Thursday, December 09, 2004

Journalistic Ethics? (Cough) 

Roger L. Simon posts today about a reporter, Edward Lee Pitts, of the Chattanooga Free Press, who apparently planted the questions about armor in Rumsfeld's town hall meeting in Kuwait. Pitts allegedly bragged about it in an e-mail to his colleagues. Simon saw the story on Drudge.

Now, I have no idea whether the e-mail is legit, but if it is, it seems to me that this reporter blatantly violated journalistic ethics by manufacturing the news. He had a personal agenda, and used his position as a reporter to further that agenda. It's similar to the TV reporters a few years ago who planted squibs on the pickup truck to make the gas tank story more visually exciting.

I think I'd fire the guy if I was his editor.

I think of things like this when the media start harping about morality and ethics on the part of government officials. And when the media claim special privilege not to reveal sources in a court of law.

Abraham Lincoln said, "Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see." That's good advice in this age of 24 hour news cycles and media types with axes to grind.

UPDATE: I originally had the meeting set in Afghanistan, it was in Kuwait, and it's fixed now. Additionally, notwithstanding the fact that the question was planted, it is nonetheless a legitimate issue. I think Rummy handled it well, and didn't try to obfuscate or dance around the issue.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Smash Counsels a Deserter 

A sailor named Pablo Paredes, a Navy fire control technician on USS Bonhomme Richard, got his 15 minutes of fame earlier this week when he very publicly refused to deploy to Iraq with his ship. Like the guys in Canada, he enlisted, then decided he was anti-war when his Navy duties required him to go where the action is. Citizen Smash has posted an open letter to Paredes. It's worth a read.

BTW, although I have no personal experience with the military, my dad served for 30 years in the Army and my son is a naval officer. I agree with Smash 100%.

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Another One Bites the Dust 

James A. Goldsborough, the reactionary leftist-in-residence at the San Diego Union-Tribune, is quitting. He says in his farewell column today that he has resigned because his editor killed his column last week, "without discussion." The column that was spiked can be read here. Smash has more.

I've never liked Goldborough's writing. Besides being way too holier-than-thou for my taste, I don't recall a single piece of his in which he backed up his opinions with facts. Not to say that he didn't put facts in his columns, but they were irrelevant to his opinions, i.e., they proved some other point than the one he was trying to make. The column that was spiked is a case in point. Goldsborough argued that Bush was pandering to Jews by supporting Sharon's policies respecting the Palestinian Arabs, but the facts he cites -- Jews voted for Kerry by a 3-to-1 ratio -- don't support that argument. They only support the proposition that Jews tend not to vote Republican.

Now, I didn't read every column he ever wrote, so I might be wrong, but it always seemed to me that Goldsborough took the DNC talking points as revealed truth and went on from there. I don't have a problem with opinion columnists giving opinions, but I've always thought it bad form for a professional journalist to engage in circular logic in his pieces. Goldsborough would have been a lot more convincing if he'd laid better foundations for his arguments. I won't miss him.

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