Friday, December 09, 2005

Journalism: fact-checking and full disclosure

Omri Ceren is none too pleased with the LA Times. After reading his post, I doubt you will be, either.

I haven't read the full backup materials to which Ceren links (it's a book-length Strategic Studies Institute document), just a summary and the excerpts Ceren offers. So I haven't done my own independent analysis, and am relying on his. With that caveat, though, I must say that he makes an excellent case that the Times op-ed piece in question, by George Bisharat, is at the very least misleading.

Here's Bisharat's opinion piece from the Times. And here's the SSI--US Army War College document on which Bisharat based his article.

Bisharat's thesis is as follows:

To avert Iran's apparent drive for nuclear weapons, concludes Henry Sokolski, a co-editor of "Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran," [the SSI report] Israel should freeze and begin to dismantle its nuclear capability...[T]here is an Achilles heel in our nonproliferation policy: the double standard that U.S. administrations since the 1960s have applied with respect to Israel's weapons of mass destruction. Israel's suspected arsenal includes chemical, biological and about 100 to 200 nuclear warheads, and the capacity to deliver them.

Initially, the United States opposed Israel's nuclear weapons program. President Kennedy dispatched inspectors to the Dimona generating plant in Israel's south, and he cautioned Israel against developing atomic weapons. Anticipating the 1962 visit of American inspectors, Israel reportedly constructed a fake wall at Dimona to conceal its weapons production.

Since then, no U.S. administration has effectively pressured Israel to either halt its program or to submit to inspections under the International Atomic Energy Agency. Nor has Israel been required to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The apparent rationale: Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of an ally are simply not an urgent concern.

Yet this rationale neglects a fundamental law of arms proliferation. Nations seek WMD when their rivals already possess them. Israel's nuclear capability has clearly fueled WMD ambitions within the Middle East. Saddam Hussein, for example, in an April 1990 speech to his military, threatened to retaliate against any Israeli nuclear attack with chemical weapons — the "poor man's atomic bomb."...

[The SSI report's] suggestion is comparatively mild: Israel should take small, reversible steps toward nuclear disarmament to encourage Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.


I've quoted Bisharat at some length in order to be fair to him. The thrust of his message to the casual reader who hasn't read the SSI report (and my guess is that that would be close to 100% of his readers), is that the report recommended that Israel start disarming, and that Iran would then follow suit.

That is indeed a distortion of the report's message. Here is a summary of the report's recommendations, taken from the report itself (which, by the way, is almost totally about the threat posed by Iran):

To contain and deter Iran from posing such threats, the United States and its friends could take a number of steps: increasing military cooperation (particularly in the naval sphere) to deter Iranian naval interference; reducing the vulnerability of oil facilities in the Gulf outside of Iran to terrorist attacks, building and completing pipelines in the lower Gulf region that would allow most of the non-Iranian oil and gas in the Gulf to be exported without having to transit the Straits of Hormuz; diplomatically isolating Iran by calling for the demilitarization of the Straits and adjacent islands, creating country-neutral rules against Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty state members who are suspected of violating the treaty from getting nuclear assistance from other state members and making withdrawal from the treaty more difficult; encouraging Israel to set the pace of nuclear restraint in the region by freezing its large reactor at Dimona and calling on all other states that have large nuclear reactors to follow suit; and getting the Europeans to back targeted economic sanctions against Iran if it fails to shut down its most sensitive nuclear activities.

Ceren, who has apparently read the full report, states that what it actually recommends is this:

(1) The SSI report explicitly calls for Israel to "not yet dismantle" any nuclear capability, in direct and undeniable contrast to Bisharat's claim that it calls for Israel to "begin to dismantle its nuclear capability"

(2) The report deals only with Israel mothballing fissile material - not nuclear weapons. This is a critical distinction - it's the difference between Israel resting on its arsenal of 150-200 nuclear weapons in an otherwise de-nuclearized Middle East, and Israel weakening itself by dismantling its arsenal. The SSI report does not believe that Israel actually disarming would have any effect on Iranian motives for proliferation because Iran is not developing their arsenal for defensive purposes. They're developing it to destroy Israel...

The report recommends that Israel trade its ability to produce future bombs for Iran's ability to produce future bombs...There's a very specific reason why the SSI authors do not recommend that Israel publicly dismantle its nuclear arsenal - because they think it would risk a regional nuclear war.


In Bisharat's piece, he omits the details--and, as usual, the real story is in the details. If one reads Ceren's piece first and then reads Bisharat's, one can see that Bisharat does not actually say, point blank, that the report asks Israel to start disarming its nuclear arsenal, although one can also see that, if one has read only Bisharat's article, a typical reader might easily come to the conclusion that that is what he's saying.

Yes, Bisharat does mention that the report asks that Israel perform "small, reversible steps towards disarmament." By this he no doubt is referring to the steps Ceren mentions, which involve mothballing fissile material and freezing a reactor, in exchange for a host of similar steps and obligations by other Arab and Moslem countries. But by failing to explain precisely what those steps asked of Israel are, and by not emphasizing the quid pro quo aspects of them, he is misleading the reader.

This is not an isolated case; it seems that, when op-ed pieces (or even straight news pieces) are written based on documents about policy recommendations, those recommendations are frequently distorted almost beyond recognition (remember Duelfer?). Is this a reading comprehension problem on the part of the writers and journalists composing these pieces? Or a writing problem? Or is it deliberate obfuscation?

What is the obligation of editors at newspapers such as the LA Times to fact-check these pieces by reading the original reports, and to see if the articles fairly represent what's actually in them? And do those editors have a duty to fire journalists who consistently distort such reports? In addition, what should the editors' standards be in choosing op-ed writers, and do they need to identify those writers in such a way as to clarify whatever agendas they may bring to their works?

When we see an op-ed piece by Pat Buchanan, for example, or by Jimmy Carter, we pretty well know what we are dealing with. We know their history and their political agendas, and we know how to weigh what they are saying, adding into the mix our own notions of how they might be predisposed to slant things to advance those agendas. If this piece had been written by the Iranian ambassador to the UN, for example, we'd know where he was coming from; likewise, if it had been written by his Israeli counterpart. That doesn't mean either would be lying, by the way; it simply means they would be bringing known biases to the table. The reader should always evaluate each piece of writing on the merits of its own logic, of course. But knowing what biases to look out for can only enhance our ability to perform such evaluations.

So, it is in that spirit that I ask: who is Bisharat, and what are his political biases in the area of the Middle East and Israel? Does he have any? The Times identifies him as: is a professor of law at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco who writes frequently on law and politics in the Middle East. And this is, in fact, the case.

But if you read the entire bio to which I just linked, you'll find the following:

[Bisharat's] study of the impact of Israeli occupation on the Palestinian legal profession of the West Bank, Palestinian Lawyers and Israeli Rule: Law and Disorder in the West Bank, was published in 1989. In recent years, Professor Bisharat has consulted with the Palestinian Legislative Council over the structure of the Palestinian judiciary, reforms in criminal procedure, and other aspects of legal development.

Again, let me emphasize that such a history is not a disqualification for writing on this subject. Nor is being a Palestinian (or a Jew or an Israeli, for that matter), a disqualification; not at all. But we do need to know whether Bisharat is or is not an objective observer here; does he have a relevant political agenda?

With just a bit more research, one can easily come up with more information about a possible political agenda.
Here, for example, is a piece written in early 2004 by Bisharat for the extreme leftist periodical Counterpunch. It's entitled, "The Right of Return: two-state solution sells Palestine short." The opening paragraph:

It is a tragic irony that, more than 55 years ago, one desperate people seeking sanctuary from murderous racism decimated another--and continue to oppress its scattered survivors to this day. In 1948, about 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homeland, their land and possessions taken by the new Jewish state of Israel. This included the Jerusalem home of my grandparents, Hanna and Mathilde Bisharat, which was expropriated through a process tantamount to state-sanctioned theft.

One can only conclude that Bisharat does have a clear political agenda. The rest of the piece is basically an indictment of Israel and a call, not only for a two-state solution, but for a full implementation of the "right-to-return" for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants. And it's clear that Bisharat considers himself one of those descendants, and wants to have that right; in fact, he uses the term "we" consistently throughout the article to refer to Palestinians desiring to return, and to Palestinians as a whole.

I have no intention in this post to debate the issue of the right to return, or the conditions under which the Palestinians originally left and under which they remained unassimilated refugees in other Arab lands. Suffice to say there are nearly innumerable websites that present each side of the question. You can (and perhaps you already have) certainly read them for yourself, taking into account the possible biases of their respective authors, and weighing the issues as best you can on the preponderance of the evidence presented, as well as its authenticity and veracity.

At any rate, my point in quoting the "Right of Return" article by Bisharat is merely to say that, clearly, this is not a disinterested and impartial party. Now, getting into identities and assuming bias on the basis of those identities is one of those slippery slopes that feel dangerous. So I'm not saying Bisharat's objectivity is questionable because of his Palestinian origins or his cultural identity. Rather, it's because Bisharat has the clearest of political agendas--one which he has stated unequivocally in a public forum--and it is a fairly extreme one.

Of course, Bisharat is entitled to his position about Palestine, the SSI report--or for that matter, anything else. He's also entitled to state it, and the LA Times is entitled to print it, if they so choose. But, before publishing it, shouldn't the Times check to see whether he's presenting the report fairly? And doesn't the LA Times also have a duty to inform us about Bisharat's extremist agenda, rather than to present him as a neutral and disinterested party? Of course, if the first were true (we could rely on the Times to make sure his article was fair before they printed it) the second (identifying his agenda) would not be necessary--it would be irrelevant.

16 Comments:

At 5:23 PM, December 09, 2005, Blogger Huan said...

It really shouldn't matter what Israel has in terms of nuclear weapon or when or if it should be dismantled. Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and thus has the right to do so. Iran on the otherhand is a signatory to the NPT and is bound by it. If the supervising members of the NPT is not willing to enforce its own treaty they have essentially relinquish any say in Iran's nuclear program. I blame the NPT supervising members that have appeased Iran. We know who they are.

 
At 6:04 PM, December 09, 2005, Blogger jonz said...

Rights for monkeys too.

 
At 6:45 PM, December 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's this behavior that insures my not reading opinions of anyone I don't know and trust. I'd be happy if the straight news reporting was not distorted--that it was in fact straight reporting of all facets of a story: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Of course then we'd have to think. Mark

 
At 7:21 PM, December 09, 2005, Blogger David said...

By this logic: In 1938, Britain should have begun the scrapping of its Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, and dismantled its radar system, in order to encourage Germany to take steps toward disarmament.

 
At 9:55 PM, December 09, 2005, Blogger Alexandra said...

All Things Beautiful TrackBack Extraction Of The Stone Of Iranian Madness:

"LATEST UPDATE: My friend over @ Neo-Neocon is fact checking the LA Times article discussing whether Israel should give up it's nukes. Providing here the SSI--US Army War College document on which Bisharat, the author, based his article."

 
At 11:39 AM, December 10, 2005, Anonymous Joseph Samuel Friedman said...

Since leaving the liberal fold I have found one disconcerting fact about the media and one that didn't bother me while I was on the left and found the MSM basically representing and validating the center of my liberal universe. That fact is the blatant use of deceit the MSM will employ to make what they consider as important appear relevant in the context of today's stories. This is the way of the liberal-left and very dangerous. One of many notorious examples is the Rather-gate "fake but true" documents, it didn't matter that this was a set-up and not the truth because the underling story validated the prejudices of the leftist MSM. We must realize that to them facts don't represent truth, the leftist agenda does, truth and facts be damned. This further points to the most ironic of ironies which is everything leftist-liberals accuse this President and his followers of doing are in fact exactly what those on the left and in the MSM are doing. The use of deceit, trickery, pretending to support that which they in fact do not. They feigned support for the War while it was popular, asserting their true position when convenient to do so, throwing around blame and making excuses for their changing sides.

The fact is conservatives, while ideological, are not as activist in nature as liberals and those on the right that are activist on the critical issues of the day are for the most part neo-con "ex-leftists" types who are in honest open commentary and up-front with their biases. Outside career punditry, conservatives take up career jobs that are more market/business oriented and less involved in government, teaching, social engineering, etc. where through force and manipulation leftist-liberals seek to impose. What liberal professors and universities do is also criminal as far as I am concerned. The fact is conservatives must not just wake up and realize that leftist-liberals cheat and do not fight fair (most have realized this), they must also seek to lend more effort in countering the lies and deceit, certainly blogs and talk-radio has helped, but is not near enough. While conservatives may be more supportive of fighting the WOT, believe in free-markets, and that Iraqi's will protect their own freedom once given it. The liberal-left actually believes in imposing their ideology among the free. I do think neo-cons (and neo-neo-cons) know what we are dealing with. I think many of my new-found conservative friends here in the suburbs are very complacent about this, they are the ones that must be convinced and this is veeeery frustrating! Most of the people I know that work for the Government vote liberal with teachers and social workers being the worst, while most in the private sector vote conservative which brings me a whole new reason for shrinking the size of Government, allowing for faith based initiatives, and implementing school choice.

 
At 12:59 PM, December 10, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

" Anticipating the 1962 visit of American inspectors, Israel reportedly constructed a fake wall at Dimona to conceal its weapons production."

Unusual sentence structure. Not, Israel reportedly anticipated a 1962 visit and built a fake wall, rather it is that they anticipated first, and then the report came about that the wall was fake... Not a very linear thought process at all. Consistent with distort first, then claim that the evidence was fake but still believable. Half assertion, half ass covering in case.

"Nor has Israel been required to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. "

Are the Democrats and anti-Israelis under the misapprehension that Israel is a state of the United States, and therefore is Constitutionally required to sign the same treaties that we have? Or are they refering to Israeli's voters not requiring the signing of the NNT... I prefer to pick the one that has the most sinister connotations.

"The apparent rationale: Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of an ally are simply not an urgent concern."

There's that sentence structure again. First you had "anticipating" then "reportedly". Now you have "apparent" before "not an urgent concern".

Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of an ally are simply not an urgent concern, the apparent rationale of the X. That is a slightly different emphasis, and has a different subliminal effectiveness. One has to wonder why he chose one syntax for the 1962 sentence and another one for Israel. Perhaps because one sentence he believed and another he didn't? Pick the one that conforms to human nature.

Putting the disclaimer first, puts the reader on more wariness, and thus gives a greater percentage chance that the information will not diffuse easily across the memory wall. A way to manipulate reader perceptions, without the average reader noticing it. I doubt most people know why advertisers show certain things in advertisements either, but it is the same skill. Literature, instead of visual/auditory.

"Since then, no U.S. administration has effectively pressured Israel to either halt its program or to submit to inspections under the International Atomic Energy Agency."

I wonder if this attitude is some kind of trust in the US or an assumption that we pull the strings of Israel. If that is truelly the psychological rendition of the Palestinians and the propagandists in favor of fueling Palestinian hydrogen fires, then perhaps it might be beneficial to tweak it some. To manifest some human response that is predictable and beneficial. How to do this without failing and making obvious false threats, now that is the details.

If this "Palestinian" believes that Israel has no sovereignty in relation to the United States, what the hell gives him the idea that the United States will give a bunch of racist, lying, pockers a State on anything but a nuclear mushroom foundation?

Self-deception is such a useful survival tool, because it relies upon the weakness of the object being distorted, in this case the US. It has succeded to such an extent, because most opponents are weak, and if they are not weak, enough of the denialists will survive to procreate. Which made it nature's favorite tactic. Perhaps it is time for the US to show some of nature's tactics, and show people just why power doesn't just side with the weak all the time. If not by our own hands, then by the hands of our proxies, proxies who are much more bloodthirsty and "honor code" orientated than the Israelis. Israelis were never a warrior culture, like the Kurds. They got almost eliminated from the face of the Earth as an ethnic group, and they refuse to marry outside blood to dilute the ethnic relations to the point where nobody can tell who is a Jew or not, which is why they went to Israel in the first place. Unfortunately for them, I guess, the wars for survival didn't end once they got to Israel. Although leaving Europe was a very good idea.

I am always surprised at the contrast between America and Israel. Both have a strong sense of pride, and of religious values. But the differences are amazing. America is an idea, thus what is an American may be in the majority "Caucassian" but also includes Tiger Woods, multi-racial people, and multi-ethnic people. The blood gets dispersed and diluted to the point where German immigrants only have vaguely German traditions 2 generations later. In Israel, it is like the counter of assimilation. Instead of electro-plating stuff on something, it discards all the junk. What they get is a vital spirit, but not much else. Certainly not a lot of bloodthirstyness that came with the Scots and the pragmatism of the Asians and the family closeness of the Italians (which are surprisingly like the Iraqis).

Sad to say it, but only the strong survive in this world (or those lucky to be born in strong nations). And it ain't the meek, but the diverse, and the manifold unified masses. Chaos to Order, the conversion is necessary for national strength and stability.

"increasing military cooperation (particularly in the naval sphere) to deter Iranian naval interference"

Maybe the word "blockade" has fallen out of political and military use, but I still think it would be quite effective in Iran. And without American casualties as would a land raid/campaign.

"diplomatically isolating Iran by calling for the demilitarization of the Straits and adjacent islands,"

I prefer an ultimatum to Iran, in the form that if they don't do what we say, we're going to take away their sea routes, their navy, and any other vessel that violates US occupied seas. One would think that this would be a lot more feasible and easier than invading or creating land/air threats, but then again, maybe the State Department and their international laws has had something to do with how come the US military can't use the world's best and largest navy as any other than a mine clearing sweat job. Bush might want to get a clue and start using the Navy as it was meant to be used, and stop obeying this sissy, enemy funed, "international treaties" or whatever he justifies with why he can't use the Navy in an offensive capacity. RIght now, our Navy is freaking protecting the commerce of the majority of the world, and we don't get dick in tributes even at that. If we can't derive an income from it, if we can't use it for national security goals that land/air power cannot achieve, then what the heck are we paying for a navy that outmasses the 7th other largest navies combined? Again, pick the one that conforms to human nature. If we don't do it now, we might have to do it when we don't got any other choice, and with chances of success far lower. Or we do it cause we want vengeance for an attack, which would be very ... not useful.

"They're developing it to destroy Israel..."

Iran's more worried about the US than Israel. Israel isn't a danger to Iran, we are. And a fatal one given enough time and money, resources and will. Israel and Palestine are just fuel sources for their power trip. To the fanatics, it might be different, but the mullahs can't be too fanatical living at the top the way they do now.

THe stated purpose of self-defense is pretty inconsistent with human nature. Because if a self-proclaimed enemy had nukes, and you didn't, and you told him you were getting nukes to defend yourself but hadn't built any actual nukes yet, just what do you think this self-proclaimed enemy would do with this information? Pick the action consistent with human nature. Humans when they know that they either have to use them or lose them, will use them. About as effective as telling a murder you are going to buy a gun, and that he should not attack you because of that fact... yes very human.

"This is not an isolated case; it seems that, when op-ed pieces (or even straight news pieces) are written based on documents about policy recommendations, those recommendations are frequently distorted almost beyond recognition (remember Duelfer?)."

This is why the President needs to prepare the nation psychologically using whatever tricks the EXECUTIVE Branch has in its disposal, not to make his mistakes any less smelly, but to counteract the enemy. He'd do well just to make things even, which he obviously isn't doing, although he has been trying and for that I give him my approval.

"What is the obligation of editors at newspapers such as the LA Times to fact-check these pieces by reading the original reports, and to see if the articles fairly represent what's actually in them?"

They can lie all they want to. Politicians lie for a reason, and one of those reasons is to counter other lies. Then again, you don't need to lie to verbally flail opinions.

Messing with the press in this situation would require drastic measures, and I don't think the Prez or the Elite Senate will back such measures. So it's got to go with Plan B, free speech to counter other free speech, however distorting. Good lawyers, to counter other good lawyers. Won't make the trial any more just, but it will prevent it from being less just.

"Of course, if the first were true (we could rely on the Times to make sure his article was fair before they printed it) the second (identifying his agenda) would not be necessary--it would be irrelevant."

And of course, if the first is not true, then the second would not be true either. Because both requires honesty and integrity of one form or another. Lack in the first, produces lack in the second. Lack in the second, produces lack in the first. An honest reporter would make sure that his sentence structures are unbiased, and make an adequate disclosure. A dishonest reporter and writer would do neither, because doing the disclosure shines a big spotlight on the distorted body. And that is a big no no.

I think many of my new-found conservative friends here in the suburbs are very complacent about this, they are the ones that must be convinced and this is veeeery frustrating!

This is one of those reasons why having a President use the full powers of his office, legal, extra-legal, black black ops, deception, and all is so important. Individual citizens just don't have the impact to change people's minds. They can get out the vote, they can elect Presidents, but they can't do the President's job for the President. Which is to harness national will, national resources, and national power through the focus/prism of the Presidency.

If a General found out that his Lieutenants and his Captains were telling lies about the mission the General had outlined, the General would fire the Lieutenants and the Captains, replace them with people who got a pair, and then give a morale boosting speech to the troops to repair some of the damage. Bush trusted Tenet's slam dunk, and didn't even fire him, didn't even talk about it.

The American people are as much dissatisfied with Bush's job conduct as we are with the fact that we are doing his job for him.

Bush treats the military different than he treats the American public, and that is horribly bad for us. Although his comments at recent military bases have been indicative of some tactical change.

I wonder if Bush is one of those characters that bring Order to Chaos. If he is, then he certainly doesn't WANT to create Chaos. Which means he doesn't tend to shake things up even when things need shaking up. Unless he is forced to. But when he is forced to, he brings a lot of Order to the Chaos. It is when Order has been established... that he tends to wear down. Like about now in Iraq.

 
At 3:57 PM, December 10, 2005, Blogger Epaminondas said...

First error...
Basic Premise

" Israel's nuclear capability has clearly fueled WMD ambitions within the Middle East."

Are you kidding?

WHat is fueling the desire for nuclear weapons in Iran, Iraq (previously), etc., with the sole exeption of Pakistan (<>India), is LIVING JEWS who refuse to be victims and apparently, move their state to the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, thus ending their non dhimmi-dom on the sacred muslim waqf. (Of course this would be only until the fatah ..look that up sports fans... reaches them again)

The idea that Israeli nukes fuel the desire for certain groups to use nukes to destroy Israel is ignorant.

So sorry.

Therefore, btw, Israel taking any steps to reduce or eliminate its nukes will only be seen as Allah weakening the enemy mind in preparation for the final blow

 
At 4:50 PM, December 10, 2005, Blogger neo-neocon said...

epaminondas--I hope you didn't get the idea that I agree with Bisharat??

 
At 6:09 PM, December 10, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

How can anyone get that idea?

Israel having nukes, is definitely a motivation for Iran to get nukes. They are enemies after all, but it is probably not their primary defacto, mission critical or we're all dead, reason.

If the Israelis actually used a nuke... well, that might be a different, it would actually stop Iran from conducting nuclear generation almost immediately.

I wonder if we can goad Israel and Iraq into doing something clandestine on this thing together... not with the CIA in their current shape perhaps, and the military definitely does not have the "deviousness" for that kind of Op.

Oh, well, guess more people have to die before Iran gives up. Shrugs, if that's how the cookie crumples, I'll just wait till a new leader wants to eat it up faster.

 
At 7:03 PM, December 10, 2005, Blogger Epaminondas said...

no neo-neo, I don't at all, I'm merely stating (btw as a fellow almost or completely ex-dem, civl rights working, ex aclu, ex vietnam protest organizing, woken up on 9/11, conversing w/arabs every ), that if Bisharat's premise or even the Pentagon's premise (falsely claimed apparently)is that arab desire for nukes comes from an Israeli nuclear deterrent force, the idea is one of the most fantastically absurd premises I have ever heard.

The arabs, and the muslims want the jews OUT, or perhaps preferable, dead (if we take the presesnt execrable leader of Iran, the PLA, KSA, Rafsanjani, and various muslim leaders seriously). They believe via the quran that the jews are evil, and therefore doomed, and that since the quran is the immutable word of god, THEY must be not only correct in this desire, but it is their individual responsibility to ensure this outcome.

Anyone who asserts that reducing it's deterrent against uniformly hostile, neighbors, history, and promises is a way to reduce threats against it is not fit to put pen to advisory paper since they don't have a clue about reality.

Sad to say. But reality is reality.
Love your blog, you make your points gently.

I have heavier shoes, I'm afraid

http://vwt.d2g.com:8081

 
At 4:33 PM, December 11, 2005, Blogger Solomon2 said...

we could rely on the Times to make sure his article was fair before they printed it

What right do we have to insist that the Times ensure fairness? If they persist in permitting yellow journalism, we can propagate the attitude that the Times is only fit for clipping coupons and stuffing bird cages.

 
At 4:43 PM, December 11, 2005, Blogger still realizing said...

The general rule of internet politics is that when somebody says "Here, look at this link -- it proves my point". Well, it almost never does. I see this all the time. On the right and the left. It's amazing. Bisharat is just another example.

Joseph Samuel Friedman:
You are too sure that you are right. Once you are sure you're right and you're sure the opposition is cheating you'll start cheating yourself. It's why politics is so disgusting to so many people.

 
At 5:37 PM, December 11, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

"small, reversible steps"

Right. Imagine the reaction should Israel begin to reverse one of the steps.

 
At 10:13 PM, December 11, 2005, Anonymous Joseph Samuel Friedman said...

still realizing, concerning...

You are too sure that you are right. Once you are sure you're right and you're sure the opposition is cheating you'll start cheating yourself.

What, I'll start cheating??? Further, am I too sure I am right in my belief the MSM is blatantly liberal-left and biased? Growing up as a Liberal-Leftist Jew here in Washington D.C., I doubt it.

 
At 7:32 PM, December 12, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The reason why politics is so disgusting is because of apathetic people who don't really care if one side wins or not, culminating in no real incentive for one side to be better than the other if the apathetic voters are just not going to care.

There are too many people whom dislike strong feelings and positions. The gray of apathy seems to be more their metier.

 

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