The Daily Les, 7/12 Topic: The Daily Les
We're trying out a new ConWebBlog feature -- reporting the questions asked by Les Kinsolving, WorldNetDaily White House reporter and all-around conservative tool.
Today's questions by Kinsolving in the White House press briefing once again had nothing to do with the possible criminal actions of a senior White House adviser, but at least he didn't suck up like yesterday.
KINSOLVING: The news that the G8 nations offered the Palestinian Authority $9 billion inevitably recalls the 2003 International Monetary Fund report that Yasser Arafat diverted $900 million to a special bank account he controlled. And my question: Considering Mammoud Abbas' long association with Arafat, plus his refusal to dismantle any terrorist groups like Hamas, in accordance with the road map, how on earth did the president allow these billions to Abbas without U.S. protest?
Question 2, the full exchange:
KINSOLVING: Does the president believe that it is outrageous for a Los Angeles advertising man to be conducting a campaign to persuade the town selectmen of Weare, New Hampshire, to approve the building of a hotel on the land where Justice Souter's house is located? Or does he regard this as an historic irony resulting from Souter's vote in the case of Kelo versus the City of New London?
McCLELLAN: I haven't seen anything on it. Jim, go ahead.
KINSOLVING: You didn't see anything on it? You'd like to evade this one, wouldn't you?
McCLELLAN: No, I haven't seen anything on it, Les. I like to see reports before I comment on it.
ANOTHER REPORTER: No, it's the other ones he's trying to evade.
(Update: Edited to properly identify Kinsolving as questioner, change topic to the newly created "Daily Les.")
More on the Union Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Sacramento News & Review weighs in on the turmoil at the Sacramento Union. It sheds a little more light on J.J. McClatchy, who has taken over the magazine, calling him "one of the 'black sheep' in the McClatchy family -- a conservative in a liberal clan."
The article also puts the lie to yet another claim in the June 29 WorldNetDaily story on the Union, which called James H. Smith (a buddy of WND editor Joseph Farah) the "publisher" of the Union. In fact, Smith is quoted in the News & Review article as saying he resigned as publisher June 9, after McClatchy took over, which would make him a "former publisher" at the time of the WND article.
Additionally, the article also offers more details on the Union's problems that WND tried to downplay. Apparently, a mere 4,000 subscriptions to the Union magazine have been sold; by comparison, the Sacramento Bee has a daily circulation of 305,000.
MRC's Labeling Obsession Topic: Media Research Center
How distorted is the Media Research Center's obsession with political labels?
A July 5 entry on the MRC-run Times Watch ("Documenting and Exposing the Liberal Political Agenda of the New York Times") offers one answer. In it, Times Watch director Clay Waters takes the Times to task for using the word "conservative" in a story about ... conservatives:
Sunday’s lead story involves the new Supreme Court vacancy left by the surprise retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. "Conservative Groups Rally Against Gonzales as Justice," by Adam Nagourney, Todd Purdum and David Kirkpatrick spins into a labeling frenzy, with 23 instances of the term "conservative" (not including two in headlines) in the 1,900-word story.
Well, God forbid that the Times use the word "conservative" when it does a story about the conservative reaction to something. Does Waters have an alternative he'd like to offer?
Meanwhile, the MRC-run CNSNews.com has its own problems with labeling advocacy groups; conservatives get positive names, while liberals get non-flattering ones.
NewsMax Plays the Clinton Card (Again) Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax has resorted to some decidedly lame tactics to defend White House senior adviser Karl Rove against revelations of his role in the Valerie Plame affair.
A July 11 article rehashes a January Washington Post op-ed by Victoria Toensing, a former deputy attorney general, who claimed that the leak of Plame's name as a CIA operative that the facts of the case as of January "do not support evidence of criminal conduct." NewsMax fails to note that Toensing has a personal interest in the case; she's a buddy of Robert Novak, who originally released Plame's CIA connection in a 2003 column.
A July 12 article quickly jumped to NewsMax's defense of last resort -- dragging in the Clintons. Yes, NewsMax compared Plame's outing, "a revelation, by the way, that did nothing to damage her career as a desk-bound analyst, let alone endanger her life," to questionable accusations that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick, which it claimed falls under the catetory of "truly serious allegations of genuine criminality." In NewsMax's view, anything the Clintons have done is, de facto, much worse than any misdeed by conservatives.
It's a bad sign for conservatives when NewsMax plays the Clinton-equivocation card this soon.
Les Kinsolving, Sycophant Topic: The Daily Les
The OG (Original Gannon) himself, Les Kinsolving, stands out again. On a day when the White House press corps had suddenly turned press secretary Scott McClellan into a stonewallingmess trying to deflect attention from Karl Rove's involvement in the Valerie Plame affair, Our Boy Les turns reliably sycophantic with his question to McClellan:
One follow-up. Considering the widespread interest and the absolutely frantic Democrat reaction to Karl Rove's excellent speech to conservatives last month, does the president hope that Karl will give a lot more speeches?
And WND's claim of being "a watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power" fails yet again.
(Update: Changed topic to newly created "Daily Les" for easy future reference.)
Hoodwinked Again? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 11 WorldNetDaily article claims that Jack Cashill's book "Hoodwinked" is "currently appearing at No. 6 on the non-fiction list at a popular online bookstore." What bookstore? WND won't say.
As ConWebWatch readers know, books from niche publishers ("Hoodwinked" is published by Nelson Current, ex-partner of WND Books) do not make it into the upper sales echelons of "popular online bookstores" for no reason. An ad was placed in a major publication, Cashill appeared on a high-profile media outlet, or Cashill got his friends together to buy copies from said "popular online bookstore" to juice the rankings. WND doesn't tell us why, so draw your own conclusions.
Are Cashill and WND hoodwinking us again, just as they did with James Kopp?
Irony of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein -- who wrote an article that WND was forced to retract -- has penned a July 11 article on the Associated Press' retraction of statements that, in Klein's words, "falsely linked Israel to the deadly bombings." (The ConWeb was unusually quick to correct that, if you'll recall.)
Duke-WND Update Topic: WorldNetDaily
Again failing to live up to its motto of being "a watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power," WorldNetDaily still has not done an original story on the travails of Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.
NewsMax, meanwhile, did note it in a July 6 article, but it was in the middle of an attack on Democrats running ads against six Republicans, including Cunningham. It goes into little detail about the allegations against Cunningham, but quotes the congressman saying that a government raid of his home and yacht was "an appalling abuse of government power." NewsMax also ran an Associated Press article on one aspect of the Cunningham imbroglio, his link to a corrupt developer.
Note to WND: Your competition has scooped you in an area in which you claim to have expertise. What's the holdup?
ConWeb Job-Hopping Topic: The ConWeb
The latest addition (near as we can tell) to the list of recent ConWeb job-hoppers is Sherrie Gossett.
A longtime correspondent for WorldNetDaily, she spent the past several months as an associate editor at Accuracy in Media's "AIM Report." As a byline this week reveals, Gossett is now a staff writer for CNSNews.com. A July 7 AIM article still lists her as an employee, however, so she may have just dumped the WND gig. (WND, NewsMax and CNS have historically not shared reporters.)
As one might surmise by her ConWeb history, Gossett can be counted on to reflect that bias. ConWebWatch has noted her twice -- in 2004, when she launched a biased attack on an error by the Boston Globe, and earlier this year, when she helped advance WorldNetDaily's baseless speculation about who killed a Coptic Christian family.
Poe, Part 3 Topic: WorldNetDaily Today's WorldNetDaily installment of Richard Poe's attempt to cash in on trendy Hillary-bashing hard-hitting expose of Hillary Clinton benignly describes Richard Mellon Scaife as a "Pittsburgh philanthropist and newspaper publisher." Last October, however, Poe described George Soros -- who, like Scaife, has donated millions of dollars to organizations in order to advance a political philosophy -- a little more harshly as a "Wall Street billionaire and leftwinger."
The main difference (other than Poe's eagerness to smear Soros)? Poe's employer, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, has received more than $1.4 million from Scaife-contorlled foundations since 2000, and millions more in the decade before that. Even though the CSPC has distanced itself from Poe's work (the CPSC disclaimer at the end remains), Poe clearly has no interest in trashing a major source of his income. Poe also fails to disclose Scaife's financial connection to his employer.
Mad Hot Slander Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 6 WorldNetDaily article by Ron Strom baselessly bashes filmmaker Michael Moore for hosting a film festival in Traverse City, Mich.
Strom focuses on a rival film festival that will show "conservative and pro-America movies," presumably unlike Moore's festival. Strom also quotes a local woman who asserts without evidence that Moore "had a political agenda" in staging the festival, adding: "The movies he is showing represent the minority, extreme, radical left view."
While Strom writes that "Though none of Moore's films are in the line-up, some of the movies address political issues such as unemployment, globalization and corporate corruption," he doesn't list the films to be shown, though he does for the rival festival.
And what are these "minority, extreme, radical left" movies to be shown at the festival that Strom won't tell us about, even though they're listed on the festival web site that Strom links to? Here are a few:
-- "Mad Hot Ballroom," a documentary about New York City fifth-graders learning how to ballroom dance.
-- "Italian for Beginners," a slice-of-life movie about a group of Danes and the Italian language class they're taking.
Poe, Part 2 Topic: WorldNetDaily
Apparently, Richard Poe's attempt to piggyback on Ed Klein's Hillary-bashing book is going to be a series. WorldNetDaily has served up the second installment of Poe's conspiracy-mongering book, "Hillary's Secret War."
Today's segment shows us how much he is willing to bend facts to fit his anti-Clinton animus. He uses unnamed sources, he denigrates Arkansas as "a kind of Third-World country within the United States," and he certainly has no intention of including any exculpatory evidence about the Clintons. Poe also heavily implies that Bill Clinton, while he was Arkansas governor, was linked to purported CIA- and Iran-Contra-linked drug-running out of a small Arkanses airport, but he offers absolutely no evidence that Clinton was even aware of it.
And the disclaimer from the David Horowitz-led group that employs Poe is still at the end.
ConWeb Unity Topic: The ConWeb
One sidebar aspect of today's attacks that the ConWeb is in lockstep with: WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com were quick to report Israel's denial of reports that it had advance knowledge of the attacks; NewsMax repeated CNS' item.
WND's Sudden Disinterest in Jumping to Conclusions Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 7 WorldNetDaily article appears to be offended that anyone would jump to the conclusion that a fire at a Florida abortion clinic would be blamed on anti-abortion activists.
The article's secondary headline reads "Police investigating but pro-lifers immediately suspected." The leader of "a local pro-life group" laments how "abortion protesters undoubtedly will be blamed." Another anti-abortion activist is quoted as insisting that he and his fellow activists are not protesters: "We don't endorse any kind of violence. ... There has never been any type of brouhaha or melee."
Of course, WND had no problems jumping to conclusions when a Coptic Christian family was murdered earlier this year. WND promoted questionable speculation that the family was murdered by Islamic terrorists. WND then abandoned the story when it was revealed that the family was murdered in a robbery, despite the fact that there was plenty more of the story to report; the false accusations inflamed tensions between Christians and Muslims in the neighborhood where the killings took place.
Can we now expect Jack Cashill to pound out a seven-part series for WND on how anti-abortionists are being framed for the blaze?