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Monday, August 28, 2006
Conservative Stockholm Syndrome, Revisited
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 27 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham aims to defend his previous assertion that MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, as a conservative who did a segment asking "Is Bush an Idiot?" is suffering from a form of Stockholm syndrome wherein conservatives who work for "liberal" TV channels feel compelled to criticize fellow conservatives. He does so, unsurprisingly, by further attacking Scarborough.

This time around, Graham's focus is on an Aug. 23 interview Scarborough did with "the hard-left website Salon.com" (later in the comments, Graham also calls Salon "socialist") in which Scarborough responded to Graham's charge by suggesting that Graham is "more of a Bush loyalist than he is a conservative." While Graham apologized for "the 'snarky' echoes of a 2003 interview in which he suggested that Scarborough wouldn't last on TV because he had no prior experience and because of MSNBC's frequent schedule-shuffling, he stands by his "Scarborough syndrome" depiction:

Rich Lowry and William F. Buckley also provided the Post with some anti-Bush fodder on Iraq, and I didn’t attack them – because unlike Scarborough, they don’t have liberal bosses to please, and unlike Scarborough, they didn't suggest the president needed a bib to catch the drool.

[...]

I’ve accused Scarborough of nothing more than what he suggested of Bush in his Salon interview: that maybe "staying in power is more important than staying true to the values that put you in power in the first place." (Replace "power" with "TV" in the sentence. Sometimes the terms are closely related, sometimes not.)

Graham also insists that he's not really a Bush loyalist, claiming: "I do like President Bush, and generally support him, but not to the point where I can’t make an argument against him when I think he’s liberal or he’s goofed up." So, apparently, only conservatives in good standing with whatever sanctioning body is in charge of that -- Lowry and Buckley and Graham belong, but Scarborough doesn't -- are allowed to criticize Bush. Interesting. It's the one-drop rule applied to politics -- by dint of working for MSNBC, Scarborough is now 1/8 (or 1/16 or 1/32) liberal, no longer a pure conservative and, thus, unqualified to speak for them.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 28, 2006 6:11 PM EDT
CNS Labeling Bias Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 28 CNSNews.com article by Jeff Johnson repeats the terminology used earlier by colleague Susan Jones, describing those who oppose a bullet-microstamping bill in California as "Second Amendment groups" and supporters of the bill as "anti-gun."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 PM EDT
WND Tweaks NewsMax, Pimps Schiavo Case Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Aug. 28 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah takes a shot at NewsMax for endorsing Charlie Crist for Florida governor because Crist, as Florida attorney general, refused to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case. Farah called Crist a "power-hungry, ambitious politician," adding, "Some "conservative" media outlets have gone so far as to endorse Crist," linking to NewsMax's Aug. 21 endorsement.

Farah concluded his column by writing, "I urge Floridian Republicans to support Crist's opponent, Tom Gallagher, to be their next governor," but he tells his readers nothing about Gallagher. There might be a good reason for that: Back in June, Gallagher -- who is running for governor on a platform of family values -- admitted to having an extramarital affair and smoking marijuana. Under Farah's declared standards, that makes Gallagher a dead man. Apparently, holding (or at least appearing to hold) certain conservatively correct political views makes up for a lot of things in Farah's eyes.

Of course, since Farah's column is centered around Schiavo, we get the usual WND self-promotional blather. It once again describes its coverage of the Schiavo case as "unparalleled" and "in-depth" (in fact, it's biased and unfair to Michael Schiavo's side) and Diana Lynne's book "Terri's Story" as "the definitive book on Schiavo's life and death" (which it isn't).


Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 AM EDT
Sunday, August 27, 2006
WND Overstates eBay Ban
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 27 WorldNetDaily article serves up a biased presentation of an ban on teacher's texts of schoolbooks on the auction site eBay.

The headline -- "eBay prohibits textbooks for homeschool teachers: Lumps them with illegal drugs, bootleg recordings, prompting avalanche of complaints from customers" -- most egregiously misstates the issue. It's not "textbooks" that have been banned; it's teacher's texts, which, as athe article itself notes, contain "special answer keys, exams, teaching tips, and guides." And the headline's claim that the teacher's text are being "lump[ed] with illegal drugs, bootleg recordings" is simply inflammatory, especially given the misleading reference to "textbooks." This leaves the impression that eBay considers homeschool textbooks as "illegal" or "bootleg," which has no basis in fact.

The unbylined article itself is somewhat more balanced. It does note in the third paragraph that the ban "is inclusive of all teachers' texts," but it waits until the 23rd paragraph to give an example of how inclusive it is, quoting a "public school teacher" as stating that "she cannot get a teacher's edition from a publisher unless she provides proof of her teaching employment." For all the complaints from homeschool teachers, neither WND nor the people it quotes offers no explanation of why homeschool teachers should be exempt from having to provide proof of being a teacher before obtaining teacher's texts.

The article also contradicts itself about eBay's response. It states about halfway through that "WorldNetDaily did not get an immediate response from eBay about the situation," but the very last paragraph notes that an eBay spokesman "told WND" that "we are actively working on a solution."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EDT
Coarsening the Dialogue
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 26 NewsBusters post by Dean Esmay launches a vitriolic attack on Daily Kos, calling it a "far-left hate-blog" and its posters "crypto-nazis," "Blame America First defeatists" and "hatemongering idiots." Esmay adds: "The Lamont Democrats have not yet gotten a tenth the kicking around they deserve. They are are vicious beyond belief." It would seem Esmay is calling the kettle black in hurling "hate-blog" accusations.

Esmay also bizarrely charges that "there is no Republican equivalent to the Daily Kos or Firedoglake or MyDD at the moment"; apparently, he's never heard of Free Republic or Lucianne.com or Liberty Post or ...

Esmay is among the quasi-prominent bloggers who post on NewsBusters, joining such luminaries as Dan Riehl and Jeff Goldstein. The goal, it appears, is to lower the level of dialogue on the site (not that it was all that high to begin with).


Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 AM EDT
Misleading NewsMax Headline Watch
Topic: Newsmax

An Aug. 26 Associated Press article posted at NewsMax about Rob Reiner's comment about Mel Gibson's drunken, anti-Semitic rant carried the headline, "Meathead: Mel Gibson Reflects Anti-Semitism."

We're pretty darn sure that AP didn't stick that headline on the item, especially since it doesn't even reference Reiner's role on "All in the Family." Or, perhaps, it's a generic reference -- NewsMax may actually believe that anyone who thinks Gibson's outburst and work marks him as an anti-Semite is a meathead.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 AM EDT
Saturday, August 26, 2006
WND Again Buries Real News About Darwin-Hitler Video
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 25 WorldNetDaily article on D. James Kennedy's upcoming video linking Darwin to Hitler leads with Jack Abramoff-scandal-linked Rabbi Daniel Lapin's defense of the video, once again burying the real news involving Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, and his links with the video. WND also misses out on conflicting statements made by Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries about Collins.

It's not until the 14th paragraph of the article that WND gets around to addressing the Collins issue, repeating a statement from Coral Ridge claiming that, contradicting Francis' claim that he was deceived about his appearance in the video, "A producer told Dr. Collins in person before the interview began that he was being interviewed for a program that would address the adverse social consequences of Darwin," and that "he was asked specifically, during the interview, about the Darwin-Hitler connection and responded on tape that he did not agree with that view." Nevertheless, Coral Ridge has agreed to leave Francis' name off promotions and remove him from future airings of the video.

This, however, is a somewhat contradictory stance from the one taken in an Aug. 24 Baptist Press article by Jerry Newcombe, co-producer of the program:

"We interviewed a number of scientists for the science section [of the program]," Newcombe said. "We didn't interview Dr. Collins ... about Hitler. In hindsight, we would not have put Dr. Collins in the program. But he understood it was Coral Ridge Ministries. He understood we were doing a special about Darwinism.... We're sorry we had this misunderstanding and we wish him well."

Newcombe seems to be the one who's being the most straightforward here; the Coral Ridge statement is defensive and couched in vagaries, such as the reference to "a program that would address the adverse social consequences of Darwin," which indicates that they were hiding the program's specific thesis from Collins. Coral Ridge did rather quickly acquiesce to Collins' demand to be disassociated from the video, which appears to be something of an admission nof guilt.

That's how biased WND is: Promoting right-wing Christian views is more important than reporting the news -- and Coral Ridge's deception of Collins is the real news here. 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 AM EDT
Unnamed Sources vs. Unnamed Sources
Topic: Newsmax

"Unnamed sources in the Pentagon with their own agenda have been leaking false information about the killing of civilians in Haditha by Marines last November," begins an Aug. 25 NewsMax article by Phil Brennan. To whom does Brennan attribute this claim? Unnamed sources with their own agenda, of course -- Brennan cites anonymous "Marine intelligence sources" and " one well-placed NewsMax source" to counter "the usual unnamed sources" making claims about Haditha.

It's a good thing nobody at NewsMax has a sense of irony; otherwise, this wouldn't have seen the light of day. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT
Friday, August 25, 2006
Update: Riehl vs. Sidarth
Topic: NewsBusters

On his Riehl World View blog (not yet on NewsBusters), Dan Riehl cites more discussion-board comments that he attributes to S.R. Sidarth, these apparently more foul-mouthed than (not) racist.

Considering that one of Riehl's fellow bloggers at NewsBusters is the penis-obsessed Jeff Goldstein, we fail to see what the big deal is. If Riehl has no problem with Goldstein -- and we're not aware that he has expressed any -- why should he be bothered by this?

UPDATE: A new Riehl post at NewsBusters tries to make a big deal of  Sidarth denying that he posted the comments Riehl attributes to him. 

The point of all of Riehl's fulminations -- the bogus racist accusations and such -- is revenge, pure and simple, for Allen getting caught in the act of saying something stupid to a guy who was videotaping him. Why is NewsBusters allowing itself to serve as a host for such partisan revenge? 


Posted by Terry K. at 6:30 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, August 26, 2006 12:10 AM EDT
CNS Labeling Bias Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

An Aug. 25 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones describes those opposed to a bill in the California legislature that would require the "microstamping" of semi-automatic handguns -- giving cartridges fired from those guns a unique imprint -- as "Second Amendment supporters," a label Jones uses three times in the article. Supporters of the bill, meanwhile, are called in the article's first paragraph as "gun control advocates."

Such labeling implies that those who support this bill do not support the Second Amendment, something for which Jones offers no evidence.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:14 PM EDT
NewsBusters Exposes Sidarth ... As UVA Football Fan
Topic: NewsBusters

Dan Riehl keeps racking up the stupidity. In an Aug. 25 NewsBusters post, headlined "Allen Critic S. R. Sidarth Exposed," Riehl asserts that Sidarth -- the University of Virginia student videotaping Republican Sen. George Allen's campaign for Allen's opponent, James Webb, whom Allen famously called a "macaca" -- was "making fun of an Hispanic William & Mary student's death."

Unfortunately for Riehl, the UVA discussion board he cites contains no racial slurs on Sidarth's part, and not much "making fun" either. Sidarth started the thread by merely linking to an article about the W&M student's death -- but offering no comment, racial or otherwise, beyond the link. Later in the thread, when the discussion shifted to sports, Sidarth added another post: "Al Groh left the NFL to coach UVA." The article on the student's death, by the way, offers no obvious clue that the dead student was Hispanic; his last name, Reyno, is not an obviously Hispanic name.

So we have Sidarth "exposed" as someone who likes football and, apparently, doesn't like William & Mary.

Riehl later updated his post to explain what the hell his point was:

I understand some are questioning the point of this post, so please allow me to clear this up from my point of view. The Washington Post has been showing us this sensitive, hurt young man named SR Sidarth for a week. Now, we find out that Sidarth is fully capable of using the death of another individual, who also happened to be Hispanic, as a means of feeding his ego and touting his school. That really is not disputable if you read the thread Sidarth himself started and followed.

In essence, this allegedly sensitive young man had no problem exploiting the actual death of another individual for some props and yuks. Now, where is the sensitivity in that? My point in addressing Reyes ethnicity is because it is a fact of the story and said ethnicity did not give Sidarth pause. So, how sensitive is he really to the issues of race when it comes to others? Obviously, not very.

But I am addressing his obvious lack of sensitivity, not calling him a racist. Frankly, I think mocking a young man's death is just a bit more repugnant than calling someone a silly name. And if you wish to suggest he wasn't mocking the man's death by posting that story so it could be held up to ridicule, then you need to either read the thread, or consider extending that same generousity to Senator Allen. Because in Sidarth's case, holding up Reyes' death to ridicule is precisely what was done.

And no one can even agree on the origin of the word to conclude it was racist. If Allen is going to hang for being insensitive, SR Sidarth is not worthy of tightening the noose given his own grossly insensitive actions in initiating the thread at issue.

Despite claiming that he is "not calling him a racist," Riehl -- by bringing up the dead student's alleged ethnicity -- certainly heavily implied that Sidarth was, in fact, a racist. Riehl is the only one talking about the race of the dead student here -- not Sidarth, not even anyone else on that thead. And of course, to make the point that he wasn't calling Sidarth a racist, he brings up the dead student's ethnicity again and, to top things, gets his name wrong, calling him "Reyes" (it's "Reyno").

Hey, NewsBusters: Are you really sure you want this guy blogging for you?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 25, 2006 1:54 PM EDT
WND's Peter Paul Whitewash Update
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 25 WorldNetDaily article (unbylined, unlike several recent WND articles on Paul that were written by Art Moore) provides a new take on WND's whitewashing of Paul's criminal record. Paul's latest nuisance lawsuit against the Clintons blames Bill Clinton for the failure of his Stan Lee Media venture: "I am an injured businessman whose entire interest was to employ an ex-president as a rainmaker for my company."

As we've documented, WND has previously downplayed and whitewashed the fact that Paul pleaded guilty to manipulating Stan Lee Media stock, burying it instead in legalistic language. This time, however, WND fails to mention this conviction at all -- despite its relevance in a case that is purportedly centered around the business dealings of Stan Lee Media.

The article also mentions Aaron Tonken as support for Paul's charges without noting that 1) Tonken, like Paul, is a convicted felon, currently serving a five-year prison sentence for bilking celebrities, and 2) WND published Tonken's book about the misdeeds that made him a convicted felon, with the usual Clinton-bashing thrown in for effect (would WND have published Tonken's book if he didn't put that in?). Additionally, the article fails to note that the United States Justice Foundation, Paul's legal representative in the case, has also represented WND in the past. (CNSNews.com sets a fine example in this regard.)

The article further calls Paul's latest legal action a "second amended complaint." What does that mean? Is Paul making additional claims, or is he retracting claims he previously made? WND doesn't say.

This is just another example of how WND is so eager to smear the Clintons that it treats the claims of a convicted felon as pearls of wisdom.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 AM EDT
Quote of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

"As Brent Bozell demonstrated back in the day, for Rush Limbaugh to state that sportswriters were rooting for black quarterbacks like Donovan McNabb was a simple, easily provable truism."

-- Tim Graham, Aug. 24 NewsBusters post

As we demonstrated back in the day: No, he didn't. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 AM EDT
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Klein Pushes Unsubstantiated al-Qaida Link to Kidnapping
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 24 WorldNetDaily article shows off what Aaron Klein does with his time when he's not undermining the Israeli government of Ehud Olmert: he's trying to claim that al-Qaida is operating in Gaza against Israel.

Under the subhead "Members of family lead terrorist groups with ties to al-Qaida," Klein's main claim here -- that "A clan from the Gaza Strip with members involved in major terror organizations are lead suspects in the kidnapping of Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig" -- is attributed to the usual anonymous sources, this time "senior Palestinian security officials." Klein later repeats his claim that anonymous "[a]nalysts are speculating" that the group that kidnapped Centanni and Wiig, the Holy Jihad Battalion, "is a front for al-Qaida."

But nowhere does Klein explicitly claim, anonymous sources or not, that the clan Klein is writing about are members of the Holy Jihad Battalion. Instead, Klein intermixes all these claims to create the impression that al-Qaida is behind the kidnappings -- something for which he apparently has no substantive evidence.

Klein also must deal with his erroneous Aug. 14 assertion that "independent Palestinian gunmen" affiliated with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades kidnapped Centanni and Wiig. He does it here by attempting a diversion:

Last week, within hours of the abductions, Abu Abir, spokesman for the Committees, denied to WorldNetDaily his group was behind the kidnappings but hinted "other groups" are involved.

But Klein doesn't quote Abir in his Aug. 14 article -- which carries the headline "Terrorists: We kidnapped Fox reporters" -- and has never reported Abir's denial of involvement until now. While Klein quoted a "senior Al Aqsa leader" who "claimed his group did not sanction the kidnapping," the guilt-by-association Klein portrays with Al Aqsa and the kidnapping is unmistakable.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
That Time of the Season
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Just as the arrival of Santa Claus in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade officially kicks off the annual Christmas season, the first WorldNetDaily article regurgitating a press release from a conservative legal organization kicks off the annual "war on Christmas" promotion.

And so, we have an Aug. 24 WND article that is devoted exclusively to to promoting the case being pushed by the Thomas More Legal Center (and, of course encapsulated in a press release), that New York City schools allow the display of "menorahs and star-and-crescent symbols, but not Christian symbols." As is WND's war-on-Christmas policy (which we've extensively detailed), WND does not quote anyone from the NY schools, while it quotes a representative from the Thomas More Law Center and quotes from the center's legal filings, as well as from the ruling of a judge who agrees with them.

And you thought that stores were putting up their Christmas decorations too early...


Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 PM EDT

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