Devoting an entire one-sided "news" article about unverified claims by a disgruntled political analyst with a vendetta wasn't enough, apparently; WorldNetDAily's Joe Kovacs has decided to top himself in the category of lame, lazy news reporting. A Kovacs-bylined Dec. 6 WND article is devoted to Dennis Miller's recent appearance on Jay Leno.
That's right -- Kovacs devoted a "news" article to a comedy routine. And, as the links at the end of the article show, this is at least the thirdarticle Kovacs has devoted to Miller's comedy routine.
And this guy's an "executive news editor"? Shouldn't he be doing news editor-like things such as, say, addressing the anti-Olmert bias in Aaron Klein's articles?
Klein Ignores Political Agenda of Rabbis Endorsing Olmert Overthrow Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 6 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein reported that a " group of prominent rabbinic leaders" urged Israelis to "launch a democratic uprising to bring down the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert." But Klein doesn't explain the political nature of the call -- which dovetails nicely with his own anti-Olmert agenda.
Klein reported that the call came from the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, "a coalition of over 1,200 rabbinic leaders and pulpit rabbis." But as blogger Richard Bartholomew points out, it's a right-leaning group that has opposed Olmert's plan of disengagement from Gaza and the West Bank (better known in Klein-speak as Judea and Samaria). Indeed, Klein has quoted members of the group on that subject before:
A June 29 article cited a "letter sent to Bush and signed by leaders of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace" claiming that Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza "is against U.S. interests, and that itviolates basic tenets of Jewish law."
A March 31 article reported on a press conference by the group, held to "blast Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to unilaterally withdraw from most of the West Bank and to urge religious Knesset parties to abstain from joining Olmert's newly elected government."
A Sept. 7, 2005, article detailed a claim by Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Lewin, the group's executive director, that Hurricane Katrina was "a consequence of the destruction of [Gaza's] Gush Katif [slate of Jewish communities] with America's urging and encouragement."
Strangely, Klein serves up none of this background on the Rabbinical Congress for Peace in his new article. Pointing out that this is little more than a ratcheting up of rhetoric from a group that has always opposed Olmert would seem to be relevant to readers. Instead, Klein presents the group's claims as if he had never written about them before -- an arguably dishonest stance.
But Klein is more than happy to take that stance because their goals -- removal of Olmert -- is Klein's as well, as we've detailed. Indeed, through his WND writing, Klein is doing the group's work in trying to foment that "uprising."
And the artist has perfected his craft in another medium with four best-selling books.
OK. Who is this "artist" whom WND deems worthy of such belabored, florid language?
Introducing "The Compleat Michael Savage Collection," a specially assembled and priced package of "The Savage Nation," "The Enemy Within," "Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder" and "The Political Zoo."
If you think whacked-out anti-gay, anti-liberal, sex-obsessed ranting is "art," sure, Savage is an "artist." But, in the rest of the world, Savage has the same connection to artistic endeavors as, say, slashfic.
On Tuesday, leaders of various "progressive" (liberal) organizations -- including Americans United, MoveOn.org, and the Campaign for America's Future -- gathered in Washington to organize support for the Democratic agenda.
We're not sure what the point is, but Jones is also on record, in an Oct. 30 article, using the inaccurate and derogatory term "Democrat Party."
Is WorldNetDaily's Joe Kovacs looking to step into the one-source-wonder shoes left behind by JonDougherty?
A Dec. 5 WND article by Kovacs repeats Dick Morris' unsupported assertion that should Hillary Clinton be elected to the presidency in 2008, "she won't use her married name of Clinton, but rather, her maiden name of Rodham." Not only does Kovacs make no apparent attempt to contact Clinton's office to respond to the claim, he also fails to note that Morris is hardly an objective or even reliable source about the Clintons. For instance, Media Matters has detailed how, in the course of attacking Clinton in his "rebuttal" to her "Living History" autobiography, Morris made numerous claims that contradicted things he had previously said about her and Bill Clinton.
Interestingly, NewsMax cribbed from the same Morris appearance on Fox News in which he made that claim. Like Kovacs, NewsMax didn't give Clinton a chance to respond or note Morris' hatred of the Clintons, but NewsMax at least had the good sense to not put a byline on it.
Mychal Massie's Word of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
Mychal Massie's thesaurus-rummaging for his Dec. 5 WorldNetDaily column turned up the following adjective to describe Al Sharpton: "endozoic."
Massie then goes on to suggest that Sean Bell, the man killed in a hail of 50 bullets from New York police officers, had it coming to him: "The death of Bell, was, in a word, the tragic (even if predictable) end of a wasted life. ... Bell, at the very best, left behind children out of wedlock and a life of crime, drugs and guns. It is doubtful (albeit unconfirmed at this writing) if he finished high school. He had no real job and no real prospects for the future." But in a CYA move, Massie added: "And no, I'm not saying he should have been gunned down by police in the street – unless they were acting in self-defense." Uh, sure...
Kincaid Still Dissembling on Secret Prisons Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid uses his Dec. 5 Accuracy in Media column to make yet another attempt at explaining why those CIA secret prisons aren't really "secret prisons" and that President Bush never acknowledged their existence. And he doesn't succeed any more better than his previous attempts.
Much of Kincaid's latest effort -- as with his previous efforts -- is based on pure assertion, this time backed up by a press briefing by White House press secretary Tony Snow saying (nearly two months ago), "I don't believe anybody has ever talked about secret prisons. That is a -- they've talked about detention facilities.Whether they qualify as secret prisons, or not, I don't know." Despite Snow's "I don't know" qualifier, Kincaid then insisted that "Bush never acknowledged or admitted the existence of any secret prisons." Kincaid concluded: "That's why Snow responded that what the President actually said is that these were people who were detained. Snow was right. The media were wrong."
Kincaid began his column by writing, "We have talked about it before many times, and we have to talk about it again." We know the feeling. As long as Kincaid insists there were no CIA secret prisons (even though people were imprisoned, and it was kept secret), we have to write about his little semantic games.
WND: No Compassion Allowed for Illegal Immigrants Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 5 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh attacks a West Palm Beach, Florida, TV station for soliciting donations of goods for two families left homeless after a fire destroyed their home. Why is that a bad thing? Because the families entered the country illegally.
Unruh repeatedly complains that the station did not identify the families as "illegal aliens." The word "alien" appears six times in the article and photo caption, while the word "immigrant" appears only once in the article and once in the headline. Lest we think that WND is merely objectively reporting a story (something it has rarely been accused of), look at how it framed this question:
An assignment editor with the station, David Gould, was contacted by WND and asked how the station decides which stories to become advocates for, why the original report didn't note the families are illegals, should the station be soliciting on behalf of those who are breaking the law and how it is decided when reporters should admonish viewers as to how they should respond.
Since it's Unruh's byline on this article, it's presumably Unruh who asked these questions. This is a guy who worked for the Associated Press for nearly 30 years?
The compassion-free zone for anyone who's not a) an American citizen or b) a Christian extends to today's WND poll, which asks, "What do you think of a TV station raising money for illegals burned out of home?" At last check, the leading answer by a wide margin was, " I hope any money they raise goes for one-way airfare home."
Gal Beckerman at CJR Daily reminds us what the whole Associated Press "authorized source" controversy that NewsBusters is promoting is really all about:
It is important to get to the truth here. But the point is that the bloggers and the U.S. Army, who reflexively denied the initial account, did so not because they were concerned with accuracy. They picked on it because they saw a chance to use a potentially false story -- though it seems clear now that it might be true after all -- as a way of throwing into question all the reporting from Iraq and, more specifically, undermining the characterization of the situation in the country as abysmal.
Finkelstein Misleads on Murtha's 'Megalomania' (?) Topic: NewsBusters
Mark Finkelstein is just not gonna admit that Rep. John Murtha has a point about the situation in Iraq. From Finkelstein's Dec. 4 NewsBusters post:
'Today' invited John Murtha in for a victory lap this morning, and the Dem congressman from PA responded with breathtaking megalomania seasoned with anti-Americanism. Calling America "the enemy" in Iraq, he preened over having been "way ahead" and demanded the US now "take my advice."
Finkelstein then repeats himself, throwing that M-word out again: "Murtha later took his megalomania one step further. After calling the United States 'the enemy' in Iraq, he claimed 'it's time to take my advice.' " But Finkelstein's claim that Murtha "call[ed] the United States 'the enemy' in Iraq" is taken out of context. Here's what Murtha actually said, according to the video attached to the item:
MURTHA: We're adding to terrorism because we're the occupiers. We've become the enemy, and we're caught in a civil war. Who's paying the price --
MATT LAUER: But if you have a weak government there that can't quite protect its own people, doesn't it become a safe haven for terrorism?
MURTHA: It's the opposite. They'll get rid of the terrorists. The terrorists are there because of us. There was no terrorism before we went it. There was no Al Qaeda. There was no weapons of mass destruction. They have come there because the United States is the target. We're inciting terrorism by being in Iraq. We need to change direction, we need to redeploy our troops, and a very small percentage of people in this country are paying the sacrifice. It's easy to sit back here, Matt, and say "Stay the course." It's chaos already. We lost nine or 10 people over the weekend, Americans, and the Iraqis been killed -- mass killings by the Iraqis, so it's time to take my advice.
As you can see, what Murtha said is a lot different that what Finkelstein claimed he said. And it certainly isn't "megalomania"; such demonizing makes it hard to take Finkelstein seriously, however much he likes to tout that he "recently returned from Iraq" (where he used his platform to attack imaginary claims that American politicians want "abrupt withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Iraq).
Al Brown Won't Stop Hiding Truth About AP Topic: NewsBusters
A Dec. 4 NewsBusters post by Al Brown not only fails to give the Associated Press' side of the story in asserting that the AP's reporting from Iraq is "discredited" -- as is his habit -- he goes on to insist that a New York Times article on the controversy doesn't ask "the most troubling question of all: whether or not al Qaeda propagandists are using the Western media to foment civil war in Iraq." (Italics his.)
Of course, nowhere does Brown offer any evidence that the AP is, in fact, using "al Qaeda propagandists" in its reporting. He also doesn't ask why the U.S. military or the Iraqi government is inherently more trustworthy as a source of "authorized" information about goings-on in Iraq. In fact, Brown goes on to laud the efforts of the Iraq Interior Ministry in discrediting any source it doesn't approve of as not offering "real, true news," claiming that it has a "legitimate interest in seeing that rumors and disinformation propagated by their enemies are not being published as 'news.' "
All of Brown's fulminations that the AP is reporting "rumors and disinformation" ignores the fact that the AP found witnesses to the burning of six Sunnis and is standing by one source for that story, Jamil Hussein. Why is it so difficult for Brown to admit that little fact? Perhaps because by ignoring something that less than black-and-white, he's able to throw words like "discredited" around, even though no such determination has been made by anyone without a partisan (conservative bloggers) or personal (CENTCOM and the Iraq Interior Ministry) stake in the story.
Is it too much to ask for Brown to admit the full truth about the AP? Apparently so.
Lack of Disclosure Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 2 WorldNetDaily article promoting the latest anti-liberal children's book by Katharine DeBrecht fails to note that it has a business relationship with the book's publisher, World Ahead Publishing. As a Nov. 28 WND article notes, World Ahead will be "exclusive distributor of WND Books beginning Jan. 1, 2007."
Meanwhile... Topic: WorldNetDaily Bartholomew details the background of Charl van Wyk, author of a new WorldNetDaily-published book which purports to make "a biblical, Christian case for individuals arming themselves with guns." Turns out he's linked to an evangelist named Peter Hammond, who apparently once took his children out on Halloween to shoot paintballs at trick-or-treaters, because they consider Halloween to be an "occult holiday celebrating human sacrifice, witches and goblins."
NewsBusters Still Not Telling AP's Side of the Story Topic: NewsBusters
A Dec.. 3 NewsBusters post by Al Brown continues NewsBusters' streak of ignoring or downplaying the other side of the story regarding the Associated Press' use of what Brown calls a "bogus" source, Jamil Hussein, in stories from Iraq. The Boston Herald columnist bashing the AP at least notes that AP is standing by its story -- but Brown doesn't include that in his excerpt of the column.
A Dec. 3 NewsBusters post by Robin Boyd takes a similar tack, pounding the AP for using "one of the unauthorized sources from CentCom's list." Why is it CentCom's business what sources the AP uses? It's not like the U.S. military has a stellar record of telling journalists the truth.
FrontPageMag Misleads About Democratic Intel Staffer Topic: Horowitz
In a Dec. 1 FrontPageMag.com article attacking the New York Times for "publicizing classified information that undermines our allies in the War on Terror," Ben Johnson wrote:
The closest the administration has come to plugging the source of these covert disclosures came when the House Intelligence Committee suspended Democratic staffer Larry Hanauer upon suspicions he leaked a classified National Intelligence Estimate report on Iraq. However, last week outgoing Chairman Pete Hoekstra, R-MI, dropped an investigation and "restored" Hanauer’s security clearance.
But Johnson failed to tell the whole story about Hanauer's suspension and reinstatement -- namely, that there was never any substantive evidence linking Hanauer to the NIE leak -- only that he requested a copy of the NIE shortly before the Times wrote about it, and even though Hanauer swore out an affadavit stating that he played no role in the leak. In fact, Republican Rep. Ray LaHood admitted on Fox News that Hanauer's suspension was done in retaliation "because Jane Harman [a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee] released the Duke Cunningham ... report."
While Johnson implies guilt on Hanauer's part, even the Washington Post article to which he links points out that Hanauer signed that affidavit. Johnson offers no evidence that Hanauer played any role in the leak.
Johnson, you may recall, was the author of a error-filled report about Teresa Heinz Kerry's charitable giving.