Thursday, October 30, 2008

Funny and talented John Trever

John Trever is one of the most intelligent and talented editorial cartoonists in the world. Ever.
His home base is the Albuquerque Journal, once a fair-to-middling paper but now having almost no value beyond Mr. Trever.
His cartoons are syndicated and on 30 Oct. 2008, the Free Press has his cartoon captioned "Barack Obama, the early years."
On a homeowner's porch is a gang of kids in various costumes, all saying "trick or treat," except one little boy in an archer's outfit, complete with feathered hat, saying "spread the wealth."
Actually, I've always seen Halloween as a Democrat holiday, with the offspring of Dr. Spock and the '60s protests demanding and expecting someone -- ANYone -- to hand over the goodies, just because the kids want them.
"Spread the wealth" seems to perfectly appropriate, completely in keeping with the spirit of the day, or night.
But this link leads to Trever cartoons, always a delight:

More leftist mean-spiritedness

After the former cartoonist Bruce Plante moved west (poor Oklahoma), the editorial page of the Times searched low and lower to find just the meanness of spirit to complement the rest of the dull but nasty editorial page.
The search was successful and the new cartoonist is one Clay Bennett.
Artistically, he is fairly talented.
Alas, his philosophical training must have stopped at kindergarten.
His cartoon of Thursday, 30 Oct. 2008, shows an apparent young person (but whose face seems that of someone 30 or older) looking at a book titled "Sharing Is Fun."
The caption is "Socialists!"
I remember an editor during my brief college journalism days who raised his eyebrows at my pejorative use of the word "socialism" and said, "I don't believe there's anything wrong with helping people."
Of course, he meant "helping people" with someone else's money or life or property.
Strictly, socialism is government ownership of the means of production.
Interestingly, the McCain-Palin campaign is using, or misusing, the term in regard to the Obama-Biden campaign.
Actually, Obama is a welfare-state fascist, not a socialist.
Bennett, though, is probably some kind of fascist (judging from his cartoons, and why else would he be at the Times?), and certainly a hate-monger.
His cartoons, usually well drawn, with lots of detail and color, might seem more suited to some rag like the Nation or People's World or Daily Worker than a daily newspaper.
Yet he is right at home in the editorial page of the Chattanooga Times.
Some of his work is available at

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pot calls kettle ... again

Free Press editor Lee Anderson wrote on 18 October 2008 an editorial titled "When government rigs elections."
His point, in sum, was "
Outrageous injustice occurs when politicians rig election district lines to assure certain partisan results."
He claimed that, for example, North Carolina has “rigged” election districts to ensure that blacks make up a majority of certain districts to elect black candidates.
He said, too, that the N.C. politicians have gone further, rigging districts to ensure Democrats are elected.
It's very serpentine, how they do that, and Mr. Anderson is rightly offended.
But if rigging elections is bad, then the so-called "news" media are also to be condemned, and especially so is the Times Free Press.
In Tennessee, there are six other presidential candidates on the ballot besides McCain and Obama.
Tennessee's election laws are so oppressive and repressive, downright fascistic, in fact, that no other parties are allowed on the ballot; however candidates, even party nominees, can be listed, but only as "independents."
Among other things, this means no news coverage.
In fact, recently the TFP did publish a story about the "other" candidates, but stuck the story on the Metro page, where the local stories are printed.
Now, try to follow: This is about the national presidential race, but the story is stuck way back with the local PTA meetings and United Fund teas.
(This isn't unusual. In 2004, the Libertarian Party national convention was held in Atlanta and that event was treated as a local story by the Atlanta Communistution and the daily in Lawrenceville; that same year, three LP candidates came to Chattanooga as part of the drive for the LP nomination and that too was put on the local page -- although it was amazing that it was even covered, considering the poor quality of the TFP.)
If ignoring other options, if denying voters knowledge of other choices (see post below) does not contribute to election rigging, well, what else can it be called?
I guess "rigging" is when Democrats do it, but a Republican editor and a miserable excuse for a "news" paper are allowed to skew elections.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What is truth? asked Pilate

You’ve probably heard the story of the boy who murdered his parents, then begged for mercy from the court because he was an orphan.
That’s usually portrayed as the perfect illustration and very definition of “ultimate gall.”
Here is another example: The publisher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tom Griscom, writing his weekly column, published 31 August 2008, said this:

A short set of rules applies in our newsroom:
· Tell the truth.
This should be apparent but read a week’s worth of newspapers and make a list of stories that are the result of someone shading the truth.

News consumers have, especially this election year, come to expect partisanship and downright dishonesty in their “news” coverage. But the Times Free Press set some kind of standard in its “coverage” of the 2006 campaign for the Third District congressional seat.
Incumbent Zach Wamp is one of the …, what, hypocrites? elected in 1994 who supported term limits. Until he got elected.
In truth, advocates of limited government and lower taxes didn’t have a lot to complain of in his first couple terms but, as so often happens, the longer he was subjected to the virus of “inside-the-Beltway-itis,” the sicker he got.
Now Wamp is considered a veritable “Prince of Pork,” following in the steps of West Virginia’s Sen. Robert Byrd.
Opposition to Wamp has been limited. One local attorney, wacky John Wolfe, tried twice to unseat him, and he got something like 20 to 30 percent of the vote.
In 2006, though, with public opinion turning against the Iraq war, Democrats thought they had a chance and a far-leftist named Terry Stulce was anointed to run.
Party leadership (using the term loosely) did not, though, reckon on a maverick named Brent Benedict.
Benedict announced his entry … and was promptly ignored.
Stulce got thousands of dollars of contributions, Benedict hundreds.
He called himself a “conservative Democrat,” which didn’t help with the machine politicians who led the party.
Benedict sent out many news releases, through his volunteer Press Coordinator, yours truly. Nary a one got printed, especially not by the Times Free Press.
In fact, when Benedict phoned or e-mailed or even made a personal visit, he was never answered, despite leaving multiple phone numbers and an e-mail address and a Web site.
Free Press editor Lee Anderson, being pretty much of a gentleman, did interview him, but made no endorsement, or even comment, in the Democrat primary.
Times editorializers pretended, in fact claimed, they never got any message from him, and besides were not able to reach him.
The Times editorially endorsed Stulce, saying he had “only token opposition,” and never even mentioned the name of Brent Benedict.
And the “news” pages continued the blackout, never mentioning Brent Benedict, never even discussing the congressional race.
The letters-to-the-editor section continued the blackout, never allowing mention of Brent Benedict, never printing even one letter endorsing him. We know there were some sent because we know at least some of the people who wrote such letters.
Lies come in several sizes and shapes.
One type of lie, especially for a “news” medium, is the ignoring of a fact it doesn’t want its consumers to know.
Brent Benedict’s name and campaign were never mentioned in the shameful excuse of a “news” paper.
Until the day before the Thursday vote.
Then on the sample ballot, brief mention was made; it was finally admitted that, yes, there was another candidate than Terry Stulce, one Brett (sic) Benedict.
The Friday paper, the one for the morning after the primary vote, hit the presses probably about midnight and the headline, actually a sub-head, announced Stulce had won.
The story said the “official” (sic) returns showed Stulce had defeated … Bruce (sic) Benedict.
Not true.
Since the Third District is strongly Republican, the Democrat turnout was not great, but the margin of victory for Brent Benedict was, relatively, substantial. Benedict won every county except Hamilton, wherein sits Chattanooga and the raggedy Times Free Press.
Admitting to egg on their faces, the Times Free Press published a story next day admitting that the now “unofficial” (funny how that happened) returns showed, yes, Brent Benedict had won.
Brent told me he made sure he was courteous and friendly to the reporter, but the reporter still got most of the story wrong as to what Benedict believed.
The miserable excuse of a “news” paper continued with the same tactics during the general election campaign, and pretty much ignored Benedict’s efforts. (He still got the highest losing percentage of any Wamp opponents.)
In the intervening two years, I have tried to talk with and to as many election news reporters as I could reach.
Because of what they said, I had to promise confidentiality, so no names will be mentioned, not even those of the people who said I could quote them.
Some of them have left the company, at least one saying this was the reason.
Essentially, the story is this: From on top, word came down not to mention Brent Benedict.
I repeat, the word came from the top, possibly but not certainly from Tom Griscom.
It might be a long time before, it might be never that we learn the truth.
But it is just one more example of the obscene dishonesty that permeates the entire “news” industry, and it certainly illustrates the perfidious dishonesty that masquerades as the Chattanooga Times Free Press.