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CONTEMPT OF TRUTH

My friend Bill Roggio, an Army veteran and Web logger who was embedded with U.S. Marines in Iraq last fall, was a guest this week on a segment of the CNN show "On the Story."  The topic was news coverage from Iraq.

"On the Story" gets even lower ratings than the average CNN show, so there's a question of how representative of American public opinion audience reaction is.  But before the segment with Bill began, host Ali Velshi conducted a little poll.

"Give me a show of hands if you have confidence in the news coming out of Iraq," Mr. Velshi asked the studio audience.  "It looks like about 30 percent of you."

"Let's see a show of hands of those of you who don't have confidence like (Defense Secretary) Donald Rumsfeld says," he asked.  "That looks like 90 percent of you."

Mr. Roggio responded by giving the media a D+.  "Reporting often is inaccurate, usually lacks context, often aids al Qaeda, and is why Americans like those in the audience have been so misinformed."

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PROSECUTING JOURNALISTS – AND SENATORS – FOR TREASON?

Journalists will be paying rapt attention when Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman go on trial next month for violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.

Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman were officials of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee.  They received classified information from Lawrence Franklin, an analyst at the Department of Defense, which they passed on to an Israeli diplomat, and to journalists.  They are the first private citizens ever to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act.

Mr. Franklin pled guilty Jan. 20th and was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison, though his sentence could be reduced in exchange for testimony against Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman.

Journalists note there is little difference between what Mr. Rosen and Weissman are accused of doing, and what reporters who have published stories based on leaks of classified information have done, and beads of sweat form on their brows. 

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THE DEMOCRAT’S APRIL FOOLS’ NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

The mood in Washington has been sour lately, so many were grateful when the Democrats in Congress provided a little levity Wednesday, March 29 by issuing their national security strategy.

It would have been more appropriate to delay its release until Saturday, April 1st - April Fools' Day.

On Feb. 3rd, the Defense Department issued its quadrennial report on defense strategy.  It was 92 pages long.  The "Democratic Plan to Protect America and Restore Our Leadership in the World" is six pages long.  Half of these pages are in Spanish, saying what was said in English.  And there is a cover page in each language. 

So the actual "plan" is just two pages long, presented in bullet points in large type, with plenty of white space between them.  It contains 833 words. Party elders must have burned the midnight oil for months to produce this magnum opus.

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MAKING EXCUSES FOR MOSLEM VIOLENCE

On March 3, Mohammed Taheri-azar, a 22-year-old graduate of the University of North Carolina, rented an SUV and drove it into "the Pit," an area between two libraries on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill where students congregate, injuring nine.

Mr. Taheri-azar told police he made the attack "to avenge the deaths of Moslems around the world." He smiled and waved at his arraignment, and told reporters he was "thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah."

In Chapel Hill, university officials have refused to characterize Mr. Taheri-azar's assault as either a hate crime or an act of terror.   When some students protested the attack, there was a counter protest.

"By calling it religious violence, you are telling people that Moslems are violent," sophomore Johnathon Pourzal complained to the Durham Herald Sun.

Gee, I wonder what would give people that idea?

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NO CIVIL WAR: IRAQ DISAPPOINTS THE NEW YORK TIMES ONCE AGAIN

The Associated Press reported Monday (2/27) that Sunni Arabs in Iraq are prepared to end their boycott of talks to form a national unity government, thus disappointing yet again those journalists who've been telling us for two years civil war is imminent.

It seemed last Wednesday (2/22) as if the pessimists might finally be right after terrorists destroyed the Golden Mosque in Samarra, one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam.  Shia militias attacked more than a dozen Sunni mosques in retaliation.  An unprecedented three day curfew was imposed in Baghdad in order to curb sectarian violence in which more than 100 people were killed.

To the grave disappointment of the New York Times, both Sunni and Shia religious leaders have called for calm.  "We have much more evidence of a strong national unity movement in Iraq," says Iraqi Web logger Haider Ajina of the weekend demonstrations.  "This attack was supposed to plunge Iraq into sectarian mayhem and senseless massive killing.  This did not happen."

These peaceful demonstrations for peace drew little attention from a news media that is eager to report on a civil war, even if it isn't happening.

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IS IT SMART TO ATTACK ALL MOSLEMS?

What do the arrests of three suspected Moslem terrorists in Ohio have to do with the purchase by an Arab company of the firm that manages facilities at six U.S. seaports?

Nothing...and everything.

The Justice Department indicted Tuesday Mohammad Zaki Amawi, 26, of Toledo; Marwan Othman al-Hindi, 42, of Toledo, and Wassim Mazloum, 24, of Cleveland, on charges of plotting to kill U.S. military personnel.

So what does this have to do with the purchase by Dubai Ports World of the British firm that manages commercial operations at ports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans?

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AL GORE: CRAZY, STUPID, TREASONOUS, OR ALL THREE?

Former Vice President Al Gore is bitterly disappointed he was not elected president.  Periodically, he expresses his disappointment in ways that gives us reason to be thankful he wasn't.

The most recent was last weekend, when he traveled to Saudi Arabia to make a speech denouncing the United States. The occasion was the annual Jeddah economic forum, which is sponsored in part by the family of Osama bin Laden (which claims to have distanced itself from the family black sheep). 

Mr. Gore has not disclosed how much he was paid for his words of wisdom.  It probably is less than the $267,000 former president Bill Clinton was paid for speaking to the group in 2002, but odds are his fee was in six figures.

Whatever Mr. Gore's speaking fee was, his hosts likely thought it a bargain, considering what the former vice president had to say.

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YELLOW-BELLIED LILY LIVERED US MEDIA COWARDS I

The New York Times had an editorial Tuesday, February 7, on the controversy triggered by publication in a Danish newspaper of 12 caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. "The New York Times and much of the rest of the nation's news media have reported on the cartoons but refrained from showing them," the editors said. "That seems a reasonable choice for news organizations that usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols..." The very next day, Wednesday, February 8, the Times published, gratuitously, an image of the Virgin Mary in elephant dung. And the New York Times was one of many newspapers which in 1989 published a photograph of Christ on a crucifix submerged in a vat of urine. Washington Post executive editor Len Downie told Editor & Publisher he wouldn't publish the Danish cartoons because of "general good taste." Had Mr. Downie developed his good taste a week earlier, the Post might not have published a cartoon of a quadruple amputee soldier so vile all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote a letter to the editor protesting it. Most in the news media don't mind offending people who express their outrage by writing letters to the editor. But when the offended threaten to cut off the editor's head, editors become more "culturally sensitive."

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BLACK DEMOCRAT POTS

It was no way to treat a lady. Washington Post ombudswoman Deborah Howell wrote a column praising her paper for exposing lobbyist Jack Abramoff. She was deluged with so much obscene email from outraged liberals the Post had to shut down one of its Web sites. Mr. Abramoff pled guilty earlier this month to defrauding his clients (Indian tribes who owned casinos) and the Internal Revenue Service. Ms. Howell's critics were in high dudgeon over a distinction without a difference. In the 7th paragraph of her story lauding reporter Susan Schmidt, she wrote: "And (Abramoff) had made substantial contributions to both major parties." "I heard that I was lying, that Democrats never got a penny of Abramoff-tainted money, that I was trying to say it was a bipartisan scandal," a stunned Ms. Howell wrote in her column last Sunday. All of Mr. Abramoff's personal contributions went to Republicans. But the big money was what Mr. Abramoff directed his clients to contribute.

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DOES AL GORE WANT OSAMA BIN LADEN TO SUCCEED?

In an audiotape broadcast Thursday on al Jazeera, Osama bin Laden said al Qaeda is preparing to strike the United States again. Last month Italian authorities arrested three Algerians with al Qaeda connections. They were plotting attacks on ships, railway stations and stadiums in the United States, said Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu. Some Democrats think President Bush should be impeached for trying to keep them from succeeding. Like Al Gore.

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