Never Send a Googling Bear to do a Goolging Monkey's Job

Since I am an egomaniac, today I was sifting through the Truth Laid Bear blog traffic rankings to see where MyDD was these days (mid-thirties and rising!). As someone who spent way, way, way too much time during the Democratic primary season tracking stories on Google News, I was intrigued by a story on the left hand column that said it was tracking the Kerry Swift Boat story through Google News.

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Iraq Bans Al-Jazeera

Now that I am a minor member of the media, this sort of event disturbs me even more than in the past. Iraq has banned the only independent, Arabic-language news channel in Iraq: The Iraqi government closed the Iraqi offices of the Arab television station Al-Jazeera for 30 days, accusing it Saturday of inciting violence.(...)

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said the government convened an independent commission a month ago to monitor Al-Jazeera's daily coverage "to see what kind of violence they are advocating, inciting hatred and problems and racial tension."

Based on the commission's finding, the National Security Committee ordered the monthlong closure, Allawi said.

Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said the closure was intended to give the station "a chance to readjust their policy against Iraq."(...)

During a July 25 interview with Al-Jazeera in Moscow, interim Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari accused the channel of biased reporting and implied its journalists could be barred from the country.

"We do not tolerate those who exploit the freedom of the media," Zebari said then. "These channels have become channels for provocation against the interest, security and safety of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government will not be lenient toward such behavior."

Of course, since Al-Jazeera is the only Arabic-language news channel in the area where you could have a debate about whether or not it is biased, the representatives of the same Iraqi government that banned the network were willing to be interviewed on it. Obviously, Iraq is still working out that freedom of the press thing.

I guess bombing Al-Jazeera was not enough. At the same time, I wonder if there will be any repercussions for journalists who ran the bogus beheading story. Oh yeah, I don't want to incite violence or anything, but people are still dying in Iraq.

Dean and CNN's Intolerance of Dissent

Atrios has a good post showing just how severely Dean was butchered and bashed on a recent edition of CNN's Inside Politics for stating that releasing a vague terror threat based on three-year information on the Monday after the Democratic National Convention was politically motivated. Of course, what Dean said was so obvious that the Bush administration was forced to respond, and that response is now the top headline on Yahoo News. But don't let that fool you--Dean, as is his way, was insane for making that comment.

CNN's hawk hack job on Dean is a another example of the intolerance the media has not only has for Dean, but but for non-official, anti-war, left-wing positions in general.

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Advertising News

Coming into August, I was afraid that Bush would be able to advertise like there was no tomorrow this month while Kerry would be unable to respond. However, my fears were unfounded: After months of criticizing rival John Kerry in campaign ads, the Bush-Cheney campaign is shifting gears with some $14 million in commercials that praise the Republican for "moving America forward" amid economic and terrorism challenges.(...) The commercials began airing Tuesday in local media markets in 19 battleground states for at least two weeks and on national cable networks for the month, a period that would include the highly watched Olympic Games They also will air on local cable channels in specific media markets in at least two states -- New Mexico and Nevada. (...)

The Democratic National Committee's independent expenditure office is spending $6 million in 20 competitive states [this week alone] and on national cable networks to broadcast an ad in which Kerry argues that he can lead a nation at war. And, on Tuesday, the Media Fund, a liberal interest group, rolled out five TV ads in five swing states -- Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Mexico. The group, which spent $27 million in 17 states this spring to keep Kerry competitive on the air as he rebuilt his campaign fund after the primary, says it is spending at least $2.5 million over a week to run the ads.

That's $14M for direct, pro-Bush advertising over the next two weeks, and $8.5M for indirect, pro-Kerry advertising over next week. The article did not indicate what pro-Kerry groups are planning for the week after this one, but for at least the next seven days Kerry allies will combine to outspend Bush on TV ads.

Also, Bush is significantly cutting back on negative advertising, which made up around 75% of his previous ads buys. The campaign must have finally relented after realizing that the negative ads were not having their desired impact on Kerry's image. Kerry's unfavorables remain a little more than ten points lower than Bush's.

And The Oscar Goes To...

In March of 2003, Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine won the Oscar for Best Documentary. It was the first popular documentary to win in something like thirty years. Then again, it was the first popular documentary in something like thirty years.

Of course, this year is very different. Not only is there F911, but other polemic documentaries, such as Control Room, The Corporation, The Hunting of the President, Outfoxed, and Super Size Me have also received, or are about to receive, significant, widespread attention.

Let's enter into a wonderful hypothetical world for a moment where all six have been nominated for Best Documentary. Which one do you think would win? Which one would you want to win? Take the poll, and discuss.


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