Getting It Wrong: Downing Street Memo Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax has gotten the orders from headquarters: Discredit the Downing Street Memo and anyone touting it. But would it hurt for them get their facts straight?
A June 3 article, headlined "Kerry Touts Bush Impeachment Memo," starts:
Failed presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that he intends to confront Congress with a document touted by critics of President Bush as evidence that he committed impeachable crimes by falsifying evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
But as MSNBC's Keith Olbermann points out, there was no mention of impeachment in the story NewsMax claimed to pull its Kerry quotes from, a small paper in Massachusetts. From there, it appears that Al-Jazeera picked it up and amped up the alleged impeachment call -- which actually came from Ralph Nader in a May 31 Boston Globe op-ed cited elsewhere in NewsMax's article.
The story calls the memo "largely ignored in the U.S. outside of rabid anti-Bush Web sites like MichaelMoore.com."
Then, in a June 5 article, NewsMax faithfully reproduces the claim of Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman calling "the memo's claims 'discredited,' noting that at least two previous U.S. investigations have probed the claims that Bush fabricated pre-war intelligence."
Getting It Wrong: A Hillary-Basher And His Book Topic: Newsmax
A June 5 item in NewsMax's e-mail-only "Insider Report" not only forwards misleading information about Ed Klein, author of a new book called "The Truth About Hillary," an excerpt from Klein's book is factually inaccurate as well.
The "Insider Report" cites NewsMax's John LeBoutillier as saying that compared to other Hillary-related tomes, "none of the dozens of biographies of Hillary Clinton have ever been as well-researched as this one," adding: "Nor have any of them been written by a professional journalist with such impeccable credentials."
And what are those credentials paraded by author Ed Klein? LeBoutillier says that Klein "comes from the bastion of the liberal, so-called 'mainstream media.' Klein has worked for the most liberal publications in the United States."
NewsMax and LeBoutillier fail to note, as Media Matters does, that Klein left one of those "liberal publications" -- the New York Times Magazine, where he was editor in chief for several years in the 1980s -- under an ethical cloud in the wake of inaccurate reporting that occurred under Klein's watch. Additionally, Klein's books on the Kennedy family -- described by NewsMax as "well-researched books based on interviews with people who knew the principals involved" -- rely heavily on anonymous sources and questionable armchair psychoanalysis.
The NewsMax item also includes a preview of the book, an anecdote claiming that when Hillary announced her candidacy for the New York Senate seat of Daniel Patrick Moynihan at Moynihan's farm, he "never uttered Hillary's name -- not even once -- during this event."
That's wrong, too. Moynihan said her name several times, as Media Matters also notes.
New Article: Suddenly, Motives Matter Topic: The ConWeb
The MRC was aghast that anyone would question the motives of Clinton's accusers. Now, it's equally aghast that Mark Felt's motives aren't being questioned enough. Plus: a rundown of the ConWeb's efforts to engage in Watergate revisionism. Read more.
Getting It Wrong: 9th Circuit Reversals Topic: CNSNews.com
In a June 3 CNSNews.com commentary arguing that "It really doesn't matter what the subject matter is, the word compromise spells disaster for conservatives. ... 'Compromise' always positions to the left," Frank Salvato writes:
Here's a fact: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is loaded with some of the most liberal judges in the history of the US judiciary. Their verdicts are consistently the most overturned of any court in the nation, the size of their district considered.
Here's an actual fact: In the 2002-03 Supreme Court term, the reveral rate of the 9th Circuit was fifth lowest of the 13 federal appeals court circuits. Additionally, "the size of their district" is an irrevelant measure of a judicial district's reversal rates.
Another quote from Salvato's column: "Little Susie used to learn how to conjugate a verb. She is now learning how to apply condoms to cucumbers." Salvato did not provide an example of a school where grammar classes have been discontinued in favor of sex education.
AIM: Felt's Not Deep Throat Topic: Accuracy in Media
From a June 3 column by Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid:
History professor Joan Hoff of Montana State University, an expert on the Watergate scandal, finds it interesting that Bob Woodward is claiming that he had a close relationship with former FBI official Mark Felt, now identified as Deep Throat, when Felt suffers from serious health problems, including dementia, and can't deny it. "It's just like when he said he interviewed [former CIA director Bill] Casey when Casey was comatose," she says.
Kincaid goes on to impugn the motives of Felt and the Washington Post's Bob Woodward; alleges a "conspiracy behind the Watergate conspiracy"; cites another author, Len Colodny, co-author of a book called 'Silent Coup,' which Kincaid describes as being "about the 'removal' of President Nixon," and who also thinks Felt isn't Deep Throat; and quotes Hoff calling the naming of Deep Throat "an orchestrated publicity stunt on the part of the Post and Woodward" because Woodward plans to publish his own book on Felt.
Kincaid says nothing about the crimes that were uncovered in Watergate and the people who went to prison for them.
Just Askin' Topic: CNSNews.com
Given that CNSNews.com has a reporter, Susan Jones, who repeated the false statement that "filibusters have never been applied to judicial nominations until President Bush took office" in twostorieson the same day (and at least one other time), shouldn't CNS be going a little easier on Democratic strategist Donna Brazile for making minor errors in mathematics and the number of a Bible verse?
New Article: When You Assume... Topic: CNSNews.com
New on ConWebWatch: CNSNews.com believes Democrats act only for purely political reasons, an assumption it refuses to make about Republicans. Read more.
Watergate Revisionism Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is leading the way in trying to gloss over and rewrite Watergate history in the wake of Mark Felt's admission that he is Deep Throat.
A June 1 MRC "Media Reality Check" insists that Watergate was all about "how to take down a Republican President for political gain and personal profit" and is upset that "the impeachment of Bill Clinton was routinely savaged by liberal reporters as a saga with 'no heroes.'"
Good News is No News, Part 2 Topic: The ConWeb
For the ConWeb, there is no such thing as good news regarding the Clintons, as ConWebWatch has noted.
Latest case in point: The clearing of former Hillary Clinton fund-raiser David Rosen on charges of underreporting the costs of a 2000 fund-raiser to federal election officials. NewsMax and WorldNetDaily devoted copious amounts of space to allegations against Rosen by convicted felons Peter Paul and Aaron Tonken, and CNSNews.com mentioned it in a May 9 article.
But when a jury acquitted Rosen on May 27, the ConWeb couldn't work up any original coverage. WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com noted it only by using outside links, and NewsMax let an Associated Press article tell the story.
NewsMax did, however, quickly pound out some damage control the next day in a article quoting Paul paradoxically insisting that Rosen's acquittal doesn't mean Hillary isn't guilty. As has been the case with most original NewsMax articles about Paul, it fails to mention Paul's long criminal record.
The Truth: Better Late Than Never Topic: CNSNews.com
Well, we were sort of wrong.
Back in December, we suggested that CNSNews.com would never note that a British court ruled that a report in a British newspaper that British politician George Galloway accepted a bribe from Saddam Hussein -- a report repeated by CNS infourstories -- was libelous and ordered the paper to pay him nearly $300,000 in damages.
It only took five months, but CNS did finally get around to noting it. In a May 12 article on yet another allegation of dealings between Galloway and Saddam's regime, this time by a Senate subcommittee, correspondent Mike Wendling notes the ruling:
Earlier this year, Galloway won $3 million in a libel suit against the conservative Daily Telegraph newspaper. The paper, citing documents found in Baghdad following the collapse of Saddam's regime, alleged that Galloway and his charity profited from the oil-for-food program.
The case is currently being appealed.
However, the subcommittee report stated that the documents it was based on "have no relation to those discussed in the Daily Telegraph ." After publication, the newspaper's source documents were found to be forgeries.
All of which begs the question that CNS refuses to address: If previous allegations against Galloway have been found to be false -- remember, the Christian Science Monitor also printed, then retracted, a similar allegation, which CNS has not reported at all -- what makes the current allegation credible?
WorldNetDaily and NewsMax also reported the original accusations against Galloway. Neither reported the Monitor's retraction and the British libel judgement at the time they occurred; NewsMax later ran an Associated Press article noting the libel judgement.
Who Lives, Who Dies -- and Who's Telling the Truth Topic: WorldNetDaily
The latest issue of WorldNetDaily's Whistleblower magazine has the theme, based on the Terri Schiavo case, of "Who Lives, Who Dies?"
Among the articles in the magazine is "The real Terri Schiavo story" by Diana Lynne, an in-depth investigative report unveiling frightening contradictions, cruelty and conflicts of interest." But will that article be the version heavily biased against Terri's husband, Michael Schaivo, that originally appeared on WND in March, or will it be the somewhat less biased version edited after ConWebWatch wrote to WND to request a more balanced article?
The magazine also promises an article called "Schiavo-like woman speaks after 2? years." We assume it's the same one that WND depicted in a May 13 WND article. But this woman was in a non-conscious state for 2 1/2 years, not 15 like Schiavo, and nowhere in the story does it indicate that the woman was in a persistent vegetative state, which the vast majority of experts not parading false Nobel nomination credentials agreed Schiavo was in. WND offers no evidence that the woman is "Schiavo-like" at all.
The article also states that the woman "received what Schiavo did not -- at least in the last several years -- therapy." This is deliberately misleading because it implies that Schiavo never received meaningful therapy. In fact, Schiavo did receive therapy for the first several years after the 1990 incident that put her in a vegetative state.
New Article: WorldNetDaily's Persecution Complex Topic: WorldNetDaily
In the Out There section: Earlier this year, WorldNetDaily was all over allegations that the killing of a Coptic Christian family in New Jersey was the work of Islamic terrorists upset with the family's evangelism. But when the killings ended up being linked to a robbery, not Islam, WND dropped the article like a stone, even though there was plenty to report since the case -- and the allegations of Islamic links -- excaberated tension between Christians and Muslims. Read more.
In the process of moving her political persona to the center, I suspect that Hillary Clinton has sufficiently demonstrated to many important people who have been skeptical of her in the past that she is willing to temper her national socialist instincts in favor of continuing George W. Bush's international program.
Remember when calling politicians Nazis was a bad thing?
So Not Over It Dept. Topic: WorldNetDaily
Among the many things the ConWeb has not gotten over is John Kerry. A May 29 WorldNetDaily article demonstrates it's still OK to bash him. The story's actually about Jane Fonda allegedly hooking up again with ex-hubby Tom Hayden (which sounds like it belongs more on "Entertainment Tonight" than WND), but it dredges up Fonda's and Hayden's anti-Vietnam War past and throws in a gratuitous slam at Kerry:
She told British reporters in 1971 that U.S. atrocities included "applying electrodes to prisoners' genitals, mass rapes, slicing off of body parts, scalping, skinning alive, and leaving 'heat tablets' around which burned the insides of children who ate them."
Maybe she heard that from John Kerry. Or maybe he heard it from her.
The allusion, of course, is to the Winter Soldier hearings, which was partly funded by Fonda and included Kerry as a questioner, and Kerry's subsequent statement about atrocities committted by U.S. soldiers in a 1971 Senate committee hearing. Despite the ConWeb's claims otherwise, and despite what is hinted at in this story, the allegations raised in Winter Soldier have never been discredited as a whole.