Liars, Damned Liars, and Journalists

Here are a couple great examples from todays Wash Post of why the MSM really needs bloggers to fact check their ass.
First up, is this little gem talking about the great work being done by Rep. Jim “Just ‘Cuz I Hate Hook-Nosed Zionists Don’t Mean I Hate Jews” Moran (D-VA). The article in Stephen Barr’s usually excellent “Federal Diary” column discusses how Jim Moran has gotten a disability lifted from the backs of the poor employees at the Department of Labor. That disability involves the federal mass transit subsidy for employees.
Normally, Fed employees working in the D.C. area can collect up to $100 per month for mass transit use – metros, busses, commuter vans, etc. The goal is to provide a benefit that makes the relatively lower paying federal jobs (lower paying relative to the private sector for agents, lawyers, accountings, project managers, IT people, anyhow) a little easier to get to. It also bolsters the groaning mass transit infrastructure in D.C. by getting a couple hundred thousand downtown workers out of their cars and into the Metro. So it’s a nice job perk for fed employees and it lowers the burden on the roads, and indirectly subsidizes Metro, which would be otherwise asking for handouts instead of working for money.
All feds are eligible for the subsidy, which meets their cost of public transportation commuting, not to exceed $100 per month. Everybody can get it, that is, except Department of Labor employees. Here’s how Barr explains it:

The maximum allowable subsidy has not applied to certain Labor Department employees. But a long-running dispute there appears to be nearing an end. . .
A provision in the fiscal 2005 catch-all spending bill orders Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao to raise the maximum monthly subsidy for the department’s Washington area employees to $100 within 45 days of President Bush signing the legislation. Congress has approved the legislation and should send it to the White House next week.
The transit provision was sponsored by Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who called it “unfortunate” that legislation was required “to undo a Department of Labor administrative decision.”
The transit subsidy turned into a bargaining chip during a contract dispute between the department and Local 12 of the American Federation of Government Employees. The dispute is pending before a labor impasses panel, and includes a proposal backed by the department and union to raise the subsidy to $100 monthly.

Okay, that’s the MSM story. Want to know the real story?

The truth is that the employees union at the Department of labor a few years ago was in a huge pissing match while renegotiating the collective bargaining agreement with DOL management. This occurred in the Clinton Administration. At that time, the union fought like hell to lock in subsidy rates at a certain level – I think the standard subsidy was around $50 or $60 a month. They said it was necessary because the workin’ man needs protection against the viciousness of management, who only look up from counting their immense piles of cash long enough to slap the manservants around, and to cackle. Management eventually acquiesced on the point, and wrote the subsidy into the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Of course like most government entitlements, the transit subsidy didn’t shrink, it expanded to match the increasing cost of using the mismanaged D.C. Metro system. It’s now roughly double what it was when the CBA was negotiated. When the union came back for a readjustment, the Department told them to get bent – the union fought bitterly to get the amount locked into the CBA, and by God, they were going to get just that amount no matter what.
The issue has since gone into arbitration, and the union has been bemoaning the horrible viciousness of DOL management – a tale Mr. Barr apparently takes at face value. But the truth is the union rather stupidly made a bad bargain, fighting intransigently for this term in the contract. Now that they are stuck with it, they have all sorts of reasons that they find it unacceptable – but it’s a bed of their own making. Congress is trying to fix this because quite frankly it’s unfair to the workers at Labor, most of whom really don’t care much about union issues in their own workplace and probably didn’t spend much time thinking, or fighting for, this CBA term.
Than Mr. Moran just happened by, and managed to turn the whole thing into a vaguely anti-administration soundbite which Mr. Barr swallowed whole.
Maybe that’s the real problem with the MSM. It’s not that they are dumb, it’s just that they are credulous, and being liberal, they only hang out with other liberals, so of course they wouldn’t consider the other side of the story… It wouldn’t enter their minds that their was another side because they never hear the other side.
The other little not-quite gem is this lump of coal from the Names & Faces column in the Arts section of today’s Post. In that, we’re treated to a discussion of the Meeropol family and McCarthyism. I’ll include the whole blurb for your edification. It really bears repeating en toto:

Films Tackle McCarthyism
Filmmakers Aviva Kempner and Ivy Meeropol will be on hand tomorrow for the opening of the 15th Washington Jewish Film Festival at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. Meeropol is the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of espionage at the height of the Cold War and executed in 1953. Her father, Michael Meeropol, and brother, Greg Meeropol, will join the filmmaker in a discussion of her documentary, “Heir to an Execution.” The Rosenbergs chose to die rather than betray their convictions.
Also on the bill is a work-in-progress from Kempner, whose 1998 documentary “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg” made a splash at festivals worldwide. Her new work, ” Gertrude Berg: America’s Molly Goldberg,” tackles McCarthyism and anti-Semitism from a different angle. A pioneer of the family sitcom, Berg was writer and star of the ’30s radio show “The Goldbergs,” which later became a TV show. She defended her co-star, Philip Loeb, against charges of communist sympathies. Loeb resigned to save the show from cancellation and later committed suicide.

The Meeropols, of course, are the unrepentant survivors of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
As Howard Dean says, Yeeeeaaarrrrgghhh! The friggin’ Rosenbergs again. Dammital – why the left kisses the rings of these unabashed communist spies, these avowed enemies of the United States, over and over again… well, I won’t conjecture why. I know why. It’s because the center left has a soft spot for communists, seeing in them the true believers and the zealots for the cause that the center left wishes it were. Yep, I’m saying it – much of center left politics today is watered-down communism, or “socialism” as it is benevolently described. The left half of neo-liberalism is envious of real reds and guilty about having to water down the message to make it palatable to the estupidos living in the now-unironically named “Red States,” and the mind-numbed folks who make up the mass of Democratic voters.
The insistence of the innocence of the Rosenbergs and the effort to rehabilitate them is simply stunning – “they chose to die rather than betray their convictions” – what can you make of that? Even PBS discusses frankly how the Rosenbergs were working as communists spies. Not only do we have the Venona decrypts, we actually have records from the NKVD/KGB showing them as being on the payroll and actually being spymasters. They were f***ing traitors to this country – make no mistake about it.
So can we please stop trying to rehabilitate these unabashed enemies of the United States? What’s that, no? We can’t?
Attempts to link the Rosenbergs with victims of Senator McCarthy are disgusting – if they had any link to the Red Scare it was as a causative factor, not as hapless victims. I know, I know, to my leftist friends, they weren’t our enemies, they were just patriotic dissenters. In fact, they were so patriotically dissenting, that they looked downright treasonous – but that’s what Katrina Van den Heuvel would call particularly “full throated dissent” – right?
In the end, this second article pretty much sums up why I’ve let a bunch of my left-leaning friends walk out of my life over the last year or two without too much squabble. They can’t leave a bad political argument alone and have to pick pick pick until they get a rise out of you. When it gets to a certain point – the point where they are thoroughly immune to basic facts – you have to cut your losses. I’ve lost a couple friends by insisting that the 9/11 attacks weren’t part of a Bushitler scheme to get an oil pipeline into Afghanistan. I’ve lost a couple other anti-war type friends by mentioning my experiences with Iraqi refugees, and how I feel compelled to speak for them, given that it’s hard to talk when you don’t have a tongue, and hard to write when you don’t have hands.
Nope, in the end it just doesn’t matter. There are a lot of people out there who believe absolutely pernicious, stupid, dangerous things, and you can’t hope to change their minds. Unfortunately, many of them they seem to hold the high ground in academia and the media. The only thing I can attribute their adherence to bad ideas to, is stubborn pride. I am starting to think that I understand the lesson of the biblical story of the fall of the angels – that a stubborn pride, an insistence that they knew better than God, was at the root of it all. So it is with the utopian liberals and left. They know what the world oughtta be and how to make it that way – “we can change, the world; rearrange, the world” as the song lyric goes. Thus their ideas are not subject to challenge. We call such beliefs “faith”, and in any good practitioner of a faith, the beliefs are about unchallengeable. The only way to stop such true believers, as the Catholic Church discovered during the Inquisition, was death or a transformative spiritual experience; even the bastinado was not effective in changing hearts and minds.
So maybe that’s the secret to the effectiveness of blogs. We are killing off parts of the MSM, and in a few other folks there are changes of heart as the educational process goes on.