Skip to comments.Scooping the mainstream media [AP bias on Bennish story]
Posted on 03/07/2006 11:23:04 AM PST by DeweyCA
The Associated Press reached a new level of incompetence, and the "news" industry they serve doesnt seem to care. If you want political opinion, youll find it in Associated Press dispatches. If you want news, you might have to read conservative opinion columns.
On February 22nd, Walter Williams, a Townhall.com columnist, scooped the mainstream media. Williams reported that high school teacher Jay Bennish lectured his geography class stating:
1) "[President Bushs State of the Union Speech] sounds a lot like the things Adolf Hitler used to say." 2) "Bush is threatening the whole planet." 3) "[The] U.S. wants to keep the world divided." 4) "Who is probably the single most violent nation on earth? The United States of America." 5) "[The U.S. has engaged in] 7,000 terrorist attacks against Cuba." 6) "Capitalism is at odds with humanity, at odds with caring and compassion and at odds with human rights."
Not included in Williams column is the fact that Bennish also said:
7) "Dont the Peruvians and the Iranians and the Chinese have the right to invade America and drop chemical weapons over North Carolina to destroy the tobacco plants ?"
8) "Do you see the dangerous precedent that we have set by illegally invading another country and violating their sovereignty in the name of protecting us against a potential future attack?"
9) "You have to understand something. When Al-Qaeda attacked America on September 11th, in their view, theyre not attacking innocent people. Okay? The CIA has an office in the World Trade Center. The Pentagon is a military target. The White House was a military target. Congress is a military target .So, in the minds of Al-Qaeda, they are not attacking innocent people, they are attacking legitimate targets."
Those nine direct quotations (and there are more) came from a high school geography teacher to his class in one 20-minute period. On March 2nd, eight days after Williams column, The Denver Post covered the story. The Post story carried quotes 6, 1 and 4 listed above. It also linked to a tape of Bennishs lecture recorded by one of his students.
The same day, Sean Hannity and many other talk radio hosts devoted large portions of their shows to the topic, and they played audio clips of the above quotations.
The next day, March 3rd, the story broke in the mainstream media. The Washington Times carried an original article filed by Valerie Richardson. She used the same quotations from Bennish that the Denver Post used.
At 2:16 a.m. on March 3rd, the AP issued a dispatch on the Bennish story. Their lead paragraph:
"About 150 high school students walked out of class to protest a decision to put a teacher on leave while they investigate remarks he made about President Bush in class, including that some people compare Bush to Adolf Hitler."
None of the Bennish remarks were in the APs dispatch. By then end of the day, a Google news search of Bennish generated 302 hits, 107 of which were pick-ups of the above dispatch.
The AP incompetently reported the story and positioned it about students protesting a decision to put one of their teachers on leave because of comments he made about President Bush. The Washington Times correctly reported the story and positioned it as about what a high school geography teacher said to his class.
The Times also correctly reported the topic of Bennishs diatribe. This is not about what Bennish said about Bush. Its about what he said about Bush and what he said about capitalism and what he said about U.S. foreign policy and what he said about the War in Iraq and that he sympathetically portrayed our enemy as simply having a different perspective from ours.
As Walter Williams said back on February 22nd, this story is about "whether theres anyone who believes that the teachers remarks were appropriate for any classroom setting, much less a high school geography class. Its clear the students arent being taught geography. Theyre getting socialist lies and propaganda."
On March 3rd, the online version of The Washington Times had the story right while Washington Post Online posted the feeble AP dispatch. What does Mike Snyder, Morning News Editor of Washington Post Online think about the AP story? He declined to comment, because he did not have time to do the research required to issue an informed opinion.
Research required? Anybody who takes fifteen minutes to read the Denver Post article, the Washington Times article, and the AP dispatch should be able to form an opinion.
How about Bruce Koon, Executive Editor of Knight Ridder Digital? He refused to comment also. How do the editors of the 32 daily newspapers he services feel about having their online additions publish incompetent dispatches from the AP? We may never know, editors run and hide when asked about the accuracy or bias of AP dispatches.
I was only able to find one editor with enough spine to go on the record. William Nangle, Executive Editor of the Northwest Indiana Times, said, "The Associated Press had an obligation to provide more detail in this story."
This is not an isolated incident. Sean Allen, the student who recorded Bennish said on the Sean Hannity show that he has received emails from others who have similar stories about the teachers in their schools.
The AP and the mainstream media control the news. They set the agenda. They determine what will be a story and what will not be a story. They determine how the story will be spun. Nobody is holding them accountable. The MSM would be all over a teacher who made a disagreeable comment about women, gays, minorities or Democrats. But, geography teachers who attempt to indoctrinate their students toward socialism while deriding capitalism get a pass.
I heard it here (link to CO radio station) a day before it hit Nationally.
I kinda thought it possible that some FReepers helped make sure the "right" people in the business heard this.
What's funny is the -ahem- "teacher" is about the dumbest sumbitch I ever heard. What a weird, disjointed, random rant that was.
Not only does AP shape the news but I believe many left leaning newspapers only pick out AP articles that are most slanted.
Our local rag doubles as a UAW flyer. Aside from 3-4 conservative letters-to-the-editor, figure on the most leftist stories the AP puts out.
I only get the Sunday paper now, they carry the NYT Crossword.
Too bad al Quada wasn't targeting our major universities and schools. Then I think Bennish and other lefties would consider them a threat.
The liberal media has been doing this for years. They don't report the liberal actions that get them into trouble, but report the liberal response first sometime later.
True story. A friend of mine once insisted to me that the media was not biased. I asked him to watch the RNC convention on C-SPAN (with no editorial comment) and then read the MSM coverage the next day. When the convention was over, he admitted that he was wrong.
Hmmmmm, sounds like Bennish is in line for a Professorship at Yale.