Right-Wing Bias From ABC News
The government is one thing. You can order coursework online (choosing any topic you want) if you want to know moe details.
The country is another.
But ABC last night called George W. Bush’s goals “America’s Agenda:”
Despite President Bush’s approval ratings hovering in the low 40s…ABC posted onscreen text reading “America’s Agenda” beneath an image of Bush while anchor Elizabeth Vargas introduced ABC correspondent George Stephanopoulos’s preview of the 2006 State of the Union address on the January 31 edition of World News Tonight.
Bush’s agenda isn’t “America’s Agenda.”
It sure as hell isn’t mine. I want more low-cost housing. A federal budget surplus. An end to indecency fines for radio broadcasts. Accountability in Iraq. For the rich to pay more into Social Security. Limits on outsourcing. Less compensation for Fortune 500 CEOs. And many other things the Bush Administration isn’t striving for.
News About “The Majority Report”
Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 1, 2006 @ 4:24 pm
Filed under: Media Watch
, TV, Radio
Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder
The liberal network Air America Radio broadcasts The Majority Report, co-hosted by Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder.
AAR has been broadcasting this show since day one.
However, “The Majority Report” hasn’t necessarily had both Garofalo and Seder at the same time.
Since late summer or thereabouts, Sam Seder has been hosting most of the shows himself, perhaps with Janeane Garofalo phoning in for a segment or two.
This is because actress Janeane Garofalo has been playing a character on the TV drama, “The West Wing.”
But tonight there is a hint Garofalo will be a regular, again. The Air America website lists among the guests on “The Majority Report:”
…a special appearance by Sam’s soon-to-return co-host Janeane Garofalo.
I generally like the show better with both of them. Hopefully, most Majority Report shows will have both of them for the three hours starting soon.
« How Can You Listen to Air America Radio? »
It’s available for free at the AAR website.
It’s also available nationally on XM Satellite Radio.
To find out if a local station has AAR, check this list for your city.
Michelle Malkin Hates Freedom
Glenn Greenwald writes about a conservative blogger:
If you are someone still in need of dispositive proof that Michelle Malkin is one of the most un-American, liberty-hating, disturbing creatures around, please see this rancid post of hers (h/t Mahablog) where she calls for Rep. Lynn Woolsey to be barred from inviting anyone to such speeches in the future because someone she invited wore a t-shirt which was critical of The Leader.
“Rep. Woolsey’s privileges should be revoked,” writes Malkin.
Western civilization is based on tolerance.
Michelle Malkin is intolerance personified.
It’s not enough for Malkin that Cindy Sheehan was in police custody for 4 hours and may face additional punishment for wearing a t-shirt. Michelle Malkin is so intolerant of dissent, she wants the woman who invited Sheehan punished as well.
Greenwald also explains the Cindy Sheehan’s arrest was illegal, describing a court ruling that while demonstrating in the Capitol Building is illegal, that “does not include merely wearing Tee shirts, buttons or other similar articles of apparel that convey a message.” (Bynum v. U.S. Capitol Police Bd. Dist. D.C. 1997).
Previous SpeakSpeak Article: “Cindy Sheehan’s Arrest For T-Shirt”
Al Jazeera Reporter Was On “The Colbert Report” Tonight
Posted by Eric Jaffa
January 31, 2006 @ 9:45 pm
Filed under: Media Watch
Reporter Dave Marash used to work for Nightline.
Soon he’ll be reporting for Al Jazeera’s English language network instead. The network should debut this spring.
It will be called Al Jazeera International. Dave Marash was a guest on “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central tonight to talk about it.
Stephen Colbert asked Marash if his friends found it strange that a Jewish man would accept a job for Al Jazeera. Marash said no.
Marash also said that Al Jazeera International will have little in common with the Arabic-language Al Jazeera.
I wonder how different it will be.
The value of the existing Al Jazeera is in providing an Arab perspective and more footage of civilian casualties in Iraq than American news channels.
Will Al Jazeera International provide those things? If not, will it offer something else of value?
I also wonder if Al Jazeera International will be on my cable system. I have Comcast Digital.
Cindy Sheehan’s Arrest For T-Shirt
From the AP:
Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the antiwar movement, was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night just before President George W. Bush’s state of the union address, a police spokeswoman said.
Sheehan, who was invited to attend the speech by Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. The charge was later changed to unlawful conduct…Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.
Police handcuffed Sheehan and removed her from the gallery before Bush arrived. Sheehan was to be released on her own recognizance, Schneider said.
“I’m proud that Cindy’s my guest tonight,” Woolsey said in an interview before the speech. “She has made a difference in the debate to bring our troops home from Iraq.”
People should be able to wear whatever t-shirts they want in the Capitol Building. Activities in the building should epitomize democracy, not conformity.
Also, even if the police were just following rules they didn’t write in evicting Cindy Sheehan from the Capitol building, why not let her go once outside instead of placing her under arrest?
« Update of February 1, 2006 »
The t-shirt had the words “‘2,245 Dead — How Many More??‘ in reference to the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, protesters told NBC News.”
Attytood questions the constitutionality of Sheehan’s arrest:
Did you know that in 1971, the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to arrest a man who wore a “F— the Draft” T-shirt into the courthouse? (Cohen v. California, you can look it up.)
Cindy Sheehan gives her account here. She writes that she was arrested without warning (contrary to the AP story at the top of this article). Also, that she was in custody for 4 hours for wearing a T-shirt. What does that say about the State of the Union?
People who wanted to demonstrate their loyalty to George W. Bush last night were allowed to clap and clap and clap.
The least someone who isn’t loyal to Bush should be able to do is wear a t-shirt critical of the Iraq War.
I know that she wasn’t arrested for booing, which is the opposite of applauding. But would they arrested someone for wearing a t-shirt which said, “Bush is Great”?
People should be allowed to wear whatever t-shirts they want in the Capitol building.
« Second Update of February 1, 2006 »
From a Washington Post article by Laurie Kellman:
Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida _ chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee _ was removed from the gallery because she was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Support the Troops _ Defending Our Freedom.”
“Because she had on a shirt that someone didn’t like that said support our troops, she was kicked out of this gallery,” Young said on the House floor Wednesday morning, holding up the gray shirt.
“Shame, shame,” he scolded.
Mrs. Young was sitting about six rows from first lady Laura Bush and asked to leave. She argued with police in the hallway outside the House chamber.
“They said I was protesting,” she told the St. Petersburg Times. “I said, “Read my shirt, it is not a protest.’ They said, ‘We consider that a protest.’ I said, ‘Then you are an idiot.’”
Notice how Cindy Sheehan was arrested, while Beverly Young was just escorted out.
Both of them should have been left alone.
« Third Update (Posted Evening of February 1, 2006) »
From the AP via The Daily Kos:
…Capitol Police will ask the U.S. attorney’s office to drop the charges, NBC News’ Mike Viqueira reported Wednesday.
“We screwed up,” a top Capitol Police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He said Sheehan didn’t violate any rules or laws.
Oprah Bit On “The Daily Show”
Posted by Eric Jaffa
January 31, 2006 @ 9:05 pm
Filed under: Media Watch
Oprah Winfrey’s recent toughness on dishonest author James Frey contrasted with softball coverage of the Bush Administration by Bill O’Reilly and others: video.
“The Colbert Report” Rejects Tom Tomorrow
Posted by Eric Jaffa
January 31, 2006 @ 10:37 am
Filed under: Media Watch
Stephen Colbert delivers satire Monday-Thursday night on “The Colbert Report.”
However, cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, who draws This Modern World, won’t be a guest on the show.
Tom Tomorrow writes in the comments of his blog:
I don’t actually believe that Stephen Colbert is the character he plays, of course. But the part about being semi-invited and then disinvited is completely true. It’s disappointing, because I’m a huge fan of the show. When I first heard the concept, it sounded like a one-note joke that would get old in a week, but they’ve really made it work. A show like that would be hard enough to carry even if you’re playing it straight like Jon Stewart — but carrying it while staying in character throughout–that’s a real juggling act.
The cartoonist had wanted to promote his new book, Hell in a Handbasket: Dispatches From the Country Formerly Known as America.
Pandering or Responsiveness
When a politician votes the way I want, that’s responsiveness; when a politician votes the way I don’t want, that’s pandering.
That is something which occurred to me as I read this piece by Digby at Hullabaloo.
Digby writes that Senators who decided to support the filibuster of Samuel Alito after a lot of Democratic activists expressed their opposition to Alito were showing “responsiveness” and not “pandering.”
Regarding Digby’s argument about Samuel Alito that the 72-25 vote to end the filibuster was a victory for liberals (since there could have been no filibuster, or the filibuster could have been defeated by a bigger margin, and “This is a dramatic moment for the netroots”):
We can’t afford any more victories like that. I wanted Alito kept off the Supreme Court.
Update: Greg Saunders argues that the difference between pandering and responsiveness is “sincerity.”
Posted by Eric Jaffa
January 29, 2006 @ 6:54 pm
Filed under: Radio
I’m in Minnesota.
The local affiliate of Air America Radio is Air America Minnesota.
Talk-show host Wendy Wilde was with the local station since the early days, talking about Minnesota issues. She did her last show last week.
So that misinformation doesn’t go around, I want to tell you why I decided to leave the show to look for other opportunities. The studios are located in a mold-infested basement, and management had a construction crew tear out the moldy basement walls and carpet, but that actually threw mold spores into the air and the mold dust is everywhere. Hepa filters helped some but I continue to get sick.
For the first 8 months my office was in the same moldy basement so I was spending 8-9 hours a day in the moldy air, and I have developed an extreme allergic reaction to mold. Management had the grounds graded to try and stop the frequent basement flooding, and since September when the basement walls and moldy carpet were removed, it actually got worse for me. I have been on numerous courses of antibiotics for sinus infections, and working with blinding headaches and other symptoms. When I am away from the basement studios I gradually get better again with a lot of bedrest. That is no life, and my family misses my company and attention. I was willing to broadcast from an upstairs office or even from home, but I was no longer willing to work sick. I offered my resignation over the holidays, and was asked to wait, but when I got sick again this week I realized my health needed to come first, and resigned.
I plan to seek other opportunities as soon as I recuperate a little, and may return to radio, or explore podcasting, or maybe satellite radio options. I have begun writing a book about my experiences with this startup radio station as well.
They should have made arrangements for her to broadcast from a different building.
Randi Rhodes is a liberal radio host on Air America.
Dennis Prager is a conservative radio host.
They will be tangling on “Larry King Live” tomorrow.
From a mass email from Air America Radio:
Monday night at 9, Randi Rhodes will be on CNN’s Larry King Live! She’ll be participating in a panel discussion along with Jim Hightower and Dennis Prager discussing Alito, the upcoming State of the Union Address and more. Watch Larry King Live on CNN at 9pm EST.
You can watch a clip of the last time Randi Rhodes went up against a conservative at Crooks and Liars (it shows Rhodes vs. conservative radio host Janet Parshall on C-Span in October 2005.)
« Post-Show Update Monday Night »
Randi Rhodes, Jim Hightower, and Dennis Prager weren’t on after all.
Apparently, the “Larry King Live” producers had a change of plan.
Instead, Larry King discussed Jill Carroll and Bob Woodruff.
Guests included Bob Schieffer, Peter Arnett, Christiane Amanpour, and others. The guests agreed that reporters should get close to wartime stories in spite of the danger.
Bob Schieffer said that in a tyranny, there is only one version of events reported: the government version. But in a democracy, reporters need to go out and get another version of events.
Posted by Eric Jaffa
January 28, 2006 @ 8:11 pm
Filed under: General, Media Watch
, TV, Courts
Jake Tapper is a reporter for ABC News’ “Nightline.”
On the January 24, 2006 broadcast he implied that liberals oppose Samuel Alito because he’s Catholic.
Jake Tapper said, “It tends not to be something people make an issue out of, at least publicly. But some liberals do have some concerns about such a Catholic court.”
Only a rotten reporter would slime millions of Americans that way.
As Media Matters for America notes, “the report quotes no identifiable liberals or Democrats expressing this view.”
I’m a liberal. If Mario Cuomo, who is Catholic, had been nominated to the Supreme Court by Bush, I’d be all in favor of Cuomo’s confirmation. For president in 2004, I voted for John Kerry, who is Catholic.
I’m against Samuel Alito because of his record.
A good reporter names names. A rotten reporter just uses phrases like “some liberals.”
If you don’t like the “some liberals” smear, please contact “Nightline:”
From the blogger Echidne:
Go to Oliver Willis and click on the video concerning CNN’s newscast on John Kerry. It is not exactly neutral and unbiased. For those of you who can’t see the video, the woman states that John Kerry flew home from “an exclusive Swiss resort” for a last-ditch attempt at a filibuster. The screen is divided, and the other side has a picture of John Kerry with the words “Gulfstream Liberal”…probably a..joke on “Limousine Liberal” !!!!!!
To check what Kerry might be doing at this “exclusive Swiss resort” note this:
The Massachusetts senator was speaking on the margins of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
To see what the World Economic Forum is, go here.
When George W. Bush is returning from an overseas trip, CNN doesn’t put the words “Gulfstream Conservative” under his image.
This is part of a move by CNN to be like Fox News.
An appropriate label with video of John Kerry would be”Senator John Kerry (D-MA). “
CNN knows that, but they’re taking a gamble that if they ridicule Kerry as a “Gulfstream Liberal” then Fox News viewers flipping the dial will choose CNN over Fox News.
However, as Phil Donahue said when MSNBC tried going rightward a few years ago, “You cannot outfox Fox.”
Samuel Alito is George W. Bush’s dubious nominee to the Supreme Court.
From an editorial in yesterday’s New York Times:
Judge Samuel Alito Jr., whose entire history suggests that he holds extreme views about the expansive powers of the presidency and the limited role of Congress, will almost certainly be a Supreme Court justice soon. His elevation will come courtesy of a president whose grandiose vision of his own powers threatens to undermine the nation’s basic philosophy of government…
It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight for a principle. Even a losing battle would draw the public’s attention to the import of this nomination.
…The judge’s record strongly suggests that he is an eager lieutenant in the ranks of the conservative theorists who ignore our system of checks and balances, elevating the presidency over everything else. He has expressed little enthusiasm for restrictions on presidential power and has espoused the peculiar argument that a president’s intent in signing a bill is just as important as the intent of Congress in writing it. This would be worrisome at any time, but it takes on far more significance now, when the Bush administration seems determined to use the cover of the “war on terror” and presidential privilege to ignore every restraint, from the Constitution to Congressional demands for information.
…Senate Democrats, who presented a united front against the nomination of Judge Alito in the Judiciary Committee, seem unwilling to risk the public criticism that might come with a filibuster — particularly since there is very little chance it would work. Judge Alito’s supporters would almost certainly be able to muster the 60 senators necessary to put the nomination to a final vote.
A filibuster is a radical tool. It’s easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court.
I want a filibuster and agree with most of this editorial.
However, I don’t consider the filibuster “a radical tool.” Some of President Clinton’s judicial nominees were blocked by a single Senator. This proccess is called the “blue slip.” Compared to that, a filibuster by 41 Senators is plenty of Senators.
Click here to watch an excerpt from the film online.
The first movie which actor Andy Griffith made is “A Face in the Crowd” (1957).
The film was mentioned in news reports following the death last Thursday at age 77 of another actor in the film, Anthony Franciosa.
It was also one of Franciosa’s first films.
You can watch a clip from the film (about 3 minutes).
Andy Griffith plays a right-wing talk show host talking to a right-wing Senator he’s coached who denounces ‘big government” like Social Security.
Anthony Franciosa plays a TV producer who points his finger at the 8th second of that video clip (he does more elsewhere in the movie.)
Walter Mathau (”The Odd Couple,” “Grumpy Old Men”) plays a writer who used to write for the Andy Griffith character, who is now writing a book critical of him. He says the book will be titled “Demagogue in Denim.”
Patricia Neal plays another TV producer for the Griffith character. In the video clip, her character is watching the show from a bar.
At the start of this video clip, the Andy Griffith character bashes England much like Bill O’Reilly bashes France. (France opposed the Iraq War. Consequently, Bill O’Reilly has tried to lead a boycott of French products. However, American sales of French products have increased since the start of the boycott.)
Posted by Eric Jaffa
January 25, 2006 @ 9:13 pm
Filed under: Government
…make it Mark Fiore’s “Greater Georgelandia.”
The online caroon deals with issues we’ve discussed at SpeakSpeak, including spying by the government on Americans.
“Power to the Peephole,” says the George W. Bush character in Mark Fiore’s cartoon.
One Tuesday, two big announcements about media mergers.
The WB and UPN are joining to form one TV network, “the CW.”
Also announced today, “Disney buys Pixar: House of Mouse is teaming up with Pixar in a $7.4 billion deal. Steve Jobs to become board member at Disney.”
Samuel Alito is George W. Bush’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
An editorial from the New York Times sums up Samuel Alito’s judgment this way:
Judge Alito has consistently shown a bias in favor of those in power over those who need the law to protect them.
More from that New York Times editorial:
Judge Alito would no doubt try to change the court’s approach. He has supported the fringe “unitary executive” theory, which would give the president greater power to detain Americans and would throw off the checks and balances built into the Constitution. He has also put forth the outlandish idea that if the president makes a statement when he signs a bill into law, a court interpreting the law should give his intent the same weight it gives to Congress’s intent in writing and approving the law.
Judge Alito would also work to reduce Congress’s power in other ways. In a troubling dissent, he argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed a law banning machine guns, and as a government lawyer he insisted Congress did not have the power to protect car buyers from falsified odometers.
There is every reason to believe, based on his long paper trail and the evasive answers he gave at his hearings, that Judge Alito would quickly vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. So it is hard to see how Senators Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, all Republicans, could square support for Judge Alito with their commitment to abortion rights.
Judge Alito has consistently shown a bias in favor of those in power over those who need the law to protect them. Women, racial minorities, the elderly and workers who come to court seeking justice should expect little sympathy. In the same flat bureaucratic tones he used at the hearings, he is likely to insist that the law can do nothing for them.
SpeakSpeak is primarily about free speech and the media. Because of the negative effect Alito would have in those areas, I am covering his nomination even regarding articles which don’t discuss free speech.
Please ask your Senators to oppose Alito.
The broadcast networks UPN and the WB will cease to exist this fall. Instead, they will be combined into one network “the CW.”
Reporter Matea Gold of the Los Angeles Times writes:
UPN and the WB Network will cease operations this fall to make way for a new broadcast network called The CW aimed at young, ethnic viewers, CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. Entertainment executives announced today.
Both companies will own 50% of the new venture, which will be carried by the Tribune Co. and the CBS UPN affiliates and offer 30 hours of programming a week, including shows like “Smallville,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Beauty and the Geek.”
The news about the launch of the new network — which will dramatically reshape the broadcast television landscape — was kept tightly under wraps until this morning, when reporters were summoned to a news conference at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan.
“We’re coming here with a pretty historic announcement,” Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of the CBS Corp. said.
“The CW is going to be a real competitor, a destination for young audiences, diverse audiences and a real favorite with advertisers,” Moonves added. “The CW will be able to do something truly remarkable: program already hit shows every single day of the week, programs that consistently rank number one or number two in their time slots in the most coveted young adult demographic.”
More on who owns what in the media here.
I first heard about the movie “A Face In the Crowd” (1957) in 2003.
TV host Keith Olbermann remarked on his show that Fox News reminded him of that movie.
The black-and-white film was released in 1957.
It was Andy Griffith’s first movie. Griffith plays a country singer who gets involved in politics. He uses his folksy charm to sell right-wing politicians to the public. He coaches a Senator to say that “Daniel Boone” didn’t need Social Security and so modern people don’t either.
Actor Tony Franciosa plays an agent of the Andy Griffith character. Franciosa died “Thursday at UCLA Medical Center after suffering a massive stroke.”
If you’ve never seen “A Face in the Crowd,” now would be a good time to rent or buy that black-and-white movie.
« Update: Online Video Clip »
To watch a clip from this Andy Griffith movie about 3 minutes long, click here.
Posted by Eric Jaffa
January 22, 2006 @ 9:06 am
Filed under: Media Watch
Current TV is a cable channel about news and culture.
It has a partnership with Google, the popular search engine.
Every half-hour, the cable channel shows a feature called “Google Current.” Google searches provide a theme for talking about a variety of websites. Episodes are typically 2 1/2 minutes.
An example is here, in which an increase in Google searches for “Dancing with the Stars” is a tie-in for host Connor Knighton to present clips from websites which show dancing.
The other host of Google Current is Kinga Philipps. An example of her hosting is here. Some episodes present popular Google searches through graphics without a host.
The 1,000th episode of Google Current was broadcast on January 19, 2006 (Current TV started broadcasting August 1, 2005, with this feature the first thing shown. Episodes repeat.) In honor of the 1,000th episode milestone, hosts Connor Knighton and Kinga Philipps were filmed in the same room for the first time (though last month they did an outdoor Happy Holidays promo together.)
You can watch the 1,000th episode here.
Google Current is a successful concept which provides a fast-paced way Current TV starts each half-hour.
Posted by Eric Jaffa
January 21, 2006 @ 6:55 pm
Filed under: Media Watch
Chris Matthews is a talk-show host. He talks about politics on “Hardball” each weeknight on MSNBC.
Michael Moore is a movie director. His work includes documentaries.
In a recently released audiotape which may have the voice of Usama bin Laden, the voice on the tape says in Arabic “polls that show an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.”
Chris Matthews said about Usama bin Laden on “Hardball” on the evening of January 19, 2006, ” I mean he sounds like an over the top Michael Moore here, if not a Michael Moore. “
This is tacky. Chris Matthews has also said he’s against the Iraq War. Would it be fair to say that Usama bin Laden sounds like Chris Matthews?
Supporters of Michael Moore and others who found Matthews remark in bad taste demanded an apology.
Instead, Chris Matthews said on his show Friday night that “People misunderstood what I said last night. “
Michael Moore responds in pictures to Chris Matthews at michaelmoore.com.
« Update of January 24, 2006 »
From Crooks and Liars this morning:
In an obvious move to get us off his back, Chris Matthews said this on Hardball Monday:
Matthews: You know, on Hardball we’ve been raising the question about no-bid contracts and how Halliburton has gotten some profits out of that, and maybe we were right or wrong, but we were raising that issue. Certainly people like Michael Moore raised that question of profiteering.
How does a guy go from comparing him to a terrorist one day-then an incredible investigative journalist the next?
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) is a veteran who earned two Purple Hearts in Vietnam.
Brent Bozell is an obnoxious conservative who leads the “Media Research Center, the Parents Television Council, and the Cybercast News Service. “
As we previously described at SpeakSpeak, Brent Bozell was chosen as “The Worst Person in the World ” for heading the Cybercast News Service which attacked the two Purple Hearts of Vietnam veteran, Rep. John Murtha as undeserved.
Now Brent Bozell has sunk lower.
While the earlier article at CNS was written by a pair of other writers, now Brent Bozell has written his own article implying that John Murtha wasn’t wounded enough for his Purple Hearts.
Bozell then has the gall to say that objections to this kind of rhetoric from conservatives shouldn’t come from people who criticize George W. Bush from deserting the Texas Air National Guard.
If Bozell can’t distinguish between attacking the medals of a combat veteran (Murtha), and attacking a stateside National Guardsman for being a deserter (Bush), then his judgement is lacking.
The Bush Administration is trying to force search-engine Google to turn over a million random Web addresses and more. The Bush Administration would use the data to argue that a law limiting access to pornography on the internet is constitutional.
From an article by Howard Mintz of the San Jose Mercury News:
The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.
The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.
In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.
The Mountain View-based search and advertising giant opposes releasing the information on a variety of grounds, saying it would violate the privacy rights of its users and reveal company trade secrets, according to court documents.
Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government’s effort “vigorously.'’
“Google is not a party to this lawsuit, and the demand for the information is overreaching,'’ Wong said.
The case worries privacy advocates, given the vast amount of information Google and other search engines know about their users.
The Bush Administration has no right to this data, and the courts should reject this fishing expedition.
The importance of this data to the administration argument is questionable.
If 10 percent of websites in Google results are pornographic, does that mean a law to limit access is more constitutional than if it’s 5 percent or 20 percent?
Updated evening of January 19, 2005.
Samuel Alito is a nominee for the Supreme Court with a bad record on privacy and free speech.
Today, Kos of The Daily Kos provided this count of what Senators have said about their intentions in an Alito confirmation vote:
Dems voting “No”
Dems leaning “No”
Dems voting “Yes”
[Republicans] voting “No”
Please tell your Senators to oppose Alito with this easy form.