18 May 2007

Kanan Makiya

March 24, 2007
Critic of Hussein Grapples With Horrors of Post-Invasion Iraq

Mr. Morse mentioned the pressure that Hillary Rodham Clinton was facing to apologize for her Senate vote authorizing President Bush to go to war.

Mr. Makiya stared into his glass of red wine. "That’s so Maoist," he said. "People shouldn’t feel the need to apologize. What is there to apologize for?"
March 29, 2007


April 18, 2007
Kanan Makiya: Changing Assumptions on Iraq
Makiya now questions his assumptions in supporting the war. He says the Americans made many mistakes, but the biggest mistakes were made by Iraq's new leaders.

Doing the same thing ... and expecting different results?

I haven't written about the debates for presidential nominee that the Democrats and Republicans are having amongst themselves (and about each other). So, let me say a few things.

I think we should have lots of debates, the more the better. It's not too early or too late to have debates and the debates should be hosted by as many organizations as possible.

I don't like the news coverage, already. It is too early for horse-race coverage. The only time horse-race coverage is appropriate is after the polls have closed and the votes are being tallied.

I agree with Andy when he writes,

But we can predict the future, or, rather, we can look to academic models that predict with a high degree of accuracy how systems will work. If journalists were to read this about the ethics of pre-primary campaign coverage, for example, they might begin to learn something about how the system actually works and what their role in it actually is.

Greenfield is right about slowing down, but he needs to urge his colleagues to make one more step in the direction of good political coverage--the kind that gives citizens the information they need to be free and self-governing.

and here ...
The reporter could have answered the questions that would have made this horse-race story politically useful: Who's telling the truth? Who has their facts straight? How are they trying to persuade? How are their claims related to what they've accomplished in office?
Since the silly season in political reporting is starting early, perhaps it's worth remembering "frames" and the media's role.
The 'gender gap' story was turned on its head. The Nexis search revealed no recent references to 'angry white men' voters in the major American papers prior to November 10 1994. By the end of the year thirty-two stories had appeared about this, with the number escalating to 208 stories in spring/summer 1995. Therefore in successive elections first the Democratic edge among women, then the Republican edge among men, (angry or not), became the conventional interpretation of gender differences in voting behaviour, the dominant frame which could be adopted in a flexible way to cover stories about different regions, candidates, or party strategies. As shown in Figure 1, the basic gender difference between women and men voters had not substantially altered, but the media frame switched with the suddenness of a roller coaster.
In 2002, William Schneider picked up on this media framing phenomenon in The Atlantic (subscription req.):
Back in 1994, "angry white men" ruled the electorate. They were mad at President Clinton, and they brought Newt Gingrich to power as speaker of the House just to torment the president. In 1996, Clinton pollster Mark Penn discovered the counter to angry white men: "soccer moms." They were upscale suburban working mothers turned off by the meanness of the Republican-controlled Congress. Soccer moms wanted leaders who were nice to women. Clinton was nice to women—maybe too nice.
Soccer moms, NASCAR dads, the angry left ... all convenient frames that get in the way of doing good journalism. There's plenty of time to get it right for 2008!

UPDATE: Although I continue to think that journalists would be better served looking to "academic models that predict with a high degree of accuracy how systems will work" than relying on horse-race coverage, I have argued against "predictive intelligence" journalism measured by its "predictive accuracy."

15 May 2007

Wierd Web Workings at CNN

Down the Memory Hole

This is very interesting. A couple years ago, during the Katrina disaster, I linked to a CNN report and quoted it:
Overnight, police snipers were stationed on the roof of their precinct, trying to protect it from gunmen roaming through the city, CNN's Chris Lawrence reported.

One New Orleans police sergeant compared the situation to Somalia and said officers were outnumbered and outgunned by gangs in trucks.

"It's a war zone, and they're not treating it like one," he said, referring to the federal government. ...
One of my readers ran into that posting of mine--and noticed that the CNN report at that link no longer said anything like that.
Weird. Some of it is still in the previous day's story ... Relief workers confront 'urban warfare'
Police snipers were stationed on the roof of their precinct, trying to protect it from armed miscreants roaming seemingly at will....

CNN's Chris Lawrence and Ed Lavandera contributed to this report.
What's missing is the anonymous "New Orleans police sergeant" comparison to Somalia and quote. Hmmmmmm ....

UPDATE: Perhaps because it originated at the London Times?
One New Orleans police officer wept as he described seeing bodies riddled with bullets, and the top of one man’s head shot off. He said some looters were armed with AK47 rifles, and compared the situation with Somalia, with police outnumbered and outgunned by gangs in trucks. “It’s a war-zone, and they’re not treating it like one,” he said, referring to the federal Government.
But that story is dated September 3, 2005. The date in the URL of CNN's story that Cramer claims has changed is September 2, 2005 (http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/katrina.impact/index.html). Did the London Times get it from CNN? If so, why no attribution?

Curiouser and curiouser ...

UPDATE: CNN host Kyra Phillips got the word on September 2:
You know, the situation is desperate, emergency extreme. Mission Critical is what this is being called. Four days after Katrina, three days after New Orleans was swallowed by Lake Pontchartrain, one New Orleans police sergeant is comparing his city to Somalia.
So did CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick as late as September 5:
One police officer, a sergeant, told us that it was like Somalia. He saw gangs running around in trucks with rifles and AK-47s. There was a total state of chaos.

The first district precinct station house totally under fire. They put up a sign that said, you know, "Fort Apache," the Bronx, referring to the movie there. A mall burned down. There was a station inside that.

The police officers were targets. We heard reports that there were snipers firing at some of the officers. And here these guys are, they`re trying to save people, and they are coming under attack.
Maybe the New Orleans police sergeant isn't so anonymous, Fort Apache:
"It was just like Somalia," Sgt. Danny Scanlan says. "We were taking gunfire every night."



h/t: Insty

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DoD Announces Army Soldiers as Whereabouts Unknown

The Department of Defense announced today the identities of four soldiers listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN) while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They have been unaccounted for since May 12 in Al Taqa, Iraq, when their patrol was attacked by enemy forces using automatic fire and explosives. They are assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

Reported as DUSTWUN are:

Sgt. Anthony J. Schober, 23, of Reno, Nev.

Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass.

Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr., 20, of Torrance, Calif.

Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich.

Search and recovery efforts are ongoing, and the incident is under investigation.
UPDATE: Family: Nevada soldier is dead
Army officials Thursday notified the parents of former Gardnerville resident Sgt. Anthony J. Schober that he was among soldiers killed Saturday in an attack on his unit's outpost south of Baghdad.
UPDATE: Officials Confirm Body Found in Baghdad is Missing Soldier
Iraqi police found the body of Army Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr., 20, a native of Torrance, Calif., in the Euphrates River south of Baghdad and turned it over to American officials for identification.

A massive search continues for Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass., and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich., the other missing soldiers.

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O'Donnell, 'View' Hosts Debate 9/11 Conspiracies and More: News Briefs


The hosts of ABC’s “The View” again discussed the Sept. 11 attacks on Monday’s episode, focusing on the collapse of World Trade Center 7. (In the above clip, Rosie O’Donnell continues to maintain the position of the conspiracy theorist crowd, while Elisabeth Hasselbeck tries to deflect those arguments.)
Rosie O'Donnell Leaving `The View'


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