The best way to use this site is by using the Google search engine that searches through this site's content; there is a search box on every page. Obviously, overly simple searches for terms like "Bush" or "9/11" will return more hits than anyone could plow through. I'd recommend using as specific a search query as possible. The Google site search is a magnificent tool, but it has its limitations; asking it questions like "Who is responsible for invading Iraq?" won't work, and long, rambling queries will not always find the information you're looking for, on this site or on the Web. Within the pages of this site, try to limit your searches to specific words and phrases you are looking for, like "domestic wiretapping" or "global warming." And be prepared to hunt. Searching for individual names is good: "Valerie Plame Wilson" or "Mohammed Atta," for example, will give good results.

Although each item in the pages of this site is sourced, I have not restrained myself from adding my own contextual and sometimes editorial comments within the item itself. I attempt to note when I am adding my own commentary atop of the material provided by the media source, but that does not always happen.

And no, you may not always consider the source of a particular item to be reliable. That's why the source information is there. Be your own arbiter.

It's worth noting again that the Internet is a very fluid and ever-changing source of information. Web links that worked when I posted them are not always there when you click on them. The bibliography is provided not just as a list of sources, but as a means for you to use the article titles to search for the quoted material if the original Web links don't work any longer. If you have access to Lexis/Nexus (I don't), you should have little trouble finding anything I've cited. If not, you can do your own searching; in many instances, other sites, including personal blogs and message forums, copy part or all of an article and post it on their own pages.

CCR is the Center for Cooperative Research, a fine source of information exhaustively organized and sourced. It is not a primary source for any of the information included; rather, like my site, they have linked to their own sources within their pages. Instead of duplicating the thousands of links and sources they cite, I have taken the lazy way out and merely cited CCR as the source for a number of items in these pages. Visit that site for specific links to particular items. Be warned; they've recently updated and changed their links, so all links won't point directly to cited material. You may need to dig around a bit to find what you're looking for.

One source that crops up frequently in these pages is Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia. I contribute to it. But it cannot be taken as a standalone source on any subject because of its "open" and fluid nature. You and I and your Aunt Fanny are welcome to contribute to it. I stick to things I know something about when I make my infrequent contributions. Your Aunt Fanny hopefully sticks to making entries she knows something about, whether it be canning peaches or repairing jet engines. That doesn't always happen. But I find myself relying on Wikipedia more often than not, and for good reason -- it's far more self-correcting and ultimately trustworthy than its critics give it credit for. I'm not saying I'll take a Wikipedia article over one in the Encyclopedia Britannica -- but I won't throw out the Wikipedia article because it contradicts the Britannica, either. You can read an examination of the question of Wikipedia's reliability here, by media and journalism professor Andrew Lih (scroll down).

I also find it interesting to note just how many of the most revealing -- or damning, if you will -- stories are not sourced in the American media. I choose my sources based on reliability and the likelihood of the sources remaining available on the Internet, but the question of why so many of the stories that detail the calumnies and possible criminal actions of the current American administration go unreported in the US media remain unanswered, though the nearly total conservative takeover of the US media has been well documented. Eric Alterman's fine What Liberal Media? is a good place to start reading about this particular question.

Again, thanks for the folks at Buzzflash for providing the initial links to many of the articles and columns cited in these pages. This is an invaluable place to start your own research.

-- Black Max

Just How "Biased" Are My Sources?

Hmmm, good question. A couple of conservative readers of this site have accused me of depending on "liberal" media sources for this site. To that, I respond with a qualified "yep." There's some truth in that accusation, though not to the degree that some of the readers have alleged. For one, the "liberal" media doesn't exist, not in the way that the Limbaughs and Fox News mavens assert. CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc, are not "liberal" media sources, no matter how much the right may scream and throw mud in their directions. There are undoubtedly some truly liberal Web sites and publications out there, and I use them when needed. Why? It's simple; they tend to report news and make analyses of the news that is far, far ahead of the mainstream media curve. For example, the liberal sites were reporting the fact that Iraq had no WMDs years before the mainstream media caught on to the reality of the situation and began running their own stories. Instead of reporting the facts, the mainstream media all too often relies on the lies promulgated by the White House, the Pentagon, and the right-wing mavens for their stories, leaving themselves woefully behind the realities. Do I use conservative sources? Certainly, when they're reliable. But I find that their reliability is far, far lower than the mainstream or even the more liberal news sources, and I'm not usually interested in their analyses -- for one, they tend to unstintingly support the Bush policies whether or not they have to contradict themselves to do so, or even back what they should know are a farrago of lies and misrepresentations. A recent case was the Ashcroft allegations that 9/11 commissioner Jamie Gorelick was somehow responsible for the 9/11 bombings because of her supposedly building a "wall" between the FBI and US intelligence agencies during her tenure in the Clinton Department of Justice. Right-wing sources such as the Wall Street Journal and Rush Limbaugh leapt on Ashcroft's bandwagon, howling for Gorelick's resignation and using Ashcroft's allegations to accuse the Clinton administration of being solely responsible for the attacks. Days later, the memo that Ashcroft so menancingly waved at the commission, and in the faces of the American public, turned out to prove that Gorelick actually tried to weaken the divide between the two sets of agencies. Ashcroft was proven to be a McCarthyite grandstander and the issue dried up and blew away.

But let's look for ourselves. I've counted the sources used in the March 2004 page to see just what kind of sources I used for a particular month. I chose March 2004 because it's recent and it's relatively large -- lots of sources. Here's a list of what I used:

Sources Used in March 2004:

  • Associated Press 36
  • New York Times 28
  • Washington Post 28
  • Reuters 19
  • Guardian 18
  • Buzzflash 11
  • CBS 10
  • CNN 9
  • Chicago Tribune 8
  • MSNBC (including Newsweek) 7
  • Nation 7
  • Working for Change 7
  • Independent 6
  • Salon 6
  • Los Angeles Times 5
  • Slate 5
  • White House 5
  • ABC 4
  • Center for American Progress 4
  • Knight Ridder 4
  • Miami Herald 4
  • San Francisco Chronicle 4
  • Agence France-Press 3
  • BBC 3
  • Boston Globe 3
  • Democracy Now 3
  • Newsday 3
  • The Hill 3
  • USA Today 3
  • AlterNet 2
  • Chicago Sun-Times 2
  • Department of Defense 2
  • Editor and Publisher 2
  • Ha'aretz 2
  • Intervention Magazine 2
  • KTOK-AM 2
  • New Republic 2
  • New York Daily News 2
  • Public Citizen 2
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer 2
  • Sydney Morning Herald 2
  • TomPaine 2
  • UPI 2
  • 365Gay 1
  • Age 1
  • Air America 1
  • Alternative Press Review 1
  • American Family Voices 1
  • American Prospect 1
  • ARL 1
  • Australian 1
  • Baltimore Sun 1
  • Bloomberg 1
  • Byrd, Robert 1
  • Capital Times 1
  • Charlotte Observer 1
  • China Daily 1
  • Christian Science Monitor 1
  • City University of New York 1
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer 1
  • Cole, Tom 1
  • Colorado Springs Gazette 1
  • CommonDreams 1
  • Counterbias 1
  • Cox Net 1
  • Council on Foreign Relations 1
  • Daily Texan 1
  • Dallas Morning News 1
  • Dallas Observer 1
  • Daschle, Tom 1
  • Democratic Underground 1
  • Detroit Free Press 1
  • Detroit News 1
  • Dissident Voice 1
  • Edifying Spectacle blog 1
  • FAIR 1
  • FMQB 1
  • Foreign Policy in Focus 1
  • Fox News
  • Free Press 1
  • Grist 1
  • Gully 1
  • Hearst 1
  • Helena Independent Record 1
  • Houston Chronicle 1
  • In These Times 1
  • International Association of Fire Fighters 1
  • King Features 1
  • McKinney, Cynthia 1
  • Media Transparency 1
  • Minneapolis-St Paul Star-Tribune 1
  • 1
  • Moscow Times 1
  • MTV News 1
  • Nettavisen 1
  • New Yorker 1
  • NewsMax 1
  • OpEd News 1
  • Palm Beach Desert Sun 1
  • Portland Independent Media Center 1
  • PR Newswire 1
  • Reason 1
  • Sacramento Bee 1
  • San Jose Mercury News 1
  • See the Forest blog 1
  • Spokesman-Review 1
  • St Petersburg Times 1
  • Star-Telegram 1
  • Stars and Stripes 1
  • State Department 1
  • Sun-Sentinel 1
  • Taipei Times 1
  • Telegraph 1
  • Truthout 1
  • US Senate 1
  • Victoria Herald-Sun 1
  • VOA 1
  • Washington Times 1
  • Yahoo! News 1
  • ZMag 1

Total sources: 449; 243 "hard news sources"

Over 50% of the sources used are "hard news" sources, from mainstream sources such as the Associated Press, the New York Times, CNN, Reuters, the BBC, and other news sources such as the Los Angeles Times, UPI, and the Baltimore Sun. The top five sources -- the AP, the Times, the >Post, Reuters, and Britain's Guardian -- are relatively mainstream, though the Guardian has a distincly leftward slant in its opinions and news analyses. Many of these "mainstream" sources have an arguably rightward slant. Of the ten top sources, only one, Buzzflash, is strongly leftward in its own publications; most of those links are to various interviews. There are numerous leftist sites used in the top third of the sources used, most notably The Nation and Working for Change. As you move down the list, you find a number of relatively conservative sources, both mainstream outlets with a conservative slant such as Fox News, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Washington Times, the Moonie-owned conservative alternative to the Washington Post, as well as staunchly conservative outlets such as Newsmax. As you get into the sources used only once, you find a number of smaller, overtly leftist sites, such as the Democratic Underground and In These Times. There are also numerous citings from direct sources, such as the White House, the US Senate, and various lawmakers' own sites. Overall, the sources I use tend to be very mainstream, with a strong addition of material from left-wing sources and a smaller but significant amount of sources from equally conservative sites.

Note: Since I did this count, I have added items to the March 2004 page. The count is still accurate enough for assessment purposes, but is no longer absolutely correct. I'm not going back and counting again.

As with everything else, it's up to the reader to decide how reliable the material used in these sites is, and what the reader should do in response to the material presented therein. I urge everyone who reads this site to use the material contained therein as a starting point for their own edification and investigation, not as a be-all end-all source. Unlike Limbaugh, I don't pretend to be qualified to tell anyone what to think. This site is a source for discussion and an opportunity for readers to begin, or to expand upon, their own search for knowledge. Happy reading!