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A Tale of Two Times

A Tale of Two Times

I know a woman who immediately covers her ears when the topic gets to Obama and what he’s done wrong and what he hasn’t done right.  She doesn’t believe any of the things she accidentally overhears and accuses me of making it up.  “Where do you get your news from?” I once asked.   “The New York Times,” she said.  “Of course.”  Of course.

Yesterday, while on a 30-mile bike ride, I caught on with a small group of riders, as often happens.  One of them and I ended up talking politics.  He identified himself as a member of the 47 percent (though somehow he was on a high-end Trek) and a strong Obama supporter.  I asked if maybe the reason he was in the 47 percent was because of Obama’s policies.  Absolutely not, he said, unable to think of anything Obama had misfired on.  His sources of news were the Los Angeles Times, the major networks, and the other usual suspects.

These encounters are valuable in that they highlight the information gulf in our country.  It’s never been so wide and therefore so destructive to the body politic.  With breathtaking consistency, reporters and editors in legacy media evince their biases both by commission in the way they frame stories, and omission by not reporting news unfavorable to their worldview.  “All the news that’s fit to print” has morphed into All the news that fits our agenda.

There’s an excellent case in point in today’s news.  From the (distinctly not legacy) Washington Times:

Security for U.S. diplomats in Libya was cut in the weeks before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, despite the North African country’s high-risk environment, according to a member of the security team assigned to U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

“I felt like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers,” Army Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, who headed a Special Forces site security team in Tripoli, told CBS News. “We felt we needed more, not less.”

The attack, which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, occurred in the midst of Arab world protests against a U.S.-produced film that disparages Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

And on this subject in the New York Times:


A search of the “paper of record”‘s website for security Libya reveals a number of stories but nothing close to that kind of meat.  Yes, it could be some good gumshoe work on the part of the Washington Times’s Shaun Waterman.  More likely, this was a story that the NYT didn’t want to pursue because it didn’t want to learn anything that it wouldn’t want to report.  Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

To wit: The second story that appears on the Times’s website for the “security Libya” search is in essence an apologia for the Obama administration:

An effective response by newly trained Libyan security guards to a small bombing outside the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi in June may have led United States officials to underestimate the security threat to personnel there, according to counterterrorism and State Department officials, even as threat warnings grew in the weeks before the recent attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The next story turns the issue of the consulate’s security into pure politics:

Republicans on the House oversight committee on Tuesday accused officials in Washington of turning down repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi, Libya, before the fatal attack on the diplomatic compound there last month.

Had a Republican been in the White House, Democrats in Congress wouldn’t have had to accuse the president of failing, because the press would have done the job for them with 24/7 yapping-dog coverage.

Of course, with the administration blaming the violence on a video, anything less than obeisance to that narrative would hurt the president’s reelection chances. And so the dogs go silent.

This answers the question of how the president could possibly still be in a race that shouldn’t be close.  For those on the left, no news is good news…for their guy.


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You’re absolutely right (as usual!) that the President of the United States is 100% responsible for the details of security arrangements around the world!!! We can be certain that things will be VERY different under President Romney, just as they were under President Bush. (Who was, of course, IN NO WAY responsible for not stopping the 9/11 attacks.)

Keep up the good work, Professor!!!

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Avi. | October 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Get a grip, dude. There’ll be another Democrat president, you know, someday.

    ars21689 in reply to Avi. | October 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Bless your heart.

    ars21689 in reply to Avi. | October 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    By the way Avi, just go back and check the number of times the U.S. and her interests were hit under Clinton and what exactly he did about it.

    Also, how do you feel about Obama murdering civilians in Pakistan and covering it up by cooking the numbers? I have heard almost no self righteous indignation from the left over that subject.

    Observer in reply to Avi. | October 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    The point of the article was media bias, not presidential responsibility for the security of consulates.

    Also, the article was authored by Joel Engel, not Professor Jacobson. Mr. Engel, according to his bio (which you can access by clicking on his name), is a journalist.

    Reading comprehension is not your strong suit, is it, Avi? Seems to be a problem for a lot of you lefties.

    LukeHandCool in reply to Avi. | October 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    “Keep up the good work, Professor!!!”

    Professor Engel,

    I’ve mentioned it here a few times, but the guy who was editor of our high school newspaper (Luke was a writer) is now a columnist for the LA Times. He was the Times’ media critic, but now he mostly writes about politics.

    If you look at his Twitter home page, you get a good idea about his bias. (Even though he sends out occasional tweets sarcastically mocking charges that the LA Times is a “biased liberal rag!” … that was his latest pathetic attempt at inoculating himself and the Times against charges of bias.)

    He went at it with Andrew Breitbart (I saw Andrew call him out as a liar on TV) and Patterico about the LA Acorn tape. He tried to run interference for ACORN and made up a quote which he attributed to James O’Keefe.

    He wrote a column about a “conservative” blogger once. Who was the blogger? Why … Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, of course.

    The slant on the story was that Johnson was losing favor with conservatives because he was supposedly so independent thinking … not part of the herd. More like losing favor because he’s losing his mind.

    When he pretends to show balance he says things like, “Even conservatives such as David Frum/Meghan McCain/Kathleen Parker/David Brooks say that blah blah blah …”

    You get the picture.

    Recently, Michelle Malkin just pummeled him:

    When Biden made his “… put y’all back in chains” remark, this guy had one tweet about it, in support of Biden.

    Romney’s “47%” remark? I thought he’d never stop tweeting about it. He made it sound like it was the biggest news of the 2012 election.

    Benghazi? Judging by his tweets, Benghazi was nowhere near as important as Romney’s 47% remark.

    As with other high school classmates, we became Facebook friends. He rarely posted personal information, instead posting his columns and tweets to Facebook. When I tried to argue politics from a conservative viewpoint with his followers, they usually started calling me the usual names … “racist” etc., so what did he do? Chide them? No, he deleted me.

    The inherent problem with journalism is it isn’t an exact science. That alone is a big problem. But when you get journalists living in a liberal bubble inside an echo chamber … and they then intentionally skew the news … as Democratic pollster Pat Caddell said, they have become enemies of the American people. They think they know better, and have no qualms about influencing the news rather than reporting it. Thus, to some degree, our children’s future is in their hands. That makes my blood boil … the sheer arrogance.

    When I glance at his columns, the only thing that comes to mind, besides the blatant bias, is that, if I got all my news from the likes of him and his ilk, I would be so far behind the news curve, so completely ignorant of so many important stories, and usually wrong in what I thought to be right, compared to the average LI reader. If you said, “Fast & Furious,” I’d probably reply, “Is that a good movie?”

    What this guy does for a living as a supposed professional, does not come close to what Professor Jacobson and the rest of you produce at LI in your free time.

    It isn’t a close call at all. But he has the certification. How maddening. He is a journalist.

    But then, he really isn’t. To me, the spirit of the word means conveying the truth the best you can determine it to be. And prioritizing by importance what should be covered given space and time limits.

    I’ll take LI over the LA Times any day of the week.

    Just give me the truth. I can handle it. And then I can determine who to vote for and other things in life which I think, based on the information available to me, will best serve my children and grandchildren and their generations.

    LukeHandCool (who has so much more to say, but who is feeling woefully inarticulate at the moment. And who says, “30-mile bike ride in L.A.?” And who, many years ago in Japan, stuck in the sticks, bought a bicycle, his first in years, with the help of the fluent Japanese-speaking American Mormon missionaries in town. Nice, nice people. Luke woke up before the crack of dawn the next day, hopped on his bike, and rode from Ube to Shimonoseki, the very southern tip of the main island of Honshu. There he found a public aquarium. Luke loves zoos and aquaruims. So, after the long ride, he watched the shows and looked at all the exhibits and drank a lot of beer with lunch. Big mistake. When Luke tried to stand up after sitting a couple hours drinking with his late lunch and watching the dolphin show a few times, he realized his knees were killing him from the morning bike ride … his first ride in years. He also realized it would be getting dark fairly soon and that he’d better head back right away. Barely able to ride due to his aching knees and leg muscles, his head now pounding for having drunk too much in the middle of the day, Luke was about to give up hope of ever making it back to his home (his Japanese apartment) when it started to rain. Then he gave up hope. He’ll never forget waiting at a red light, his head and knees aching like never before, drenched and freezing in the rain, not sure he was going the correct way home, darkness falling, cars roaring by, and here comes a little old Japanese man on a bicycle, his left hand holding the handle bars while he held an umbrella with his right hand. He stopped beside Luke at the red light, looked over at Luke and said, “Ame desu nee.” (Its raining.) Luke wanted to know how to say, “No sh*t, Sherlock” in Japanese, but he just politely responded, “Hai, ame desu nee.” (Yes, it is raining). Luke made it home 7 or 8 hours later, barely alive, with no tears left to cry. Home is where the hot bath is. Moral of the story: Don’t ride bicycles.)

    Good grief Rachel Maddcow the second – you’re invoking Bush! Bush kept your ass safe so that you could write your diatribe ditties thereby revealing your myopia. Here’s my shoulder, cry me a river with that one eye: Wah, wah, wah…

    Things will be different with Romney looking out for America. He won’t be covering his ass with the camo the media fabricates.

    IceColdTroll in reply to Avi. | October 9, 2012 at 9:39 am


As a fellow professor of law, it disappoints me to no end to hear my students swallow whatever they read without any critical thinking, analysis or investigation. I must constantly harp on them to check sources, verify information and think critically, because that is what their clients will need and their insurance policy expect! Considering lawyers are to be critically minded yet often fail, why should we expect the general population to be any different? Keep educating everyone! Your work with Ms. Warran has been exemplary!

    Valerie in reply to Manyburgers. | October 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Good luck, your intentions are good.

    Meanwhile, I’ve made a career out of parking my behind in a chair and forcing myself to read original documents. It’s just amazing what you can learn by reading the document (as opposed to a single quote, or commentary). Your students are fresh meat, to people like me, and I look so very harmless.

I have liberal/left relatives to whom the NY Times is sacred text. It’s not possible to exaggerate the holy regard for the Times. But they don’t recognize it. They’re are all hyper-educated and feel above such partisan influences or dependencies. The genius of the NY Times has always been its ability to feed the vanity of such people, to reflect back at them their own sense of cosmopolitan sagacity, to disguise yet satisfy their seething ideological cravings.

The funny thing is, when events don’t conform to their NY Times reality, when truth collides with their fiction, these people blame reality and truth, not the Times or its fictions. I’m not kidding. They say that conservatives or the stupid masses or some other unpredicted dark forces contrived to destroy the “truth” — as told by the NY Times — that would otherwise have prevailed.

Avi, did you respond to a different post by mistake? This post was abundantly clear that the professor’s ire was directed at the media that refuses to provide clear information to a public that’s obviously starved for it. If you are really leaping to “Bush was worse and you’re a hypocrite” from this base point, it is an acrobatic act worthy of Cirque de Soliel.
As an aside, I’ve been drinking at the Denver Press Club for nearly twenty years and have noticed that most of the working press can’t be trusted to run a tab.

The lunatic-left socialist media still doesn’t get it. As more and more people get disgusted by their blatantly biased “reporting” – full of lies, distortions, misrepresentations, half-truths, baseless slime attacks and endless propaganda supporting their out-of-touch positions, all served up with a complete absence of journalistic ethics – people will look elsewhere for honest, factual information.

Today, the socialist media is completely divorced from “news” and factual information. It merely regurgitates the lies and leftist propaganda defined by the OBOZO White House, george soros, and the JournoList vast left-wing media conspiracy.

Even the Washington Post admits, as a result of an internal self analysis, that the paper has indeed lived up to the claim that they are ALL-HUSSEIN, ALL-THE-TIME. Their OWN study showed that their coverage of hussein was substantially greater than that of McCain, and that the majority of their stories on TheOne were with a favorable bias. Any objective reader would come to the same conclusion.

To illustrate the perversity of the WaPo bias, look at their explanation of how they get “poll” results. Again, by their own admission (these admissions suggest they feel guilty from their outrageous crimes against responsible journalism), they intentionally distort the pool of respondents to increase the number of those expected to support their lunatic-left agenda. Most people call this “fixing the result”.

But the NY Times (“All The News That’s Fit To Fake”) has gone much further into hussein-love than even WaPo’s most blatantly biased efforts. This rag is so outrageously biased it makes Al Jazeera seem Fair and Balanced in comparison.

And as for the networks ABC, CBS, NBC/MSNBC and CNN – they are engaged in competing to see which one can cram the most pro-hussein “love” into each half-hour broadcast. Most objective viewers say nbc is the clear winner in this is category, while cbs wins in the “slime-opponents-of-TheOne” category thanks to their endless, vicious, baseless attacks on Sara Palin and anybody else who doesn’t swallow the socialist BS. (N.B. GE, owner of NBC/MSNBC, has received BILLIONS in taxpayer bailout money from the socialists; Disney, owner of ABC, has received MILLIONS in earmarks in corrupt, crazy Pelosi’s PORKULUS.)

It wasn’t always so. The greats of journalism are now rolling over in their graves at the despicable travesty that has overcome their profession. A free and unbiased press is (rather, it was) a cornerstone of democracy – with it’s death at the hands of the lunatic-left socialists the freedoms of Americans are now even more in jeopardy.

My father-in-law has CNN on all day in his house (unless there’s golf to watch). He’s occasionally critical of specific anchors and will at times scoff at the accuracy of stories. But if CNN hasn’t covered it then it hasn’t happened.

Some are suggesting Obama in his allowing the lowering of security in Benghazi wanted a hostage situation – whereas he would appear as the “foreign policy” president and would succeed in freeing Americans from terrorist hands before the election.

Unfortunately, terrorists like Al-Qaeda are not friends, which explains how he was able to sleep even though he knew there was an attack on the embassy. Strange, but they raced to cover their tracks when the ambassador was murdered.

Hmmmn . . . .

Excellent post.

MainStream Media really and truly is dead to me — but it has been for awhile. As at one time a rule but now as just a life habit — I haven’t watched network/cable television news in years outside of important breaking events. Although — I rarely watch television anymore these days at all for that matter anyway.

I don’t read newspapers or news magazines at all anymore either — aside from the occasional doctor office or other waiting room time killer.

All of my news and events information is strictly internet based nowadays. From sites that I have vetted to my own satisfaction under my own set of standards and rules and that have been found to be worthy of my presence — and my patronage. Yes — I do make a point to use website provided Amazon links so they get a commission and I do occasionally patronize some advertisers.

Their goose is cooked. They’ve all but lifted the veil entirely with their last few years of desperation to peddle influence, engineer election outcomes, and kow-tow to the existing regime that is anything and everything but democratic, transparent, and law abiding. The entire MSM can [and will] go to hell as far as I am concerned.

Let me tell you all about my Mom. She’s elderly now, but still pretty sharp and reasonable when it comes to most things, she is a victim of the MSM. All her life she’s had the Boston Globe delivered to her door, watched the Today Show and the NBC Nightly News, there will be no changing that. I have come to the conclusion that Politics are an issue I simply will not discuss with her, she knows nothing. Bought up Fast and Furious, she looks at me with a blank stare, knows nothing about it. Same with anything Obama has screwed up, or any issue regarding this administration. She is brain washed, I find it all so very sad, the crazy part is she thinks she knows what is going on. How many millions more people are just like my Mom?
Just want to add, she voted for and loves Scott Brown… proving she is not totally nuts.

BannedbytheGuardian | October 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Cheer up. Everybody hates me here.

All the news that’s print to fit.

NC Mountain Girl | October 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I’ve been skeptical of the media since I was a teenybopper. My mother and some of her friends in the American Legion Auxiliary’s Girls’ State program had been played by a nasty aspiring black nationalist. Upon her arrival she whined to all the small town girls how as a black she didn’t stand a chance. Then upon being elected Governor she showed her true colors- or maybe those of her teachers- with Black Power salutes during the National Anthem, perpetual whines that the system was unfair and veiled threat against other participants that her gang member friends could find out where they lived. When my mother and her friends stopped her from representing our state at Girls’ Nation they were the ones who were branded as bigots by the local media. It was 1968. Accusations of racism sold papers so the truth about his nasty piece of human debris be damned.

Since then I have come to realize it’s only gotten worse as the progressive myth that journalism is a profession took root as the WWII class of reporters all retired. Journalism is at best a trade or perhaps at its very highest level a vocation. Unlike law, medicine, engineering or architecture there is no body of knowledge to be mastered before one can call themselves a journalist. It is at best a skill set mated to a certain personality type. The communication skills required are quite basic – the ability to write to a style manual or speak without stammering. Alas perhaps the most important skill of all has been hopelessly discounted by the politically correct gatekeepers. Indeed the insatiable and indomitable curiosity that made so many journalistic careers in prior eras seems to have been replaced by blinders when certain parties are involved. Displaying even the basic curiosity about the Obama administration’s many failings can be seen as a career limiting move. The result is that most of today’s journalism amounts to rank oikophobia mated to self righteous posturing. In that way it resembles another trade/vocation that the so called progressives attempted to elevated to a profession in post WWII America- that of teaching. That both of these “professions” have failed their users should not be surprising.

Back during my college “Russian Studies” degree program in the 1970s (yeah, I’m an old fart!) I remember seeing a little cartoon depicting a New York Times “journalist” chatting with a Pravda counterpart in Moscow.

NYT guy: We have a motto: “All the news that’s fit to print.”
Pravda guy: We have a motto, too: “All the news that’s printed fits.”

Same same…

    IceColdTroll in reply to pilgrim1949. | October 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Now, I don’t want to seem like I’m one of the tinfoil-hat brigade, but . . .
    . . . have you ever noticed that EVERY SINGLE DAY, just enough happens to fill EVERY SINGLE NEWSPAPER in the world?????


[…] even bother to respond to his last two requestsUPDATE IV: Joel Engel at Legal Insurrection:In yet another story that you won’t find in the New York Times, Charlie Spiering in the Washington Examiner reported […]