« Media Dance Macabre | Main | The Return of the Jersey Girls »

Scrappleface Satire Isn't Far From The Truth

Scott Ott often writes satire that gets mistaken for real news because he skirts incredibly close to the truth, while pushing just enough over the top to make a point. I found the following offering to be a particularly good example. (Hat tip to Betsy Newmark who described the piece as "satire so accurate it hurts.")

(2006-06-03) -- The American Society of Professional Journalists today said it would offer major news organizations like CNN and the New York Times a "core values" training course in the wake of an incident in Haditha, Iraq.

The journalist training comes as the Pentagon offers its own brand of values reinforcement for U.S. troops.

"We're just going to cover the basics," said an unnamed trainer, "We'll reinforce the bedrock values that 99.9 percent of journalists already live by, but may not always remember under the stress, fear and isolation of war."

The following is a partial list of topics from the "core wartime values" course for journalists:

-Hold the presses! Innocent until accused.
-How to use the word "alleged" and still get your point across.
-Finding a quotable Congressman to say what you mean.
-Top-notch news analysis in a word: Vietnam.

Comments (15)

Core Values Training. And ... (Below threshold)
Dan Patterson:

Core Values Training. And Special High Intensity Training for people of the press.


How's THAT for some sensitivity? We need more like that and I am glad to see it--Spades are Spades, Horseshit is Horseshit, and I say it's Brocolli and I say the Hell with it!!

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel

Congratulations. In light o... (Below threshold)

Congratulations. In light of the seriousness of the Haditha charges, this is particularly distasteful.

What exactly are the Hadith... (Below threshold)

What exactly are the Haditha charges, Lee?

No, Lee, those would be cal... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

No, Lee, those would be called "witch-hunt accusations to further a political agenda", not "charges".

witch hunt? by whom?<... (Below threshold)

witch hunt? by whom?

Are you so in denial that you think these murders were fabricated? that they didn't happen?

Eveidently you've been reading too many of lorie's posts. You are seriously misinformed.

Here, have a clue or two:


Iraq investigator tells AP about Haditha

The military, after initially saying the Iraqi deaths were the result of the roadside bomb and a subsequent gunfight with insurgents, has not publicly released updated findings.

But newer accounts, including details from briefings to members of Congress, have indicated at least some of the 24 deaths were the result of deliberate gunfire by a small group of Marines seeking revenge for the bombing, and that their actions were covered up by other Marines in the area who knew or suspected what had occurred.

Yep, here's another clue, this time it's Gen. Michael Hagee, the Marine Corps commandant:


Hagee acknowledged the existence of a set of photographs taken by a Marine intelligence team that examined the scene of the killings in Haditha, but he would not discuss any specifics. News reports have said the photos show that civilians in at least two houses, including several women and children, were shot in the head and torso at close range.

That evidence matches the accounts offered by villagers in interviews with The Associated Press and other news organizations. But it conflicts with the Marines' original public assertion that 15 civilians were killed by the explosion of the roadside bomb that also killed one Marine, and that eight insurgents were killed in a subsequent firefight.

The Marines now admit that their original version of events was false, but they have not presented a corrected version pending the outcome of the investigations.

and for those paranoid schizophrenics, those who don't read MSM stories because it makes their tin-foil hats all a-tingly, and who really, really believe that the big bad MSM is out to get them, there's this:

(emphasis added)


Wingers have become unhinged over the alleged massacre and cover-up in Haditha. Or more specifically, they've become unhinged over the Haditha news coverage, which they insist has been laced with barely contained glee on the part of the press. But as usual with the press-hating conservatives, whose first concern is always the Bush White House and not the state of American journalism, don't actually point to any evidence to support their wild-eyed partisan critiques. Seems they can just sense reporters behaving badly.

Rush Limbaugh this week announced the press was "gleefully" reporting about Haditha, and was "ecstatic" about the blood-soaked tale. But he offered no examples to illustrate his allegation. Fox News analyst and right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin insisted she could see "puddles of drool in the offices of the L.A. Times and The New York Times" as they reported out the atrocities allegedly carried out by U.S. Marines. Malkin also demanded that there be "a ratcheting down of all the hyperventilation and treat this incident with the seriousness and sobriety that it deserves."

Malkin, as is her custom, cited no examples on Fox to back up her charges that journalists at major dailies were thrilled about the unfolding mass murder story. (There's a whole chapter in my new book about Malkin, detailing her often unusual relationship with facts.) She also offered no evidence to support the claim that the press was hyperventilating over the Haditha story, which, contrary to Malkin's claim, has been treated with "the seriously and sobriety that it deserves." Also on Fox, Bill O'Reilly claimed that the "left-wing press" and others were "rejoic[ing]" over Haditha...O'Reilly also cited no examples. Same with National Review's Rich Lowry, who wrote that the coverage to date telegraphed the press' "instinctive glee" over the failings in Haditha.

Where, readers and viewers were left to wonder, were the all the gleeful articles, quotes, headlines, and cable news talk shows about Haditha? Where was all the rampant, distasteful gleefulness hiding? Apparently it's been invisible to the naked eye, but detectable among pro-war, super sleuths like Limbaugh, Malkin, O'Reilly and Lowry, who have perfected the art of media criticism via mental telepathy. Frustrated conservatives can't actually point to any sort of demented press gloating, so instead they pretend to read the minds of journalists to determine that beneath the surface they love--love--reporting the fact that U.S. Marines may have lined up dozens of innocent Iraqis in Haditha, including women and children, and shot them execution-style.

Unable to document their allegations, which purposely perpetuate the right-wing myth about elitist, unpatriotic journalists, some conservatives have half-heartedly argued that the sheer volume of coverage was proof enough that the press was hysterical for all things Haditha. Take Lowry's claim that the press was "wallowing in Haditha" and that it will "be treated as the story of the century, or at least the biggest story since Abu Ghraib." (Senate Republicans on Tuesday stepped all over the wingers' talking points about too much attention being paid to Haditha when Republicans announced they needed to hold a series of hearings on the matter.)

Would it surprise anyone tha Lowry's common refrain--that the press has wildly over-covered Haditha as compared to other current events--doesn't stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny? For instance, a search of Lexis-Nexis shows that over the last week the New York Times has published approximately 22 articles and columns mentioning "Haditha," compared to more than 40 articles and columns that mention the GOP hot-button issue of "immigration." Same for the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times; both devoted far more print space in the last week to the Republican-fueled immigration debate than they did to the alleged war crimes in Haditha.

On television, the imbalance was even more pronounced. Between Mary 23 and May 30, back when the White House was most aggressively pressing the issue of illegal immigration, CNN mentioned "immigration" and "immigrants" 463 times, according to TVEyes.com. Compare that to the last seven days when, according to conservatives, Haditha media mania was raging. How many times did CNN anchors, reporters and guests utter "Haditha" on the air? 263 times, or 200 fewer times that they mentioned "immigration" and "immigrants." The same was true at all-news MSNBC, where there were 220 fewer mentions of immigration than Haditha. Of course the disparity was more pronounced at Bush-friendly Fox News--614 mentions of "immigration" and "immigrants," compared to just 155 references to "Haditha."

NOTE: Fox News has made more on-air mentions to "gay marriage" this week than it has to "Haditha."

How stupid can you get?

Lee:The press has ... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:


The press has already tried and convicted the Marines before the results of the investigation have been released. They are now basically on all-Haditha, all-the-time coverage, even though no new information has been forthcoming.

I will repeat here what I posted on another blog when this first broke:

Of course, the MSM will not mention the striking differences between the American soldiers and the "holy warriors" when it comes to deliberately killing civilians.

Forget about the fact that an American soldier deliberately killing a civilian is a rarity despite the fact that the holy warriors routinely disguise themselves as civilians in direct contradiction to all conventions of war. Forget about the fact that the mass murder of civilians is a daily practice of jihadists around the globe. Simply concentrate on the reaction after the fact.

When an American soldier is accused of targeting civilians, there is an investigation and, if evidence warrants, a trial. If convicted he/she is treated as a criminal. When a jihadist targets civilians, often even videotaping the intent before the fact, he/she is treated as a hero and revered as a martyr if he/she dies in the attack.

This is the glaring difference that the MSM will certainly ignore.

This was a prediction that has certainly come to pass. The MSM wants to smear all our troops and declare the mission a failure due to the alleged isolated incident.

As to the MSM glee, they are in such a rush to condemn that they don't even check if the photos are correct here and here.

Well I must be pretty stupi... (Below threshold)
Dan Patterson:

Well I must be pretty stupid. The glee in the MSM is almost palpable as Murtha makes the charges against the Marines; the Walter Cronkite proclamation in Viet Nam was incorrect as well but that hasn't stopped today's news outlets from grasping for an event with which to hang both the military and the political leadership. Much (no, not all) of the visible news reporters emphasize the events with furrowed brows and leading questions of the "Isn't this an indication that the war is lost?" sort. Charges that were uncovered many weeks before, I thought, and were being investigated already, or am I stupid again? Wasn't a photo published claiming to be the 'execution-style killing' in Haditha that was later found to be mis-captioned? Did that get any attention? Note that the events could be horrific, or they could be something else. We don't know. But why the emphasis on the possibility (probablity?) of crime? A bias against both the mission and the soldiers, perhaps? Am I stupid again?

Not a word of the improvements in Iraq and not a squeak about military success nor of any increasing Iraqi independance. Not a word about the use of civilians as shields, not a word about those same civilians knowing the whereabouts of IEDs and aiding the terrorists. Plenty of the "witch-hunt accusations to further a political agenda" though. Stupid.

Lee wrote: "Where, readers and viewers were left to wonder, were the all the gleeful articles, quotes, headlines, and cable news talk shows about Haditha?" The gleeful articles etc. were there partly by the puposeful omission of information on success--"who wants to read about a mission being accomplished? Didn't we see GW do that with his carrier landing?" and partly by reading the damned things and watching the news. Abhu Graib was nothing (NOTHING! Emphasis added) but it became something because of the news industry. Stupid?

Lee also wrote: "Malkin, as is her custom, cited no examples on Fox to back up her charges that journalists at major dailies were thrilled about the unfolding mass murder story". Malkin has written her opinion based on her observations, many other people might agree and many might not, but hers is an arguable point. Still stupid?

That the news industry has a lefty bias is not arguable. That the Haditha incident is possibly horrifying is not arguable. It is also very possible that all is not as it seems in Haditha. Why not wait and find out or have you, Lee, seized upon the event as proof of a theorum? Stupid.

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel

Are you so in denial tha... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Are you so in denial that you think these murders were fabricated?

No, you asshat, I'm not. But I'm not going to condemn our military men and women until the investigation is complete. I am not going to engage in speculative nonsense until all the facts are known. Nor am I going to go bloody apeshit over civilians getting killed or murdered in war. Even if this turns out to be true, It would not the first time it has ever happened nor will it be the last.

And consider just for a goddamn minute that it is widely known that the insurgents/al Qaeda use women and children as cover during battles. Children are literally forced into the street to halt fire from US and Iraqi forces so that they may escape. My buddy's brother has witnessed this repeatedly in the Afghan theater. And what about the children and women and innocents blown up every single, f***ing day by car bombs in Iraq, and in Israel, in Jordan, in Egypt?

So where the f*** is your righteous indignation at their tactics, huh? Or is that you expect it from them? Hmm, is that it? Our men and women have shown a helluva more respect for life and the rules of warfare than the enemy has ever shown. But people like you can't even acknowldge that fact. You want to focus on and handwring over this crap and condemn us for somehow not being better than our enemy. Tell me, where the f*** it's written that we have to be better than the enemy in war? Morally better doesn't win wars; it loses them. In fact, being morally better and sensitive may be the very thing that's dragging us down in this war. And that's thanks in large part to people like you, Lee. But you don't get that, and that doesn't surpise me in the least.

As somebody wrote recently, what makes us special is that we stand for liberty and are willing to fight for it, not just for ourselves but for others as well. Not that we prosecute war crimes to prove we're somehow better than the enemy. That's a farce of the highest order in which you are great participant.

It's the epitome of shameful.

Proud Kaffir wrote: "The... (Below threshold)

Proud Kaffir wrote: "The press has already tried and convicted the Marines before the results of the investigation have been released."

One example, please. Back up your claim with one example where the press has "tried and convicted the Marines...". Please, be Proud - an example, please, just one, please.

Peter F. wrote "I'm not going to condemn our military men and women until the investigation is complete"

Niether has the press. Give us an example, Peter, of where the MSM has condemned our military men and women.

The MSM is reporting what is known. The only people who are making up the news are those who keep blaming the media for trying and convicting the Marines over this issue.

Or, prove me wrong. Link to MSM examples (not more unsubstantiated Michelle Malkin BS) of what you claim, that proves your point that the MSM "... has already tried and convicted the Marines before the results of the investigation have been released."

Still waiting....

Peter F. also wrote: "Tell me, where the f*** it's written that we have to be better than the enemy in war?"

Don't go there Peter. There is no excuse for the murder of innocent Iraqis you clown.

Peter F.yes yes yes , no tr... (Below threshold)

Peter F.yes yes yes , no truer words have ever been spoken thank you. And Lee shame isn't enough to describe you, but will leave it there.

"how stupid can you get?" N... (Below threshold)

"how stupid can you get?" Not near as stupid as some asskissing, bootlicking, appeasing leftwing moonbat by the name of "LEE". (oh cry me a river).

Oh but Lee,there are plenty... (Below threshold)

Oh but Lee,there are plenty of excuses no rather omissions of the murder of innocent Americans in Your warped twisted media! are'nt there Leak!

Massacre at Haditha is the only headline We need to know.

The press has not condemned our military Men and Women? Shhhhhhhh! Abu Graihb.

You are a Jackanapes of the 3rd kind...

LeePlugging Your b... (Below threshold)


Plugging Your book on here ehh... what are You Joe the Lying Wilsons nephew or something? got a flamethrower anyone?

Darnit Mak and Lee they got... (Below threshold)

Darnit Mak and Lee they got Zarqawi!! bummer..

still waiting for a link to... (Below threshold)

still waiting for a link to any news story that demonstrates the glee the right-wing lugnuts keep crowing about -- that the MSM is "gleefully" reporting this story.

Come on - how can you commenters (and Lorie) claim it is true without having one link? Apparently none of you actually read any news accounts which were biased against the marines as you claimed, but instead you are just parroting and passing on the BS from Limbaugh, Malkin, O'Reilly, et al.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy