Close to a month ago, Ace at Ace of Spades HQ posted a long but excellent article about the so-called neutral story lines that the mainstream media regularly uses to bash Republicans while still giving the appearance of being neutral. Here’s a snippet of Ace’s full article, for people who can’t be bothered to read the whole thing:

Mickey Kaus often notes the media likes Neutral Story Lines, as they’re easy to write, but are supposedly nonpartisan, as they usually criticize some procedural defect in both parties.

What makes the “Neutral Story Line” not neutral at all is that the media seems most interested, each cycle, in the “Neutral Story Line” that hurts the Republicans more….

And this is how media bias works 75% of the time. Most of the time, the media is selecting between several possible “rules,” many of which are arguably correct, but which are contradicted by nearly opposite rules, which are also arguably correct. The media never decides which rule is correct in the most cases; instead, they choose whichever “rule” benefits the Democrats this cycle.

Are we too interested in personal scandals which don’t really have much to do with a party’s governing philosophy? The answer is “No” if you mean Mark Foley or Mark Sanford; the answer is “Yes” if you mean Eric Massa or John Edwards.

Is it out of line for a former vice president to toughly criticize a new president of a different party? Well, if you’re Al Gore criticizing Bush, you’re just being patriotic and expressing the frustrations of millions of Americans. If you’re Dick Cheney criticizing Obama, you’re deliberately weakening a new president and endangering national security.

Have you noticed that when Republicans are in power, there are lots of news stories about the homeless? But these stories dry up when a Democrat is president. It’s certainly not because homelessness ceases to be a problem; if anything, based on the increasing number of panhandlers I’ve seen recently, it seems to be getting worse. It’s just not deemed newsworthy when a liberal is in charge. Such stories might make the liberal look bad, and we just can’t have that.

Back in 2006, I got a mass mailing from my then-Congressman. In part of his letter, he was bemoaning the increasing price of gas as it was nearing $3 a gallon. Today, I bought some gas for my lawnmower, and I paid $3.059 a gallon. (Interestingly enough, gas prices are one of the few remaining usages of the mill, valued at 1/10th of a cent.) Do you remember the nightly news stories in 2006 about the rising price of gas? Do you remember newspaper articles about hypermiling and avoiding auto use, the vilification of the oil industry, and calls for a “windfall tax” to take away their evil profits? I sure do. But here we are under a Democrat leader, and the news stories about astronomically high gas prices have vanished.

My wife has suggested that Republicans should always be in power, for one simple reason: they keep the media doing its job. When Republicans hold the reins of government, the media carefully scrutinizes everything they do. But when Democrats are in power, the media seems to relax, then becomes lazy and fails to fulfill its Fourth Estate responsibilities. It’s almost as though the reporters’ drive has vanished away, just like those “neutral” news stories.

So Sen. McCain won all 57 delegates from Florida by finishing with 100,000 more votes than Gov. Romney. Michelle Malkin points out an interesting aspect of the Florida vote, but I’m going to go with an honest win for McCain since I’m no Al Gore.

Since McCain’s victory, I’ve read and heard many reports gushing about how McCain is a juggernaut and can’t be stopped. But here’s something to consider about the recent Republican primary in Florida: people in the media are claiming that McCain is the obvious and proper Republican candidate now that he has 28 more delegate votes than his closest competition, Romney. But no one was anointing Romney as the obvious Republican candidate last week, when he was 29 points over his closest competition, McCain.

Why? Well, knowing the bias of the mainstream media, it’s no wonder that they like the more liberal McCain over Romney. And I, for one, don’t take my political cues from the leftist media.

There is a big to-do about a quote spoken by Rush Limbaugh about “phony soldiers” that was picked up by the leftist Media Matters site and glommed onto by leftist in media and Congress. Rush has done a great job is countering this unfair attack on his site, so I won’t dwell much on it. It is, however, a great example of the bias in the media. Rather than reporting the facts, they are reporting their spin on events.

I also spotted an interesting article on MSNBC yesterday. The title really caught my eye, “New type of bomb is unexpectedly lethal in Iraq.” Really? This is something I’ve not heard before. What could it be? Here’s how the article begins:

On Aug. 3, 2005, the deadliest roadside bomb ever encountered by U.S. troops in Iraq detonated beneath a 26-ton armored personnel carrier, killing 14 Marines and revealing yet another American vulnerability in the struggle against improvised explosive devices.

Why haven’t I heard on the news about this blast killing 14 Marines? Oh, wait. This attack was from 2005. Did I read that right? Yes, 2005. Uh, what exactly is new about this type of IED? It’s been used in Iraq for years now. The “news” report goes on for five pages about some of the activities taken by the military to combat this “new” type of bomb. According to the byline, it was last updated 12:04 a.m. PT Oct 2, 2007. Why was it on the front page? About 20 minutes later, it was off the front page, and today the link doesn’t work anymore. A quick search on Google shows that the article was spotted and several sites linked to it before the article vanished.

And it has vanished. Gone. Down the memory hole. George Orwell, call for you on line 2.

I find it interesting that the news report appeared and vanished again when the news from Iraq is different. “Iraqi deaths fall by 50 percent,” says this news article that is still around.

The number of American troops and Iraqi civilians killed in the war fell in September to levels not seen in more than a year. The U.S. military said the lower count was at least partly a result of new strategies and 30,000 additional U.S. forces deployed this year.

Although it is difficult to draw conclusions from a single month’s tally, the figures could suggest U.S.-led forces are making headway against extremist factions and disrupting their ability to strike back.

The U.S. military toll for September was 64, the lowest since July 2006, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press from death announcements by the American command and Pentagon.

More dramatic, however, was the decline in Iraqi civilian, police and military deaths. The figure was 988 in September 50 percent lower than the previous month and the lowest tally since June 2006, when 847 Iraqis died.

There is good news coming out of Iraq, but you won’t hear that from liberal news sites like Media Matters. They are too busy trying to trash Rush Limbaugh for something he didn’t say.

It’s really interesting the way the mainstream media reports a non-story. Here’s a bit from an Associated Press article that caught my eye today:

President Bush on Thursday acknowledged publicly for the first time that someone in his administration likely leaked the name of a CIA operative, although he also said he hopes the controversy over his decision to spare prison for a former White House aide has “run its course.”

“And now we’re going to move on,” Bush said in a White House news conference.

The president had initially said he would fire anyone in his administration found to have publicly disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and a CIA operative. Ten days ago, Bush commuted the 30-month sentence given to I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby by a federal judge in connection with the case.

I had to laugh at the first paragraph. I can almost hear the media hounds barking over the tired old bone of who leaked Valerie Plame’s name to the media. *bark*bark* “Bush admits his administration did it!” *bark*bark*

But it is the third paragraph that really cheesed me off. It contains two sentences that have nothing to do with each other, but by placing them together, the media gets a twofer. First, they get to *tsk-tsk* the President for saying he’d fire someone who leaked the name and didn’t, and second, they bring up Libby right after, linking his sentence and commutation with the President’s pledge to fire the leaker.

But Libby didn’t leak the name. And shame on the unnamed Associated Press hack(s) who wrote this story to make people believe he did. They know Libby didn’t leak the name. When Patrick Fitzgerald started his investigation into the leak, he knew Libby wasn’t at fault. Attorney General John Ashcroft knew that Libby wasn’t the leaker. They all knew who the leaker was.

The leaker was Richard Armitage, the number two man under then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. And President Bush couldn’t fire him because he had already left his post as Deputy Secretary of State on Feb. 22, 2005.

But isn’t it interesting that in the entire AP story, Armitage’s name never even appears?

Even though today is Talk like a Pirate Day, I’ve decided instead to be a shill for the U.S. military. Here are ten facts about Guantanamo that you may not be aware of if you get your news just from the mainstream media. This comes directly from the military and is dated Sept. 14th, 2006.

  1. The detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility include bin Laden’s bodyguards, bomb makers, terrorist trainers and facilitators, and other suspected terrorists.
  2. More money is spent on meals for detainees than on the U.S. troops stationed there. Detainees are offered up to 4,200 calories a day. The average weight gain per detainee is 20 pounds.
  3. The Muslim call to prayer sounds five times a day. Arrows point detainees toward the holy city of Mecca.
  4. Detainees receive medical, dental, psychiatric, and optometric care at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. In 2005, there were 35 teeth cleanings, 91 cavities filled, and 174 pairs of glasses issued.
  5. The International Committee of the Red Cross visits detainees at the facility every few months. More than 20,000 messages between detainees and their families have been exchanged.
  6. Recreation activities include basketball, volleyball, soccer, pingpong, and board games. High-top sneakers are provided.
  7. Departing detainees receive a Koran, a jean jacket, a white T-shirt, a pair of blue jeans, high-top sneakers, a gym bag of toiletries, and a pillow and blanket for the flight home.
  8. Entertainment includes Arabic language TV shows, including World Cup soccer games. The library has 3,500 volumes available in 13 languages — the most requested book is “Harry Potter.”
  9. Guantanamo is the most transparent detention facility in the history of warfare. The Joint Task Force has hosted more than 1,000 journalists from more than 40 countries.
  10. In 2005, Amnesty International stated that “the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times.”

Let’s focus for a bit on the comparison between Guantanamo and the Soviet gulag. Here’s a paragraph from Wikipedia about the conditions in the gulag:

Extreme production quotas, malnutrition, harsh elements, inadequate housing, hygiene, and medical care, as well as brutal treatment by camp officials, guards, and fellow prisoners were the major reasons for high fatality rates, which in extreme cases could be as high as 80%.

And Gitmo is “the gulag of our times”? Oh, please!

Here’s something else worth considering. The media would have you believe that the “torture” that went on at Abu Ghraib was pandemic and widespread, indicative of the entire military force in Iraq, when they represented only a vanishingly small percentage of problem soldiers. Abu Ghraib has hit the news again recently with reports of torture, but now under Iraqi hands:

An independent witness who went into Abu Ghraib this week told The Sunday Telegraph that screams were coming from the cell blocks housing the terrorist suspects. Prisoners released from the jail this week spoke of routine torture of terrorism suspects and on Wednesday, 27 prisoners were hanged in the first mass execution since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Conditions in the rest of the jail were grim, with an overwhelming stench of excrement, prisoners crammed into cells for all but 20 minutes a day, food rations cut to just rice and water and no air conditioning.

Some of the small number of prisoners who remained in the jail after the Americans left said they had pleaded to go with their departing captors, rather than be left in the hands of Iraqi guards.

“The Americans were better than the Iraqis. They treated us better,” said Khalid Alaani, who was held on suspicion of involvement in Sunni terrorism.

Unless I feel the need to list milestones or count successes, I think I’ll forget al-Zarqawi in a few days. But before he is tossed off onto the ash-heap of history, there are a few things worth looking at.

First, the media just can’t wait to report anything bad about the military. Here’s a bit from an NBC story:

An Iraqi man who was one of the first people on the scene after an air strike that led to the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi told Associated Press Television News that he saw American troops beating a man who had a beard like the al-Qaida leader.

The witness said he saw the man lying on the ground, badly wounded but still alive. He said U.S. troops arriving on the scene wrapped the man’s head in an Arab robe and began beating him. His account cannot be independently verified.

There’s a bit more detail in this Yahoo report of the story.

U.S. officials have altered their account of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, saying he was alive and partly conscious after bombs destroyed his hideout, and an Iraqi man raised fresh questions about the events surrounding the end of Iraq’s most-wanted militant….

The Iraqi, identified only as Mohammed, said residents put a bearded man in an ambulance before U.S. forces arrived. He said the man was found lying next to an irrigation canal.

“He was still alive. We put him in the ambulance, but when the Americans arrived they took him out of the ambulance, they beat him on his stomach and wrapped his head with his dishdasha, then they stomped on his stomach and his chest until he died and blood came out of his nose,” Mohammed said, without saying how he knew the man was dead.

Notice the “cannot be independently verified” caveat on the story, but they have no problem running with it. Feel free to call up the Associated Press and tell them that you saw some Democrat Senator buggering sheep. I’m sure they’ll have no problem running with that news story even though it “cannot be independently verified.” *eye-roll* But let me go on the record that even if this is true, I don’t care. I just think it would have been more fitting if the first people on the scene had pulled out a dull blade and spent a few minutes cutting off his head to the accompanying chants of “Aloha Snackbar.”

And finally, from the pen of Cox and Forkum comes this great cartoon.

Message for al-Zarqawi