The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bias in the Winnipeg Free Press is just par for the MSM course

We had barely started to write about the latest smear campaigns by the Winnipeg Free Press when---look out----we were swamped by a BP gusher of bias in the mainstream media. Obviously, of course, we had to roll 'em all into one post on a theme.

First, there was the NAACP racism video featuring Shirley Sherrod, which was followed almost instantly by the most intense leftwing MSM diversionary assault on truth in reporting since, well, Obama's election campaign. Speaking of which...

The same day as the NAACP firestorm, the public learned from leaked emails how leftwing "journalists" discussed amongst themselves how to save Obama's 2008 campaign from the damaging effect of association with his preacher of 20 years Jeremiah Wright,
perhaps, one suggested, by diverting the debate by accusing one of Obama's critics of racism.
But let's start with the NAACP.

Obama, you see, has been such a disaster as President that his popularity ratings among voters are plunging by the week. The Democrats are scared stiff that voters will take it out on them in the mid-term elections in the fall. The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People couldn't just stand by and watch the first ever black president fall flat on his face, so they did what they usually do --- they played the race card. Their target, the ascending anti-big-government Tea Party movement. It's riddled with racists, declared the NAACP, and organizers should apologize.

Conservative activist Andrew Breitbart backs the Tea Party, and he had a card of his own to play. He posted a video on Youtube of an NAACP meeting featuring black government bureaucrat Shirley Sherrod.

He did NOT take her comments out of context.

He did NOT present a falsely edited excerpt.

That may come as a great surprise to you since the MSM has spent two days telling you the exact opposite.

Breitbart's tape excerpt captured Sherrod telling a story about a day 24 years ago when, at another job, she was asked to help a white man who was about to lose his farm to the bank. The farmer, in her telling, was an uppity white man who tried to demonstrate superiority to her even as he sought her help. Well, she said, as she listened to him she was thinking how she could screw this white man over, doing as little as possible to help him but just enough that, if he complained to the agriculture department that sent him over, she could say she had done all she could.

Her audience breaks out in laughter and cheers. (0:52 of the tape posted on Youtube)

Breitbart told TV reporters over and over again Tuesday that he posted the video to show the easy acceptance of black-on-white racism at this NAACP meeting, how Sherrod's self-confessed discrimination was embraced with laughter, not condemnation, and how the NAACP obviously has its own racist contingent.

The MSM turned a deaf ear.

They didn't want to hear it. It doesn't fit their leftwing storyline, so they just edited that part out.

CNN in particular went into a frenzy, devoting literally hour after hour after hour for the rest of the day to defending Sherrod. But at no time did they play the clip with the laughter and discuss the reaction of the NAACP audience to the tale of discrimination. Instead they allowed the head of the NAACP to dismiss the audience reaction as a normal cultural call-and-response, something you should expect at a meeting of southern blacks. And they played long segments of the Sherrod meeting from an edited tape (it contained dissolves) provided by the NAACP.

The rest of the MSM likewise has chosen to ignore the laughing and to focus on Sherrod's tale of redemption where, she said, she ultimately realized the error of her ways and helped the uppity white farmer after the white lawyer she sent him to ("one of his own", as she called him") proved incompetent.

CBC played the Breitbart tape Wednesday, ending on the laughter. Then they ignored the laughter and accused Breitbart of deceiving people by failing to explain Sherrod's epiphany.

That's how the leftwing MSM works. Pile on with the lie and ignore the truth when it doesn't fit your agenda. Almost universally, the left leaning maintream media repeated the story that Fox News was responsible for airing the Breitbart tape and smearing Sherrod. Why, Sherrod herself blamed Fox on CNN.
Except it wasn't true.

Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz did what CNN, CBC, and their leftwing ilk failed to do---reporting. He discovered:

"But for all the chatter -- some of it from Sherrod herself -- that she was done in by Fox News, the network didn't touch the story until her forced resignation was made public Monday evening, with the exception of brief comments by O'Reilly. After a news meeting Monday afternoon, an e-mail directive was sent to the news staff in which Fox Senior Vice President Michael Clemente said: "Let's take our time and get the facts straight on this story. Can we get confirmation and comments from Sherrod before going on-air. Let's make sure we do this right."

So the MSM rushed to divert attention from the racist laughter you can hear for yourself on the Breitbart tape by claiming Shirley Sherrod was a victim of Fox News. A lie.

Which leads us to the most underreported story of bias in the media. Journolist was an internet forum where liberal journalists came to chat with each other. Tuesday, leaked emails from Journolist exposed how these "professional journalists" discussed how the Jeremiah Wright story was huring Obama and what steps could be taken to take the heat off him.

The emails appeared on The Daily Caller ("a political journalism website based in Washington, D.C.") Wrote Jonathan Strong: "Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage."
Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent ("a fleet-footed webpaper of politics and policy. We are the ink-stained wretches of the digital era.") offered a dandy idea.

"What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction."
Sound familiar, anyone?
Chris Hayes of the leftwing magazine Nation posted on April 29, 2008. Wrote Strong, "urging his colleagues to ignore Wright. Hayes directed his message to “particularly those in the ostensible mainstream media” who were members of the list.

The Wright controversy, Hayes argued, was not about Wright at all. Instead, “It has everything to do with the attempts of the right to maintain control of the country.”

Hayes castigated his fellow liberals for criticizing Wright. “All this hand wringing about just how awful and odious Rev. Wright remarks are just keeps the hustle going.”

“Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians — men, women, children, the infirmed — on its hands. You’ll forgive me if I just can’t quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama’s pastor,” Hayes wrote."

Another member of Journolist, Sarah Spitz, posted how much she would love to see talk-show host Rush Limbaugh have a heart attack in front of her. She would, she wrote, “[l]augh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out”.

Today, she issued, er, an "apology." Spitz, who works as a producer and publicist for independent radio station KCRW, said:

I made poorly considered remarks about Rush Limbaugh to what I believed was a private email discussion group from my personal email account. As a publicist, I realize more than anyone that is no excuse for irresponsible behavior. I apologize to anyone I may have offended and I regret these comments greatly; they do not reflect the values by which I conduct my life.

Baloney, of course, and yet another mock apology from a "journalist" caught redhanded expressing her true self to her journalist pals.

Sort of like Winnipeg Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds who issued her own apology this week.

She was oh so sorry, she said, for smearing Mayor Sam Katz in a column Saturday. She now realized, she said, that it was wrong to spread gossip about who the mayor is dating under the guise of discussing what it reveals about his character.

Oh, she added, she wasn't being forced to apologize by editor Margo Goodhand or city editor Paul Samyn. They, obviously were not bothered a bit by smearing Sam Katz. That, after all, is the policy of the FP.

So, apparently, is smearing Manitoba Conservative MP Vic Toews.
The FP, in fact, went after Toews twice last week, going so far on Friday as to publish a story it knew was false, then, instead of a correction, publishing another story Saturday blaming Toews for the false story.

This example of biased reporting by the Winnipeg Free Press is too important to be lost at the bottom of this post. We'll address it separately in the next day or two.

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