More than half of Americans -- 52 percent, including 29 percent of Republicans -- believe that House Speaker Dennis Hastert was aware of Congressman Mark Foley's inappropriate messages to teenage Congressional pages and tried to cover it up, according to the latest Newsweek Poll. Only 24 percent say he did not.
NewsMax's headline, however, reads: "Poll: GOP Voters Backing Hastert." That requires not only an extrapolation that since 29 percent of Republicans say Hastert tried to cover up Foley's misdeeds 71 percent thought otherwise, but a willful disregard of the poll's actual findings.
One really has to work to find good news for Republicans in this poll, and God bless 'em, NewsMax did.
WND Columnist Cites Biased Anti-Gay Research Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 7 WorldNetDaily column by Olivia St. John ("a freelance writer with almost 20 years of experience as a home educator") fails to point out the anti-gay background of a researcher whose statistics she cites. St. John writes:
Contrary to the homosexual assertion that heterosexual molestations outnumber those committed by homosexuals, Yale and Harvard-connected psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover states that "careful studies show that pedophilia is far more common among homosexuals than heterosexuals."
St. John's calling Satinover "connected" to Yale and Harvard is a bit of resume-padding done in order to enhance Satinover's patina of credibility. According to Satinover's CV, any connection to Yale and Harvard in fields related to the study of homosexuality was long ago; he received a master's degree in clinical psychology from Harvard in 1973 and served a residency and fellowship at Yale in the mid-1980s.
Satinover's anti-gay bias makes his research suspect. For instance, according to an interview with the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality -- a group that advocates therapy regimens to change homosexual orientation -- calls homosexuality "psychologically unhealthy," "an inferior way of life,"and a "sociopathy" akin to "grow[ing] up in a Cosa Nostra family," adding that "homosexuality--like narcissism--is best viewed as a spiritual and moral illness."
Further, in accepting the views of Satinover that "pedophilia is far more common among homosexuals than heterosexuals," St. John also ignores research that gay men are no more likely than heterosexual men to perpetrate child sexual abuse and that that figures showing "male pedophiles are more likely to molest boys than girls" are not evidence that gay men are more likely to abuse children than straight men because they conflate men who abuse boys with gay men.
We hope such biased claims as she inserted into her column are not what St. John is serving up as she homeschools her children.
NewsBusters Muffs Fact on Keillor Topic: NewsBusters
The October 6 edition of NewsBusters' "Weekend Captionfest" -- a weekly feature in which posters are invited to write derogatory captions about liberals -- features a photo of director Robert Altman and "radio personality" Garrison Keillor. Matthew Sheffield added "NPR" in brackets before "radio personality."
But Keillor does not work for National Public Radio. As the "Prairie Home Companion" website to which Sheffield linked "NPR" shows, Keillor's program is produced by Prairie Home Productions and distributed by American Public Media, neither of which is National Public Radio.
We understand how such an error could come about, given that American Public Media produces and distributes programs that appear on many NPR-affiliated stations. But the Media Research Center is supposed to be monitoring public radio for "liberal bias" and presumably is aware of the difference between NPR and companies that supply programs to public radio stations. Still, it's a sloppy error.
CNS Misleads on Pelosi and Unemployment Topic: CNSNews.com
An Oct. 6 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel misleadingly portrayed House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's remarks about the latest employment statistics by not offering any details about the statistics themselves.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday criticized Republicans for being optimistic about the Labor Department's September jobs report showing an increase in jobs, a jump in average hourly income and a decrease in unemployment.
"President Bush and Republicans continue to claim that the economy is on the right track," Pelosi said in a news release. "This once again demonstrates how out of touch Republicans are, because the U.S. economy is not delivering for middle-class families."
But Burchfiel's article offers no context that would explain why Pelosi would criticize an "optimistic jobs report," thus, possibly intentionally, making her look silly for criticizing a decrease in the unemployment rate.
As Pelosi's press release also notes -- but Burchfiel doesn't -- statistics showed that only 51,000 jobs were created in September; economists generally agree that 150,000 jobs a month need to be created to keep pace with population growth. Burchfiel also failed to note that the reason the September unemployment rate went down was an upward revision in the number of jobs created in August, not for what happened in September.
Another Double Standard: Oil Prices vs. Dow Highs Topic: Media Research Center
Remember when the Media Research Center folks were obsessed with the idea that the record-high oil prices of earlier this year weren't actually records when adjusted for inflation? That obsession is overlooked when the "record" numbers make the Bush administration look good.
NewsBusters posts by Ken Shepherd on Oct. 4 and Oct. 5 touted the "record high" for the Dow Jones Industrial Average; on Oct. 5, Shepherd pointed out the Dow's "third straight record high." An Oct. 6 article by Shepherd at the MRC's Business & Media Institute states, "The Dow Jones average closed at a record high for the third consecutive trading day."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, adjusted for inflation, is down 17 percent from its all-time high on January 14, 2000. It would need to rise another 2,378 points to set a new record, adjusted for inflation. It is only when no adjustment is made for inflation that the Dow can be said to have closed at a record high on October 3, 2006, as has been widely reported in the media.
If the MRC is going to demand that oil prices be compared with adjusted-for-inflation figures -- indeed, an April 22 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker called it "the only competent way to measure any price over time" -- shouldn't it do the same for all economic indicators?
CREW vs. Judicial Watch: The ConWeb Double Standard Topic: CNSNews.com
The ConWeb has their long knives out for Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington.
An Oct. 6 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh described CREW as "funded by billionaire George Soros" before he even served up the group's name. In describing CREW's Freedom of Information Act request seeking details on visits by nine leading religious-right figures to the Bush White House, Unruh quoted two of those figures attacking CREW's request as a "publicity stunt" by "left-wing bullies" but did not quote anyone from CREW itself. An Oct. 6 CNSNews.com article by Monisha Bansal quoted Andrea Lafferty of the conservative group Concerned Women for America calling CREW a "front group" for Soros, further calling Soros "a very wealthy, manipulative, evil person who is trying to direct the outcome of this election, and he is going after Christians."
The ConWeb's eagerness to denounce CREW by denouncing one of its donors runs in stark contrast to its treatment of another legal organization. A search of the online archives of both WND and CNS show no reporting at all on the links between the conservative legal group Judicial Watch -- famous for its numerous lawsuits against the Clinton administration -- and right-wing financier Richard Mellon Scaife.
As CNN reported, Judicial Watch received $550,000 from Scaife-controlled foundations in 1997 alone. According to SourceWatch, from 1997 to 2002, Scaife foundations gave more than $7 million to Judicial Watch.
Meanwhile, as we've noted, CREW has received a mere $100,000 from a Soros-backed group.
The funding of legal groups wasn't an issue for the ConWeb before. Why start now?
Drudge's 'Prank' Claim Countered; Will ConWeb Notice? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Both NewsBusters and WorldNetDaily were quick to report Matt Drudge's claim yesterday that, in WND's words, "the lurid AOL instant messages that led to Republican Rep. Mark Foley's resignation were part of an online prank that mistakenly got into the hands of enemy political operatives."
But this morning, TPM Muckraker reported that the attorney for the congressional page that Drudge accused of pulling the "prank" on Foley called Drudge's story "a piece of fiction," adding, "There is not any aspect of this matter that is a practical joke nor should anyone treat it that way."
Will NewsBusters and WND tell their readers about this development? They haven't yet, and the day's already half over.
Kessler Serves as Hastert Stenographer Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax's Ronald Kessler does his Republican duty and turns in an Oct. 6 interview with House Speaker Dennis Hastert about the Mark Foley scandal that allows nobody to counter Hastert's claims. This is a problem when Kessler quotes Hastert saying clearly false things:
Hastert said he talked with former FBI Director Louis Freeh about heading the investigation into the page scandal, but Freeh said he would have to have the agreement of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"I ran that by her, and she just wasn't going to do anything," Hastert said.
In fact -- as NewsMax itself reported in a Oct. 6 article -- "Pelosi may have balked at Freeh having an investigative role in the scandal because many Democrats view him as a Republican ally.' Freeh has given thousands of dollars in political contributions to Republicans and attacked the Clinton administration in his 2005 book on his FBI service (which NewsMax promoted). Kessler is silent on Freeh's GOP ties.
AIM Misleadingly Defends Hatfill Topic: Accuracy in Media
An Oct. 6 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid defends Steven Hatfill, once considered a "person of interest" in the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, claiming he was considered a suspect merely because he was "conservative." But he once again fails to document the entire reason that Hatfill may have been considered a suspect in the first place.
Kincaid calls Hatfill "a bioweapons researcher at Ft. Detrick with conservative views" and also claims that "the ACLU, supposedly a friend of those victimized by an American police state, never came to Hatfill's defense. He wasn't their kind of defendant because he was considered too conservative."
But Hatfill isn't just "conservative." As we documented, Hatfill in the 1990s was associated with white supremacist militias in South Africa -- a tie AIM has previously whitewashed as being merely "anti-communist" and "politically incorrect."
Such associations presumably did have a bearing on why Hatfill was considered a "person of interest" in the anthrax attacks. Kincaid should honestly discuss and admit it.
New Article: A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb uses conspiracy-mongering, gay-bashing and other methods to try to divert attention away from the Mark Foley page scandal. Read more.
An Oct. 5 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham falsely claimed that Rep. Barney Frank showed "scandalous tolerance" of a prostitution ring run out of Frank's apartment by a personal aide in the 1980s (dredging up old stories being yet another sign that conservatives are desperately trying to deflect attention away from the Foley scandal). Graham offers no evidence that Frank knew about the ring during the year and a half that it was going on -- after all, to "tolerate" something first requires knowledge of it.
A quick Google search turned up no independent evidence that Frank knew about, and thus "tolerated," the prostitution ring. The aide, Stephen Gobie, claimed Frank knew, but Frank has denied it.
UPDATE: A House ethics committee investigation determined that Frank "did not have either prior or concomitant knowledge of prostitution activities involving third parties alleged to have taken place in his apartment."
As part of CNSNews.com's efforts to deflect attention from the Mark Foley scandal and to get some positive news out there that will make Republicans feel better, an Oct. 5 CNS article by Susan Jones essentially rewrites Republican talking points about Joe Biden.
The funny part is, Jones admits that this is exactly what she's doing:
With Republicans bogged down by the Mark Foley sex scandal -- and Washington buzzing about a Democratic takeover of Congress -- the RNC is asking Americans to take a good look at Sen. Joe Biden, the Delaware Democrat who could end up chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Biden, currently the committee's ranking Democrat, is "often wrong but never in doubt," the RNC said in a "research" brief (also known as "talking points).
And no, Jones didn't contact Biden for reaction. That would have made it an actual news article, which was not the point of this little exercise.
If some right-wing blogger on the Internet chooses to exhaustively research that alias, digging up photos and personal information, then trumpeting the findings in a press release — culminating in a post linked and publicized by a major flotilla of high-visibility right-wing chatterers, including Bozell’s foundation-funded Newsbusters — it is no one else’s responsibility.
Newsbusters doesn’t hire the best. They mimic the standard form of GOP misinformation well enough, but often ruin their efforts with obvious fudges and childlike fibbing.
We've previously noted NewsBusters' attempt to sully the credibilty of ABC's reporting on the Foley case.
WND Misleads on CREW and Soros Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 5 WorldNetDaily article on the Mark Foley scandal pushes the vast left-wing conspiracy meme by describing Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a Washington group that had been pushing for an investigation of Foley long before the scandal broke last week, as "a George Soros-sponsored organization," "Soros-backed" and "Soros-funded." But WND fails to offer all of the facts regarding CREW and Soros.
According to a May 24 Cleveland Plain Dealer article, CREW did not receive any money from a Soros-funded group until January of this year, after CREW had been previously been falsely accused by scandal-ridden Rep. Bob Ney of being a Soros lackey:
"For the longest time, we got no money from George Soros," says Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "We now get money from The Open Society Institute, and it is probably thanks to Bob Ney."
After Ney and his spokesman, Brian Walsh, repeatedly insisted her group was funded by Soros, Sloan brought their claims to Soros' foundation.
"We kept saying, They say you are already funding us. Shouldn't you?' " recalls Sloan, who said the group got its first grant in January.
"We don't get money from Mr. Soros directly. We get it from the Open Society Institute," Sloan says. "I still haven't personally talked to George Soros."
It's worth noting that WND editor Joseph Farah used a similar defense to deflect claims of being a lackey of Richard Mellon Scaife after the Clinton-bashing organization he founded, the Western Journalism Center, accepted $330,000 from Scaife organiazations in the mid-1990s (CREW, by contrast, has received only $100,000 from Soros). from a May 6, 1998, Farah column:
I shouldn't have to say this, but, in an effort to derail the inevitable attacks of the Clinton propaganda machine, I will swear that my organization has received no funding from Scaife or his foundations since early 1995, when they embarked on their so-called "Arkansas Project." Not that it should make any difference, mind you. I'd be happy to accept Scaife's money. There's nothing tainted about it.
Perhaps Farah can explain why Scaife's money isn't "tainted" but Soros' money apparently is.