Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scripting by CNN

The Democrats in the presidential race had a “debate” Thursday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, broadcast by CNN. That night and the next morning, CNN had the word out — Hillary had bounced back and Obama had stumbled.

By Friday, though, it had also developed that all was not as it seemed the night before. Wolf Blitzer identified the questioners in the audience as “ordinary people, undecided voters.” But, as Gateway Pundit and Doug Ross (among others) found out, none of the questioners was either ordinary or undecided. All are Democratic Party operatives, like the “undecided voter” who, it turned out, was the political director of the Arkansas Democratic Party and a long-time supporter of the Clintons. Then — surprise, surprise! — we learned that every single question hadn't been just planted by CNN, but had been planned and scripted by them. And that's before considering Wolf Blitzer and his colleagues, who caved in to Hillary (or was it to their CNN bosses?) and asked softball questions. No wonder Hillary's staffers were pleased!

But even that wasn't enough for CNN. They had to make sure the post-event analysis went the right way, too. So they stacked their analysis segment with people who were and are on the Clinton payroll. This was a pageant, not a debate. And it was all staged for Hillary, who didn't need to worry about another bad performance. After all, as Gateway Pundit noted:

It's hard to have a bad debate performance when:
** The audience is planted in your favor
** The questions are planted in your favor
** The questioners are your supporters
** The after debate spin room includes 2 former staff members and 1 current campaign analyst

Even so, after having scripted every detail of this pageant, CNN still managed to produce a turkey. Stephen Green may have captured it best:

Lots of fireworks, yet still the worst debate I've seen all season. The blame rests squarely with CNN. ... Horrible, even by the low standards set by Fox News and MSNBC. Horrible, horrible.

Incidentally, this “debate” also raises a question or two about Obama's campaign. He was evidently in on the scripting — he praised the questioner identified as a cashier for “the great work you do on behalf of the culinary workers, a great union here.” He clearly went along with the planted questions and questioners, and turned in a spectacularly lackluster performance. It's enough to make one wonder if he was successfully threatened into subservience, or whether his may actually be a Potemkin campaign. (A related question is whether he knew in advance that the whole event was a setup for Hillary. If not, and if his campaign is real, he should be out attacking Hillary and her CNN agents for these actions.)

All this goes way beyond continuing to be the Clinton News Network. This goes beyond being on Saddam Hussein's payroll, painting a fraudulent rosy picture of conditions in Iraq, as CNN has acknowledged doing. Here CNN decided slanting its reporting wasn't enough, and set out to create news — for Clinton, of course — and thus to defraud its viewers by presenting them with a made-for-TV movie, while pretending it was a debate. This confirms that CNN's political “reporting” is not to be trusted, and raises — again — the question of whether one can trust anything seen on CNN.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

Kyle-Anne Shiver has written an open letter of thanks to America's veterans that is a must read — especially today. Here's an excerpt:

And it is also true, that unless one has been in battle, one does not truly understand the depth of your passion for liberty. To families that have borne no soldiers, you are an enigma. To cowards, you are a shaming presence, a constant reminder of their weakness. To your parents, you represent both the mountaintop of pride, and the deepest valley of concern that mothers and fathers can ever know. And to most of us ordinary citizens, you are the unseen, under-appreciated protectors of all that we hold dear.

Military men and women really are different. Like their brothers and sisters in fields such as firefighting and law enforcement, they are the ones who run toward the fire and toward the firefight, not away. They are the sheepdogs, the ones who protect the sheep from the wolves — but whose presence makes the sheep uncomfortable. They're not all the same; they come in all types. But they share that difference. Sometimes you can see it in their eyes. Sometimes you can see the difference without being able to see who they are.

Even when you're not be able see the difference, the difference is still there. But whether you see the difference or not, whether you are aware of them or not, they are the ones who are there to be a deterrent — and, if necessary, a force for protection and rescue. They are the men and women who have secured and preserved our freedom. To them, along with Kyle-Anne Shiver, I say

You serve and fight for the greatest Nation in the history of civilization. There has never been a grievous wrong that good Americans have not sought to rectify. There has never been a just cause on which America has turned her back for long. You, our soldiers, have been and continue to be, the greatest force for freedom and human rights ever gathered. You have raised our flag around the world, not for domination, but to bring greater liberty and a better way of life. You are the reason America remains a beacon of hope to the entire world.
To all our veterans, and to all who serve, THANK YOU!

Veterans Day

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Michael Yon's Iconic Photo

Here's Michael Yon, in Thanks and Praise:

I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome.

A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from “Chosen” Company 2-12 Cavalry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John’s, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope.

The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. “Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” Another man, a Muslim, said “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.” The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers. 

The conventional wisdom has been that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war between the Sunnis and the Shi'as; the reality is that the sectarian violence in Iraq has been produced, promoted, and primarily carried out by al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist elements. The conventional wisdom has been that Muslims and Christians cannot get along with each other, much less cooperate; the reality is that this bigotry, too, has been imported from foreign sources. The conventional wisdom has been that Iraq is a terrible place that will never be a suitable place for civilized people to live; the reality is far different, as Michael Yon's photographs and reports show.

It seems the problem now is how to combat all that false conventional wisdom. As it's been said,

The problem isn't what you don't know. The problem is what you know that isn't so.
Chris Muir has made his contribution to this effort by capturing the impact of Yon's photo.

And now it has spread. Just a few of the places showcasing the photo are Captain's Quarters, Jules Crittenden, Gateway Pundit, The Anchoress, and Confederate Yankee, among lots of others — all helping to drive out bad information with a large does of good information.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Waterboarding Demonstration

The Associated Press reports "Protesters staged a waterboarding Monday outside the Justice Department, calling for a Senate committee to reject attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey because of his reluctance to define the interrogation tactic as torture." The picture at left shows the waterboarding, and was published with the report.

What struck me in this story is that the demonstrators clearly do not believe waterboarding is torture, no matter what they pretend. Their demonstration demonstrates this. If they believed waterboarding to be torture, they might have simulated it, but they absolutely would not subject one of their own to it. The fact they performed an actual waterboarding, rather than merely a simulation, clearly demonstrates they know it's not torture.

UPDATE: James Taranto (Best of the Web - Not Torture After All) comes to the same conclusion.

Political Humor

The political jokes have started:

Chelsea Clinton was interviewing soldiers and asked one about his fears. He said there were only three things he was afraid of: "Osama, Obama and Yo Mama."