Dispatches > Quick Takes

Blog Watch

Buzz from online journals, including www.worldmagblog.com

Issue: "Darwin's meltdown," April 3, 2004

Party line protest

Many bloggers displayed continued skepticism about both former Clinton administration hands and anti-Bush protesters. Kevin Drum of Political Animal (washingtonmonthly.com) wished for the impossible: &quotMadeleine Albright, testifying before Congress today, says the Clinton administration 'did everything we could, everything we could think of' to fight al-Qaeda during their time in office. This, of course, is the party line for everyone, but you know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see just one person fess up and admit that, in retrospect, we obviously didn't take them seriously enough."

Meanwhile, James Lileks (lileks.com) wrote about the protests commemorating the first anniversary of the Iraq war: &quotSo what were all these people against, exactly? A free press in Iraq. Freedom to own a satellite dish. Freedom to vote. A new Constitution that might actually be worth the paper on which it's printed. Oil revenues going to the people instead of Saddam, or French oligopolies. Freedom to leave the country. Freedom to demonstrate against the people who made it possible for you to demonstrate. Freedom."

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Kill or be killed?

Israel's decision to assassinate Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin led to a blog dispute about the cycle of Middle-East violence. Typical of one side was J.P. Carter's (evangelical

outpost.com) disappointment about the U.S. reaction: &quotAfter Israeli forces killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas who was known as the 'godfather of suicide bombers,' the U.S., along with every other country engaged in the war against terror, should have cheered.

... We invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the al Qaeda-harboring government. Yet when the Israelis kill a terrorist leader in their own borders we have the audacity to criticize the action. Instead of condemning our friends we should remain in constant awe of Israel's restraint."

Steven Den Beste, though, argued that Israel was forcing its opponents into fratricide: &quotPalestinians are not united and never have been. There is no actual leader who can negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians who can actually deliver on the promises he makes, even if he was inclined to try. That's what Israel is about to prove to the world. This is what is really new, and it is extremely clever. That's why Israel is building a wall around the West Bank, and why Israel is going to pull out of Gaza. With Israel gone, the Palestinian areas will erupt in violence as various Palestinian power groups vie with one another for control."

Concerned about Christians

Survey after survey for two decades has shown a decidedly liberal bias in newspaper and broadcast journalism. Whether measured by beliefs and voting preferences of reporters and editors or actual stories produced on issues such as abortion, our tower of babble's leaning is unmistakable. But look at what shocks the blogger Atrios (atrios.blogspot.com): the connection of some journalists with &quotan explicitly pro-religion pro-conservative Christian organization," the World Journalism Institute. WJI is a division of WORLD's parent company, God's World Publications, so we don't know whether to be pleased or displeased that, according to Atrios, those who have attended a several-week WJI course are &quotquite good at creating fairly innocuous pieces which aren't obviously slanted propaganda, but which inevitably do push the position and emphasize the things you would expect."

Other blogs took up Atrios's fibrillation. Corrente (corrente.blogspot.com) saw a conspiracy &quotto stealthily put right wing moles in important places" and offered a mix of put-down and paranoia: &quotstudents, thank goodness, are apparently only being hired by the Roosterpoot Daily Conservative and the Hooterville Patriot as interns and stringers but this is all quite frightening. How long before these students start percolating up to jobs at real newspapers, folks?" Good question, and the answer probably depends on attitudes of liberal editors. Atrios offered evidence that the dark night of fascism was coming to journalism: &quotThe San Francisco Chronicle has forbidden two reporters from having anything to do with covering the same-sex marriage story because they got married." Hmmm-are those two reporters (among many other gay San Francisco reporters) two more than the number of conservative Christian reporters the Chronicle has on its staff?

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