Tuesday Mashup Part One (9/14/10)

  • 1) Here’s a late-breaking development from the Media Research Center…

    Appearing as a guest on Friday’s (9/10) Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, formerly with Newsweek, referred to the debunked story that was retracted by Newsweek in May 2005 which had incorrectly claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet to intimidate Muslim prisoners. But Wolffe did not inform viewers that the story was untrue as he accused conservatives of a double standard for criticizing Newsweek’s inaccurate Koran desecration story from 2005 while not being aggressive enough in condemning Pastor Terry Jones’s plan to burn the Koran on September 11.

    Wow, congratulations to the MRC for finding a droplet of water in an ocean and complaining that it’s wet.

    Yes, as it turns out, the story was retracted by Newsweek after the unnamed official used by the magazine as the source changed his story. However, as we also learn from here, “accusations of Qur’an desecration as a part of U.S. interrogations at prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Guantánamo Bay had been made by a number of sources going back to 2002,” with about a dozen such accusations cited.

    Besides, the real story here (which the MRC actually notes…shocking, I know) is that, given the uproar the last time a Quran desecration story appeared, the relative silence by conservatives on this was dangerously irresponsible (though, fortunately, the whole issue became moot when “Pastor” Terry Jones came down with an attack of sanity and decided not to do anything, though here is a story of a chronic offender on this who really is likely not to be restricted by anything except a jail cell…and kudos to the kid on the skateboard in this story.)

  • 2) Also, here’s another alert for Sheryl Gay Stolberg, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm, and everyone else worried about the “negative perception” generated by Michelle Obama (more hard-hitting Politico “journalism” from here).

    And she didn’t even say “freedom fries”! Worse, I didn’t read about it from either Malcolm or Stolberg. I actually had to find out about this on my own!

    You’re slipping, people!

    Actually, I take that back on Malcolm; as it turns out – he did have something typically snark-filled to say about it here, including the following…

    First Lady Michelle Obama, who has been unable to convince the Smoker-in-Chief to give up that dreadful habit, now has some health suggestions for other American families and for restaurant menus across the country.


    Yeah, it sure is a shame when presidents have their “dreadful habit(s),” isn’t it?

  • 3) Finally, I came across the following from Joel Stein of Time (one of the stupidest columns about Net Neutrality that I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something; more info is here)…

    I like that everything is allowed to be on the Internet, which is like a planet-size bookstore with, for some reason, a continent-size section for pets doing stupid things. But I like that at a real bookstore, I can instantly tell the difference between works by actual historians and works by conspiracy theorists, since the real books are printed on good paper with pretty covers and the others are smudgy pamphlets. We need to bring those barriers of entry to the Internet, and speed is a key way to do it.

    Senator Al Franken, at the Netroots Nation conference in late July, talked about a dystopian future without Net neutrality: “How long do you think it will take before the Fox News website loads five times faster than Daily Kos?” Hopefully, this will happen right away. Fox News should load 20 times faster than Daily Kos, because far more people read it. It’s better for society that millions of people get someplace a little faster while the relatively few Daily Kos readers wait a few seconds. This is why not all roads are the same width. And more people go to the Fox News site because it’s got tons of people reporting, balancing and fairing, whereas two of the contributing editors at Daily Kos are named DarkSyde and Angry Mouse.

    Their names are also Steven Andrew and Kalli Joy Grey, but that’s not the main point, I know (also, according to this, the “relatively few” readers of Daily Kos include “thousands of diarists” and “millions of page views” every day – and this was in 2008; I should note that I found out everything in this paragraph through some truly easy Google searches).

    I want to comment also on Stein’s bookstore analogy, which may be more apropos than he realizes (and I know from whence I speak on this, since I toiled briefly in such an establishment that, happily, went out of business long ago…it was a big conservative donor).

    In a typical chain retail bookstore, you’ve got the mass market titles on display all over the place, since they will sell the most, obviously. And if the “self-help” and Edgar Cayce titles will sell more than the John Grishams and the Richard North Pattersons, well then, they get the center display table so it’s the first thing the customer sees after they shuffle in from Spencer’s, FYE, or whatever.

    But suppose you get somebody like me who may be looking for “The Hidden Persuaders” by Vance Packard, and I need to go to the microfiche counter to order it. Should I have to be told “well, we have more bandwidth for the best sellers than we do for some dusty piece of sociological piffle like the book you want” (and that certainly doesn’t describe “The Hidden Persuaders,” by the way, written about the ad biz in the era of “Mad Men”)? And for that reason, I get told that they have no possible idea of when the book can be shipped.

    I guess a scenario like this is just fine for Stein, but it certainly isn’t fine for me (Stein being a writer callow enough to concoct allegedly humorous columns about Asian Indians in America here, and here, where he said, “Most of what I know about poor people comes from watching ‘Good Times’”).

    Oh, and let’s not forget this from Stein about our troops and Iraq……

    After we’ve decided that we made a mistake, we don’t want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.

    But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they’re following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff’s pet name for the House of Representatives.

    I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I’m tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

    Yes, but somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever click on a pop-up ad and, as a result, have my leg or another body part blown to bits, or suffer a concussive brain injury (idiot).

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