsible for U.S. policy? Is U.S. foreign policy unjust, and what alleged military aggression did we commit? (According to al-Qaeda, the answer to that last question is 'You stationed troops on the Arabian Peninsula, with the consent of the Saudi Govt.') And the so-called "money-changers?" That phrase implies crookedness.  Got any evidence for that?

      And of course, you left out the fact that Churchill is a plagiarist, a liar, and unqualified for his academic post.  But why let facts get in the way of propaganda? If you mentioned those "discomfiting truths," you wouldn't be able to pose self-righteously.

      But Churchill, Waldman adds, was simply one in a series of cases that the right has leveraged to advance its crabbed view of liberalism.  Finding anecdotes that it can pump up to outsized dimensions in an echo chamber of right-wing commentators, talk shows, editorial pages and web blogs [sic], the right transforms the specific into the general.  “Linda’s case is one of those they’d like to make into a cause celebre, that the media hate the military, that they’re unpatriotic, blah-blah,” Waldman charges.

      Oh, this is amusing.  'Churchill is a liberal, and the media is composed of patriots who love the U.S. military, even while it tries to murder them.' Blah-blah, indeed.

      Because of such tactics, for example, the question of whether George Bush fulfilled his National Guard requirements was eclipsed by the question of whether Dan Rather used bogus documents in his reporting.

      Of course, without those documents, Rather didn't have any evidence that Bush failed to fulfill his Guard requirements, as you can easily check here.

The question of how the U.S. military is treating several hundred “detainees” at Guantanamo was shuffled into the background by Newsweek’s retraction of a story that claimed a copy of the Koran had been flushed down a toilet.

      Of course, the Newsweek story didn't ask any questions about the treatment of U.S. detainees at Guantanamo.  It said:
Investigators probing interrogation abuses at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year.  Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash.

      The story went on to say that the findings were expected to be in a forth-coming report.  The story then speculated that former Guantanamo commander Geoffrey Miller might suffer when the report was issued.  All this turned out to be wrong.  I guess Zipser doesn't care if the MSM's stories are even close to accurate.

      And by the way, Zippy, why the sneer quotes around "detainees?" Just what word would you consider appropriate, and why?

Legitimate questions about the conduct of the entire “war on terror” have become such lightning rods for right-wing abuse that an official British government memo describing how the Bush administration lied its way into the war on Iraq received scant U.S. media coverage for more than a month after it was first reported in Great Britain.

      What is it, if not a "war on terror," and why don't you address the issue? Where is this memo, and where does it say the U.S. Government was lying? No quotes or sources, because there is no such memo.

      Indeed, the war in Iraq has posed numerous challenges to Americans’ beliefs about themselves; some respond by denying the validity of any information that doesn’t fit those concepts.  The June issue of Editor & Publisher, for example, includes a column describing the right-wing attacks and death threats against freelance television correspondent Kevin Sites—for filming a U.S. Marine shooting an unarmed Iraqi insurgent.  “It is important to tell the truth, the whole truth,” Sites contends, in response to critics who claimed the segment unfairly undermined U.S. morale.

      Yeah, the whole truth would be nice.  You might start out, Zipper, by giving us links to the story and the criticism, so we could here why people were angry.  But that would be a little too much truth, I guess.

      By the way, the war hasn't made me question any beliefs about myself or my country.

      The killing of unembedded journalists in Iraq is one of those discomfiting facts, especially when such deaths come at American hands.  To be sure, journalists in Iraq—of whatever nationality—have more to fear from the insurgents than they do from the U.S. military.  As reported June 6 in a front-page story in The Washington Post, at least 85 journalists and other media workers, the vast majority of them Iraqis, have been killed in Iraq since March, 2003; only 14 of them were killed by American forces.

      And your criticism of the murderers of those media people the U.S. military didn't kill can be found where? And your Guild is trying to stop the "insurgents" from killing journalists how? And you expect us to take you seriously why?

      But “only” 14 is a troubling number nonetheless, and even more so given the government’s repeated unwillingness to objectively investigate the deaths.

      Well, I'll pay you a sincere compliment: you split the fucking infinitive, like a real American.

      Now, please define how you are using "objectively" in this context, and give us evidence the U.S. Government refuses to so investigate? And tell us why it matters?

As recently as April 8, TNG-CWA and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists again sent letters to President George Bush, calling on him to “heed the requests from journalists around the world for an independent investigation into the record number of deaths among media staff covering the war in Iraq.” And, as in the past, the plea was ignored.

      Well, one moment we needed "objective" investigations, now we need "independent" investigations.  Who or what they will be independent of, and why they are needed isn't said.

      The deaths referenced in the April 8 letter won’t come as a surprise to readers of The Guild Reporter: the April 15 issue led with a cover story questioning the apparent targeting of journalists two years ago at the Palestine Hotel, where a single tank round killed two and wounded three.  That same day, the article noted, U.S. forces also bombed the Al Jazeera television station—killing one—and attacked Abu Dhabi TV.  The Al Jazeera bombing was especially worrisome because the network had provided the U.S. with its station’s coordinates precisely to forestall such an attack.

      First, note the sloppy writing.  The tank commander and gunner did not apparently target people in the Palestine Hotel, they admittedly did it.  Why? Their unit was under mortar fire, they knew through radio intercepts a forward observer was calling in rounds, and they say they thought the journalists were the observers.  Do you have any evidence to indicate this story is false, Mr.  Zip? If so, why are you so reluctant to share it with us?

      As for al-Jazeera, again, its studios weren't bombed.  The studio, as I found when I researched this story, (I've lost the reference, I'll look for it later if anyone wants it) was in an area of government buildings; there were anti-aircraft guns nearby; U.S. forces had arrived in the area and were fighting their way into Baghdad; there were ongoing U.S. air strikes; the journalists on top of the building, who'd been reporting live, were said by an al-Jazeera source to have decided that the situation was too hazardous, so they got off the roof; they left a camera up there, on; then, someone noticed that the camera was pointing at an Iraqi government building they'd been warned not to photograph; the thought of what the Iraqis would do if that were noticed apparently scared them so much they decided to ignore the air attacks and went back to the roof to redirect the camera; while they were doing this, a U.S. plane bombed or rocketed an electrical generator that was next door to al-Jazeera's building, and which sat at ground level; apparently, the al-Jazeera reporter was wounded by fragments, and died, although the source admitted the deaths could have been caused by something else (like, say, the anti-aircraft fire).

      Funny how you don't mention that, Zipman.  Or reflect that the building wasn't bombed, something next door was.  Or wonder if someone just didn't get the word? Or consider any explanation except the idea that the U.S. killed the fool who went back to the roof.

      Such incidents—and the subsequent lack of vigorous inquiry—raise questions about military intentions.

      First the inquiries weren't "objective", then they weren't "independent," now they aren't "vigorous." What Zippo is avoiding saying in plain English is, 'the U.S. military made inquiries, but I don't believe them.' Care to explain why not?

Others create the equally troubling impression of a more generalized trigger-happiness, caused by fear or lack of discipline, that places all civilians at risk.  On May 24, for example, Aaron Glantz of Pacifica Radio told Amy Goodman, host of the radio program “Democracy Now,” that in covering the war “I’ve had a gun pointed at me by American soldiers numerous times and felt that my life was threatened by an American soldier, simply because they were so scared and trigger happy.”

      And who is Aaron Glantz, and why should his feelings be taken as evidence? Especially since he didn't get shot? No evidence or reasoning given.

      Moreover, Glantz added, as Western journalists are so intimidated by such behavior that they pull out, “the Iraqi journalists who remain and the Pan-Arab journalists who remain are specifically being targeted by the U.S. military, I believe, when they broadcast controversial material.”

      And I believe you're a lying sack of shit, Glantz, consciously defaming U.S. troops in order to advance the terrorist's cause.  But in keeping with professional journalistic standards, I won't bother to present any evidence.

      Adding heft to such assertions

      Pardon me while I roll on the floor, laughing.  "Heft!"

      Ok, we continue:
is the independent Committee to Protect Journalists, which has observed a general U.S. military lack of respect for journalists.  For example, a May 12 CPJ statement expressed “deep concern about the detentions of at least eight Iraqi journalists by U.S. and Iraqi military forces,” but in response to its demands for a public explanation of the detentions, a U.S. military spokesman said only that the journalists pose a “security risk to the Iraqi people and coalition forces.” The spokesman would not provide further details or identify the detainees, all of whom work for Western news organizations and none of whom had been charged with any crime.

      Earth to Zippy the Pinheaded Editor: the U.S. military is not a law-enforcement organization, and does not charge civilians with crimes.

      By the way, if you don't know who the detainees are, how do you know who they work for? If you do know who they are, why don't you say so?

      Rather than focus on such troubling behavior, however, the right-wing extremists find it more useful to abuse those who question the disconnect between our actions and our professed beliefs.

      I was not aware that we had ever professed the belief that the military must allow those it believes to be a danger to "the Iraqi people and the coalition forces" free run of the country.  Care to provide a citation?

      Nor, giving the demonstrated dishonesty of terrorists and their supporters, do I find it at all hard to believe that some people who call themselves journalists might be helping the ongoing mass murders of the Iraqi people.  Therefore, I'm not troubled that eight alleged journalists are in detention.

“Abuse” is not too harsh a characterization: the attacks on Foley have been personal—“bitch” and “idiot” have been the leading epithets—and simultaneously abstract, a curious blend of invective neutered by its very lack of specificity.  At least half-a-dozen Guild locals have been contacted by foleygate.com readers demanding that they seek Foley’s resignation.  A direct if vague threat was delivered by a New York resident, who phoned Foley to say he would be in Washington D.C.  and was planning to visit her in response to her comments.

      Flat-out lying.  We specifically complained that Foley wouldn't back up or explain her assertions, and then, when she ran and hid, we specifically said that someone who slanders her country's military in time of war shouldn't hold a responsible position like union president.  Of course, we all knew this, including the Z-man.

      Piling on also has been Boston-based writer Hiawatha Bray, who made his bones with the right wing last fall in a sclerotic attack on John Kerry and now has taken to the blogosphere to go after Foley.

      Lovely, in a sickening way.  Bray is a journalist, and a member of the Newspaper Guild, which Zip won't say clearly.  As for the "made his bones" phrase, notice we don't get a link to the "attack" on Kerry.  And notice the phrase is from a novel about gangsters, and means "committed a first-degree murder." He's just called Bray a journalistic criminal, without evidence.  That's OK, but criticizing Foley is right out.

Although Foley told Bray she’d be glad to speak with him as the Guild president responding to questions from a Guild member, but not for publication, Bray apparently felt he had a right to elicit public comments.

      Bray has blogged about this several times, and explained why he wasn't satisfied with her offer.  No link to the blog so you could find out what Bray thinks, and why.  Diversity of viewpoints, anyone?

      Well, you can always find out Bray's thoughts, unselected by Z-jerk, at Choose Honor.

“I’ve phoned her several times,” he posted on his web site.  “Foley has said that she will make no further public comment on the matter.  This won’t do.”

      And Foley lied, since she has since commented publicly, but only where she was in control.  But that will be in the next installment (he threatened).

      Bray’s response? The launching of a write-in campaign to win a seat on his local’s executive council—a move he explains was inspired by watching Jack Nicholson in the movie “Hoffa.” He ended up getting five votes, of more than 400 cast.

      Actually, Bray announced he'd be a write in candidate in a post on June 4th, then in a June 5th post said:
Partly inspired by Hoffa, I today began my write-in campaign to get on the executive committee of my Newspaper Guild union local.

      Again, we see Zipser cares nothing for accuracy.

      Yet for all the strutting and chest-puffing, a certain note of frustration keeps intruding into the right-wing echo-chamber: the mainstream media just aren’t paying attention.  And if the MSM, as it’s typically termed, won’t devour its own, who will play the end-game? As one blogger fretted, “I’m afraid we may be beating a dead horse on this Foley thing.  The MSM is just not gonna cover it.  And if they don’t cover it, it must not be news.”

      Ah, selective quotation, another example of editing-as-lying.  Actually, many of us are encouraged by the MSM's silence on this, as we get to bash them (Fox and Sinclair excluded), and they don't even defend themselves.  Note that we can now use the MSM's popular dodge, 'They didn't dispute it, so in effect they conceded it was true.' Thanks, fools.

      Meanwhile, support for Foley also has emerged.  The New England District Council, meeting in Portland, Maine on May 22, unanimously endorsed a resolution that declared: “The safety of working journalists is of primary concern to The Newspaper Guild.  We support the efforts of TNG-CWA President Linda Foley to promote the safety of journalists in war zones and throughout the world.”

      And again, we won't be told what Foley is doing to promote journalists' safety.  But since the New England District Council knows, I suggest we all write them, and ask what the efforts consist of (but not today; I gotta finish this, and go see Cinderella Man).

      And Aidan White, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, responded to questions about “Foleygate” by writing: “Linda did no more than speak out, eloquently and strongly, about the fundamental rights of media staff who are the victims of violence.

      No, White, she apparently charged the U.S. military with murder, then refused to explain when caught at it.  Are you really so stupid you don't understand that?

      White again, as quoted by Zip-for-brains:
In doing so she does great credit to the IFJ and her union, and the fact that she is attacked vigorously by a prejudiced and ill-informed minority, who are mostly detached from the harsh realities of reporting from conflict zones, illustrates that we are living in an age when the American spirit of tolerance and free speech which has served democracy well for so long is under greater pressure than most of us have seen in our lifetime.

      Blah, blah, blah.  She made a charge, she was asked to either produce evidence for the charge or explain how she'd been misunderstood, and she refused.  The idea that the public should tolerate such irresponsible behavior is fatuous.  And the idea that Foley's speech should be tolerated, but not that of her critics, is beneath contempt.

      “Foley deserves the support of all journalists for speaking out,” he [White -- St.O.]added.  “Certainly, she has the unanimous backing of the world journalists' movement.”

      I guess Fox, Sinclair, and Hiawatha Bray aren't part of the "world journalists' movement." But I'm glad so many of them support her.  It compounds the injury they've inflicted on themselves.

      As I read this, I had one big question: what do they expect to accomplish with such piss-poor lying? Whatever it is, I think they'll regret it in the long run.



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