WND Still Silent on Israeli President's Sex Scandal Topic: WorldNetDaily
As we've reported previously, Israeli president Moshe Katsav has been accused of numerous offenses, including rape -- a scandal WorldNetDaily Jerusalem reporter Aaron Klein has ignored, presumably because Katsav is a member of the conservative Likud party, even though he has reported numerous corruption allegations against (non-Likud) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Katsav has now been suspended from office for three months while prosecutors prepare a case against him. Still, neither Klein nor WND have offered an original article detailing the allegations.
Meanwhile, at CNSNews.com, a Jan. 24 article by Julie Stahl reports on Katsav's suspension from office, but it fails to note that he is a member of Likud.
CNS Spins for FBI on Foley Report Topic: CNSNews.com
A Jan. 24 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel on the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General report on how the FBI handled the Mark Foley matter took a strangely pro-FBI spin, burying or ignoring mistakes made by the organization. Here's Burchfiel's lead:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation acted "within the range of discretion" in deciding not to investigate sexually charged Internet conversations between former Rep. Mark Foley and a former congressional page, the Justice Department has concluded.
Critics are unhappy, however, and called Tuesday for congressional hearings into the matter.
The article continued on that tack by describing exculpatory findings regarding the FBI. It's not until the 9th paragraph is it hinted that the report contains anything critical about the FBI's handling of the case. The Washington Post, meanwhile, led its article on the report with that criticism -- that the FBI should have taken "some follow-up steps" when it learned about the emails.
Burchfiel's article, however, offers no mention whatsoever of the report's other major finding -- that anonymous Justice and FBI officials had falsely told the media that the group that first forwarded the Foley emails to the FBI, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW), that the messages supplied by CREW had been "heavily redacted" and that the group had refused to provide further information. In fact, according to the report, the only thing removed from the messages was the identity of the person to whom the communications had been forwarded, and that the "redactions in the e-mail did not factor into the FBI's decision to decline to investigate the matter."
Burchfiel also writes:
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) claimed responsibility for leaking the emails. It said it sent the emails to the FBI in July and released them to the media only after it became clear the agency did not plan to investigate.
That's not quite true. In fact, the first public airing of Foley-related communications with pages came from ABC News, not CREW. According to a CNN timeline of the scandal, CREW did not go public with its Foley emails until the day after the initial ABC report, and CREW's first press release on the matter (from Sept. 29, 2006, the day after the ABC report), did not mention that it had been in possession of Foley-related emails. It was not until Oct. 2 that it disclosed that it had forwarded Foley emails to the FBI, which were different from the messages ABC reported on.
We're still amazed that Dan Riehl is still allowed to post at NewsBusters after his S.R. Sidarth debacle, but hey, if they allowed only people who could present their arguments cogently and honestly, we'd be out of business.
Which brings us to Riehl's Jan. 24 post, in which he, in a classic pot-kettle-black moment, calls Sen. Jim Webb "something of an obfuscater when it comes to the truth." As evidence, Riehl claims that "a poll Webb used to claim the military doesn't support the war actually favors increasing troop numbers, as proposed by Bush." Not exactly true:
Webb never mentions a poll in his State of the Union rebuttal.
The poll Riehl is using to back up his claim, a Military Times poll that found, among other things, that "Almost half of those responding think we need more troops in Iraq than we have there now," was released Dec. 29 -- several days before President Bush announced his plan for adding troops to Iraq. Thus, it could not be an endorsement of "increasing troop numbers, as proposed by Bush." There's no indication that the poll asked how many troops were favored by those who supported more troops.
Riehl later wrote:
He claimed a majority of the military doesn't support the effort in Iraq, that's untrue.
Almost half of those responding think we need more troops in Iraq than we have there now.
Either way, Webb's claim is false based upon the disclaimer with the poll.
The results should not be read as representative of the military as a whole;
We're not sure exactly what the heck he's trying to say here. His quote from the poll on more troops in Iraq doesn't support his claim that a majority of the military doesn't support the effort in Iraq is "untrue." And the poll has three questions that could conceivably be interpreted asking about "support" of "the effort in Iraq" that don't quite support Riehl's claim:
50 percent "thought success in Iraq was likely," down from 84 percent in 2004.
"For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president’s handling of the war than approve of it."
"[O]nly 41 percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65 percent in 2003."
Riehl then claims that Webb is wrong no matter what because the poll disavows itself from being "representative of the military as a whole." But doesn't that mean that Riehl's claims are wrong, too? If all Riehl has to disprove Webb is a poll that doesn't claim to be accurate, why did he even bother to write this in the first place?
We're so confused. And not just because NewsBusters continues to allow Riehl to post there.
Radio "shock jock" Erich "Mancow" Muller has announced that he is creating the "Foundation For Responsible Radio” in response to the water intoxication death of Jennifer Strange, whose tragic death was the result of what Mancow calls a "voyeuristic FM radio stunt.”
"Small markets feel the need to do this to get ratings and it is wrong,” said Mancow. "Voyeuristic Radio has died or gone to satellite . . . America doesn’t want this stuff.”
Nowhere is it mentioned that Mancow has his own history of voyeuristic stunts, such has shutting down traffic on the San Francisco Bay Bridge so his sidekick could get a haircut or having live cows delivered to competitors' radio shows. (Not to mention his Playboy interview, which may not be a stunt but is totally voyeuristic.)
Sheppard Shocked by Non-Shocking Event, Part 2 Topic: NewsBusters
In a Jan. 24 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard purports to be gobsmacked that a conservative newspaper columnist would criticize Democrats.
"Here’s something you don’t see every day: a columnist at a liberal newspaper saying bad things about Democrats," Sheppard writes. But the columnist in question, the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby, is a conservative and has been for years. He continues:
No, folks. This isn’t from the National Review, the Weekly Standard, or the Washington Times. This really is an article by Jeff Jacoby, who writes for a paper owned by The New York Times Company.
Jacoby has written for the Globe since 1994. It would be more shocking for the sun to rise in the morning. It would be even more shocking for CNSNews.com to follow in the Globe's footsteps and hire a liberal columnist to balance its conservative roster of commentators.
Sheesh. Is this going to turn into an ongoing series?
More liberal-bashing masquerading as media criticism from Mark Finkelstein, in a Jan. 24 NewsBusters post:
According to his Wikipedia entry, "Obama studied for two years at Occidental College in California and then transferred to Columbia University where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations." What kind of world-view do you think was inculcated in international-relations major Obama at hyper-liberal Columbia?
I'm disappointed Robin didn't ask the obvious follow-ups: "OK, you majored in international relations. But were you a member of the chess club? Ever been to Epcot Center?"
And this is "exposing and combatting liberal bias" ... how?
UPDATE: It continues: Noel Sheppard declares Keith Olbermann to be "irrelevant" and a "gross caricature of a newsman," and expresses glee that a Fox News spokesman "deliciously disparaged" CNN's Anderson Cooper as "the Paris Hilton of television news."
In a Jan. 23 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard railed against Keith Olbermann for taking a statement from a Democrat at face value:
Amazing. So, in Olbermann’s bizarre world, when a Democrat denies wrongdoing, he or she must be believed. However, he certainly doesn’t afford the same courtesy for Republicans.
Meanwhile, a few posts up from Sheppard, Mark Finkelstein was, uh, taking the words of a Republican -- specifically, White House press secretary Tony Snow -- at face value. Finkelstein got a chance to participate in another Snow press conference for bloggers (only conservative bloggers were invited, presumably):
I had a chance to ask a question this time around, and chose to focus on recent events in Iraq. After referring to the headlines that have been made by the recent arrest of some 600 militiamen in Iraq, I noted a lesser-publicized report that the Iraqi army had arrested a senior aide to Moktada al-Sadr, Sheikh Abdul al-Hadi Darraji. He was arrested last Friday in a raid on a Baghdad mosque near Sadr City.
I asked Snow whether those events signal that we have in some way turned the corner in obtaining the willingness of the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki in going after Shia militias, and if so, how have we been able to achieve this?
Tony's answer was optimistic: "The proof is in the pudding, and the arrest you just mentioned is of enormous significance. What the president has said to the prime minister is that you have to make sure that the law applies equally to everybody. If you're going to go after Sunni insurgent groups, you're going to have to do the same thing to Shia militia - and that's what's happened. And I think it's been pretty clear that the prime minister has said to the militias 'you know what? you're on your own now. You really cannot operate outside the law.'"
Finkelstein went on to list other "highlights" of the press conference, mostly boilerplate such as "Tony emphasized that there is no desire to federalize education, but hold schools accountable." Not a skeptical word to be found on Finkelstein's part, unlike his post earlier in the day in which he ascribed sordid, nefarious motives to Hillary Clinton's comments on TV, purporting to detect "insincere laughter" and "meretricious mirth."
We might take Finkelstein, Sheppard and Co. more seriously as media critics if they didn't engage in the very same behavior they claim to despise when Democrats do it.
NewsBusters bloggers have been on a tear of late in promoting liberal-bashing as being the same thing as "exposing and combatting liberal bias." We noted Warner Todd Huston's anti-Keith Olbermann screed yesterday; here are a few other examples from today.
Certainly, it comes as no great surprise that this happened. However, reading it in print makes it all the more nauseating.
Former Vice President Al Gore’s schlockumentary about imminent doom to our planet if all Americans except for him and his liberal, hypocritical, millionaire friends don’t stop driving cars and flying on airplanes has been nominated for an Academy Award.
Will it be any surprise when this farcical political advertisement wins, and Al Gore is standing in front of all the fawning, cheering, hypocritical liberal elites who use likely ten times as much energy per year as the average American does?
Someone please direct me to the nearest restroom.
-- Mark Finkelstein, Jan. 23 post:
If Hillary isn't quite getting out the long knives, let's just say she's oiling the scabbard. As we noted earlier, on this morning's "Today" Clinton drew an invidious comparison between herself and John Edwards, referring to him as "on the sidelines" while she's in "the arena."
Meredith took note of Clinton's feigned frivolity: "You're laughing at that. Advisors have said that they want to humanize you. Why do people seem to have that perception of you after knowing you for 15 years."
Ouch. Being told that your handlers want to "humanize" you has got to hurt. And it was hard to mistake the implication of Vieira's mention of "15 years"? Hillary, at least in your case, familiarity really does breed contempt.
Hillary began by alluding to her two successful senate campaigns in New York, where she encountered the same kinds of "attitudes and stereotypes." For the record, I think Hillary gets way too much credit for winning there. In New York, registered Dems outnumber Republicans by 2 million, and Hillary ran first against a 'C'-list opponent and then against a virtual non-entity who didn't really bother to campaign.
Hillay didn't quite make the 'L' hand sign, but the message was unmistakable: "Johnny, why don't you go back to New Orleans, pound some more nails, and leave the driving to me?"
What's the difference between this kind of Hillary- and Gore-bashing and the kind of stuff you see on zillions of conservative blogs? Not much. How is this "exposing and combatting liberal bias"? It's not. Is being a repository for such screeds what the MRC wants out of NewsBusters? (Especially considering that the MRC already has a screedmeister in Brent Bozell.)
A Jan. 23 CNS article by Kevin Mooney highlighted what he called the "left-wing positions" of the Union of Concerned Scientists, but he does not detail the conservative links of those attacking the UCS, which Mooney describes only as "critics." Among those groups:
The Capital Research Center, a conservative group best known for its 2004 "study" of Teresa Heinz Kerry's charitable donations, which misleadingly linked Heinz Kerry's donations to the Tides Foundation to allegedly left-wing causes the foundation supports, even though her donations were specifically earmarked for environmental projects that have nothing to do with those political causes.
In a Jan. 22 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein notes that he has "hit Chris Matthews hard here in recent weeks" and decides to "give him credit for flashing some real reporter's instincts in going after Hillary aide Howard Wolfson."
"Hitting him hard" is not the phrase that comes to mind when thinking of Finkelstein's treatment of Matthews; misrepresenting and distorting Matthews' words is more like it.
And it's interesting that tough questioning of a Democrat is portrayed by Finkelstein as "flashing some real reporter's instincts." We suspect that Finkelstein has never used those words to describe tough questioning of a Republican, instead dismissing it as a hostile reporter showing liberal bias.
Warner Todd Huston started out his Jan. 22 NewsBusters post about a Washington Post article on the choice of Rich Little to headline the White House Correspondents Dinner, apparently to apologize for Stephen Colbert's appearance last year, with the usual conservative huffiness. "Being nice (to a Republican) simply isn't an option to the Washington Post, it appears ... Only the anti-Bush media could see a desire to be less mean spirited as something to lament," Huston sniped, adding, "Why does the comedian for this dinner have to be 'edgy' and have 'searing political humor'? Can't he just be funny?"
But when the Post mentioned conservative bete noire Keith Olbermann, Huston went apoplectic:
Obscenely, the Post quotes the unhinged sports guy, Keith Olbermann-- one of the most shrill purveyors of mean in the media today -- as saying that the press corp has gone soft on Washington over the choice of Little. It is as if Olbermann's is a noteworthy, thoughtful point in the story.
That's more or less how MSNBC host Keith Olbermann read it; he nominated the entire correspondents' association as his "Worst Person in the World" on his program last week.
Olbermann is proof that one need not be worthy of what we term "fame" today. In days gone by he would have been scorned as "infamous" and would not be celebrated as a celebrity or be awarded any measure of "fame." No one would want to be like him and no one would admit to watching him, either.
Funny, we thought Paris Hilton was "proof that one need not be worthy of what we term 'fame' today." And Huston's "scorned as 'infamous' " jab and following screed equally applies to Ann Coulter.
NewsMax Not Disclosing Morris' Anti-Hillary Activism Topic: Newsmax
Via Media Matters, we learn from Robert Novak that Dick Morris is "asking for a contribution between $25 and $100 or more to finance a critical film documentary of Sen. Hillary Clinton," citing the Swift Boat Veterans as a precedent.
Such activism would seem to conflict with Morris' punditry and prognostication, particularly as it relates to the 2008 presidential race. Yet Morris' NewsMax columns of Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 -- in which he is critical of Clinton's campaign and talks down her chances of winning the nomination -- do not disclose Morris' anti-Hillary activism.
Shouldn't NewsMax disclose Morris' anti-Hillary stance to readers so they can judge for themselves how seriously to take his anti-Hillary comments?
Sheppard Shocked by Non-Shocking Event Topic: NewsBusters
In a Jan. 21 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard claimed it was "shocking" that Chris Matthews referred to Hillary Clinton as "Dukakis in a dress" on "The Chris Matthews Show," thus calling her "a female incarnation of one of the biggest left-wing failures in decades."
But it's not as shocking as Sheppard professes to think: Matthews has called Clinton "Dukakis in a dress" atleastfourtimes previously.
We haven't written much on CNSNews.com's news coverage lately -- that's because CNS seems to be making a concerted effort to offer at least somewhat balanced coverage. This might have to do with the recent promotion of Patrick Goodenough, a former CNS international bureau chief, to managing editor. We don't recall the last time we singled out a Goodenough article for bias or bad reporting, which suggests that he's applying those standards across CNS.
That's not to say CNS doesn't fall back to its old ways on occasion. For instance, a Jan. 4 article by Susan Jones is essentially a Traditional Values Coalition press release that attacks a congressional proposal to add restrictions on lobbying efforts -- or, according to the TVC as reported by Jones, "an aggressive plan to 'muzzle' conservative groups through lobby reform" -- without offering any opposing view, let alone a neutral description of the legislation.
By contrast, a Jan. 16 article by Monisha Bansal on the same subject gave space to a group supporting the bill, though it presented 12 paragraphs of argument against it before getting to the proponents. It's still somewhat slanted -- what we've come to expect from the ConWeb -- but it did present both sides of the story, something that doesn't happen with Jones' press release-based grind-'em-out items.
Jones' Jan. 19 follow-up on the vote on the bill, however, goes back to old patterns by quoting only Republicans and conservative groups.
Telling the whole story, and not regurgitating press releases, is what truly serves readers, whatever their political affiliation. We hope CNS continues to improve on this front until it genuinely lives up to its mission statement to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."