Sob Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 18 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein tells the sob story of people "forced from their homes" in Gaza through the disengagement and are "not sure where they will go" now that they have been removed from their homes. But Klein also tells why these people don't deserve much sympathy:
The Israeli government has rented thousands of hotel rooms throughout Israel to house about 800 families who defied an Israeli decree to evacuate before Tuesday evening and are instead being forcibly removed from their homes.
Pretty sweet deal for people who forced the Israeli army to come in and "forcibly remove" them.
Even as Klein quotes people saying that "There are families here who didn't get to pack much" and that "Next week, I will be lost and homeless," he mentions the "compensation and relocation packages" the Israeli government offered to residents: "The average family from Gush Katif was offered about $200,000 in compensation." In other words, they created this situation for themselves.
Even so, Klein writes, "Israel's Disengagement Authority is negotiating today with settlement leaders the possibility of re-offering monetary packages. The compensation is expected to be reduced by 30 percent."
While we don't want to get involved in a debate on the merits of the disengagement plan, presenting the Gaza holdouts as deprived people who were "forcibly removed" from their homes with only the clothes on their backs, as Klein halfheartedly does, is disingenuous since the Israeli government gave them plenty of opportunity to properly pack and (non-forcibly) leave.
We suspect that until now, Klein's writings on disengagement have not prominently featured the Israeli government's relocation and compensation plans, if they're mentioned at all.
An Aug. 18 Rasmussen poll notes that President Bush's job approval rating has fallen to "the lowest level ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports." But it's nowhere to be found on WND.
Also, following company policy, WND continues to play down the actions of Israeli extremists. Despite (or maybe because of) having Aaron Klein as its Jerusalem-based reporter, WND has offered no original coverage of the killing of four Palestinians by an Israeli in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria in WND parlance); the killer is also rooting for the asassination of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.
UPDATE: Klein gave the killing a one-paragraph mention buried in the middle of an Aug. 18 article.
Extradite Isikoff? Topic: Accuracy in Media
When he's not hanging out at Accuracy in Media, Cliff Kincaid is president of America's Survival, Inc., a nonprofit group mainly dedicated to attacking the United Nations (the web site proudly proclaims itself a "U.N.-Free Zone"). Its main symbol of defiance, apparently, is a picture of Kincaid in the U.N. medidation room.
Kincaid is currently embarking on a crusade apparently too extreme to mention at AIM: He wants Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff extradited to Afghanistan to face charges in connection with the 15 or so people killed in riots allegedly provoked by an Isikoff article claiming that U.S. military personnel had desecrated the Qurans of prisoners at Guantanamo.
"Blood is on the hands of Newsweek magazine for your unsubstantiated "Koran in the toilet" story that sparked anti-American global riots and the deaths of 17 people," Kincaid wrote to Isikoff on Aug. 10. "Newsweek did enormous damage to the cause of democracy in the Middle East." Kincaid's letter to the Afghan embassy in Washington makes a similar claim and appears to have included petitions with an unknown number of signatures supporting the effort.
A few problems here:
-- The Pentagon itself has confirmed Quran abuses by U.S. military personnel, so that part of Isikoff's article ultimately turned out to be true.
-- The riots may not have been directly connected to Isikoff's article at all; WorldNetDaily reported that the deadly riots "were planned several months ago with the magazine article serving as a convenient trigger." (Granted, this is an article by highly biased WND reporter Aaron Klein, but it indicates that there's other evidence available.)
-- As ConWebWatch has noted, Kincaid took a somewhat different attitude in his statements on the issue for AIM; while regularly denouncing Newsweek for the imbroglio, Kincaid was loath to single out Isikoff by name for criticism, presumably because of all the work Isikoff did in forwarding Clinton-era scandals.
Cliff Kincaid, editor of Accuracy in Media, a conservative non-profit organization that critiques coverage of the news for bias, advised the webloggers who accepted payment to give it back. "I think it is a safe assumption that the liberal media will use the Jarvis allegations to make the case that some bloggers are secretly in the pay of the "religious right." That will undermine their credibility and serve to damage their reputations. It is advisable for those bloggers who have accepted the money to give it back." Kincaid added, "The sponsor should disclose who accepted the payments."
A quick search of the AIM site showed no similar call by Kincaid for Jon Lauck and Jason Van Beek -- two conservative South Dakota bloggers who were paid a total of $35,000 by the campaign of Republican Senate candidate John Thune without disclosing the payments to their readers -- to return the money they were given.
More WND Whitewashing in Gaza Topic: WorldNetDaily
The whitewashing of Jewish extremists in Gaza by WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein continues. In an Aug. 17 WND article, Klein describes the settlement of Kfar Darom as "a religious community at the Jewish Gaza entrance."
But an Aug. 10 Agence France-Presse article, which described Kfar Darom as "arguably the most ideological of Gaza settlements" with "a religious agenda of its own," offered more detail on the kind of "religious community" Kfar Darom is:
Nitza Kahana came from Jerusalem with nine of her 10 children to defend Kfar Darom. Like everybody else in the settlement, she believes that any evacuation can only be temporary.
"Every time the Jews were kicked out, they came back. We're not even talking about hope here, we know that we will come back if Kfar Darom is dismantled," she says.
Her father in law was the revered Rabbi Meir Kahane who was famously assassinated in New York in 1990 and whose other son Rabbi Binyamin Kahane was killed at the beginning of the intifada.
Why won't Klein or WND tell its readers how many of the holdouts in Gaza are sympathizers to the Kach/Kahane Chai movement (created by Meir Kahane), with its history of violence and extremism?
New Article: NewsMax's Hillary Hobgoblins Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax has no intention of extending its kid-glove coverage of Jeanine Pirro to Hillary Clinton; otherwise, it would have to treat Clinton's "old news" the same way it's treating Pirro's. Read more.
Oh, No! Not Them!
A link currently on the WorldNetDaily's front page promoting a book it's selling, James Ussher's 17th-century tract "Annals of the World," describes the book this way: Real history, untampered with by 'them.'
More MRC Distortions About Air America Topic: Media Research Center
The good news about the Media Research Center's Aug. 15 press release once again attacking the New York Times for "a three-week blackout of the mounting Air America scandal": Unlike last week's press release on the subject, it correctly notes that the person at the center of the scandal is no longer Air America's chairman.
The bad news is that it contradicts itself. After making the "blackout" allegation, the press release notes that the Times did report on it after all (but dismissed it as "a small story with a misleading headline published in its regional edition").
No evidence is offered, however, that the article's headline was "misleading." For details, we have to trudge on over to the MRC's TimesWatch site. The actual offense, according to TimesWatch's Clay Waters, is that the Times didn't put "Air America" in the headline:
Not that the headline or subhead of the story actually mention "Air America," mind you. Instead it reads: "Bronx Boys Club's Finances Investigated -- Officials Look Into Loans Made to a Liberal Radio Network." The two words "Air America" presumably couldn't fit into that 15-word space.
Waters is also offended that the article "picks up the scandal from the boys club end, not emphasizing the juicy Air America angle." Perhaps that's because the central figure linking Air America to the boys club scandal left Air America more than a year ago, and Air America is making efforts to repay the money loaned to it from the club even though it's not legally obligated to.
That sounds like a good story. Why isn't the MRC emphasizing that part of it?
Self-Congratulatory Lies Topic: Newsmax
In an overly self-congratulatory Aug. 15 column, NewsMax editor Christopher Ruddy tells two lies, one big and one small.
The small one: In a little dig at WorldNetDaily and its regular pleas for cash even though it's ostensibly a for-profit company, Ruddy claims that "Already NewsMax.com is the leading online news site with a conservative perspective. And we have accomplished this in a short time, without asking for donations, while building a profitable media enterprise."
That's not quite true. In an abortive 2001 attempt to establish a TV presence via informercials, NewsMax went the public-TV route of giving trinkets in return for donations, as ConWebWatch has noted. It created something called the Off-the-Record Club, in which donors -- er, members received "a special audio tape briefing from a top expert, insider or VIP – giving you an insider's perspective you won't get from the major media" in exchange for $25 a month to "help NewsMax to buy national TV air time to expand our reach." NewsMax also sought donations to buy airtime the weekend before the November 2004 election to air the anti-John Kerry film "Stolen Honor" on TV stations across the country (NewsMax has refused to disclose how much this airtime cost, which may be in violation of election law since airing "Stolen Honor" was clearly a partisan election activity).
The big lie: Ruddy claims NewsMax has done "comprehensive coverage of the new book on Sen. Hillary Clinton by author Edward Klein, 'The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President.'"
"The Counter Clinton Library is alive and well and about to launch a major new direct mail campaign this September to 400,000 prospective donors," former Congressman John Leboutillier tells NewsMax.
The erroneous report was based on an interview with one of the group's partners, who announced he was "giving up" on the project.
But Leboutillier says other project organizers outvoted him and still plan to proceed full speed ahead.
What's interesting: It took LeBoutillier four days to get LeBoutillier's reaction (thus fulfilling our prediction that you wouldn't see much on it at NewsMax until a positive spin could be put on it); and though NewsMax publishes LeBoutillier's weekly column, the article couldn't get his name quite right (the "B" was not capitalized).
Perjury, or Not? Topic: Media Research Center
Here's one thing we noted in looking over the MRC's new blog, NewsBusters.
Vinny Fiore, in making a NewsMax-like defense of Jeanine Pirro in an Aug. 10 post, misleadingly describes what President Clinton did in his Whitewater investigation-related testimony: "It is common knowledge that what Clinton did was commit perjury before a Grand Jury." Well, no. Perjury has a specific legal definition, and to be a perjurer, one must have been convicted of perjury. Lying under oath is not, legally, the same thing as perjury. As Fiore himself later writes, Clinton was found in civil contempt of court, not perjury.
Looks like the ConWeb has its marching orders. Even as Fiore complains about New York Times "hit pieces against Pirro," look for even more hit pieces against the Clintons by people like Fiore.
Record-High Obsession Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's obsession with the fact that today's skyrocketing gas prices aren't historical records when adjusted for inflation surfaces yet again in CyberAlerts on Aug. 12 and Aug. 15.
As ConWebWatch has noted, the MRC has expressed no similar outrage over the fact that conservatives regularly describe the 1993 tax increased passed under President Clinton as the largest in history, when in fact a tax increase passed under President Reagan is the largest (adjusted for inflation, of course).
CNS Two-Fer Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's Randy Hall goes for two in an Aug. 15 article.
First, he portrays any opposition to John Roberts' Supreme Court nomination as meaningless, quoting political analyst Larry Sabato as calling liberal groups' attempts to "undermine Roberts" as "a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Second, Hall quotes two people attacking NARAL Pro Choice America's anti-Roberts ad as "a dishonest attack" and the somewhat redundant "factually flawed and without basis in fact," but she doesn't describe what was allegedly dishonest about the ad. She does, however, link to her Aug. 9 CNS article on the ad on the words "dishonest attack" -- which, as ConWebBlog previously noted, actually bolsters the case the ad's basic point (that Roberts filed a brief that supported the case of violent anti-abortion extremists) has at least some basis in fact.
UPDATE: Correction: Randy Hall wrote this article, not Susan Jones.
Who's Jered Ede Misquoting These Days? Topic: CNSNews.com
Lo, how the misquoter has fallen.
CNSNews.com correspondent Jered Ede, an instant legend of ConWeb bias for misquoting Paul Begala, has apparently been moved to reporting duties that reduce the chance of that happening again -- or, at least, where he will be limited to misquoting conservatives in order to make them look good.
Among Ede's recent CNS stories include an Aug. 9 item promoting the Media Research Center's new blog (the MRC operates CNS) and an Aug. 12 puff piece touting how "Coalition and Iraqi forces have been dealing blows to terrorism in Iraq since June, according to statistics from the Pentagon."
Given Ede's record, keeping him far away from real news appears to be a good choice.
Dark Days Topic: WorldNetDaily
Letting his pro-extremist bias show again, WorldNetDaily reporter Aaron Klein declared in an Aug. 13 news article that the Gaza disengagement is, for Jews, "the darkest day of their history." (The story's headline puts "darkest day" in quotes, but the only person making the assertion in the article is Klein himself.)
Guess Klein never heard of a little thing called the Holocaust.
Even as Klein cites events such as "the outbreak of pogroms against Jews during the First Crusade, the expulsion of Jews from Spain and later from England, and the crushing of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in Germany," they are all apparently trivial matters compared to disengagement.
Why, again, is WND using this man as a "reporter"?