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?
Sadly, not a case of friendly fire; as the Guardian reports, it seems he’s planning to flood Ohio and Florida with 1,200 cameras, presumably in the hope of getting some nice incriminating footage to use in his next “documentary”.
If he does produce one on this subject, does anyone suspect he’ll miss out cases like these? Still, to show it’s not entirely biased, the Guardian did balance their article, by having allegations against a Republican group alongside allegations from the Democrats…
The New York Times, December 31, 2003, Op-Ed, brave hunters of corruption, wherever it may be found, regarding how the Plame leak investigation should be conducted.
Mr. Comey [Deputy U.S. Attorney General] must also allow Mr. Fitzgerald to use the full powers of a special counsel, including the ability to seek Congressional intervention if he finds his investigation blocked by a government official or agency.
The New York Times, in full-on screaming hissy-fit mode, on how the Plame leak investigation should be conducted:
The lawsuit said the Justice Department was “on the verge” of getting records as part of a probe aimed at learning the identity of government employees who may have provided information to the [NY Times]. It asked a judge to intervene.
The paper said the government intends to get the records, which reflect confidential communications between the journalists Philip Shenon and Judith Miller and their sources, from third parties unlikely to be interested in challenging its authority. . . .
“We are very troubled at this brazen intrusion into our relationship with our sources, which is unconstitutional and endangers our free press,” he said.
It seems that the NY Times, which was screaming in outrage that the source of the Plame leak be tracked down and prosecuted, was today officially hoist on its own petard. The Times has now sued John Ashcroft (who else) to prevent him from obtaining phone company records of phone calls between reporters and confidential sources. Ashcroft is recused and has little say in the conduct of the Plame investigation, so this is the NY Times waving the “I’m a Sanctimonious Journalist Flag” before capitulating amid much self-congratulation for its brave resistance in the face of the eeeevill Ashcroft.
There is some satisfaction in this for me after witnessing the steady drumbeat, led by the Times and Josh Marshall and Kos and Terry MacAuliffe. It is poetic justice, and teaches that the best way to respond to the left, is often to stick them with exactly what they are asking for. So how should we respond to the Times, which was so adamant that this matter be investigated out to the last iota, even if it meant bringing down the president himself?
Wait a minute. I’m getting an idea about how we, and the court, should respond to the Times, and their claim of journalistic privilege. I’m thinking about the words of a famous philosopher who knew just what to say in this kind of situation:
What would happen if it turned out that the source of the forged Bush memos was the Kerry campaign, or a DNC operative?
Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy seems to think that the NY Times and so-called “privacy groups” and Arab & Muslim advocacy groups have managed to generate a Homeland Security scandal out of thin air. It seems that the Customs and Border Patrol portion of DHS requested census data on various groups of Arabs living in the U.S. No, Ms. Malkin, it doesn’t seem to have been your long hoped-for crackdown on Arab, Arab-American and Muslim men. Rather, according to Customs spokes beings, the Customs service or CBP, were looking to estimate where various dialects of Arabic were spoken, in order to translate their public posters (in airports, natch) into the correct languages. This could be a falsehood; on the other hand, it does have the ring of truth, in that it is a federal civil rights violation of at least administrative significance, to fail to provide legal warnings in the language of choice of the served population. The exact extent of this duty is uncertain so agencies do some pretty wierd things to comply with the rules here. For example, if there are three Philipinos who speak primarily Tagalog living in Bozeman, MT, does the sole Customs agent there have to provide Customs brochures in Tagalog? The extent of Customs duty isn’t clear, but what is clear is that in cities with large Arab and South Asian populations, Customs probably does have a duty to do so. Moreover, if you are looking to make smuggling cases stick, it helps to have your advisements (which are available to English speakers) available to significant non-English speaking minority groups – lest you face an assertion of an equal protection violation as a defense.
Of course the Electronic Privacy Instigating C…, ah, I’m not going there. EPIC and the ACLU naturally said this was an enormous violation of people’s privacy rights. And good ol’ Jim Zogby – none of whose lieutenants have been indicted for terrorist ties recently – basically alleged racial profiling.
As Orrin points out, the fact that the data was in the public domain and available on the Census.gov web site seems to have escaped everyone. So Orrin concludes that this looks like a made up scandal.
Well folks, hold yer horses. There’s another made-up scandal involving Homeland Security en route, delivered by the NY Times in 45 minutes or less, or you get a free order of Krazy Bread.
This scandal also involves the power-crazed rogue organization, Homeland Security. It seems they are cracking down in a big-brother-ish fashion, pickin’ on dark skinned peoples of the world, and Canadians* and acting downright un-hospitable to our southern neighbors. I know this because of the NY Times lede:
U.S. to Give Border Patrol New Powers to Deport Illegal Aliens
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 — Citing concerns about terrorists crossing the nation’s land borders, the Department of Homeland Security announced today that it planned to give border patrol agents sweeping new powers to deport illegal aliens from the frontiers abutting Mexico and Canada without providing the aliens the opportunity to make their case before an immigration judge.
New York Region > Village Voice Reduces Staff and Evidently Morale, Too” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/09/nyregion/09voice.html?pagewanted=print&position=”>The Village Voice has been doing some housecleaning. Among the casualties was Richard Goldstein, who has been a target of mine no fewer than three times. (That last Fisking included one of my best-ever lines: “A defense policy without a defense budget would be like, well, Europe.”)
I swear, I’m not smiling. Not even a little.