The Republican Noise Machine: ConWeb in Lockstep on Gore Attack Topic: The ConWeb
As if they were following orders, WorldNetDaily, CNSNews.com, NewsMax (reprinting the CNS article) and NewsBusters all marched in lockstep and repeated a press release by the conservative Tennessee Center for Policy Research claiming that energy consumption at Al Gore's "mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year."
None of these ConWeb outlets offered independent verification or documentation of the claim, nor did they question how the group was able to obtain presumably private and confidential information about purported energy use -- they just rewrote the press release. All of them failed to offer a balanced account by making any apparent effort to contact Gore or his representatives for a response.
Ruddy Contradicts Himself, Bashes Clinton Topic: Newsmax
In an apparent effort to play down his remarks last week to the New York Times that Bill Clinton "wasn’t such a bad president" and "In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways," Christopher Ruddy's Feb. 27 NewsMax column contradicts those comments.
Here, Ruddy concedes only that "Bill Clinton can share in some of the credit" for the 1990s being "good years for America" and that "Clinton's economic record, I must reluctantly admit, looks even better after the past six years." He then heaps more credit on others:
But a large amount of the credit is due to Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America Republicans who stormed Capitol Hill in 1994 and overthrew decades of Democratic waste and runaway spending.
Sensing the change in America, Bill quickly jettisoned his liberal economic ideas, especially Hillarycare, and took a more centrist approach.
He also took some advice from political guru Dick Morris, who advised him to govern from the middle, embrace welfare reform, and work with the Republicans.
Good came out of it.
Ruddy also engages in the usual Clinton-bashing:
There is a dark side to the Clinton years, however.
For one thing, scandal after scandal plagued the president. Hillary may claim a "right-wing conspiracy," but it is doubtful Americans will want to return to such a polarizing period.
Ruddy doesn't mention that he was among those ginning up "scandal after scandal." He then recycles the discredited claim that Clinton "admitted he had the opportunity to get bin Laden before he left the Sudan in 1996, but declined an offer from the Sudanese to turn him over to the United States."
Is NewsMax trying to kill off John McCain's presidential campaign?
In a level of negativity normally reserved for people named Clinton, NewsMax has posted a trio of negative Feb. 27 articles about McCain: an "analysis" by Dick Morris claiming his campaign "may be dying before our eyes"; an article by Dave Eberhart asking if "the 70-year-old Vietnam icon keep from falling into the black hole of also-rans"; and an article by John Mercurio citing McCain's "anemic effort to joust with Tim Russert on NBC's 'Meet the Press'" and wondering if McCain's age is working against him.
We've know that NewsMax's Ronald Kessler has regularlyattacked McCain over his purported temper problems. It looks like that anti-McCain fervor is spreading to the rest of NewsMax.
Inaccuracy in AIM Award Winners Topic: Accuracy in Media
Shouldn't winners of awards from Accuracy in Media be proponents of, you know, accuracy in media? Apparently not: The winners of this year's Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award are Michelle Malkin and Mark M. Alexander.
Eric Boehlert has dutifully catalogued a representative list of Malkin's distortions and outright false claims. The columnsforwhich Malkin won her AIM Award were described by AIM chairman Don Irvine as "reporting the facts about illegal immigration that the media typically leave out." Uh, not so much. They focus mostly on the alleged Aztlan "reconquista" concept, which Malkin does not prove exists beyond a fringe movement (not to mention largely promoted by white supremacists as a scare tactic).
Alexander, proprietor of the conservative website Patriot Post, won for a column attacking polls conducted by "Leftmedia television and print outlets" as "largely a reflection of MSM indoctrination -- and thus comports with a liberal viewpoint." But as we've noted, this conflicts with an AIM study that used opinion polls to prove liberal media bias -- which failed to factor in the untold millions of dollars spent over the past few decades by AIM and other conservative groups to promote the idea that liberal media bias exist.
So, AIM is giving Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Awards to one person famous for inaccuracy and another who contradicts AIM's own behavior. Way to go, AIM!
Great Moments in Copy-Editing Topic: Media Research Center
Apparently, neither the Washington Times nor the Media Research Center employ copy editors. A Feb. 26 Times op-ed by MRC director of communications Michael Chapman starts this way:
Celebrities sell -- that's largely why their celebrities.
Uh, "that's largely why their celebrities" what?
We'd go after Chapman's use of the archaic term "limousine liberals" and general by-the-numbers liberal-bashing, but the improper grammar -- in the very first sentence, mind you -- is pretty much all you need to know.
Graham on 'Lesbian Rocker Melissa Etheridge' Topic: NewsBusters
Is the MRC's Tim Graham getting as obsessed about Teh Gay as Cliff Kincaid?
In a Feb. 25 NewsBusters post, Graham noted that E! pre-Oscar host Ryan Seacrest claimed his "favorite song is the lesbian rocker Melissa Etheridge's song 'I Need to Wake Up.'" The song was featured in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," a movie not about lesbians. Graham later noted that Gore "has pretended to "channel his inner lesbian rock star," linking to a blogger who noted that Gore once lip-synced to the Etheridge tune.
When asked by commenters why he made a point of noting Etheridge's lesbianism despite the fact that it was irrelevant to any point he was making, Graham replied:
I mentioned it because she's a liberal lesbian activist, and the Gores have been very much in the forefront of crusading for many gay-left causes. If she's out and proud and campaigning, why is it objectionable? It's like calling Jeremy Camp a "Christian rocker." It's what makes you distinctive.
But Camp writes songs that explore Christian themes and can't be defined as anything else. Very few, if any, songs by Etheridge could be defined as exploring exclusively lesbian themes. Even if Gore has shown sympathy for "gay-left" causes, Graham offers no evidence that Etheridge's lesbianism has any connection with her writing a song for Gore's movie.
Sheppard Can't Stop Insulting Gore Topic: NewsBusters
In a Feb. 25 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard continued his abuse of Al Gore. He once again called Gore's Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" a "schlockumentary," and after excerpting a section of Gore's acceptance speech, he added: "Can someone point me in the direction of the nearest water closet?"
In the comments section, Sheppard elaborated: "He's a charlatan who doesn't believe in anything but himself and attaining power. And, he's commiting a fraud on the population for his own benefit, not yours, and certainly not mine." Sheppard offered no evidence to support this claim.
"Stop the presses!" You've heard newspaper editors shout that phrase in old movies. Joseph Farah was never a newspaper editor in the movies - he was one in real life. But he no longer works with ink, presses and newsprint.
A decade ago, Farah founded WorldNetDaily.com (WND.com) and became a pioneer on the New Media frontier. Today WND.com is the largest independent news service on the Internet. Stop the Presses! is not just Farah's story, but that of a new wave of media superstars who have forever changed the way Americans get their news and express their views.
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Matt Drudge...these are just some of the New Media names that old-school media like ABC News has acknowledged "rule our world." This revolution has shaken the foundations of the mainstream media, eroding its ability to control the flow of information...and with it, the power to control the lives of millions around the world.
The New Media revolution's beginnings have never been told - until now.
In other words, look for it to be at least as self-congratulatory on conservative media -- and even more silent on WND's unjournalistic biases, distortions, plagiarism, unseemlylinks with sources, and unquestioningrepetition of conservative talking points -- as Richard Poe's (similarly WND-published) book, "Hillary's Secret War."
This time, Sheppard's tagets are Al Gore and the Washington Post -- specifically, the Post doing a front-page article on Gore's unusual path from vice president to Oscar-nominated filmmaker. From a Feb. 25 post:
The headline on the front page read: “Al Gore, Rock Star; Oscar Hopeful May Be America's Coolest Ex-Vice President Ever.”
No, this wasn’t the National Enquirer or some other cheesy tabloid that you try to ignore when you’re at a supermarket checkout counter.
This was the Washington Post.
And, much like the headline, the text despicably read like a tabloid story about Britney Spears' shaved head or Elvis sightings in Las Vegas.
This is pretty sickening, isn’t it? But there’s more:
Had enough? I have. Those that are interested can read the rest at their own risk. I’ve got to go wash my hands, and disinfect my keyboard.
Apparently, in Sheppard's world, it's "despicabl[e]" and "sickening" that anyone should be nice to Gore.
Sheppard has previously mocked Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" as a "schlockumentary" and a "farcical political advertisement" and attacked Gore and his "liberal, hypocritical, millionaire friends."
In a earlier Feb. 25 post, Sheppard touts an attack on Gore and "An Inconvenient Truth" by the Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels. But Sheppard fails to note Michaels' and Cato's ties to oil, coal and energy interests.
Sheppard Defends Another So-Called 'State Climatologist' Topic: NewsBusters
We've previously noted that NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard bought into the case of an Oregon "state climatologist" who was to be "fired" from his "job" for being a anti-global warming activist. Problem is, there's no official Oregon "state climatologist," the guy in question is not trained in climatology, and losing the title will not cost him any income or his current job as a college instructor.
Well, Sheppard's at it again. In a Feb. 23 post -- after once again citing the bogus claim about the Oregon "state climatologist" -- he repeated an article claiming that Delaware's "state climatologist," David Legates, has been ordered by the governor to "stop using his title in public statements on climate change." Sheppard added by way of weak qualification, "I haven’t been able to identify how long Legates has held this title, but it doesn’t appear to have been given to him by her." In fact, according to the article he cited (but doesn't include in his excerpt for his post), the "state climatologist" position carries no salary or state authority.
Sheppard does, however, note the article's citing of Legates' links to a pair of conservative groups -- the Competitive Enterprise Institute, "linked by some environmental groups to an Exxon-Mobil-funded 'misinformation' campaign," and the National Center for Policy Analysis. Sheppard claimed this was evidence that "this might be all about knocking off one of the primary global warming skeptics," adding, "This raises an important question: Is anybody safe during this witch hunt?"
If Sheppard really deplores such tactics, he might want to have a chat with NewsBuster nea-namesake Ken Shepherd. In a Feb. 22 post, Shephed complained that a public radio report that featured a certain study "didn't tell listeners about the political donations of the study's liberal author." Doesn't that make Shepherd a "witch hunter," by Sheppard's definition?
WND Misleads on Author's Visa Topic: WorldNetDaily
The headline of a Feb. 23 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh reads, "U.S. bans book sales by missionary." It implies that the U.S. has banned the missionary's book -- in this case, Charl Van Wyk's WND-published book "Shooting Back"; in fact, it has not. (Bartholomew details Van Wyk's background here.)
Unruh's lead is similarly misleading:
The U.S. government proclaims on its visa information website that America is a "free and open society" and citizens from around the world are "welcome" to conduct business and work temporarily.
But there are exceptions -- such as Christian missionaries selling books.
At least that is what South African author Charl van Wyk, who wrote the immensely popular "Shooting Back" book about his response to an attack by Muslim terrorists on a Christian church, discovered.
In fact -- as Unruh eventually details, and even then not very clearly -- this is a visa question. Van Wyk will be traveling from South Africa to the U.S. to give a presentation at WND's News Expo 2007 and also to, in his words, "preach in churches and sell my book." But U.S. visitor visas don't allow their holders to sell things, and Van Wyk calling himself a "missionary" complicates things further.
But rather than summing up the real issue as one of paperwork -- Van Wyk doesn't hold the proper visa to do what he wants to do, and has been conducting activities not permitted under the current visa he holds -- Unruh misleadingly cast it instead as a religious freedom issue.
Salvato Touts Skewed GOP Poll As "Independent" Topic: CNSNews.com
In a Feb. 23 CNSNews.com column, Frank Salvato promoted a Public Opinion Strategies poll that claimed that "57% of those polled agreed with the statement, 'I support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security for their people.'" Salvato called the poll "independent," claimed that it "featured direct and straight-forward questions on the subject of the Iraqi conflict," as opposed to "manufactured polls" by "the agenda-driven mainstream media and opportunistic politicians" that feature questions "constructed in such a way as to pre-determine the outcome of the poll."
In fact, the POS poll appears to be the kind of "manufactured poll" Salvato purports to dislike. As Media Matters points out, POS has proclaimed itself a "Republican polling firm" that "mourn[ed]" the losses of Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections. And as blogger Greg Sargent notes, Republican pollster David E. Johnson criticized the poll as, in Sargent's words, "leading and designed to elicit the answers they got."
Salvato also called the poll "a bi-partisan cross-section of 800 registered voters." In fact, the poll was heavily skewed toward conservatives: 38 of repondents called themselves conservative, versus 21 percent who called themselves liberal. By contrast, as we've noted, Republican strategist and CNSNews.com columnist Rich Galen has stated that "In the general population, those who claim to be Democrats outweigh those who claim to be Republicans by 7 to 9 percentage points."
Another WorldNetDaily article about that (not independently confirmed) homeschooling case in Germany, another likening of anyone who criticizes homeschooling to Nazis.
And in related Nazi analogy news, WND is now selling the documentary it promoted last summer purporting to link Darwin to Hitler, "Darwin's Deadly Legacy," in its online store. As we noted, it falsely conflates social Darwinism with evolution, its producers -- the conservative Coral Ridge ministry -- misled a scientist and put him in the video without his knowledge, and even some conservatives criticized it.
And as a bonus, here's Mychal Massie in his Feb. 20 WND column:
I have repeatedly argued that the level of bigotry inherent in diversity should be glaringly obvious. It is a perverse form of Hitlerian motivations vis-à-vis attempted social engineering for no other reason than to have a color-coded campus matrix.
A Feb. 22 CNSNews.com article by Kevin Mooney features several critics who charge that the Al Gore documentary "An inconvenIent Truth" does not deserve to win an Academy Award for best documentary because it "arguably violates" the criteria for the award because it "departs from reality" in its depiction of global warming. But nowhere does Mooney allow Gore or his reprsentatives to respond to those claims or note that he attempted to contact them for a response.
Mooney also features Dan Gifford, the filmmaker known for the Oscar-nominated documentary "Waco: The Rules of Engagement," which examines the 1993 Branch Davidian siege. Mooney writes: "Gifford recalls that the documentary came under fire. Since president Clinton was in office at the time, entertainment industry libearals were inclined to defend the government's position," adding: "The Waco documentary withstood the criticism because actual footage was used and compelling evidence introduced."
On the other hand, one review at the time of its 1997 release noted that the film "follows the current trend of one-sided documentary filmmaking. 'Waco' often isn't so much a documentary as it is propaganda for pro-[David] Koresh sympathizers."
In a Feb. 22 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard declared it "completely disgusting," "disgraceful," "despicabl[e]," "tripe," "nonsense," and "unmitigated audacity" that a GQ article would call for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. Nowhere does Sheppard address any of the claims the article made in support of its assertion.
Also, we could find no similiar assessment by Sheppard of conservatives who advocated impeachment of Bill Clinton.
Sheppard concluded: "This isn't journalism -- this is activism." Uh, Noel, it's GQ, not exactly a historic bastion of journalism.