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War Blog By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 17, 2004



"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

"Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytising faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science - the science against which it had vainly struggled - the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome."




From The Wall Street Journal: The Media Watershed: Dan Rather and the end of the liberal monopoly.

Mr. Rather and his CBS bosses are sticking to their story, despite the growing evidence on the other side, leaving unanswered the biggest question of all: Who perpetrated this apparent fraud on CBS and the American voters? As journalists who sometimes go out on a limb ourselves, we'd have thought Mr. Rather's first recourse would not be to get mad but instead to double- and triple-check his sources.

From The Washington Post: Rather Concedes Papers Are Suspect.

"If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story," Rather said in an interview last night. "Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.'"

Yet, after a one week of non-stop criticism for pushing fake memos as real, Rather has done nothing but stonewall.

"This is not about me," Rather said before anchoring last night's newscast. "I recognize that those who didn't want the information out and tried to discredit the story are trying to make it about me, and I accept that."

Dan Rather used faked memos to bolster a story criticizing a sitting president's military record, all during a hotly contested election and an ongoing war. How could that NOT be about Dan Rather? There may be some truth to criticisms about Bush's Guard service, but in Rather's world, what he believes to be true is more important than what is true. That's not journalism; it's editorializing. Michael Moore has made millions doing the same thing.

Perhaps Dan Rather needs a new sign off line: "I Report. You Accept It."  Thursday, September 16, 2004







Before there was Dan Rather, there was the Associated Press. We reported here and in several follow-up posts on one of the biggest media scandals of this campaign. On Sept. 3, there was a Bush rally in West Allis, Wisconsin. President Bush announced to the crowd that he had just learned that former President Clinton had been hospitalized. There was a moment of near-silence in which a slight murmur of concern was audible. Then Bush said that his thoughts and prayers were with the Clinton family, and the crowd cheered and applauded loudly.

But that's not what the AP reported. Under the by-line of reporter Tom Hays, the AP said: "Bush's audience of thousands in West Allis, Wisconsin booed. Bush did nothing to stop them." That was a lie, plain and simple. Audio and television tapes show that no one booed. No one.

From an informant who is a member of the White House press corps and was at the West Allis rally, we learned that the real author of the story was not Tom Hays, but another AP reporter named Scott Lindlaw. Lindlaw is a virulent Bush-hater; our informant has heard him say, "My mission is to see that Bush is not re-elected." During Bush's speech, Lindlaw had ear plugs in his ears to screen out crowd noise. After the speech, he was seen to approach an AP colleague to say, "I thought I heard boos. Did someone boo?" His colleague assured him that no one booed, but Lindlaw wrote the story anyway.

The AP issued a corrected version of the story on the rally that omitted the false claim about the booing, and Bush "doing nothing to stop it," but hundreds of newspapers and television stations had already picked up the story. The AP has never made any explanation of what happened, nor, to our knowledge, has Lindlaw been disciplined in any way for deliberately filing a false news story.

Reader Patrick Hynes alerted us to this news story, "AP Reporter in 'Clinton Booed' Flap Stands by Claim":

Tom Curley, AP president and CEO, was asked by Talon News to explain the circumstances surrounding the correction.

Curley said, "The reporter and a couple others standing with him thought they heard booing. After checking of tapes, they decided it was oohs, not boos."

Curley also confirmed that Hays was not present at the Wisconsin rally, but was in New York at the time of the event. The reference to "booing" came from material provided by Lindlaw. Talon News confronted Lindlaw on Friday about the discrepancy in his reporting of the event.

When asked if he heard booing as he reported, he replied, "I did."

Lindlaw declined to be interviewed but insisted that his reporting was accurate. Lindlaw said, "What I had to say I put in the wire."

Lindlaw refused to answer any other questions about the report. Lindlaw provided no explanation for making a charge that would create a negative impression of President Bush and his supporters.

The suggestion that the reporter innocently mistook "ooohs" for "boos" is ridiculous. You can listen to the audio of the rally via a link from our original story, linked above. There is no noise that could remotely be construed as a boo.

The AP and Lindlaw should not be allowed to get away with this outrage. We have sent many emails to info@ap.org asking for an explanation of this event; I'd encourage others to do so as well. I believe Mr. Lindlaw's email address is slindlaw@ap.org.


The New York Post's Deborah Orin comments on the apparent political futility of John Kerry's jumping on the sinking ship of CBS's attack on President Bush's National Guard record: "Kamikaze Kerry Rides Along With Loser Dan." Someday, I'd like to meet the Post's headline writer:

Ask outside Democratic strategists, and they all say it makes zero sense for Kerry allies to piggyback on the Rather attacks against Bush's National Guard service now that the anchor's credibility is melting like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Worried Dems say it shows lack of discipline, lack of strategy, lack of message and freelancing — just what a slipping campaign can't afford. "It's stupid, it's stupid, it's stupid. Get off the National Guard and all that bull. Every day we talk about the National Guard and Vietnam is another day that George Bush wins. No one cares about 30 years ago," a top Dem says.

Another tells of a focus group of swing voters this week where no one even mentioned Rather's Guard flap but an unnerving number "parroted back" attacks on Kerry as a flip-flopper who lied about his Vietnam service. "The Kerry people think they didn't attack Bush hard enough. They're dead wrong. More attacks on Bush aren't a reason to vote for Kerry," this strategist says.

Others suspect the driving force in going after Bush on the Guard is a deep rage inside Kerry and wife Teresa...over how the Vietnam issue has backfired on the Democrat candidate. By this theory, Kerry simply can't accept the fact that the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth seriously damaged him with TV ads challenging his war and anti-war record.

Kerry, they say, is fixated on getting someone to do similar damage to Bush.

Except that Bush didn't run as the "National Guard candidate" in the first place, and, given that he's been President for four years, no one thinks that what he did in Alabama thirty-two years ago will shed helpful light on how he might perform in his second term. But the Kerry camp apparently can't figure this out.


Reader Bud Caldwell points out that in the latest Rasmussen Tracking Poll, released just a few minutes ago, President Bush has jumped out to a nearly five-point lead over John Kerry. Bud wonders whether this represents, at least in part, reaction to the CBS forgery scandal.

I doubt it. Rasmussen's results have been a little odd lately, as he alone among pollsters has not shown the President with much of a post-convention bounce. Today's results (representing a three-day rolling average) are more in line with what most pollsters are getting.

Rasmussen has, however, done some interesting polling on Memogate. Surprisingly, 38% of voters say they are following the story "very closely," while another 34% say "somewhat" closely. Voters' opinions vary, of course, with party affiliation, but a 38% to 27% plurality believes the memos were forged. Among those following the story "very closely," 56% say they are forgeries, and only 27% believe they are authentic.

These numbers are two days old, and will presumably continue to worsen for the Kerry campaign as more information seeps out.  Thursday, September 16, 2004


President Bush isn't the only person who has recently been slandered by Dan Rather and CBS News for political reasons. Eric Fettmann of the New York Post reports on "Rather's Other Imploding 'Scoop":

The network is coming under fire in some quarters for a "CBS Evening News" broadcast about what it billed as a sensational national-security scandal that may have impacted critical U.S. policy decisions in the Middle East.

Less than a month later, however, the "sensation" has fallen far short of its original explosive billing. But that hype has provided potent ammunition for enemies of both Israel and the Bush administration's Mideast policies — ammunition that those forces are gleefully using.

"We start tonight with breaking news," Rather intoned breathlessly, "a CBS News exclusive, what could be a serious security breach inside the United States Defense Department. Federal agents now believe there is a mole working at the highest levels of the Pentagon, a spy for a major world power who may have been in a position to influence Bush administration policy — policy on Iran and Iraq."

Lesley Stahl went on to report: "The FBI believes it has solid evidence that the suspected mole" — later identified as Larry Franklin, a mid-level analyst with no policymaking input — "supplied Israel with classified material that includes secret White House policy deliberations on Iran."

This, declared Stahl, "put the Israelis . . . inside the decision-making loop, so they could try to influence the outcome." And, she added, there's another concern: "Did Israel also use the analyst to try to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq?"

But: CBS said arrests were imminent — yet none have materialized. And no one is talking anymore about moles or sinister forces secretly shaping U.S. policy — or even about espionage, for that matter. (Both AIPAC and the Israelis deny having done anything illegal or improper.)

Suffice it to say, though, that this has less to do with national security than with partisan politics. As Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a friend of Franklin's, told The New York Sun: "When the FBI has a case against someone . . . they indict him and arrest him and put him away. They don't go to Lesley Stahl."

There is a certain consistency in CBS's fictitious "scoops." Can anyone think of an example of Dan Rather breathlessly announcing breaking news that turned out to be a flop--if not a pure fabrication--where the story reflected badly on a Democrat?  Wednesday, September 15, 2004




Via the Ace of Spades, the AP reports -- buried so far in another story that you need an exhumation order to find it -- that Gallup will announce tomorrow that Bush now leads Kerry nationally by 14 points:

A new poll from the Pew Research Center said the "bounce" that seemed to propel Bush to a lead just after the Republican convention had disappeared. But he was ahead by double digits in another survey.

The Pew poll found the race at 46-46 among registered voters, and 47-46 Bush among likely voters. A Gallup poll being released Friday has Bush up 54-40 in a three-way matchup, with Ralph Nader at 3 percent.

We'll see what Gallup's methodology is tomorrow so we can determine how seriously to take this latest result. Having a pollster with Gallup's stature come out with a fourteen-point gap in mid-September has to rock the Democrats, who have been caught up, Pauline Kael style, in their own Bush-hating rhetoric. Suddenly their candidate has fallen to the bedrock of their support at 40%, meaning that he is now attracting virtually no independents and moderates.

Interesting, though, that the AP chose to bury that information in the nineteenth paragraph of an analysis of the political fallout from the Iraq War.


Yesterday's news that Bush edged ahead of Kerry in New Jersey, a Democratic stronghold, shocked election observers (via Kerry Spot). However, today's Albany (NY) Times-Union notes an even more ominous turn for Kerry's campaign:

Republican President George Bush has gained significantly on challenger John Kerry in Democrat-dominated New York, according to two statewide polls released Wednesday.

Bush trails Kerry 47-41 among registered voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. An Aug. 13 poll showed Bush at 35 percent to Kerry's 53. A Marist College poll of registered voters found Kerry leading Bush 48-40 -- a far cry from an April poll that put Kerry ahead 13 points.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York by a 5-3 advantage. That would translate to 62-38 on a party-line vote. Apparently, the Republican convention and the Kerry meltdown in August has put the Empire State back in play, as Bush has wooed Democrats to cross the aisle in significant numbers and away from John Kerry.

Kerry still leads outside the margins of error in both polls, but all of a sudden, New York needs a lot more attention -- and money -- than previously thought. And since these polls measured registered voters instead of likely voters, Kerry's lead is likely to be narrower than even these poll results show. The more money and attention the Democrats have to pour into New York, of course, the less they can spend elsewhere, and right now the bleeding looks pretty bad all the way around.

All along, we have considered the coasts to be a lock for John Kerry, especially the critical states of California and New York. If Kerry can't hold a lead in ultraliberal New York, the Democrats may be looking at a tremendous electoral disaster, one that will swamp out their candidates up and down the ticket in November.  Thursday, September 16, 2004







It’s day two of John Kerry’s New Toughness. Feel the wrath as this raging alpha rabbit vows bloody vengeance on his enemies during an interview with Don Imus:

In the radio interview, Kerry vowed to take on his rival in other ways. "We are punching back. I am absolutely taking the gloves off," Kerry said.

And he immediately scored a brutal hit -- on Imus, a Kerry supporter, who had this to say after the punchy, gloveless bunny angrily hopped away:

"I was just back in my office banging my head on the jukebox," Mr. Imus said. "This is my candidate, and ... I don't know what he's talking about."

Here’s the entire interview. The Imus-breaking moment might be in this exchange:

KERRY: I mean, what you ought to be doing and what everybody in America ought to be doing today is not asking me; they ought to be asking the president, What is your plan? What's your plan, Mr. President, to stop these kids from being killed?  What's your plan, Mr. President, to get the other countries in there?  What's your plan to have 90 percent of the casualties and 90 percent of the cost being carried by America?

IMUS: We're asking you because you want to be president.

Er, yes.  Thursday, September 16, 2004



To finish reading this weekend's War Blog, click here.

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