Media Matters finds falsehoods and distortions in a David Horowitz column at NewsMax.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
-- Ian Schwartz is irked that the New York Times' "sycophantic" profile of Keith Olbermann "discusses Countdown's ratings only by its growth and not by actual numbers."
-- Matthew Sheffield insists that those who entered derogatory statements about ex-Enron chief Ken Lay upon his death last week were "liberals."
-- Sheffield buys into the spin from Ann Coulter's publisher that charges of plagiarism against her are "illegitimate," complains that the media has "failed" to report on "a litany of charges made by critics against the equally vocal (but liberal) Michael Moore."
Monday, July 10, 2006
Misinterpretation Begets Misinterpretation
From a July 10 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham:
New York Times columnist Frank Rich assembled for his Sunday column all the standard cliches of the liberal narrative of Bush vs. Heroic Liberal Press, including the old cartoon that Ari Fleischer was somehow telling the press to shut up when he suggested late in a news briefing in 2001 that Bill Maher might have watched his mouth before praising the courage of al-Qaeda.
Of course, Maher wasn't "praising the courage of al-Qaeda"; he was opining that flying an airplane into a building wasn't a cowardly act.
If you're criticizing someone's alleged misinterpretation, it's generally best if you don't create another in the process.
Is CNS Likening Gays to Terrorists?
A July 10 CNSNews.com article by Jeff Johnson seems unusually eager to create a connection between gays and terrorists. The article is an attack on gay lawmaker Barney Frank, claiming that a provision he sponsored to "eliminate a long-standing ban on homosexual foreigners entering the U.S." had the effect of permitting the 9/11 hijackers to be allowed entry into the country -- a charge being promoted chiefly by Frank's Republican opponent for his House seat.
Johnson quotes other conservatives, such as Gerald Posner and WorldNetDaily's Samuel L. Blumenfeld, as evidence to support his claim. Johnson also cites a panel discussion at the Center for Immigration Studies without noting that the CIS is a conservative group that favors heavy restrictions on immigration.
What's interesting here is Johnson's attitude toward gays in general and Frank as a gay man in particular. CNS follows its usual style of sticking to the word "homosexual," using "gay" only in scare quotes or the quoted words of others. Johnson also describes Frank as an "avowed homosexual lawmaker" and notes "his participation in the homosexual lifestyle." Johnson also adds in an aside, without evidence to support his claim: "Frank uses the term 'homophobic' throughout his writing to refer to any person or group that objects to the homosexual lifestyle." Johnson seems to be buying into the conservative assumption that homosexuality is a choice. (And we know what they say about assumptions.)
Johnson paints Frank's effort to repeal immigration restrictions based on ideology as a larger effort to disguise his main goal to overturn immigration restrictions on gays because that restriction would allegedly not have been repealed by itself. But Johnson never addresses the specific issue the ban on gay immigration other than a tacit acknowledgment that it existed. Does CNS favor restoring restrictions against gay immigration in the same manner that it appears to favor restoring ideological restrictions? Johnson never answers, let alone asks, that question.
But by suggesting a link between terrorism and the so-called "gay agenda," Johnson has set up an odious comparison that he doesn't have the courage to take to its logical conclusion.
Sunday, July 9, 2006
We Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means
Topic: Media Research Center
According to a July 6 Media Research Center press release, "the NYT’s story on the anti-terrorist financial monitoring program has generated the following damage to the United States:"
a federal class-action lawsuit against the program, alleging violations of financial privacy laws;
So, according to the MRC, the Bush administration being called to account for possible violations of U.S. and international law is somehow "damage" to the U.S., but those violations themselves, apparently, were not. Yet, if the U.S. had followed the law in the first place, there would be no such "damage."
Very peculiar definition of the word "damage," Mr. Bozell.
Coulter and Plagiarism: Another Update
We've updated our 2004 article on plagiarism regarding WorldNetDaily and Ann Coulter to reflect our latest research finding that Coulter appears to be the guilty party.
And to nobody's surprise, NewsMax is galloping to Coulter's defense yet again: A July 8 article calls the plagiarism charges "a desperate measure to undermine the credibility of one of America’s most prominent conservative voices."
Saturday, July 8, 2006
Mark, You're No Ann Coulter
One gets the feeling that NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein aspires to an Ann Coulter level of liberal-bashing, but he lacks the sophistication (let alone the gams or the little black dress) to pull it off. As a result, he comes off as even more mean and hateful as Coulter.
Fresh on the heels of smearing Chris Matthews as playing the anti-emitism card and his baseless attack of Ken Auletta as a Hamptons-inhabiting liberal elitist, in a July 7 post, Finkelstein bashes MSNBC's Joe Scarborough. His offense? Apologizing for saying that if Osama bin Laden were caught, "Democrats, George Bush's nemesis, would say 'Well, it's not really that big of a deal anyway, because Americans are dying in Iraq.'" Finkelstein wrote:
Really, Joe? If Hillary, Nancy and Harry woke up tomorrow, turned on the tube, and saw that OBL were caught, you honestly think they'd be happy?
What's the point here? Is Finkelstein think political discourse needs to be even less civil? Does he really think that such mindless, fact-free bashing of his political enemies (for Democrats are clearly beyond mere opponents to him) contributes anything useful?
Remember that Mark is not writing on a low-rent personal blog but the website of a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization that the word "research" in its name and purportedly has at least minimal standards about said research.
Why does the MRC permit such irresponsible attacks from people like Finkelstein? Does the MRC have any standards at all? (On the other hand, we haven't seen far-right-wing Kahane supporter Cinnamon Stillwell there for a while, so there may actually be a standard or two).
UPDATE: And how could we forget Finkelstein's ultra-classless likening of Hillary Clinton to Kim Jong Il?
UPDATE 2: In a July 8 post, Finkelstein cites the ultra-slanted Horowitz-operated Discover the Network(s) to claim that the Center for Economic and Policy Research is "prominent supporter of, and apologist for, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez." High-quality research there, Mark.
Friday, July 7, 2006
It's All About David
David Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture is now the David Horowitz Freedom Center. As board chairman Jess Morgan states: "David Horowitz, the Center’s founder, has become increasingly identified with issues of freedom at home and abroad."
Sure, much of that involves restricting the freedom of non-conservatives, but still...
'Lurid Media Speculation'
A July 7 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard laments that the Smoking Gun's posting of the Homeland Security manifest regarding Rush Limbaugh’s customs detention last month "is likely to incite more lurid media speculation." Gee, we thought that conservatives were all about lurid media speculation.
Oops, we're sorry. That's only when liberals are the target of it. Our bad.
If you're going to call a resolution to "support ... homosexual 'marriage'" a "Pro-Homosexual Resolution," as CNSNews.com does in the headline of a July 6 article by Nathan Burchfiel, shouldn't you also -- to be perfectly fair and logical -- label the "conservative family groups" like the American Family Association who have criticized the resolution "anti-homosexual"?
But then, where would CNS be without its labeling bias?
Update: Coulter and Plagiarism
We went back to the source from which WorldNetDaily lifted its John Kerry-Douglas Brinkley paragraph, an Aug. 28, 2004, Washington Post article. And it's not looking any better for Ann Coulter.
From the Post article:
The Kerry campaign has refused to release Kerry's personal Vietnam archive, including his journals and letters, saying that the senator is contractually bound to grant Brinkley exclusive access to the material. But Brinkley said this week the papers are the property of the senator and in his full control.
From Coulter's Sept. 2, 2004, column:
The Kerry campaign has refused to release Kerry's personal Vietnam papers on the grounds that Kerry is required by contract to grant Kerry hagiographer Doug Brinkley exclusive access to the archive. But then Brinkley contradicted the campaign saying the papers are Kerry's property and in his full control.
While both WND and Coulter stole the same paragraph from the Post, WND at least made a stab at attribution.
So, is Coulter guilty of plagiarism here? Even though she changed a few words, the structure of the paragraph is exactly the same, and she provided no attribution. She credits the Post earlier in the column for a Kerry quote, but that quote does not appear in the article from which she lifted the Brinkley paragraph. And given the growing body of evidence of a pattern of plagiarism, we'd have to lean toward the affirmative.
Thursday, July 6, 2006
Wall? What Wall?
Further evidence that WorldNetDaily cares not one whit about separating news from advertising: a July 6 "news" article that is, in fact, an ad for a purported gas-saving device called the VortexValve. Actually, this is the third WND fake-news VortexValve article since early May (the first two are here and here). None of these "news" articles, of course, state that they are advertising; instead, they are promoted as "WorldNetDaily Exclusives," and the latest even gets a "SportsNetDaily" header.
WND had better be raking in some serious cash on this; after all, sullying what journalistic reputation it has ought to come with some kind of price. Assuming, of course, that Joseph Farah and the crew still care about such quaint things.
Kessler Attacks McCain
Demonstrating that he's all about the conservative cause of his new corporate masters at NewsMax, Ronald Kessler has been on the attack against not-conservative-enough John McCain.
In a June 27 article, Kessler featured the response of conservative activist Grover Norquist to a report by the McCain-led Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Norquist attacked McCain as "dishonest" and "delusional" and accused him of "lying" about the report's conclusion that Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform, served as a front to launder payments made to Ralph Reed, former Christian Coalition honcho and current lieutanant governor candidate in Georgia, for his Jack Abramoff-connected lobbying work. Kessler did not allow McCain to respond to Norquist's attacks.
Kessler continued the attack on McCain in a July 5 article asking "does McCain have the temperament to be president?" According to "insiders," Kessler writes, "McCain has an irrational, explosive side that make many of them question whether he is fit to serve as president and be commander in chief." Among those he quotes is former Rep. John LeBoutillier, who Kessler describes only as "a New York Republican." Kessler fails to point out that not only is LeBoutillier, like Kessler, a NewsMax employee, he has a longtime animus toward McCain that makes him less than objective on the issue. In a June 2005 column, LeBoutillier calls McCain "an arrogant, condescending prima donna," "a spoiled brat with a gigantic chip on his shoulder" and, last but not least, "a false image who, upon further reflection, is a total nothing. He stands for nothing; he says nothing; his record is filled with nothing." In a February 14 column, LeBoutillier called McCain "the angriest candidate of them all" and "the single worst human being any of us have ever met in the poilitical world ? period!" (Italics his.)
Further, LeBoutillier's buddy, discredited Hillary Clinton scandal-monger Ed Klein, is reportedly working on a McCain book.
On the other hand, such slanted reporting is NewsMax's style.
The ConWeb Job Board
It's hard out there for a conservative news website. Not only has WorldNetDaily reposted its news editor position first advertised in May, there's this job posting at Media Bistro (registration required):
REWRITE EDITOR: Growing publishing company in West Palm Beach, Florida, seeks an experienced rewrite editor who can work on both magazine and Web copy. The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate an ability freshen, rework, and sometimes reimagine news and feature copy. Speed, accuracy, the ability to multi-task, and excellent use of the written language are required. So too is a broad-based knowledge of politics, economics, and cultural trends, all of which are covered in our Web sites, newsletters, and national monthly magazine. Applicants who?ve excelled on a metro desk will receive special consideration.
The company describes itself as "one of America's most dynamic news media companies. We have been headquartered in West Palm Beach for more than seven years and continues to grow at an outstanding rate. We offer multiple groundbreaking publishing products and merchandise including a news site, magazine, newsletters, books, audio tapes, apparel, framed artwork and many other items." Sounds a lot like NewsMax to us.
As with any ConWeb job, the usual caveats apply -- such as no longer being taken seriously as a journalist.
(Thanks to ConWebWatch reader A.K. for the tip.)
Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Coulter Kills the Messenger
How does Ann Coulter respond to plagiarism allegations raised by the New York Post? By not addressing them -- and by attacking the Post.
Since WorldNetDaily is such a Coulterphile -- to the point where it restored something to one of her columns that her syndicated edited out -- does this mean it will follow Coulter's lead and refuse to address the plagiarism allegations, even though WND may be one of her victims?
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