On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "[t]he Army Field Manual bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable in any way," echoing his previous assertion that "[t]here is no interrogation under the manual. No unpleasantness." In fact, the Army Field Manual includes an entire section on "Interrogation Operations," as well as a chapter listing and describing "Approach Techniques and Termination Strategies" for use in interrogations of detainees, including several techniques intended to make detainees "uncomfortable."
This week we noted some of the holes in a Los Angeles Times article about the supposedly spike in gun sales following Barack Obama's win on the Election Day. The Times reported that some gun owners said they were preparing in the event of a "race war." But the newspaper's report was built mostly on interviews with a couple of Texas gun owners, not with lots of conclusive factual information about gun sales.
Now Slate's Jack Shafer takes a look at the even larger press explosion in gun sales stories, many of which carry an election theme, and finds all kinds of problems with the reporting.
On his radio show, G. Gordon Liddy advised listeners not to register their firearms, saying: "The first thing you do is, no matter what law they pass, do not -- repeat, not -- ever register any of your firearms."
That's what the Los Angeles Times claims in an article today. It reports that some gun owners are terrified that president Obama ("the nation's first black president," the newspaper reminds us in the lead) will outlaw firearms. Either that or they're "preparing to protect themselves in the event of a race war," say the gun buyers.
A provocative news angle, for sure. But the Times' proof of a gun rush seems pretty thin. The paper acknowledges there are no statistics on the number of guns purchased nationwide, or even within individual states, since Nov. 4. Instead, the paper relies on "anecdotal reports," which turns out to be quoting two gun shop owner in Texas, and citing the fact that background checks for new gun owners in Colorado was up dramatically the Saturday before Election Day.
Seems to us the Times needed to corral more proof if it was going to splash such a controversial story (i.e. a possible "race war") in its news pages.
Dick Morris falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama said that "it was a tragedy that the United States Supreme Court never addressed the issue of redistributing the nation's wealth to achieve social and economic justice." In fact, the "tragedy" Obama identified during the 2001 radio appearance to which Morris referred was that the civil rights movement "became so court-focused" in trying to bring about political and economic justice.
Discussing the history of taxation and property rights in the United States, War Room with Quinn & Rose co-host Jim Quinn declared: "Originally, if you didn't own land, you didn't vote, and there was a good reason for it: because those without property will always vote away the property of other people unto themselves, and that's the beginning of the end." Quinn added: "But, oh no, that was -- that was just too mean-spirited."
That, according to the WaPo's Dana Milbanks:
I have to say the Secret Service is in dangerous territory here. In cooperation with the Palin campaign, they've started preventing reporters from leaving the press section to interview people in the crowd. This is a serious violation of their duty -- protecting the protectee -- and gets into assisting with the political aspirations of the candidate. It also often makes it impossible for reporters to get into the crowd to question the people who say vulgar things. So they prevent reporters from getting near the people doing the shouting, then claim it's unfounded because the reporters can't get close enough to identify the person.
The media finally seem to be showing interest in the refusal on the part of the town of Wasilla, Alaska, while Sarah Palin was mayor, to pay for rape kits for the victims of sexual assault. The Associated Press has a fairly informative article on the subject, but we can only assume that its last paragraph was inadvertently lopped off. Here's how one version of the AP story currently ends:
Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for the campaign of Palin and John McCain, said that Palin "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test."
The AP gave no indication that it asked Comella the obvious follow-up: Why, if Palin does not believe that rape victims should have to pay for their own evidence-gathering test, did this practice continue for four years while Palin was mayor, with the practice ending only after the state legislature stepped in and outlawed it?
On Hannity & Colmes, Dick Morris said of Gov. Sarah Palin: "[T]here's a fight going on between her sister and her husband and the husband tasered the kid." But the issues raised by this "fight" are not merely issues of family discord; Palin has been accused of misusing her office in allegedly pressuring the Alaska public safety commissioner to fire Palin's sister's former husband, a state trooper, which the commissioner, who was subsequently fired, refused to do.
Parker cuts up NRO's The Corner with a little torture repartee.
The AP reported that Sen. John McCain "has expressed limited support for the rights accorded couples in same-sex civil unions" and that he "oppos[es] a constitutional amendment to ban abortion." But the AP's assertions about McCain's views are contradicted by statements McCain himself has made, which the AP did not report.
Slight push detected on Capitol Hill for a federal shield law in the wake of FBI agents collecting reporters' phone records.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly called prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib "pathetic," "awful," and said "[n]o one should justify that, ever," then added, "But nobody died." In fact, at least one detainee reportedly died at Abu Ghraib during an interrogation by CIA personnel.
On Special Report, Jim Angle reported that during debate on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, "Senator Orrin Hatch dismissed the idea that the intelligence agencies were trying to listen to anyone other than those with terrorist connections" and aired a clip of Hatch stating, "I don't want to bruise anyone's ego, but if Al Qaeda is not on your speed dial, the government is probably not interested in you." Angle did not note that several news articles have reported that surveillance under the government's warrantless eavesdropping program was not limited to those with "Al Qaeda on [their] speed dial," but also included thousands of Americans with no ties to any terrorist group.
On Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol criticized the Supreme Court's decision striking down portions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) and suggested that fears about that law's denial of the writ of habeas corpus were overblown because "American citizens ... and anyone arrested in this country [have] a right to habeas corpus." But contrary to Kristol's suggestion, the MCA explicitly denied habeas rights to noncitizens, regardless of where that person is detained.