Friday, November 14, 2008

Rhymes With 'Democracy', Starts With An 'H': NYT Laughs About One Hoax While Perpetrating Others

The New York Times has been having a good laugh over some other "news" outlets which were fooled by a fairly simple hoax. In the words of Richard Pérez-Peña:

A Senior Fellow at the Institute of Nonexistence
It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate [sic] hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

The pranksters behind Eisenstadt [Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish] ... say the blame lies not with them but with shoddiness in the traditional news media and especially the blogosphere.

“With the 24-hour news cycle they rush into anything they can find,” said Mr. Mirvish, 40.

Mr. Gorlin, 39, argued that Eisenstadt was no more of a joke than half the bloggers or political commentators on the Internet or television.
Yeah, sure. But whether or not this hoax is "very elaborate" probably depends on the scale of the hoaxes you're used to dealing with. It's actually quite small compared to some of the hoaxes the New York Times has been perpetrating simultaneously.

Consider, if you will, Michael Cooper's treatment of Sarah Palin as serious:

A Surprise News Conference After a Campaign Without One
Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska did something [in Miami] on Thursday that she had not done in her entire campaign as the Republican Party’s vice-presidential nominee: she stood behind a lectern and held a news conference.

She was asked what had changed.

“The campaign is over,” she said.
Yep. Now that she can't possibly do the McCain campaign any more damage, she's allowed out in public. And we're not howling with laughter?
Granted, the question-and-answer session lasted only four minutes, and for only four questions.
Four minutes? Four questions? And that qualifies as a "news conference"?
But after it ended, Ms. Palin did allow herself a look back, as she addressed a session of the Republican Governors Association conference and told conferees that she had managed to keep busy since their last conference.

“I had a baby,” she said. “I did some traveling; I very briefly expanded my wardrobe; I made a few speeches; I met a few V.I.P.’s, including those who really impact society, like Tina Fey.”
"I very briefly expanded my wardrobe"? Is this woman for real?
And, yes, she spoke of Joe the Plumber, the Ohio man who briefly dominated the McCain-Palin campaign and its talk of taxes.
I would be laughing so hard I couldn't type.
The conference has been dominated by soul searching among Republicans worried about their future after last week’s poor Election Day showing.
Soul searching? Come ON!
To that end, Ms. Palin was again asked whether she would run for president in 2012.
And she ducked the question. But who's counting?
“The future is not that 2012 presidential race; it’s next year and our next budgets,” Ms. Palin said. It is in 2010, she said, that “we’ll have 36 governor’s positions open.”

Ms. Palin tried to play down her celebrity (even after a week in which she was featured in interviews on NBC, Fox News and CNN). In her speech, she tried to shift the focus from herself to the work that Republican governors must now do, including developing energy resources and overhauling health care.

“I am not going to assume that the answer is for the federal government to just take it over and try to run America’s health care system,” Ms. Palin said. “Heaven forbid.”

She implored her fellow Republican governors to “show the federal government the way,” while also reforming their own party.

“We are the minority party. Let us resolve not to be the negative party,” ...
Are we kidding? Did Michael Cooper not just watch the same campaign we did? Why is he not screaming with laughter? Why is he not holding his ribs? How can he possibly type this stuff?
Ms. Palin said. “Let us build our case with actions, not just with words.”
Too funny! It's just too funny.

Let's not just call Bay-rack O-Bamma a terrorist! Let's shoot us some moose! Let's bomb us some Ay-rabs! Let's connect with Middle America!

And if that doesn't get you going, scoot over to Washington, where Mark Mazetti has been transcribing the holy utterances of CIA Director Michael Hayden.

Hayden, as CIA directors must do in the bogus War on bogus Terror, treads as fine line as you're likely to see. On one hand, he has to claim credit for progress -- Americans like to think the hundreds of billions they spend every year on "security" might be buying them something. On the other hand, he has to claim that the situation is increasingly serious -- otherwise why would we keep increasing his budget?

So we get doubletalk like this, from Mark Mazzetti:

C.I.A. Chief Says Qaeda Is Extending Its Reach
Even as Al Qaeda strengthens its hub in the Pakistani mountains, its leaders are building closer ties to regional militant groups in order to launch attacks in Africa and Europe and on the Arabian Peninsula, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency said Thursday.

The director, Michael V. Hayden, identified North Africa and Somalia as places where Qaeda leaders were using partnerships to establish new bases. Elsewhere, Mr. Hayden said, Al Qaeda was “strengthening” in Yemen, and he added that veterans of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan had moved there, possibly to stage attacks against the government of Saudi Arabia.

He said the “bleed out” from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also extended to North Africa, raising concern that the countries there could be used to stage attacks into Europe. Mr. Hayden delivered his report in a speech to the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington, and it offered a mixed assessment of Al Qaeda’s ability to wage a global jihad.

He drew a contrast between what he described as growing Islamic radicalism in places like Somalia and what he said had been the “strategic defeat” of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia — the network’s affiliate group in Iraq.
Fortunately, Hayden has two things going for him. First, by the nature of the bogus war, failure guarantees success, and success guarantees failure. If the CIA fails to eliminate the threat of terrorism, it guarantees success in the budget struggle. And if it succeeds in eliminating a few terrorists every now and then, the inevitable "collateral damage" -- innocent civilians horribly slaughtered or maimed -- guarantees an upswing in anti-American sentiment: nascent terrorism, and just what the bogus warriors need to keep their bogus war alive.

Second -- and far more importantly -- the width of the line he's trying to walk is made irrelevant by the fawning coverage he knows his words will receive. It doesn't matter if he doesn't make any sense, because he knows he's not going to be challenged on it. This wasn't a potentially adversarial situation, like Sarah Palin's four-minute "press conference". It was a speech before a committed body of like-minded war-mongers, the Atlantic Council of the United States.

So, for instance, nobody in the audience would have been prepared to corner Michael Hayden and ask him whether the "growing Islamic radicalism" in Somalia is occurring because of or in spite of the atrocities committed against the Somali people by Americans and their Ethiopian proxies.

Atrocities? Oh, yes! From rendition and torture to bombing convoys of fleeing refugees! Somalia has been brutalized in recent years, without any Congressional debate, without any acknowledgement from either of the presidential candiates, and without any pretext, viable or otherwise. If I were running the CIA, I wouldn't want to talk about Somalia at all -- except possibly at a place like the Atlantic Council of the United States.
Mr. Hayden pointedly refused to give details about the strikes by remotely piloted aircraft, or even to acknowledge that they occurred. He did say that the recent killing of senior Qaeda operatives had disrupted the group’s planning and isolated its leadership.

In mid-October, a missile fired from an American drone killed Khalid Habib, the latest senior Qaeda planner to be killed this year in Pakistan.

“To the extent that the United States and its allies deepen that isolation, disturb the safe haven, and target terrorist leaders gathered there, we keep Al Qaeda off balance,” Mr. Hayden said.
This is so meaningless, it's almost not worth discussing.

To the extent that my aunt has balls, she could be my uncle.

It's just worthless. But Mark Mazetti doesn't care. Keep the paychecks coming!
The radicalization of Pashtun tribes, and their strengthening ties to Qaeda operatives, date in part to the decision by the Pakistani president at the time, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to raid the radical Red Mosque in Islamabad in July 2007, the C.I.A. director said.
Now there's some history for you! All the way back to the summer of last year!

In fact, the radicalization of Pashtun tribes, and their strengthening ties to Qaeda operatives, date in much more significant part to decisions made in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s by our bipartisan foreign policy "elite". But Michael Hayden is not about to say that. And Mark Mazzetti isn't about to say it either.

As for questions, forget it. Hayden didn't even answer the easy ones.
At the end of his remarks, Mr. Hayden deflected questions about whether he would consider remaining at the C.I.A. during the Obama administration and declined to say whether President-elect Barack Obama had asked him to extend his tenure.

“This is the business of the transition team,” Mr. Hayden said. “This is the business of the president-elect.”
If nothing else, it's nice to know there's something that the CIA director wants to leave in the hands of the president-elect! Not that it's likely to do anyone any good.

But closer to the point: The CIA created al Qaeda! The CIA's friends in Pakistan have been maintaining al Qaeda for all these years. And Pakistan's most feared "terrorist" leader is almost certainly a CIA asset. But you won't read anything about any of that from Mark Mazzetti, or from the New York Times, or from the "liberal media" in general.

But what the heck? They're putting out ridiculous manure, selling millions of copies, and making a living; we're telling the truth whenever we can find it, for free, and counting our readers in the hundreds.

Maybe that's why the NYT laughs at the blogosphere!

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