NewsBusters Misleads on Fitzgerald Correction Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 13 NewsBusters post, Clay Waters claimed without supporting evidence that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's correction of a claim in a court filing that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium" was a "key judgment" of a 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that "Scooter" Libby is accused of leaking (turns out it's not a "key judgment") "refutes the thrust" of a New York Times article first describing the contents of Fitzgerald's filing.
But Waters' claim is misleading, given that Libby still leaked what the original Times article described as an "exaggerated account of the intelligence conclusions" by not also leaking that State Department intelligence officials considered the uranium allegation "highly dubious." And considering that Libby was specifically authorized to leak this claim, somebody certainly considered it a "key" finding.
Lack of Disclosure Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 13 WorldNetDaily article by Ron Strom featuring investigative journalist Jayna Davis' comments about a proposal for congressional hearings on the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing fails to disclose that WND published Davis' book on the bombing.
Ann Coulter, Loss Leader Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax is selling copies of Ann Coulter's upcoming book for the below-rock-bottom price of $4.99. And there isn't even an apparent gimmick attached, beyond its usual one of throwing a few free issues of its magazine in hopes that you'll forget to unsubscribe and thus be charged $39 for a full subscription.
Somebody wants to dump a whole buttload of copies of this book -- Drudge is reporting an initial print run of 500,000.
NewsMax Rehashes Stale Oreo Claim Topic: Newsmax
In an April 13 article, NewsMax once again falsely claimed that Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele, who is running for a Senate seat, was "pelted with Oreo cookies during a speech." In fact, there is little evidence to support the claim that Steele was "pelted" with Oreos (which allegedly occured during a debate, not a speech as NewsMax claimed).
WND Continues Olmert Attack from Left Topic: WorldNetDaily
Since his previous attacks on Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert over Israel's planned withdrawal from part of the West Bank didn't keep Olmert's Kadima party from winning the recent Israeli election, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein is continuing to attack Olmert from the left. Klein's April 12 WND article follows up on his previous claim that Olmert is a pawn of Israel's business oligarchy, specifically asserting this time that "several top economists and commentators" claim that Olmert and Kadima "are tools for a select group of organizations and individuals who control most of Israel's economy and media." Klein further defies his right-wing, anti-withdrawal loyalties by noting that two of the commentators he's citing "are known for their support of Olmert's plan to withdraw from the West Bank."
NewsMax Falsely Attacks Fitzgerald -- Again Topic: Newsmax
An April 12 NewsMax article falsely portrays a minor change made by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in a legal document in the case against ex-vice presidential chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby as evidence that the entire filing is false.
The NewsMax article starts by claiming that Fitzgerald "now admits he was wrong to publicly allege last week that Vice President Dick Cheney deliberately tried to mislead reporters about prewar Iraq intelligence," calling it "a move that raises serious questions about his conduct of the Leakgate probe." NewsMax uses the term "bogus claim" twice in the article, adding that "Fitzgerald advised Leakgate Judge Reggie Walton that his April 5 filing was flat out wrong."
So what was wrong with this purportedly "flat out wrong" filing? Buried within the article, beneath all the false claims and hyperbole, is the truth of the matter: Fitzgerald is revising the statement that "Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium" to no longer claim that it was a "key judgment" of the National Intelligence Estimate Libby leaked to a New York Times reporter with the authorization of President Bush (though it was still stated in the NIE and leaked to the reporter).
That's it. NewsMax offers no explanation of what, if any, relevance this minor change has on the case against Libby, let alone how it extrapolates from there that the entire filing is "flat out wrong."
NewsMax has regularlyattacked Fitzgerald in a various misleading ways since before his indictment against Libby was handed down last October.
Sheppard Ignores History of Matthews and Censure Topic: NewsBusters
An April 12 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard claims that MSNBC's Chris Matthews "went into full cheerleader mode sans miniskirt and pompoms" to root for the censure of President Bush. But Sheppard shows no evidence of having done anything beyond transcribing and applying his conservative bias, since he has apparently done no research on Matthews' history on the issue of censuring a president.
As Media Matters details, less than a month ago Matthews was questioning whether censure was "even legal or not." And if Matthews is a fan of censure now, he's a fan in all instances: In 1998, he took credit for advancing the idea of censuring President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.
Sheppard also promotes the rote MRC assumption that Matthews is a liberal, claiming that "it was impossible to differentiate between the political talk show host and the Democrat [sic] senator searching for mid-term votes for her party." Sheppard neglects to point out that Matthews has a history of performing similar mind-melds with Tom DeLay. Shouldn't make Matthews a Republican in Sheppard's eyes?
Image vs. Reality Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 11 NewsBusters post, Greg Sheffield tries to keep up the fiction that John McCain is a "liberal Republican." By contrast, Media Matters notes the following:
-- McCain has campaigned for George W. Bush and supports the Iraq war.
-- NARAL-Pro Choice America has given him a zero rating for the last decade.
-- He hasn't received a rating higher than 50 percent from the National Education Association in this century.
-- The right-wing John Birch Society gave him a rating of 90 in 2004; the Christian Coalition gave him an 83.
-- He supports diverting taxpayer funds to religious schools, and also supports Social Security privatization, both decidedly conservative positions.
Media image aside, where is Sheffield getting the idea that McCain is some kind of "liberal"?
The Meaningless Poll Results Are In ... Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax has released the results of its unscientific, meaningless, opt-in poll on Katie Couric's ascension to CBS anchor, and to nobody's surprise, the vast majority of people who took part oppose it.
To illustrate the highly unrepresentative views expressed in the poll: Given the choice between Couric, Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs as as anchor, 59 percent chose O'Reilly.
Nowhere in this article does NewsMax point out that the results are unscientific and therefore meaningless.
WND Resumes Olmert Smears Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein resumed his Olmert-bashing ways in an April 10 WorldNetDaily article with an unusual progressive bent for the normally free-market WND: Klein repeats a claim from the Israeli edition of Forbes that "twelve business groups control more than 60 percent of Israel's economy," adding: "The U.S. largely eliminated this style of privatized influence nearly 80 years ago."
WND is endorsing FDR? Does it really want a breakup of those companies in the interest of economical opportunity?
Of course not. WND and Klein have no interest in advancing progressive politics; the only reason Klein raises the issue is becuase "the groups all have given campaign contributions to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and foundations associated with his ruling Kadima party." Oddly, Klein never actually names any of these companies or what they do, repeating only the names of the company principals he apparently found here.
NewsBusters Embraces Error-Ridden Editorial Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 9 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard is giddy that the Washington Post wrote an editorial supporting President Bush and the leak of classified information that he authorized -- ignoring that the Post used several false claims to support its view.
Sheppard also claims that the editorial is "a bold and almost unprecedented demonstration of support for President George W. Bush by one of America’s leading liberal newspapers." In fact, the Post editorial page has generally supported Bush, particularly his actions leading up the Iraq war, to the point that Salon called it "one of President Bush's most valuable allies."
Sheppard might want to stop relying on antique liberal-media canards and conservative dogma on Bush and attempt some actual research.
More Evil Marketing from Kupelian Topic: WorldNetDaily
In an April 10 WorldNetDaily commentary, David Kupelian becomes a shill for the Bush administration under the guise of telling why politicians lie. And the "Marketing of Evil" author does a fair bit of selective citing and makes at least one false claim to show his Bush love.
Even though all of the evidence has not been released surrounding President Bush's declassification of information that was leaked by ex-vice presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby to a New York Times reporter, Kupelian nevertheless claims that "[i]n reality, as everyone knows, Bush did nothing whatsoever wrong." While, as Kupelian wrote, "the president of the United States has the power and the right to declassify U.S. government information," we still lack information as to whether Bush followed proper procedures in declassifying that particular information, especially given that its release was part of a "concerted action" by the Bush White House to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" Joseph Wilson, who had criticized the administration's rationale for war.
Kupelian also falsely claimed that "The Democrats who are now claiming Bush lied had access to essentially the same intelligence the president did," and they are involved in "a flagrant attempt at rewriting history. That involves lying." That is not true; in several instances, Democratic congressmen did not have access to same full range of intelligence that the White House did.
Kupelian also quoted a column by Michael Barone that falsely suggested that the Robb-Silberman commission cleared the Bush administration of the charged that it "cherry-picked" intelligence to make its case for war. In fact, the commission never examined the issue of how the administration used prewar intelligence.
Where Are ConWeb Reports on Blackwell Stock Hypocrisy? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Last fall, both NewsMax and WorldNetDaily made a big deal out of repeating a book's claims that Michael Moore is a hypocrite because he allegedly owns stock in Halliburton (the stock is actually owned by his nonprofit foundation). But neither NewsMax nor WND have reported on the stock holdings of conservative icon Ken Blackwell, which appear to be even more hypocritical.
As the Columbus Dispatch reports, Blackwell -- who is currently running for Ohio governor -- owned stock in voting-machine maker Diebold while he, as Ohio secretary of state, was negotiating a state contract with the company. Also sure to set off warning bells with his conservative base: Blackwell also owns stock in International Game Technology, the world's largest manufacturer of slot machines (though he claims to oppose proposals in Ohio to allow slot machines at the state's horse-racing tracks), and Barr Pharmaceuticals, maker of the controversial Plan B morning-after pill.
Well, at least they would set of warning bells if NewsMax and WND would bother to report it. But WND's publishing a book by Blackwell, and like with its "news" coverage of fellow author Katherine Harris, bad news about its authors is not permitted on its site.
When Conflict Resolution Fails Topic: NewsBusters
A debate occurred on the April 8 "Fox & Friends Weekend" between token WorldNetDaily liberal Ellen Ratner and conservative Newsday columnist Jim Pinkerton over the relevance of the news that President Bush authorized the leak of information from a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq, which ex-vice presidential chief of staff "Scooter" Libby then passed along to the New York Times, to the leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, Pinkerton proposed a solution: "Ellen, we'll let NewsBusters.org sort this out."
Which NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein attempts in an April 7 post -- and fails. He cites NBC's Kelly O'Donnell as the voice of reason (it's usually a bad sign when the anti-MSM folks cite the MSM as evidence) as saying, "It's important to point out Libby and senior White House officials say that nowhere in these documents does it suggest that the president told Libby to release the name of Valerie Plame."
A much more accurate way to resolve this would be to go to the source (via Media Matters): the legal documents filed by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in which the Bush leak link was first disclosed. Under a heading called From a section titled "The Relevance of the NIE to This Case":
Defendant [Libby] understood that the Vice President specifically selected him to talk to the press about the NIE and [former U.S. Ambassador and Plame's husband] Mr. [Joseph C.] Wilson [IV] on July 12, 2003, in place of then-Assistant to the President for Public Affairs, Cathie Martin, the usual press contact person from OVP [Office of the Vice President]. This is relevant to show the importance that defendant and his boss placed on the conversation concerning which he later testified. During his conversations with the press that day, defendant discussed Ms. Wilson's CIA employment with both [Time magazine's] Matthew Cooper (for the first time) and Judith Miller (for the third time). Thus, there is no way to present the relevant events concerning defendant's discussions with reporters about Ms. Wilson without discussing defendant's role in disseminating the key judgments of the NIE in those same conversations.
So it's not unrelated, despite what Finkelstein and Pinkerton suggests. Ratner should have made a counter-offer: "Jim, let Media Matters sort this out."
P.S. NewsMax similarly falsely claimed that "the so-called leak authorized by Bush had nothing to do with Plame - but instead covered Iraq war intelligence that was mostly already in the public domain." If the material that Libby leaked was "already in the public domain," why did Bush have to declassify it?