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Is it disputable that television news, primarily ABC, CBS, and particularly NBC, has been dominated by liberal bias for decades? Anecdotally, probably not. While cable network the Fox News Channel has raised more than a few hackles due to their apparent right-leaning coverage, FNC does attempt, not always successfully, to live up to their motto, “Fair and Balanced” by consistently presenting both conservative and liberal commentators and their respective views on just about every program on the network. “Fair and Balanced” is not an aphorism adopted by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC, and it tends to show. Why do so many liberals become incensed when the “F-word” Network is even mentioned? Mostly because they do tend to lean right most of the time–something radically new for a television audience that has been pummeled with left-leaning media bias for decades, so much so that most people don’t even notice anymore.

But what about the radio? While the supposed “common” knowledge of the liberal blogosphere trouncing the conservative alternative is a bit specious at best, in the world of talk radio, the truth is quite telling–conservative radio is simply thumping the liberal option. This isn’t necessarily surprising news considering the abject failure Air America Radio has been, so much so the progressive station was forced to file for bankruptcy in October of 2006 (despite previous refutations that the rumors of AAR’s demise were unfounded–spin.)

It’s obvious people prefer not to listen to liberal radio. Perhaps they get too much of that in their evening television news broadcasts, which could also stand as another indication as to FNC’s meteoric success–the people, having grown tired with liberal TV bias usually lacking balance, have opted instead for conservative bias with regular, moderate liberal balance. Whereas TV is almost entirely a liberal news medium, radio, which tends to offer greater honesty and less politically corrected pretense, is almost entirely a moderate to right-leaning news alternative, as was shown this week by the Center for American Progress (who apparently played a little fast and loose with their numbers–further down), much to their consternation.

First, the anemic Crooks and Liars perspective…

The (conservative) spirit of the radio

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I knew talk radio in this country skewed heavily to the far-right, but I had no idea it was this bad.

While progressive talk is making inroads on commercial stations, right-wing talk reigns supreme on America’s airwaves. Some key findings:

* In the spring of 2007, of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners, 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming was conservative, and only 9 percent was progressive.

* Each weekday, 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk are broadcast on these stations compared to 254 hours of progressive talk — 10 times as much conservative talk as progressive talk.

* 76 percent of the news/talk programming in the top 10 radio markets is conservative, while 24 percent is progressive.

That’s astounding. America embraces progressive ideas on almost every issue of national significance, but according to this report (.pdf), prepared by the Center for American Progress and Free Press, progressive ideas have practically been wiped from the radio dials.

Now for the more expansive Newsbusters view…

 

Group Led By Clinton’s John Podesta Outlines Assault of Conservative Radio

Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 21, 2007 – 13:52.

The supposedly “free speech” left are out in force trying to silence all voices in the media with views different than their own just in time for the 2008 presidential campaign.

Potentially more worrisome, one liberal advocate in the middle of this debate has close ties to the Clintons, although it is quite unlikely the press will convey such when its recommendations are disseminated with their predictable stamp of approval.

*****Update: Michelle Malkin is all over this.

With that in mind, the left-leaning Center for American Progress published a report Thursday detailing how conservatives dominate the talk radio dial, and exactly what needs to be done legislatively for liberals to wrest control over this medium (emphasis added throughout):

  • Restore local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations.
  • Ensure greater local accountability over radio licensing.
  • Require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.

Imagine that.

For those unfamiliar with the Center, its President and CEO is none other than John Podesta, the former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton. And:

  • The Executive Vice President for Management is Sarah Rosen, who was also a member of the Clinton administration.
  • Senior Vice President for Development Debbie Goldberg worked for the Clinton campaign.
  • Senior Vice President and Director David Halperin was a speech writer for President Clinton.
  • Vice President of Communications Jennifer Palmieri was Clinton’s White House Deputy Press Secretary.
  • Senior Vice President for External Affairs Winnie Stachelberg worked at the Office of Management and Budget under Clinton.
  • Vice President of Finance and Operations Brad Kiley worked for the Clinton administration.
  • Ditto Peter Rundlet, Anna Soellner, Debbie Fine, and Michelle Jolin.

In reality, the staff and Senior Fellows listing of this Center reads like a Clinton administration Who’s Who.

Starting to get the picture? As you can imagine, this is why this group is so concerned with the following statistics it shared with its readers:

  • 91 percent of the political talk radio programming on the stations owned by the top five commercial station owners is conservative, and 9 percent is progressive.
  • 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk radio are broadcast each weekday on these stations compared to 254 hours of progressive talk.
  • 92 percent of these stations (236 stations out of 257) do not broadcast a single minute of progressive talk radio programming.

Picture becoming clearer? Yet, there was more:

  • 76 percent of the total talk radio programming on the 65 stations in the top 10 markets is conservative, and 24 percent is progressive.
  • 423 hours and 40 minutes of conservative talk are broadcast in the top 10 markets each weekday compared to 135 hours of progressive talk.
  • More conservative talk is broadcast than progressive talk in each of the top 10 markets, although the disparity is less than five hours of total airtime in New York (18 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk vs.16 hours of progressive talk) and Chicago (33 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk vs. 29 hours of progressive talk).
  • In four of the top 10 markets, progressive talk is broadcast only two hours or less each weekday (Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, and Atlanta).

Understand why these folks are unhappy?

Of course, as you would imagine, these folks don’t believe these statistics are at all a function of market forces. Instead:

Our view is that the imbalance in talk radio programming today is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast regulation resulting from pro-forma licensing policies,17 longer license terms (to eight years from three years previously),18 the elimination of clear public interest requirements such as local public affairs programming,19 and the relaxation of ownership rules, including the requirement of local participation in management.

Color me unsurprised. As is typical, whenever a liberal is unhappy about something, it must be because government regulations aren’t tight enough.

Yet, what is truly fascinating is that one of the “problems” concerning under-regulation of this industry was deliciously implemented during the – wait for it – Clinton years:

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 removed the national limit on the number of radio stations that one company could own. This resulted in the wave of consolidation that carried Clear Channel from 40 stations to over 1,200, and many other conglomerates to several hundred stations apiece.

The economics of radio station ownership changed in this period as a result of consolidation. Large, non-local owners aired syndicated programming on a wider scale across their national holdings. Advertising on local stations was marketed and sold by national firms, undermining the ability of local owners to compete. Many sold their stations. The number of locally-owned, minority-owned, and female-owned stations was constrained—and the very different programming decisions these owners make were less visible in the market.

In short, the removal of ownership limits created artificial economies of scale for syndicated programming (dominated by conservative talk). Because of the size of corporate radio holdings, this business model was profitable even if localism declined and local tastes and needs were not suitably matched.

Isn’t that marvelous? So, on the one hand, these folks – most of them members of the Clinton administration – believe that the “problem” of conservative domination over the airwaves was signed into law by – wait for it! – their previous boss, likely with some of their blessings at the time.

Yet, eleven years later, recognizing that this didn’t work out well for them, they want to enact new laws to fix the problem they created.

Isn’t that special?

Without further ado, here are their recommendations:

  • National radio ownership by any one entity should not exceed 5 percent of the total number of AM and FM broadcast stations.
  • In terms of local ownership, no one entity should control more than 10 percent of the total commercial radio stations in a given market, or specifi cally, more than:
    • Four commercial stations in large markets (a radio market with 45 or more commercial radio stations).
    • Three stations in mid-markets (between 30 and 44 total commercial radio stations).
    • Two stations in smaller markets (between 15 and 29 total commercial radio stations).
    • One station in the smallest markets (14 or fewer total commercial radio stations).

[…]

We recommend the following steps the FCC should take to ensure local needs are being met:

  • Provide a license to radio broadcasters for a term no longer than three years.
  • Require radio broadcast licensees to regularly show that they are operating on behalf of the public interest and provide public documentation and viewing of how they are meeting these obligations.
  • Demand that the radio broadcast licensee announce when its license is about to expire and demonstrate how the public can participate in the process to determine whether the licenseshould be extended. In addition, the FCC should be required to maintain a website to conduct on-line discussions and facilitate interaction with the public about licensee conduct.

And finally (fasten your seatbelts!):

Require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting

If commercial radio broadcasters are unwilling to abide by these regulatory standards or the FCC is unable to effectively regulate in the public interest, a spectrum use fee should be levied on owners to directly support local, regional, and national public broadcasting.

A fee based on a sliding scale (1 percent for small markets, 5 percent for the largest markets) would be distributed directly to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with clear mandates to support local news and public affairs programming and to cover controversial and political issues in a fair and balanced manner.

We estimate that such a fee would net between $100 million and $250 million and would not overly burden commercial radio broadcasters.

As you might imagine, the first set of recommendations are a total perversion of the free-market system.

Yet, what’s potentially more amusing about all this is the final category concerning violators paying a fine to support public broadcasting.

Think about it: if the plan is to get more liberal points of view on the airwaves, and these folks are looking to get more money to public broadcasting, aren’t they basically admitting that PBS is INDEED a disseminator of liberal opinions?

Somehow they missed this delicious irony…or did they?

Of course, if a left-leaning group composed largely of Clintonistas are willing to admit the liberal bias at PBS, maybe the discussion should be whether or not government funding to this organization should be immediately halted.

Barring that, it seems logical given this group’s concern for balance in media that ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Time, Newsweek, the Associated Press, Reuters et al should have to pay moneys to Fox News, the Washington Times, the National Review, and the Weekly Standard to compensate for liberal bias in print and on television.

Now that’s a cockamamie scheme I might be able to get behind.

As for Crooks and Liars claim that “America embraces progressive ideas on almost every issue of national significance,” different polls provide different results, as evidenced in the sourced link from their quote. One can find almost any information to back up their personal beliefs–in this instance, the left-leaning organization, Media Matters.

UPDATED!!!!

It looks like the Center for American Progress, while attempting to dampen free speech, were a bit deceptive in their number crunching with their original report (surprise!)

Again, from Newsbusters…

Conservative Radio Dominance Not as Grave as Liberals Proclaim

Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 22, 2007 – 15:37.

Update (Ken Shepherd): Maloney tells me he’ll be on the John Gibson radio program on Fox News radio shortly after 6:20 p.m. to discuss this.

As NewsBusters reported here and here, liberals around the country are carping and whining about conservatives having too much control of AM radio.

In fact, just yesterday, the Center for American Progress issued an outline as to what needs to be done to counter what it views as an unfair dominance of the airwaves by conservatives.

With that in mind, Brian Maloney has taken a look at the data collected by the Center to identify just how bad things really are for those poor liberals trying to compete with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, et al.

What Maloney found – not surprisingly – was that the Center fudged the numbers a bit to make it look like things were much worse than they actually are (emphasis added throughout):

[A] quick glance at the study reveals something else: they’ve greatly downplayed the amount of lefty talk actually airing.

In fact, the mistakes are so obvious, they shatter the study’s credibility. According to the methodology cited on page seven, “hosts were categorized as conservative, progressive/ liberal, or indeterminate/ neither based on self- identification, show descriptions, and listings in Talkers Magazine. Only hosts with evident and near- indisputable leanings were categorized.”

That’s where the survey’s clear bias is exposed: they clearly have a much easier time labelling a “conservative” host than a “progressive” one.

No surprise there, right? After all, anybody slightly right of center to liberals is a conservative. Yet, to be classified as a liberal by a liberal, you practically have to have a hammer and sickle on your lapel.

To prove the point, Maloney offered some examples:

  • San Francisco’s KGO is listed as featuring only three hours of daily liberal talk! If this refers to Bernie Ward, what about the four hours of hyper- lefty Ray Taliaferro (shown in top- left photo)? Or two hours of liberal- leaning Pete Wilson? Finally, why don’t the 17 hours or more of “progressive” weekend programming count?
  • The report lists KABC / Los Angeles as featuring no liberal talk, but morning host Doug McIntyre’s four- hour show fits the study’s “progressive” criteria, having sat on the “left” side of the Talk Radio Rumble panel at the recent New York City convention organized by Talkers.
  • In New York City, why weren’t WOR- AM afternoon hosts Hennican & White listed in the “progressive” column? Ellis Hennican is not shy when it comes to promoting a leftist viewpoint.
  • In Washington, why isn’t urban talker WOL listed on the liberal side as well? Take a look at the schedule: is there anything unclear about Al Sharpton’s leanings? The same goes for the stations with this format in Detroit, Philly, Chicago and elsewhere.

As always, I am never shocked when statistics collated and presented by a liberal establishment don’t pass the smell test. After all, as I’ve written about for years, to these folks, one plus one can equal zero, one, two, or three depending on what answer best fits the agenda being advanced.

Great catch, Brian.

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“From the mind-bending idea that four guys dressed as pizza delivery men were going to out-gun all the soldiers at Fort Dix…” -Keith Olbermann (MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, June 4, 2007)

There was a time when I watched Keith Olbermann with information-starved objectivity. Now, after having a several-years long change of personal and political belief systems (for the better I might add), I’ve discovered that Olbermann is just as iniquitous in his approach to “informing” the public as his nemesis, Bill O’Reilly whom he accuses almost daily of crimes against humanity (hyperbole) and general immorality. There have been moments when O’Reilly has been more than deserving of such public derision, and I have yet to see the degree of inaccuracies in Olbermann’s reporting as egregious and reckless as sometimes espoused by Bill in the “No Spin Zone.” But Keith is far from innocent, particularly when it comes to his ignorance of global jihadism and the serious threat that philosophy brings with it.

One only needs read the quote above from last nights’ Countdown program to fully appreciate Olbermann’s lack of understanding concerning Islamic extremism. The Fort Dix jihadist had no realistic interest in “out-gunning” the forces at Fort Dix army base in New Jersey. Islamic militants simply don’t think that way. But reference their efforts beginning with the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980’s and up through present day. In almost every case of suicide bombings specifically and Islamic terrorism generally, those directly involved on the frontlines of such operations do not attempt or even want to out-gun the larger force. They simply wish to hurt them. And they go on hurting them until they feel a change has been made as a result of their deeds. The Russian invasion of Afghanistan, also in the 80’s, is a fairly pertinent example of what jihadists hope to accomplish, and what they can actually achieve.

Simply, Olbermann prefers to downplay (much like The New York Times) many of the major terrorist threats against the west as hoaxes, and possible wag-the-dog style machinations, that only receives unjustifiable newsworthy exposure by the “right-wing” media. Those involved in said terrorist plots, usually of the home-grown variety, are usually characterized by Olbermann as ineffective dolts, isolated from any real jihadist organization (i.e. al Qaeda) and monetary support–they never would have succeeded anyway (though you can be sure if they did succeed, Keith would be one of the first on the airwaves to lambaste the administration for not doing enough to prevent said terrorist attack.)

Over at Hot Air, Michelle Malkin’s fiery blog, they have rightly called Olbermann out on his ineptitude and lack of logical thinking concerning this issue. For a man who derides Bill O’Reilly so often and so ferociously, Mr. Olbermann might be transforming into that which he hates the most.

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Video: Olby sneers at the JFK terror plot, questions the timing of everything

posted at 9:29 am on June 5, 2007 by Allahpundit

And to think, some people believe the left doesn’t take terrorism seriously.

You’ll note, I hope, that even Olby recognizes how dishonest he’s being. That’s why he feels obliged to mention not once but twice that coincidences do happen and, in his words, “we could probably construct a similar timeline of terror events and their relationship to the haircuts of popular politicians.” Why do it, then? Because, as the Truthers are wont to say, he’s “just asking questions.” Just “airing it,” Sullivan style. Make up your own mind.

What he doesn’t note is that 9 of the 13 terror alerts he cites were issued prior to Katrina’s assault on New Orleans, widely accepted as the beginning of the steep decline of the Bush presidency. It stands to reason that if terror warnings were deliberately timed to “distract,” we’d find them congregated around the administration’s true crisis moments. Instead, Olby’s forced to link the JFK plot to the U.S. Attorneys scandal, which had long since reached critical mass. Where were the terror alerts during the battle over Iraq funding? When Bush first announced the surge? After the Hamdan decision? Even by his own absurd non-logic, it makes more sense to claim that the JFK plot was timed to distract from the amnesty uproar. But Olby can’t claim that because Bush is on the left’s side on that one, so he’s forced to feebly tie it back to Gonzalesgate and the Democratic debate.

He also doesn’t seem to grasp that just because the pipeline plot wasn’t feasible doesn’t mean no attack would have occurred. You’ve got a group of men with homicidal intent willing to travel internationally to bring off their plan. If they’re game for that, they’re probably game for walking into a crowd of people and opening up with automatic weapons and grenades. It won’t take out an airport, but you might very well top the body count from the London bombings two years ago.

Newsbusters has the full transcript; the clip here is just a mishmash of lowlights, although I did include both times he went out of his way to note that one of the officials who announced the JFK plot was the father of a Fox News reporter. That official: Ray Kelly … commissioner of the NYPD. What would he be doing at a presser related to a major terror bust in New York City? We’ll have to wonder, I guess. Finally, pay attention to how Olby treats the biggest bust in his roundup, the UK airline plot from last year. Once again we’re treated to the dark nutroots insinuation that somehow it was sparked by Ned Lamont’s primary victory over Lieberman. If Olby’s genuinely curious as to why U.S. counterterrorist agents wanted to move faster than the Brits did, he need only look to his own network for answers:

Another U.S. official, however, acknowledges there was disagreement over timing. Analysts say that in recent years, American security officials have become edgier than the British in such cases because of missed opportunities leading up to 9/11.

Which is another way of saying that if they didn’t move quickly enough and the plot came off, people like Keith Olbermann would be on TV accusing them of having deliberately let it happen. That’s Murrow journalism, baby. Trutherism, the whole Trutherism, and nothing but the Trutherism.

 

Update: Just curious. Does the left even have a workable theory as to how, precisely, terror alerts “distract” the public? Has anyone forgotten about the amnesty bill or the Democratic debate since the JFK story broke? A truly enormous terror plot could be such a big story that it would push everything else off the front page for days, but this clearly wasn’t on that scale. (Not to mention the fact that it was announced on a Saturday.) So where does the distraction enter in?

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After my praise of Keith Olbermann in this previous post, this armchair quarterback of leftism on MSNBC has interminably and axiomatically persisted in his diligent effort to annoy me by making a molehill out of a fairly sizable mountain.

Yesterday saw the announcement of criminal charges brought against six men–all Muslims, all foreign born, three of whom were illegal-aliens–accused of plotting attacks against U.S. military personnel at Fort Dix army base in New Jersey. Almost immediately, the politically correct commonwealth, including CAIR, MPAC, and other Muslim American propaganda automatons, rose up in unison to warn the ignorant and infantile public not to jump to conclusions about Islam as a violence-based faith, while at the same time talking out of the other side of their mouths in praise of the police action.

Additionally, many in public office and the press, including Bush mouthpiece Tony Snow, who encompasses both as Press Secretary, made certain to alleviate any resulting fears within the trembling masses of American citizenry by clearly stating that these six men were not affiliated with any international terror organizations up to and including Al Qaeda.

And this matters because…? To the general public: It matters not one infinitesimal grain of sand that these men had no connection to “international terror organizations” or Al Qaeda. It doesn’t matter if they failed to receive an authentic fatwa ruling from an Islamic religious leader justifying (really, in their minds they needed little justification) their jihadist ambitions by attacking Fort Dix. Does the fact the media felt the overwhelming need to quickly rush forward and explicitly point out such an inanity somehow diminished the threat of murder and destruction planned by the six Muslims? Of course not. In fact, this is actually more disturbing because of the home-grown nature of their undertaking. They had no backing or operational support from any other establishment.

While their lack of tact (and apparent intelligence) was evidenced in their need to get a duplicate copy of their home-made jihadist video thereby alerting an employee at the local photomart who, understandably alarmed by the weaponry used in the video and the cries of “Allahu Akbar” by the very dolts who took the video in for duplication, the fact remains these men would have attempted to commit the acts they set out to do regardless of the outcome.

Training, affiliation, and monetary means do nothing to promote a lack of will in those guided by an ideology, and the ideologues who accompany it, that teaches war against the infidels until subjugation and sharia law persist throughout the land and eventually the world. This is what genuinely needs routing and exposure and a lot of good was done yesterday.

Of course, as stated above, there was some bad. Notably from Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s Countdown program. In it, Olbermann shamefully minimized the danger the accused would have instigated were they not stopped by law enforcement officials. Interestingly, Olbermann referred to the situation as “credulous” as in the American public is far too gullible in their readiness to accept the hazards these six men represented. Instead, he chose to label them simply as morons (thankfully they were) in a footnote piece just before he broke for commercial.

Keith Olbermann, you sir are today’s WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD!

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This photo obtained from the Cherry Hill, N.J., West High School 2003 yearbook shows Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer. Shnewer is one of the six men who were arrested Monday, May 7, 2007, on charges they planned to kill soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey. (AP Photo/Cherry Hill West High School Yearbook)

Store Clerk Helps Feds Bust 6 in Alleged ‘Jihad’ Plot to Kill U.S. Soldiers at Fort Dix

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Ever since Sept. 11, U.S. authorities have asked the public to be vigilant, urging, “If you see something, say something.”

In January 2006, a store clerk in New Jersey saw something.

A group of men had brought him a video showing them firing assault weapons and chanting, “God is Great!” in Arabic. They wanted him to transfer the footage onto a DVD.

So he said something, calling the Mount Laurel Police Department, who in turn contacted the FBI.

And thus began the downfall of one of the most thoroughly infiltrated and documented group of terrorism suspects in recent history — six men from Yugoslavia and the Middle East who were charged Tuesday with plotting to slaughter scores of American soldiers at Fort Dix and perhaps other military installations in the Northeast.

FBI agent J.P. Weis saluted the unidentified Mount Laurel store clerk as the “unsung hero” of the case.

“That’s why we’re here today — because of the courage and heroism of that individual,” the FBI agent said.

The suspects’ images and words were captured on more than 50 audio and video recordings. Their comings and goings were recorded by law enforcement agents who monitored the alleged plot for 16 months, hoping more terror ties would become apparent.

The defendants, all men in their 20s, include a pizza deliveryman suspected of using his job to scout out Fort Dix. Their goal was “to kill as many American soldiers as possible” in attacks with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and guns, prosecutors said.

“Today we dodged a bullet. In fact, when you look at the type of weapons that this group was trying to purchase, we may have dodged a lot of bullets,” Weis said. “We had a group that was forming a platoon to take on an army. They identified their target, they did their reconnaissance. They had maps. And they were in the process of buying weapons. Luckily, we were able to stop that.”

Authorities said there was no direct evidence connecting the men to any international terror organizations such as Al Qaeda. But several of them said they were ready to kill and die “in the name of Allah,” according to court papers.

The six men — five of whom lived in Cherry Hill, a Philadelphia suburb about 20 miles from Fort Dix — were arrested Monday night while trying to buy AK-47 assault weapons, M-16s and other weapons from an FBI informant, authorities said.

“This is what law enforcement is supposed to do in the post-9/11 era — stay one step ahead of those who are attempting to cause harm to innocent American citizens,” U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said.

In addition to plotting the attack on Fort Dix, the defendants spoke of attacking a Navy installation in Philadelphia during the annual Army-Navy football game and conducted surveillance at other military installations in the region, prosecutors said.

One defendant, Eljvir Duka, was recorded as saying: “In the end, when it comes to defending your religion, when someone … attacks your religion, your way of life, then you go jihad.”

“It doesn’t matter to me whether I get locked up, arrested or get taken away,” another defendant, Serdar Tatar, was alleged to have said. “Or I die, it doesn’t matter. I’m doing it in the name of Allah.”

They appeared in federal court Tuesday in Camden and were ordered held without bail for a hearing Friday. Five were charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. military personnel; the sixth was charged with aiding and abetting illegal immigrants in obtaining weapons.

Four of the men were born in the former Yugoslavia, one was born in Jordan and one came from Turkey, authorities said. All had lived in the United States for years. Three were in the United States illegally; two had green cards allowing them to stay in this country permanently; and the sixth is a U.S. citizen.

One defendant, Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, spoke of using rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons to kill at least 100 soldiers, according to court documents.

“My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of soldiers,” he was quoted as saying. “You hit four, five or six Humvees and light the whole place (up) and retreat completely without any losses.”

The men trained by playing paintball in the woods in New Jersey and taking target practice at a firing range in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, where they had rented a house, authorities said.

They often watched terror training videos, clips featuring Usama bin Laden, a tape containing the last will and testament of some of the Sept. 11 hijackers, and tapes of armed attacks on U.S. military personnel, erupting in laughter when one plotter noted that a Marine’s arm was blown off in an ambush, authorities said.

Asked if those arrested had any links to Al Qaeda, White House spokesman Tony Snow said it appears “there is no direct evidence of a foreign terrorist tie.”

The FBI’s Weis said the U.S. is seeing a “brand-new form of terrorism,” involving smaller, more loosely defined groups that may not be connected to Al Qaeda but are inspired by its ideology.

“These homegrown terrorists can prove to be as dangerous as any known group, if not more so. They operate under the radar,” Weis said.

According to court documents, the video that the store clerk found disturbing depicted 10 young men in their early 20s “shooting assault weapons at a firing range … while calling for jihad and shouting in Arabic ‘Allah Akbar’ (God is great).” The 10 included six of those arrested, authorities said.

Within months, the FBI had managed to infiltrate the group with two informants, according to court documents.

One of the suspects, Tatar, worked at his father’s pizzeria and made deliveries to Fort Dix, using the opportunity to scout out the base for an attack, authorities said.

“Clearly, one of the guys had an intimate knowledge of the base from having been there delivering pizzas,” Christie said.

The men also allegedly conducted surveillance at other area military installations, including Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, and a Philadelphia Coast Guard station.

Besides Shnewer, Tatar and Duka, the other three men were identified in court papers as Dritan Duka, Shain Duka and Agron Abdullahu.

Fort Dix is used to train soldiers, particularly reservists. It also housed refugees from Kosovo in 1999.

The arrests stirred renewed worry among New Jersey’s Muslim community. Hundreds of Muslim men from New Jersey were rounded up and detained in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, but none were connected to that plot.

“If these people did something, then they deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Sohail Mohammed, a lawyer who represented scores of detainees after the 2001 attacks. “But when the government says `Islamic militants,’ it sends a message to the public that Islam and militancy are synonymous.”

“Don’t equate actions with religion,” he said.

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This photo obtained from the Cherry Hill, N.J., West High School 1998 yearbook shows Eljvir ‘Elvis’ Duka. Duka, 23,is one of the six men who were arrested Monday, May 7, 2007, on charges they planned to kill soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey. (AP Photo/Cherry Hill West High School Yearbook)

 

 

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A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine posted the below Youtube video on his blog (sorry, you’ll need an account to Myspace, which is interestingly owned by Rupert Murdoch who also owns Fox News which, as we all know, runs The O’Reilly Factor.) It concerns a grave distortion (and huge error of judgment) on the part of the perpetually-out-of-touch-with-humanity Bill O’Reilly with an egregious historical inacuracy concerning the Malmedy massacre 62 years ago when roughly 80 American soldiers were ruthlessly executed by their Nazi captors during the Battle of the Bulge.

From my friend’s blog

Bill O’Reilly, commentator for the F-Word Network, has chosen to reverse history, and use Malmady as a historical excuse, if not justification, for atrocities committed by U.S. military forces in Iraq. He’s reversed history in order to further his own propaganda.

To make matters worse, he not only hasn’t apologized, but the F-Word Network has seen fit to go back and alter their transcripts for both broadcasts.

I used to watch Keith Olbermann quite frequently, but somehow grew adrift of the habit. Seeing this video (which is actually quite old) compels me to offer Mr. Olbermann my strict attention once again via his nightly program, Countdown.

Thanks to my friend, John for the reminder.

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