May 8, 2004

Perhaps he didn't make himself clear



And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning: In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."

-George W. Bush, 3/19/2003


I expect them to be treated, the POWs, I expect to be treated humanely, just like we're treating the prisoners that we have captured humanely. If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals.
-George W. Bush, 3/23/2003
As the vise tightens on the Iraqi regime, some of our enemies have chosen to fill their final days with acts of cowardice and murder. In combat, Saddam's thugs shield themselves with women and children. They have killed Iraqi citizens who welcome coalition troops, and they have forced other Iraqis into battle by threatening to torture or kill their families. They have executed prisoners of war, waged attacks under the white flag of truce, and concealed combat forces in civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and mosques. In this war, the Iraqi regime is terrorizing its own citizens, doing everything possible to maximize Iraqi civilian casualties, and then to exploit the deaths they have caused for propaganda. These are war criminals, and they'll be treated as war criminals.

In stark contrast, the citizens of Iraq are coming to know what kind of people we have sent to liberate them.

-George W. Bush, 4/6/2003

Given the nature of this regime, we expect such war crimes. But we will not excuse them.

War criminals will be hunted relentlessly and judged severely.


-George W. Bush, 3/28/2003

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:24 PM

What he said

Josh Marshall more fluidly explains just why Joe Lieberman should be ashamed of himself:

Ugly, pandering, a display of the cheapest tendencies of the man.

Our moral superiority to mass murderers and people who desecrate people's bodies in town squares is, while thankfully true, simply not relevant to this issue.

This is the sort of subject-changing our parents try to wean us from when we're in grade school. (Okay, I did that. But look what Tommy did!) And of course there's the side-issue that Lieberman is playing to the notion that there's some sort of 'they did this to us and now we did this to them' issue here. And (how many times does it have to be said?) these folks in Abu Ghraib weren't the 9/11 planners.

Nothing Lieberman said is untrue precisely. It does set us apart from fascists and mass-murderers that Americans are outraged by this and that there will be investigations and accountability. But talk about defining deviance down!

In cases like this, emphasis is everything. And his was all wrong.

For Mr. Responsibility and Morality, what a disappointment.

He can take a lesson not only from John McCain but from Lindsey Graham too.



Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:35 PM

The fourth estate

Fox threatens to sue to display anti-CNN billboard:

Fox News Channel is threatening to take a sign company to court if it does not post a cheeky billboard tweaking archrival CNN.

Fox claims the owners of the billboard, across the street from CNN's Atlanta offices, refuse to post a message trumpeting Fox's successes in the ratings war between the cable networks.

Fox lawyer Dianne Brandi said in a letter that Atlanta company Camfaux may have buckled to pressure from CNN not to put up the message.

"Should you choose not to put up the billboard immediately, we will consider all options available to us, including, of course, legal options," Brandi wrote.

The proposed sign would read: "Now That CNN's Ratings are Gone With the Wind, Our Work on This Board Is Done. We Love You Atlanta. Brought to you by your friends at FOX News Channel."

Below that message would be a less-than-subtle pitch to the hundreds of CNN employees who file past the board every day.

"Sign Up with America's Newsroom! Forward resumes to resumes(at)foxnews.com."

Fox officials demanded that the sign be changed by noon on Thursday. By about 4 p.m., it remained unchanged.

Next week: Rupert Murdoch sues 7-year old Timmy Humphries of Fayetteville, Arkansas for refusing to put a burning bag of dog poop outside of the Dish Network offices. This is a news network. Seriously, seriously think about that.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:22 PM

Gosh, that didn't take long

The next phase for the pro-war rightwingers, that being disseminate all real issues about the torture scandal by complaining about the partisanship of the matter, has officially begun. Let's reflect on what shouldn't be addressed as a fault of the Bush administration because gosh, that might be mean or some shit like that:

But Rumsfeld warned the committee that the worst was yet to come. He said he had looked at the full array of unedited photographs of the situation at Abu Ghraib for the first time Thursday night and found them �hard to believe.�

�There are other photos that depict incidents of physical violence towards prisoners, acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he said. �... It�s going to get a good deal more terrible, I�m afraid.�

Rumsfeld did not describe the photos, but U.S. military officials told NBC News that the unreleased images showed U.S. soldiers severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi female prisoner and �acting inappropriately with a dead body.� The officials said there was also a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping young boys.

They're raping children. To read some of the defense of this over the last few days has been like the last scene from the NAMBLA episode of South Park going over and over in your head:

"I'm amazed at the partisanship of the left on this issue."

"Dude. They're having sex with children."

"This is more coverage in a week than they gave Saddam in a decade!"

"Dude. They're having sex with children."

"Remember that no one apologized after 9/11!"

"DUDE! They're having SEX with CHILDREN!"

As the Marlon Brando Look-Alikes would say, the horror. The horror.

Look, I hate to have to waste the time to break the blatantly obvious to the right-wingers feigning outraged ignorance here, but the reason this looks like a partisan issue is because the Bush administration is responsible for this, you dipshits. Forgive the "decline in tone" for a moment, but I seem to recall a large portion of people out there being shocked- shocked! That partisanship might be a factor when determining that your opposing party fucked up beyond all reasonable levels of acceptance.

The sliminiess of Instapundit, et al. to make such an accusation is heightened by their actions following the Madrid bombings. Voting against the pro-war government- voting against George Bush- was, and will be, supporting terrorism. Remember that one? Any of you assholes fucking remember that one? So tell me, please, elu-ci-fucking-date on my ass, what your opinion of keeping Rumsfeld in office, or for that matter Bush, means- a victory for raping children?

Is that what you think? Since that's not a partisan connection at all, remember? Anyone? You? In the back? Did you say something?

No. Didn't think so.

Guess what, it's my turn to be angry and irrational over the horrific images I saw on television. They fucking raped children. Sit down and shut the fuck up, m'kay?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:12 PM

May 7, 2004

There isn't a nerf bat big enough to smack him over the head with

I think Republicans could appreciate how I really wish more that Joe Lieberman would resign than I do Donald Rumsfeld.

LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Secretary, the behavior by Americans at the prison in Iraq is, as we all acknowledge, immoral, intolerable and un-American. It deserves the apology that you have given today and that have been given by others in high positions in our government and our military.

I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized. Those who have killed hundreds of Americans in uniform in Iraq working to liberate Iraq and protect our security have never apologized.

LIEBERMAN: And those who murdered and burned and humiliated four Americans in Fallujah a while ago never received an apology from anybody.

Umm... maybe it's because, you know, al-Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgents are a bunch of terrorists and psychotic murderers and we're supposed to be... you know... not?

The only- only- logical derivation from a statement as counter-to-the-point as that is that Lieberman honestly thinks there's some equivalence between terrorist madmen attacking the United States and trained members of the Armed Forces murdering, torturing, and raping people. To even suggest that there is a modicum of excusability based on anything else that occured in recent history is abhorrent. In fact, it's nearly a sign of incompetence.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:08 PM

May 6, 2004

Golly, who would imagine someone would have an agenda against this film?

So it appears that the right-wing smear attack against Michael Moore will be to claim that he "lied" and "faked a controvesy" to raise attention to the new film.

I'm not sure how knowing Disney didn't want to distribute a film turned into a conspiracy that somehow de-legitimizes what the actual content of the as-yet-unseen film projects, but I think we all know the right wants this film, much like most of the best-selling books released in the last few weeks, to be associated with the concept of fiction before anyone even looks at it.

Now, there's clearly a good chance that Moore is being opportunistic and manipulative to promote his venture (in Hollywood? The shock!) and having not seen the film, there's no way to disseminate how truthful it is, but the point is that any level of truth in Moore's actions and films tend to be an issue for the right, so they aim to prevent it from coming out in the first place. In this case, Moore's success will make it hard to supress that, so instead they want it coated with a thin layer of slung mud before anyone gets to see it clearly.

Isn't it great how everyone loves the idea of open debate about serious issues? I mean, it's not like the problems with this nation might be important to look at with an open mind or anything.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:52 PM
Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:37 PM

I'm sure they'll get right on it

I'm sure the IRKed (Involuntary Rallaction Kollective) will be taking the lead on this other cartoon anytime now.

Yep.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:26 PM

Sponteneous public service announcement

It's a fucking TV show. Christ.

That is all.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:20 PM

Caring for the troops via puppies and ice cream!

A common utility of the pro-war right has been the ability to blame Time, Newsweek, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, UPN, Hollywood, Viacom, Disney, The New York Times, USA Today, Andrews-McMeel Publishing, NPR, PBS, McDonald's, The Heinz Corporation, Infinity Broadcasting, every media outlet in the rest of the world not owned by News Corp. or Sinclair Broadcasting, and thousands of local papers around the country for having a "biased agenda" in favor of ending the war, supporting John Kerry, etc.

Now, this in mind, the accusations lead to one of two possibilities: A. despite somehow having overt control over roughly 85% of the world's media, the American left is so grossly incompetent and/or weak in the face of the almighty conservative standards that they have utterly failed to hold onto and portion of the government, or B. that the right might be just possibly a tad overzealous in declaring anything that opines negatively against Bush or the war as a "liberal agenda."

The most striking element of all this, as I noted in earlier posts, is that there seems to me much more writing and gabbing from the right about how what these media outlets say as partisan rather than if they're actually true or not. In light of the right's demand to hold moral superiority over how much the love the army, the troops, and the President, isn't it their obligation to accept these possibilities that things might be going badly?

Okay, support the war, accuse me of hating the troops, enjoy your little tantrum to make yourself feel better about whatever, fine. But seriously- could the extreme right-wing factions of the pro-war pro-Bush side possibly admit that things are going badly in Iraq that isn't merely the fault of the Liberal Media™ reporting it that way?

What amazes me about all this is that extreme semi-racist borderline-psychotic right-wing websites like Free Republic actually, by and by, express disapproval of the president... granted, in many cases, it's due to him not being conservative enough, but still. Warbloggers, on the other hand, demand over and over that nothing is wrong in Iraq because we've restored power and water built some schools. And that no less people have been raped. And that there aren't any more are less mass graves.

The point is, the American media filter, however you see it, isn't reaching Iraq the way it's reaching the U.S. Most of all that is for us- you and me- the Americans. Yeah, I'm sure Sadr could be watching CNN in his apartment in Fallujah right now and that's the deciding factor or how he feels about controlling Iraq, but maybe it's just a tad more likely that he's just fucking insane.

That in mind, how is it feasible, or beneficial, of the pro-war right to waste their time saying that everything would be going better if the left just shut up? It's time that could be more usefully spent analyzing the rapidly-growing sinkhole of problems in the region.

Instead, the warbloggers adhere to the catch-adage of demanding that the ever-complaining left "tell us what you would do differently, then." I think, as the people who support this war, it's far more important for the pro-war side to start doing that. That can only be done by taking the first step and admitting that the problems in Iraq aren't a result of media bias.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:21 AM

May 5, 2004

Rotten apples and oranges

I've become up to speed with everyone else on the whole Micah Wright thing- to sum up, he's the creator of the somewhat-brilliant propaganda remix project who admitted this week that he completely fabricated having served as a Ranger in the army.

Most of this issue is blatantly obvious: Wright pretty much is reaping what he sows by putting himself into a lie like that. This wasn't the farcical Howard-Stern-esque manner of talking about being in the army to crack jokes or playing some kind of character- he just lied about being in the army, which aside from being ridiculous to assume wouldn't be investigated, has no real defense.

I do disagree with the overzealousness of the right to act as though he's committed treason or something for doing this. I guess the association of pretending to be a soldier is greater to many than pretending to be some other profession- hell, musicians claim to be criminals and cowboys on a daily basis and the fans eat it up. Clearly, this was completely different, and as someonw who has met Wright, knows him to be a nice guy, and is a huge fan of his talents, I think I'm more in astonishment at how one could do something so unnecessary yet simulatenously stupid, knowing damn well that the only thing it could possibly do was damage his career.

As for flat-out ending Wright's career, the right has realized the only opportunity lies in the first few days of the controversy... if you don't get outraged and get results immediately, the issue gets boring after the seventeen million more important things in this universe come into thought. As everyone from Laura Schlessinger to Ted Kennedy to Robert Byrd to Bill O'Reilly to Jack Kelley have learned, screwing up royally doesn't necessarily mean your life is over.

The right doesn't want that for Micah- they want him destroyed for- well, mostly partisan excuses- and it's a bit sad, because Wright's career has little to do with his stupid actions. I don't see that much of a corollary- it's like saying The Naked Gun isn't funny anymore because of O.J.'s later actions. Or that a certain movie star or musician suddenly isn't talented becausee of different views since their album. Bob Dylan plagiarized forr his last album; does that make Blood on the Tracks crap all of a sudden?

I'm not getting the logic here, mostly because I think there isn't any- the right has taken a legitimate reason to be disgusted at a person and converted into a reason to be disgusted at the left in general. Gosh, we've never seen that before, have we?

Don't get me wrong- Wright is a liar and deserves the reprimand for the credibility he shattered. I just wish that standard was applied equally and without political bias (waiting for the en masse response from the right on Jack Kelley's "slightly enhanced" war reporting... tick tock tick tock.) Wright deserves the scorn he's getting for being a liar and a fraud to actual servicemen. But using that as an excuse to merit his legitimate talent is a bit of a stretch considering the right's propensity to find any excuse to get self-satisfying revenge against someone whose views they dislike.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:25 PM

"Good morning, Mrs. Broslovski. Now what seems to be pissing you off this week?"

Andrew Sullivan has decided that he's never said or done a bad thing in his life and has exerted the moral authority to declare a syndicate as evil and promoting anti-American views for syndicating Ted Rall.

Now, in one sense, I think the idea of a boycott is a great thing. For one thing, I think it's a lot healthier for the Rall-stalkers. See, it's a thing I've never understood with a lot of other blogs. I don't read Instapundit or Sullivan or LGF or FreeRepublic just to troll for a point I can counter. Pandagon and World O'Crap do that a lot, and that's fine because they can do it well. For me, it's not my style.

So, instead of the usual actions with Rall emitted by the right, which encompass staring at Rall on a big monitor for two minutes, stomping their feet and shouting their hatred at him before returning to work at the MiniPeace, a boycott means the right might actually... wait for it... just stop reading his columns!

Holy shit! Concept!

Universal Press, Rall's syndicate, also syndicates Ann Coulter. Keep in mind, to reflect on Rall's offensive comments against dead soldiers, Coulter is a woman who has repeatedly advocated horrific acts against people. I understand there's a political partisanship thing here, but I sorta think saying that Pat Tillman sucked isn't as bad as when Coulter complained that, for example, my father and his fellow New York Times editors should all die in a terrorist explosion.

But I don't read Coulter. It's fish in a barrel for fodder, as Rall must be for the right. I disagree with Rall all the time, but I like him personally and I enjoy reading his columns and cartoons. It's almost funny how you can read each strip and figure out just how sandy the vaginas of his detractors are going to get this time around.

Special hypo-licious update: Andrew Sullivan, who hates Rall for the "personal malice and hatred" against Pat Tillman, writes a column flagshipped by a newspaper run by an organization that advocates the widespread slaughter of homosexuals in a massive holocaust!

Man, I'm glad things like the Rall boycott are always done devoid of biased partisan filtering in their views on subjects, because that might make people look ridiculous or something!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:43 AM

Interesting

Via Oliver, the word comes out that Michael Moore's new (and fervently anti-Bush) film is being shelved by Miramax sugar daddy Disney, under the fears of what the studio could suffer from the wrath of Bush. Which, albeit slimy and censor-ific, makes sense, in the bizzare, twisted world of Bush that we determine to still contain "sense" and all that.

Anyway, my professional (heh) addition to this issue: I learned in film school how the usual movie financing process works: a studio can easily buy the "shelve rights" to a film, meaning under the terms of a multi-year contract, the studio can have full authority over the usage of the film through the length of the contract, including distrubution. Under the most stringent terms, the studio has the right to not only not release the film, but forbid the filmmaker from going to another distrubutor. It's to protect the profit of a studio that financed the film but doesn't think it will make a profit at the current time, but it can easily allow a studio to deliberately make sure certain films are never released.

Hopefully that's not the case, but it's far from unusual, and if that did happen, expect a lawsuit- I'm not going to start any paranoid conspiracy theories, but either way it could very likely postpone film releases until after the election. Which might have been Miramax/Disney's intentions all along.

Update: Stephanie Clarkson points out that the article does mention Miramax's leeway in the story, to be fair:

Scott had suggested I write you to point out the discrepancy I believe I found . You mentioned that they might have the right to shelve it, but the article you link to says: Miramax is free to seek another distributor in North America, but such a deal would force it to share profits and be a blow to Harvey Weinstein, a big donor to Democrats.

IMDB mentions a distributor for Spain, and doesn't list it yet, but Alliance Atlantis will be distributing it in Canada. I heard on Air America Radio (Unfiltered) that they have a distributor in the U.K. This indicates to me, at least, that it's more clearly a political issue, even if it's a 'we'd like to appear totally neutral' rather than being partisan.

This is based on a semi-limited film industry knowledge via my NYU Film degree, but I'll do my best: to start, domestic and foreign distribution is, as far as I know, completely unrelated. Miramax produced, ergo owns the film, and have sold distribution rights overseas to companies not overseen by the U.S.-based Walt Disney Company and the regulation of the MPAA. In the U.S., Disney owns Miramax which owns Moore's film. By forbidding Miramax to distribute, Miramax will have to pay another distribution company. This might be financially unfeasable. Or, it might just mean the film can come out, but without any association to Miramax or Disney. We'll see.

I might be a little messy with the legalese, but what can I say, I'm not a lawyer. Locally, I don't see how there's an argument over the political machinations of Disney in this decision- they're flat-out open about it: Disney doesn't want to release the film because it will make Jeb Bush mad at them.

As for any "discrepancy" I might have made originally, I think it's predominantly disingenuous to note Weinstein's partisan leaning hand-in-hand with Miramax's profits... the line in the article reads as though Weinstein wants all the profits of the film to go to John Kerry or something, even though I'm sure the concern is simply that Miramax doesn't want their profit to go to someone other than Miramax. Seriously- what does Miramax not wanting to share profits by finding an alternative distributor have to do with who Weinstein voted for? That's just bad writing.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:49 AM

May 4, 2004

Yep, that just about covers it

I wish The Daily Show did transcripts, since a copy of Janeane Garofalo's interview last night would be a very useful read indeed.

Garofalo made a significant point near the end of the interview when she noted, half-jokingly, that a huge portion of Bush's current supporters are doing it possibly for no reason other than spite. I've made comments earlier and frequently about how many right-wingers have leaned towards the "whatever makes me right" method, especially in the blogging genre, but this is the first time I actually heard someone mention this point on mass-media airwaves. Garofalo's most striking summation: "at this point wanting to vote for Bush should basically be considered a character flaw."

Clearly, there's a lot of pot-labelling-kettle here. The left is, by far, just as adamant in victory at any costs for this election. I think the left can concede, however, the public understanding that like any incumbent an election is a referrendum on the sitting president: for liberals and moderates (and even conservatives at this point) to vote against Bush because they dislike the man isn't really something of a political relevation.

I think, as the ones trying to maintain a status quo, there's much more spite voting with the right-wingers. Your average left-wing pundit might be partisan and focus on the flaws of Bush to highlight a negative view of the Republicans, but it seems like the average right-wing pundit forms partisan attacks on the left not as much to discredit it, but to annoy them.

To put it another way: if Kerry is elected, I think the major response will be, albeit with celebrations about the removal of Bush, a joyous summation from the left of changes in policy, social trends, etc. If Bush is re-elected, I think the major response will be, albiet a discussion of staying the course in policy, a by-and-large gloat from the right. I might be completely wrong, but I think there's a valid case that the right is much more hateful of the left, and much more condescending to it debate-wise, than vice-versa.

It's kind of a glass-half-empty/glass-half-full thing: both sides judge this election in terms of the left: it will either be a "victory" or a "defeat" for the broad-scope definition of "liberals," based on how each side has been trending the debate so far.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:49 AM

May 3, 2004

You are a crackhead. Why don't you own a crackpipe?

My friend Josh sent me what I consider the greatest Craigslist post ever.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:02 PM

Oh my god he's actually reading your mail

I am taking assertive steps to start retaking control of my personal schedule, including actually getting to the rapidly-overflowing inbox. As always, apologies to the people I could never respond to, apologies to the unsatisfactory responses to the people I DID respond to, Mazel Tov to the people of whom I just posted the links they sent me, and up yours to whoever wastes my time just writing to correct my grammar or write a one-line response to one of my posts that they think is clever but just makes them sound like a tool.

Burt Humburg sends a NY Times story about a creationist museum. Because what creationism really needs is to be associated with science. Whoopie.

Michael Boyle sends this letter that adds detail to a previous post:

Greetings - um, August, John, or whichever name you go by -

re. your 4/22 post on that article on the Kerry/Heinz money,

I wanted you to know that in addition to the rebuttals you noted, AP/yahoonews blew it even worse: The report you quoted mimicked an URBAN LEGEND circulating the internet earlier this year - and debunked on Snopes over a month ago[.]

I found this in about 10 seconds via Google (ironically, I went there because your link to the Heinz Corp. statement from "reader Alan Wall" wouldn't work for me). I guess this just makes me overqualified to be a reporter for the 'liberal' news media...

FWIW, Here's a direct link to the Heinz statement (pdf file), courtesy of Snopes[.]

Surdus Hawthorne and John Byrne have just started blogging, go say hello.

Finally, Jouni Hiltunen writes in with an interesting point about the recent "siege of Falljuah:"

Falluja, population: 285,000 (Wikipedia.org) Grozny, population : 223,000 (Wikipedia.org)

In the first Chechnya war in 1994 it took russians the force of: 58,000 men, 80 battle tanks, 208 APCs and 182 artillery pieces with massive air support to take Grozny from rebel force of approx. 1000 (?)

In the battle they suffered at least 1,376 killed and 408 missing, caused estimated 27,000 civilian casualties and reduced city into rubble.

Source: Baltic Defence Review, No. 2, 1999, pp. 75-87

Its no wonder the 3500+ US marines decided not to storm Fallujah.

Well, doesn't that make you feel warm and fuzzy at night. Unfortunately, the reality that was the alternative- turning control of the area back over to one of Saddam Hussein's generals- isn't exactly any more comforting, is it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:57 PM

Yes, yes it is.

Chris is completely right. Human Pac-Man on the NYU campus is, in fact, the best thing to ever happen in New York City.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:18 PM

Sweet Jesus someone shoot me in the head

Why the holy hell do I love the song "Walking in Memphis" by Lonestar? I can't stop listening to this goddamn song. It shouldn't be good. In fact, it's the type of song I usually consider to suck. I think there's a subliminal message in it.

Jesus Christ, I'm playing it again. Someone kill me.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:13 PM

May 2, 2004

Class jerk

Remember the kid in all your classes in high school who prided on being the class jerk? That's Fox News right there. Instead of, like most normal students, trying their damnedest to study, improve themselves, reach for a better future, etc., the class jerk just wanted to goof off, "keep it real," not give a damn about the books, whatever the respective person in your class said to justify what was basically their personal desire to find the simplest way to validate their decision to know that everything they do is right.

As I noted in the comments over at Pandagon, it's very interesting how Fox's "response" to Ted Koppel reading the names of dead soldiers in Iraq exemplifies this.

So, I'm watching Fox News Sunday to see what this big response to Nightline's honoring of fallen soldiers in Iraq is going to be. After Bill Kristol threw a really unbecoming snit fit (that, apparently, it would have been okay if they took longer and listed people who'd died in Afghanistan as well - but otherwise it was a "revolting" anti-war statement), they revealed their big response: next week's Fox News will feature a list of What We've Accomplished in Iraq.

(Kristol also apparently missed out when Nightline read the names of the victims of September 11th, but maybe he just felt as if they should have also read the names of those killed on the USS Cole? Making up standards to justify your indignation is a proud, proud tradition in political punditry.)

Now, the question I have is: this is obviously a political, partisan response to something that threw up some conservative dander over at Fox News. As Brit Hume said, Koppel delivered a dry recitation of the soldiers' names with accompanying photographs. It was impossible to discern any intent one way or the other from Koppel's reading, so the response from Fox News, which is explicitly to the false partisan brouhaha they pushed, is to create a distinctly and directly partisan attack on Nightline's list.

Classy move, guys.

Sarcasm understood, it's close to the truth: not classy- class jerk. A station claiming to be a news network- an entity defined by its obligation to truth, objectivity, and even-handedness- is openly bragging about how it will air a program devised as a partisan response to a bias that they themselves fabricated for the purpose of justifying being deliberately partisan.

Or, in other words, Fox will express their outrage at what they choose to see as partisan by airing something that they deliberately want to be partisan.

Can anyone, ANYONE, on the right at least acknowlege, supporting the action or not, what's inherently fucked up about that?

Fox News could actually be a news network if it wanted to. But it simply doesn't. And its right-wing supporters, celebrating their willful ignorance, provide nothing for the debate, or the future, but a generation of clowns who will provide nothing except self-satisfaction.

Update: Pandagon added a post just now emphasizing another point about this that I agree is somewhat significant: this pretty much shreds any rational pundit's potential claim to Fox being an objective news network. This might score loads of credibility points with the right-leaning conservatives, but it's done so by pretty much outing itself as a conservative speakerbox. Since we've already proven that the lawsuits will fail, I'd love to see how long it takes a network to start advertising itself as the "fair and balanced alternative to Fox News." Wouldn't that be great?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:34 PM

Don't call it a comeback

Billmon addresses the retreat in everything-but-the-name only.

Apparently, we're celebrating the year anniversary of "Mission Accomplished," marked by the then-failure to capture Saddam, by celebrating "victory complete" in Fallujah, without actually capturing the people who we claimed had to be caught before we left.

And reading names on Nightline is what's pissing the right off.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:11 PM

MoCCA

My pictures from Thursday's MoCCA event are now up, allowing you all to see just how many thumbs I have with a digital camera. Apologies to Jen Sorensen and Stephen Notely, who although I each spent about a half-hour talking to I completely neglected to get any pictures of.

The event was really fun; it's cool to see so many artists getting together and especially when it's political ones there's always a fun conversation to be had. Special hi to film critic Cole Smithey who was a fun talk, as well as Ben Jones of Jigsaw NYC. Also shoutout to James D'Amato, who wasn't at the event but I met on the bus ride home. And of course hello to Louisa and all the others at the event who actually recognized me.

I actually have a whole mess of autographs and accompanying sketches from all these cartoonists, and I should really consider scanning those in and showing them off as well. But for now, I gotta get some other work done.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:07 PM