Thursday, June 15, 2006

AP Watch 6/15

A Flares feature for postings of egregious examples of AP's proclivity to integrate propaganda into their news pieces. Or is that integrate news into their propaganda pieces?

If you find an example, post it in comments and I'll put it in an update. All Flares contributors are invited to edit and/or update this post.
Sometimes it's the little things. Such as leaving out the fact the movie referred to by the Marine was Team America, a film noted for dark and raunchy humor. It was also an extraordinarily popular movie that had some cultural impact. The AP reporter (or editor) was careful to get in a Haditha graf right after the Marine's use of the word joke, though. There's nothing subtle about AP's aims.
Lolita C. Balfour (folks must have been Nabokov fans) does a decent job on the story of the 2,500th US death in Iraq. The fault here lies in leaving the fact that we haven't even hit 2,000 combat deaths until the penultimate graf. We have spent about 600,000 man years in Iraq. Assuming an average age of 25, the expected deaths would be 590. 2,500 as a marker is therefore completely meaningless.

Unless it helps your agenda.
Gina Holland writes a scare story about the Scalia authored decision clarifying the importance of the amount of time that police must wait after knocking in order to execute a duly authorized search warrant. The length of the wait doesn't affect the admissability of the evidence gathered.
As Ex-dem notes in comments - it starts with with a headline.
Knucklehead found an even more provocative headline via Reuters.

Perhaps this should be AP/Reuters Watch?


ex-democrat said...

In the scare story, i had to laugh at the comparison between the "conservative majority ..." and the "Dissenting justices..."

it really would be great to attach some electrodes to this 'reporter' and find out if they are really oblivious to their bias or whther they consider themselves part of the progressive SEALs.

ex-democrat said...

by the way, there is usually no need to go beyond the headline. here's one from 38 minutes ago, for example:
"Senate rejects U.S. troop pullout in Iraq.

wouldn't "Senate rejects publishing date certain for U.S. troop pullout from Iraq" be more accurate?

Knucklehead said...


We're halfway into the third graph about this "significant rollback of earlier rulings protective of homeowners" before we learn that this homeowner "had a loaded gun next to him and cocaine rocks in his pocket when Detroit police entered his unlocked home in 1998 without knocking".

That little tidbit is, I take it, what led the AP to label Mr. Hudson an "unsympathetic" homeowner.

The case provides the clearest sign yet of the court without Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

The horror! The horror!

And we have to wade through the mega-disaster predictions...

"The knock-and-announce rule is dead in the United States," said David Moran, a Wayne State University professor who represented Hudson. "There are going to be a lot more doors knocked down. There are going to be a lot more people terrified and humiliated."


Ronald Allen, a Northwestern University Law professor, said the ruling "suggests those four would be happy to consider overturning" a 1961 Supreme Court opinion that said evidence collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment cannot be used in trials. "It would be a significant change," he said.

and other drivel about the "sanctity of the home" and such before we get any clue from AP regarding what actually happened

called out their presence at Hudson's door, failed to knock, then went inside three seconds to five seconds later. The court has endorsed longer waits, of 15 seconds to 20 seconds. Hudson was convicted of drug possession.

"Whether that preliminary misstep had occurred or not, the police would have executed the warrant they had obtained, and would have discovered the gun and drugs inside the house," Scalia wrote.

And then we continue on with

"It weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for himself and Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I'm no Supreme Court Justice but I've read the constitution a few times and there's a veritable paucity of "knock and announce" protections in there.

Apparently the AP, and several Supreme Court Justices (as well as one recently retired one) as well as some law professors think 15 to 20 seconds warning is a huge deal. That's some powerful wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over 15 or 20 seconds warning for an armed creep with a pocketful of crack.

There's something wrong with these people. Are they incapable of perspective? How on earth does something this trivial as an armed crackhead's 15 or 20 seconds become a SCOTUS case?

Knucklehead said...

Just for giggles I went to al-Reuters to see what they had to say about today's earth-shaking rollback of civil rights in these United States. Under the byline of one James Vicini we find this Top court allows evidence in illegal home entry headline.

Perhaps I'm a bit confused about my basic civics but when the SCOTUS "allows" something doesn't that sorta, kinda, more or less mean it is "legal" rather than "illegal"? Just askin.

al-Reuters starts out with an interesting little bit that is not quite supported by the AP piece:

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that evidence could be used even when the police entered a suspect's home illegally by failing to knock on the door or announce their presence.

Hmmm... I seem to recall that, according to the AP version the police (who apparently had a perfectly legal search warrant, BTW - at least AP mentioned that somewhere south of the 3rd or 4th graph) announced (I recall words to the effect that they announced "Police! Search Warrant!") and only failed to knock.

The report continues on with a similar bunch of hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing as the AP did. al-Reuters, however, is staffed by more clever writers and/or editors than is the AP. Rightly sensing the crack between "conservatives" and "libertarians" these days, al-Reuters doesn't miss the opportunity to smack the a wedge into it it with a BFH:

The libertarian Cato Institute also denounced the ruling. "Because of today's decision, we can expect to see an even more pronounced increase in the use of illegal, military-style no-knock raids," Cato policy analyst Radley Balko said.

If one stays with the story long enough to click to page 2 one finds the "balance":

A group backing the police welcomed the decision.

"Justice is best served when juries are allowed to consider all relevant evidence," said Kent Scheidegger of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in California.

Nice to know that at least there's something that approximates another side to the thinking on this matter.

What else we got here...

The ruling stemmed from the 1998 search by seven Detroit police officers of Booker Hudson's home. They shouted, "police, search warrant," but did not knock on the door. After waiting only three to five seconds, they entered the house.

Didn't they tell us in the first graph (isn't that the "lede") that the police failed to announce or knock? Maybe I'm parsing too hard.

I also found this interesting little tidbit:

The ruling stemmed from the 1998 search by seven Detroit police officers of Booker Hudson's home. They shouted, "police, search warrant," but did not knock on the door. After waiting only three to five seconds, they entered the house.

Hudson moved to suppress the drug evidence found in the house because the police had violated the knock-and-announce requirement established by the Supreme Court in a 1995 ruling.

What!?!? This constitutionally enshrined, penumbrally emanated, "knock-and-announce" protection of one of American homeowner's most fundamental civil rights was not settled in Marbury vs. Madison but, rather, was discovered in 1995? And this failure to knock on the armed crackhead's door happened in 1998?

And I'm supposed to lose sleep over this "rollback"?

I am rapidly losing all respect for Cato. They got from a 1995 decision that police with valid warrant in hand must both knock and announce, which apparently also picked up a 15 to 20 second wait requirement in the eons since its discovery, to shrieking that we'll now have "military style raids" because police announced, but didn't knock, and waited 3 to 5 seconds rather than 10 to 20 seconds, before entering through an unlocked door to arrest an armed crackhead.

Man, talk about leaps o' logic.

ex-democrat said...

here's a small tip from the inside: these issues are raised by sharp and diligent criminal appellate attorneys; it's what they do. it may look bad at the micro level, but it's an essential part of our system.
the problem is, AP's reporters are too dim to understand that, and also that although the stakes are very high, in the end it's a chess game not a moral crusade.

Peter UK said...

Sorry to interupt your estimable project,but Larry Johnson is having a charm offensive