An Oct. 17 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein claims to expose the "leftist" agenda behind a group called Women's Voices, Women Vote. "The clincher? WVWV is a project of The Tides Foundation," Finkelstein writes, "the organization founded to promote a variety of leftist causes whose driving financial force is . . . Teresa Heinz Kerry."
As evidence, Finkelstein links to a February 2004 FrontPageMag article by Ben Johnson noting that Heinz Kerry-controlled foundations gave the Tides Foundation more than $4.3 million between 1995 and 2001. But Johnson also notes that Tides has "distributed more than $300 million for the Left," which contradicts Finkelstein's claim that Heinz Kerry is the "driving financial force" for Tides.
Further, in their rush to tie Heinz Kerry to every left-wing cause Tides supports, neither Johnson nor Finkelstein note that the Heinz Kerry-linked donations to Tides were dedicated to specific projects in Pennsylvania, not to the "leftist" projects they describe.
As we've (writing at Media Matters) noted, Johnson has played fast and loose with the facts regarding Heinz Kerry's connection to Tides. And, if you'llrecall, WorldNetDaily has as well.
An Oct. 17 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel tries to conflate Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's incomplete declaration of a land sale with the Rep. Mark Foley congressional page scandal, complaining that the Reid story "isn't 'sexy' enough for front-page news" and quoting political analyst Larry Sabato as saying that financial scandals are boring when compared with sex scandals, though "financial scandals ought to attract more attention because they're more common."
So, wouldn't it make more sense for Burchfiel to compare the Reid story to a similar financial misdeed on the Republican side? Like, say, one involving a major Republican official? Like -- oh, I don't know -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert? As it happens, Hastert earned a $2 million profit -- much more than Reid's $700,000 -- on the sale of land near a planned highway for which Hastert helped obtain $207 million federal funding through an earmark.
But CNS has never mentioned Hastert's earmark-driven windfall in a news story, let alone make it the subject of one, as it did with the Reid story. The only mention of it on its website has been in twocolumns by Robert Novak.
Further, Burchfiel never noted the questions that have been raised about the AP's coverage of the story -- something we suspect he would not have overlooked had the target been a Republican. After all, CNS has tried to downplay the Foley story -- again, something it would likely not be doing had Foley been a Democrat.
Curt Weldon Channels Jack Cashill Topic: WorldNetDaily
If Rep. Curt Weldon's claim that he's the victim of a conspiracy led by Bill Clinton, Mary McCarthy and Sandy Berger sounds familiar, that's because it is: WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill has been making the exact same conspiracy claim.
As we've noted, in tworecent WND columns, Cashill -- best known for his bogus defense of an admitted killer -- declared that the "Clinton shadow government" is conspiring to keep Pennsylvania Republican congressman Curt Weldon from winning re-election, purportedly "to prevent Weldon from digging any deeper into the Clinton track record" and that Weldon is dedicated to the "search for the truth behind Sandy Berger's shredding of stolen files, the Rosetta Stone of the Clinton saga."
Corsi Again Does Co-Author's Bidding, Doesn't Disclose It Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 17 WorldNetDaily column by Jerome Corsi again plays up purported rumors of a "Foley problem" with Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland. And again, Corsi fails to disclose his relationship with Strickland's election opponent, Ken Blackwell -- the two wrote a book together.
Corsi not only needs to disclose this, he needs to fully disclose his current role with the Blackwell campaign -- after all, the book they wrote is, for all practical purposes, a campaign document. Is he on Blackwell's payroll? Are Blackwell operatives feeding him information to use in his columns to smear Strickland?
UPDATE: The Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that Blackwell distributed copies of Corsi's article at a press conference today. It certainly looks like Corsi is playing the role of a campaign operative.
Also, the subjects Corsi wrote about in his columns on Strickland -- Strickland's vote on a House resolution denouncing a study on adult-child sex and a former Strickland aide who was once arrested for indecent exposure -- are things that Blackwell just happened to bring up in his Oct. 16 debate with Strickland. Coincidence?
An. Oct. 16 CNSNews.com article by Monisha Bansal misleadingly describes the National Taxpayers Union as a "taxpayer group." In fact, it's a conservative group that has received funding fron the usual conservative moneybags (Scaife, Olin) and counts right-wingers Steve Forbes and Ken Blackwell among its advisers and directors. That misleading approach goes all the way to the headline, which reads: "Taxpayers, Pelosi Differ on Outlook for Fiscal Responsibility." It's not "taxpayers" vs. Pelosi; it's a conservative activist group vs. Pelosi.
Surprisingly -- and unlike last week's unchallenged recitation of conservative talking points by fellow CNSer Susan Jones -- Bansal actually gave a Pelosi spokesman an opportunity to respond to the NTU's claims.
Meanwhile ... Topic: WorldNetDaily World O'Crap takes on an Oct. 9 column by WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian, in which he laments the puported "war on fathers" and declares that divorce (not to mention Kupelian's usual bogeyman of '60s liberalism) is the problem, and that married couples should "reject divorce as an option" and that women in particular should "give up the anger against your men" for "failure to find real, selfless love for you."
WND Still Flogging Sexpidemic! Topic: WorldNetDaily
In the midst of an Oct. 16 WorldNetDaily column attacking the spending of federal money on public education, Joseph Farah repeats WND's dubious claim about teacher student sex:
And, while all of this is going on, a new epidemic of sex abuse appears to have broken out in government schools. Another day, another molester. No news service has better or more exhaustively chronicled the capers than WND.
Yes, WND has gotten way into the issue. But as we've pointed out, WND has only anecdotal evidence to support the claim that it's an "epidemic." Note Farah's weasel words that an "epidemic ... appears to have broken out"; WND is certainly desperate to create that impression. But the list of (female) teacher-student sex incidents to which Farah links doesn't note that the incidents date back as far as 15 years -- thus falsely playing up Farah's "epidemic" claim -- and neither Farah nor WND serve up any actual data to prove that there is, in fact, an "epidemic" of it.
To create alarm without any actual evidence to support it is irresponsible journalism, and you would think that Farah would know better.
A Clinton in Every Conspiracy, AIM Division Topic: Accuracy in Media
An Oct. 13 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid attacked 9/11 conspiracy theorists (before, of course, moving on to attack Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger and George Soros). But Kincaid and AIM didn't used to be so allergic to conspiracy theories.
As we've documented with WorldNetDaily, AIM loves a good non-conservative conspiracy theory as much as anyone. As much fulminating as it does about George Soros (an Oct. 3 column by Kincaid plays up a claim that Soros is an "extremely evil person"), it was eager to promote Clinton-related conspiracies promulgated by Richard Mellon Scaife.
A January 1999 AIM article by Kincaid and Reed Irvine fawned over an interview Scaife did with now-defunct George magazine, calling him "candid, accessible, enigmatic — even surprising." It uncritically repeats Scaife's claim that "he knows Foster didn’t die the way the official investigations said and that this is the Rosetta Stone to the Clinton administration," as well as pushes the debunked Clinton body count, stating that Scaife "believes there is a connection between the Clinton administration and the death of Ron Brown, and refers to the list of 60 or more people, including eight of Clinton’s former bodyguards, who have died mysteriously."
Like WND, Kincaid and AIM apparently believe that only liberals and people named Clinton engage in conspiracies.
Dinesh D'Souza, Meet Anthony LoBaido Topic: WorldNetDaily
This past week, James Wolcott decisivelyeviscerated conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza for his upcoming book, which essentially blames America (well, actually, the low morals of American liberals) for the 9/11 attacks. But D'Souza is not the first right-winger to push this blame-America claim.
That honor goes to WorldNetDaily's resident adventurer and friend to right-wing, pro-apartheid mercenaries, Anthony LoBaido. A Sept. 13, 2001, WND commentary by LoBaido put the blame squarely on America for the 9/11 attacks under this rationale:
All that is evil in the world can be found in New York: MTV, the United Nations, the U.N. abortion programs, the Council on Foreign Relations, New Age Church of St. John the Divine, WallStreet greed, Madison Avenue manipulation and of course more confirmed AIDS cases than the rest of America combined. Let's remember the filthy sodomite gay parade last summer in New York. [...]
And let's not forget that New Yorkers elected -- by a landslide -- the openly Marxist, treasonous and abortion-mongering, occultic Hillary to a Senate seat.
LoBaido also noted that "America will no longer be able to deny judgment for its idolatry, wickedness, abandonment of the God of the Bible, embrace of abortion, stem-cell research, the sodomite agenda, materialism, the occult and many other sins."
While WND editor Joseph Farah initially defended LoBaido's right to express his opinions, WND ultimately deleted LoBaido's article from its database (the above link is from the Wayback Machine).
Which raises an interesting conundrum: Given the fact that WND ultimately rejected LoBaido's views on blaming America for 9/11, will it promote D'Souza's book -- which promotes, for all intents and purposes, the same viewpoint -- when it's published?
NewsMax Dissembles About Itself -- Again Topic: Newsmax
In an Oct. 13 article, NewsMax repeats its dissembling defense of itself over its use of "Democrat" over "Democratic."
In the article -- which starts off by noting that NewsMax was among other news organizations that misidentified page-chasing Rep. Mark Foley as a Democrat rather than a Republican, NewsMax rehashed the "Democrat" claim as another example of "sources in the media have implied that NewsMax is part of a vast conspiracy." As it did in an Aug. 4 article, NewsMax defended itself against a charge in the New Yorker magazine that it deliberately used the erroneous "Democrat Party" rather than "Democratic Party": "In fact, NewsMax regularly refers to the donkey party as 'Democratic,' although on occasion and rarely, copy editors may have used the colloquial 'Democrat.' "
In fact, as we've documented, NewsMax does in fact have a history of doctoring wire stories to change "Democratic" to "Democrat," and even today, its columnists use "Democrat" rather than "Democratic."
NewsMax also pulled out the "everyone does it" defense:
It should be noted that Sen. John McCain has used the phrase "Democrat Party” in interviews, and a mass e-mail sent out under the name of President Bush referred to the "Democrat” Party.
Bush also said in a speech: "It’s time for the leadership in the Democrat Party to start laying out ideas.”
So, does that mean if John McCain and President Bush jumped off a bridge, NewsMax will too? (Well, maybe not McCain; given NewsMax's animosity toward him, such as playing up claims about his alleged temper in order to try and torpedo his 2008 presidential run, it's highly ironic that NewsMax is hiding behind him.)
WND Lack of Disclosure Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 14 WorldNetDaily column by Jerome Corsi tries to revive dubious allegations that Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland is gay (despite being married). But nowhere in his column nor in his bio at the end does Corsi disclose that he wrote a book with Strickland's Republican opponent, Ken Blackwell.
Here's the lead to an Oct. 13 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones:
In yet another apparent attempt to suppress the conservative vote in November, a former White House official is out with a new book suggesting that President Bush's top political advisers ridiculed evangelical leaders -- calling them "nuts" and "goofy" behind their backs, while embracing them in public to win votes (as the Los Angeles Times put it).
Yes, it's another carry-the-Republican-water hit job from Jones -- this one on the new book by David Kuo, a former official in the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives -- that hardly bothers with the pretense of being a "news" article. The only specific claim Jones cites from Kuo's book, as taken from the Los Angeles Times article she's referencing, is the above one, that Bush officials called evangelical leaders "nuts" and "goofy"; she quotes a spokesperson from Focus on the Family attacking the book and defending the Bush administration -- but never countering any specific claim Kuo makes in the book.
And, since the point of her article was to attack the book and not fairly examine its claims, Jones fails to note that Kuo makes the same claim as John DiIulio, the former head of the Faith-Based Initiatives office -- that the Bush administration cared only how the program fit into its political agenda. But that would have required actual reporting and research, which Jones does not do. She's much more content regurgitating press releases.
An Oct. 13 WorldNetDaily article bizarrely claims that an incident in which the head of Michelle Malkin was apparently digitally added to a photo of a woman in a bikini was an "Internet assault."
The article further describes Eric Muller -- who decisively debunked Malkin's 2004 book "In Defense of Internment" -- as a "Malkin-obsessed UNC professor" for posting the photo on his website. But WND mentions nothing about Muller's discrediting of Malkin.
NewsBusters' latestreferences to the AP's flawed story about Harry Reid's land deal that fail to acknowledge the problems with the story -- problems NewsBusters would almost certainly acknowledge had the subject of the story been a Republican and not a Democrat:
No. 8: "NB Staff" noting that conservative radio host Mark Levin repeated earlier NewsBusters items on the Reid story.
No. 9:Clay Waters, referring to "the Associated Press story that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid failed to disclose a real estate deal in which he made a $700,000 profit." That's somewhat close to accurate, but that's not what the AP reported; it erroneously claimed that Reid "collected a $1.1 million windfall."
No. 10:Michael Rule, referencing Reid's "lucrative, yet questionable, land deal," linking to the erroneous AP article.
MRC Continues to Ignore Questions About AP-Reid Story Topic: NewsBusters
Rich Noyes because the seventh NewsBusters poster in the past couple days to reference the supposed land-sale scandal involving House Democratic Leader Harry Reid, as reported by the Associated Press. And like his six colleagues, Noyes fails to address the questions that have been raised about the AP story.
Meanwhile, yesterday's NewsBusters items by Brent Baker, Scott Whitlock and Tim Graham about the AP Reid story were repeated in today's MRC CyberAlert -- again, all without acknowledging the questions raised about it.