Saturday, June 04, 2005

Does Kerry want to make a case for impeachment?

Well, this is weird.

I was going to post wondering whether the famous Qatar-based satellite television channel Al Jazeera is lifting its sentences from a conservative American website. Clicking around, it became apparent that the better questions are whether a UAE-based website with a confusing name is actually doing that and how clear it is to everyone that these are separate entities.

Polipundit links to this story that John Kerry plans to present Congress on Monday with the Downing Street memo, which Rep. John Conyers has called evidence of "intentional manipulation to reach foreordained conclusions supporting the case for war." Conyers is said to be considering initiating impeachment proceedings, though I can't find him on record as saying so specifically. He does say on his website that he is seeking for President Bush to "answer the questions posed to him by 89 members of Congress." (Unfortunately, while that same website invites visitors to click on a link to view the letter Conyers is sending to Bush, the link for the letter leads only to a form for supporters to add their names and contact info in support of the letter and no text of the letter itself.)

The AlJazeera.com story Polipundit linked to includes the sentence "Failed presidential candidate Kerry advised that he will begin the presentation of his case for President Bush's impeachment to Congress, on Monday."

That article was posted on Saturday, June 4. The previous day, June 3, a website I hadn't heard of before called The Conservative Voice posted a short article (itself echoing a NewsMax article) with the sentence "Failed presidential candidate Kerry advised that he will begin the presentation of his case for President Bush's impeachment to Congress, on Monday." Very familiar, down to the superfluous comma.

I first noticed the identical syntax when intending to cite (the real) Al Jazeera as support for the claim that Kerry is pushing for impeachment after reading the angry insistence otherwise at this blog post, which basically just copies and pastes from a site called Light Up The Darkness, which copies most of the text of this news article and then criticizes The Conservative Voice's article.

I read that and thought, "well, it's not just this Conservative Voice site saying Kerry's going to push for impeachment. Al Jazeera's saying it, too, and they have a slightly higher profile and different reputation as a news source." Then I noticed the sentences matched exactly and got confused. I couldn't find a link on AlJazeera.com to click through to the Arabic version and discovered through Google that the widely-known Qatar based satellite TV channel has its website at aljazeera.net and its English language version at english.aljazeera.net. Aljazeera.com has a disclaimer noting they're not associated with the TV station in any way, but they sure don't make it obvious. I came upon it directly through Google, but the link for it from the main page is in small unobtrusive print at the bottom of the page.

This leads in three directions. First, while Light in the Darkness's Ron Chusid isn't right about everything (the Senate vs House question is irrelevant, as nobody suggested Kerry would begin impeachment proceedings, only make a case for impeachment, which anyone can do, even Ron Chusid), he is right to criticize The Conservative Voice's Sher Zieve for attributing to Senator Kerry a statement that no quoted material seems to reflect. It's still possible Kerry mentioned impeachment. If so, though, some evidence would be warranted, while none is offered.

Second, the AlJazeera.com article appears, though less plainly, to draw significantly on the Standard-Times article and is almost certainly lifting a sentence directly from the article on The Conservative Voice. There is neither any byline on the AlJazeera.net article nor any indication it drew on other published sources. What kind of absurd excuse for journalism is this?

Thirdly, I wonder if all of Polipundit's readers are aware of the difference between AlJazeera.com and aljazeera.net. I imagine I wasn't the only one who thought initially it was the TV channel's site that was running that story.

Update (17 June): Edited to correct the name of Light Up The Darkness, replacing "in" with "up."

2 Comments:

Blogger W.C. Varones said...

Al-Jazeera: Kerry to push for impeachment of Bush

1) Why is this not news for the mainstream U.S. media? The once and wanna-be future king of the Democrats wants to impeach the President!

2) How will Moveon.org handle this? Their reason for being, and the origin of their name, is the belief that the President is too important to be distracted by allegations of little things like sexual harassment, rape, perjury, and obstruction of justice. Will they change their name to Dontmoveon.org? Too late -- it's taken!

1:02 AM  
Blogger Pamela Leavey said...

Kerry NEVER mentioned impeachment.

Olbermann Debunks Right-Wing Spin on Kerry’s Downing Street Memo Statement
7 June 2005

Keith Olbermann aired a brief debunking tonight on the conservative spin on John Kerry’s Downing Street Memo statement last week in the Standard Times, which Ron posted here last Thursday. Newsmax picked up the story early Friday morning and twisted it into a claim that Kerry would call for impeachment. The Conservative Voice quickly rallied to the right-wing spin machine and posted their version, which Ron debunked here first on Friday.

Watch Keith Olbermann’s debunking here: Real Media Format or Windows Media Format. (Update) Read Olbermann's Blog Transcript.

Spin, Spin, Spin and How the Left Helps the Right…

Most disturbing in this classic case of spin is how the left-wing helped the right-wing in perpetuating these untruths. In his statement to the Standard Times, Kerry said that the Downing Street Memo, though not being discussed by the media, had not been missed by the internet. No truer words could have been spoken by Senator Kerry, as the internet took off with his statement to the Standard Times, and blogs and forums, right and left had a heyday with their own versions of the statement.

http://www.lightupthedarkness.org/blog/default.asp?view=plink&id=1027

3:27 PM  

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