Checkered Scarf = Arafat Lover Topic: Media Research Center No More Mister Nice Blog does a nice job of pondering why NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein assumes anyone who wears a checkered or herringbone scarf (like, say, "Today's" Matt Lauer) is a supporter of Yassir Arafat and the Palestinians.
Wrong About Winter Soldier Topic: Media Research Center
In a Dec. 9 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham stated that the film "Winter Soldier" was about "chronicling John Kerry and others trying to create (often falsified) accounts of American soldier atrocities in Vietnam." Graham offers no evidence of any accounts in the film, or the Winter Soldier investigation from which it sprang, were "often falsified." Instead, he cites wintersoldier.com as one place where one can get "a second opinion on Winter Soldier."
Wintersoldier.com -- a Free Republic side project, so it's hardly objective -- is more about smearing John Kerry than any substantive research. Aside from a person who recanted his Winter Soldier testimony during the 2004 presidential campaign, the one substantive attack on Winter Soldier most cited by critics is Guenther Lewy's book "America in Vietnam," which cites a Naval Investigative Service investigation into the Winter Soldier claims. But as ConWebWatch noted, the Navy won't confirm whether this report even exists, and Lewy himself does not recall if he saw a copy of the naval investigative report or was briefed on its contents.
Graham also writes that "CNSNews.com reporter Marc Morano did quite a bit of reporting on this last year." But the only substantial mention of Winter Soldier by Morano is in a March 3, 2004, article aiming to play guilt-by-association by linking Kerry to discredited veteran Al Hubbard (who did not testify in Winter Soldier). Despite describing Winter Soldier as a "stage production," the only person he quotes as discrediting it is anti-Kerry author B.G. Burkett -- who cited the same evanescent Navy report that Lewy did.
New Article: WorldNetDaily's School Days Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND is eager to report any bad news about "government schools" and promote homeschooling -- but it won't tell its readers about the homeschooled teen who killed his girlfriend's parents. Read more.
WND's Journalistic Martyr Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 8 WorldNetDaily article by known plagiarist Joseph Farah is making a big deal of its Jerusalem reporter, Aaron Klein, being denied entry into Syria, allegedly because he is Jewish.
A Contradicted Contradiction Topic: CNSNews.com
A Dec. 7 CNSNews.com article by Dawn Rizzoni, regarding a woman who died after having an abortion, declares a siniser contradiction in its first paragraph. But that lead doesn't state that this claim of a contradiction is itself contradicted later in the story.
The article states that a "nine-month investigation by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, which determined that abortionist George Tiller was not responsible for Christin Gilbert's death, contradicted the results of Gilbert's autopsy."
Following this, Rizzoni advances charges of guilt-by-association cronyism and other hearsay attacks on Tiller and the Kansas Board of Healing Arts by anti-abortion activists and links to an anti-Tiller website that, among other things, insinuates that Tiller himself was responsible for a 1986 bombing of his clinic. It's not until the 15th paragraph that Rizzoni gets around to actually quoting someone on that board, executive director Larry Buening, which contradicts Rizzoni's assertion:
"A decision that is unpopular to a particular person or group does not indicate the existence of a hidden agenda or any bias," Buening added.
As for the autopsy's conclusion -- that Gilbert died due to "complications of a therapeutic abortion" -- Buening pointed out that as with any other autopsy report, this conclusion is listed under "opinion."
He also stated that the "investigative information was far more extensive than a copy of the autopsy.
"There are potential risks to every medical or surgical procedure," Buening explained. "The occurrence of a complication, even one that unfortunately and regrettably results in the death of a patient, does not a priori lead to the conclusion that the practitioner involved did not meet the appropriate standard of care."
Nothing in Rizzoni's article directly contradicts Buening's statements, despite all of the accusations she tosses around.
Cashill and Mirecki, Part 2 Topic: WorldNetDaily
Well, we were somewhat wrong. Jack Cashill remains on the case of Paul Mirecki, the University of Kansas professor attacked for intemperate remarks about religion by people with their own history of intemperate remarks. Of course, Cashill wouldn't be still on the case if he couldn't continue to attack Mirecki. Cashill is now accusing Mirecki of making up the story of being beaten by attackers.
Cashill has no actual evidence of this, of course; he merely blows up circumstantial evidence into something that looks substantial.
'Noted Author and Media Watchdog' Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 7 WorldNetDaily article attacking a decision by the Armed Forces Network to carry the first hour of Al Franken's radio show described the attacker, Alan Skorski, as a "noted author and media watchdog."
In fact, Skorski is barely the former and definitely not the latter. His claim to authorial fame is his WND-published smear attack on Franken, "Pants on Fire." As Media Matters (and ConWebWatch) noted, Skorski is a former wholesale candy and snack distributor and a failed candidate for Congress who withdrew from the race after fellow Republican candidate and former NewsMax columnist Dan Frisa challenged signatures on the petitions to place Skorski on the ballot.
Additionally, that description is a promotion from previous WND descriptions of Skorski; a Nov. 11 article, for example, described him as a "veteran political consultant."
Note to Skorski and WND: One smear book does not a "media watchdog" make.
And no, WND does not mention anywhere in this article that it published Skorski's book.
WND Misrepresents ElBaradei Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 5 WorldNetDaily article played up comments by International Atomic Energy Agency chairman Mohamed ElBaradei that Iran is only a few months away from creating a nuclear weapon without placing them in their full context, omitting key facts.
As Media Matters points out -- and WND doesn't -- ElBaradei's "a few months away" clock starts ticking only after Iran's uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz is operational; the IAEA has previously reported that it would take at least two years for the plant to be operational. Other intelligence estimates, meanwhile, peg Iran as being as much as a decade away from producing nuclear weapons.
The WND article also quotes author Jerome Corsi on the issue without disclosing within the article that WND published Corsi's book on Iran. (It does note the connection in a "special offer" at the end of the article.)
Kincaid's Clinton Obsession Topic: Accuracy in Media
When he's not obsessing over Rachel Maddow's lesbianism, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid apparently obsesses over Bill Clinton's sex life. In the "Cliff's Notes" section of the Dec. 6 AIM Report, Kincaid is upset that a CBS Evening News segment on Clinton's healthier eating habits didn't change the subject to sex:
On November 18, the CBS Evening News ran a segment on "Eating With Bill Clinton," giving the disgraced former president an opportunity to appear on national TV as a good role model. Nothing, of course, was said about his sexual addiction or serial womanizing.
Like a school girl with a crush, correspondent Mika Brzezinski went on and on about Clinton's "personal journey" from eating bad food to eating right. If Clinton can persuade kids to eat right, that's great. But let's face it: his sexual appetite has been as serious a problem as what he eats. And it's in the sexual arena that he could really perform a public service. He should step forward and campaign against sexual diseases. Please send Ms. Brzezinski a postcard about this.
Cashill Strikes Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill -- he of the bogus seven-part defense of murderer James Kopp -- was WorldNetDaily's point man on one recent mini-scandal, a planned University of Kansas course debunking intelligent design.
In a Dec. 1 article, Cashill noted that the instructor of the proposed class, Paul Mirecki, wrote of fundamentalists that the class "will be a nice slap in their big fat face" because it would be categorized under "mythology" instead of "science." Cashill also took offense to comments disdainful of Catholics -- among them: "I don't think most Catholics really know what they are supposed to believe, they just go home and use condoms and some of them beat their wives and husbands" -- calling his comments "abuse." In a Dec. 2 follow-up article noting that the school had canceled the course after the uproar over Mirecki's remarks, Cashill cited the comments again as proof that Mirecki "valued the world's Roman Catholics even less" than fundamentalists.
Funny, we don't remember Cashill being similarly offended by similar, if not more offensive, comments made by his WND colleague Jerome Corsi:
-- "[B]oy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press."
-- "So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the laywers rip the gold off the Vatican altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it."
Cashill is also quiet about the background of the person who helped expose Mirecki's remarks, John Altevogt; Cashill describes him as merely a "conservative activist." As David Neiwert at Orcinus notes, Altevogt has engaged in his own share of inflammatory rhetoric; he refers to those who disagree with him as "nazis" and has derisively referred to Hillary Clinton as "Hitlary."
Orcinus also notes the postscript to this case: Mirecki required hospital treatment after reportedly being beaten by two men who referenced the controversy as they attacked him.
Will Cashill weigh in on this development? Don't count on it; we haven't heard a peep from him regarding James Kopp after his seven-part WND defense of Kopp as an innocent man was exposed as a fraud when, a couple months later, Kopp pleaded guilty to killing abortion doctor Barnett Slepian.
The Wall Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax gets it wrong once again in a Dec. 6 article on 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick noting that there is still a lack of information sharing between law enforcement and intelligence. "Gorelick made no mention of the fact that it was she herself who constructed the wall of separation - in a 1995 Justice Department directive that emphasized protecting the civil rights of terrorist suspects," NewsMax wrote.
As ConWebWatch has repeatedly detailed, Gorelick did not construct that "wall"; it was started in the late 1970s. And it was reaffirmed by the Bush administration in 2001 prior to 9/11. Somehow, NewsMax never reports that.
Going Out of Their Way Topic: CNSNews.com
In a Dec. 6 letter to the editor to CNSNews.com, a representative of the clothing company Mecca USA objected to a Nov. 21 CNS article by Marc Morano quoting "some U.S. military veterans" attacking the hip-hop clothing line for being sold on U.S. military bases because of its name. In an editor's note following the letter, CNS declared that "We respect her opinion, even if she did misspell Marc’s last name," then added: "CNSNews.com pursues news articles of interest to our audience and does not go out of its way to produce 'favorable' or 'unfavorable' stories about anyone or anything. We ask tough questions and cover issues that go unreported or under-reported by the establishment media."
Paul Begala might beg to differ with that assessment. But Morano sure seemed to be going out of his way to paint an unfavorable picture of Mecca USA. The article descends into a treatise of hip-hop culture and slang (odd since CNS is, near as we can tell, mostly a group of white Republican males working out of an office in trendy Old Town Alexandria), describing what he calls the "heavy Islamic influence dating back to at least the 1960s," playing up links between obscure rappers and radical Islam and sinisterly noting that "Cybercast News Service discovered that the hip-hop slang term for Brooklyn is Medina, the other holy city of Islam."
Critical Ex-Presidents Topic: CNSNews.com
A Dec. 5 CNSNews.com column by Alan Caruba bashes former presidents Clinton and Carter because they "refuse to get off the world stage, and ... do not restrain themselves from criticizing the current president." Caruba adds: "I have lived long enough to see a dozen presidents in office and I cannot recall any but these two behaving in this fashion."
More at NewsBusters Topic: Media Research Center
Aside from the missing John Armor post -- which has been removed from the front page -- a couple other things of note at NewsBusters:
-- A Dec. 4 post by Noel Sheppard on the panel on "The Chris Matthews Show" calls it a "panel of left-leaning guests" despite the fact that it includes Andrew Sullivan.
-- A Dec. 3 post by Mark Finkelstein on a discussion on "Fox News Watch" noted "tiny" Neal Gabler's tweaking of Fox News for its so-called "war on Christmas" hype. Gabler said, "let's talk about the elephant in the room: Fox News. O'Reilly, Hannity and Gibson are demagogues and they know that they can rouse the masses around Christmas time." Finkelstein didn't take too kindly to that:
The "masses"? Gabler stopped just short of calling Fox's audience dumb and malleable, but his elitist implication was inescapable.
At first, we thought that Finkelstein thought Gabler was painting Fox News as elitists, which contradicts the conservative line on journalism, which holds that only liberals are "elitists." But we think it may be the more logical, conservatively correct approach, that Finkelstein thinks Gabler is an elitist for claiming that Fox News viewers are easily led and unable to think for themselves. This from a guy who likes to reference Gabler's height as a reason to disagree with him.