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Thursday, August 2, 2007
Sheffield's Clinton Equivocation
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 2 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield takes your usual Clinton Equivocation-style attack, asserting that Bill Clinton's relationship with former CNN head Rick Kaplan is much more important and serious than Rudy Giuliani's relationship with Fox News head Roger Ailes, as detailed in a New York Times article, even though they are quite similar.

While recounting a long list of bullet points about Klein and Clinton, Sheffield would say only that Giuliani and Ailes "are friends and have done a few activities together," not mentioning that one of those activities involved Giuliani presiding over Ailes' marriage. Sheffield asserted that "Kaplan skewed coverage in favor of his friend," but he didn't note that the article's claim that Giuliani has appeared on Fox News more than any other presidential candidate.

Among Sheffield's bullet points of Kaplan's sins was that he "had been a political operative for a liberal presidential candidate before jumping to journalism," but Sheffield failed to note Ailes' history as a conservative political operative and media consultant for three Republican presidents before jumping to journalism.

Ignoring those points allowed Sheffield to claim that the only "dirt" the Times article had was that "Giuliani tried to get his city to carry FNC shortly after its launch when local cable monopoly TimeWarner, then in the process of buying CNN." What Sheffield fails to note: the Giuliani administration said it would broadcast Fox News on a municipal-run station, an action a federal judge blocked after calling it "special advocacy" to "reward a friend and to further a particular viewpoint."

In other words, your classic Clinton Equvocation double standard -- it's offensive to Sheffield when a Clinton does it, but not when a conservative does it.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT
J'Accused
Topic: The ConWeb

Ah, the thanks we get.

We nailed Media Mythbusters' Lorie Byrd on a false claim, forced her to issue a correction, and now fellow MMB blogger Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, in a July 29 post, is suggesting we're dishonest.

ConWebWatch who touts themselves as a media watchdog site seems to be very bothered by the fact that the current contributors to Media Mythbusters are all conservative. This is true… However, we launched only a week ago and have had a number of tips from contributors not listed who are liberal. The point to this venture is to expose misrepresentations in the media, falsehoods, mistakes and items that need correction. Frankly, being conservative or liberal has nothing to do with it. Facts are facts and truth is truth. But we would like to thank those detractors linking to us for the exposure and the competition. The more the web keeps the media honest, the better we like it - whether we do the exposing or someone else does. There’s enough work to go around for everyone.

The one item I did take an exception to was the dig at Lorie Byrd and her correction on the Sunni Burning Six story. Lorie candidly did a correction and did what she felt was right - she should be lauded for this, not criticized. When I see ConWebWatch do a correction or retraction, maybe I’ll take them a bit more seriously. Right now it sounds like serious sour grapes.

That's a weird statement: "When I see ConWebWatch do a correction or retraction, maybe I’ll take them a bit more seriously." Is Monroe-Hamilton suggesting we've made false statements? If so, she should back that up; we don't like being accused of something we didn't do. If I have made any significantly false claims, the websites I write about would have made a big stink about it by now in order to discredit me, and, well, they haven't. And by the way, we have issued corrections when we've gotten things wrong (here and here, for example).

And "serious sour grapes"? Please. ConWebWatch been in the misinformation-correction business a lot longer than Media Mythbusters has, so we know what we're doing; in addition, we work for a certain other media watchdog. We do, however, profess amazement that Byrd has such an "in" at a metropolitan daily newspaper that she can commandeer precious free space within to promote her nacent venture, while the rest of us have to write letters to that same paper to get our views across and then hope that the editor decides to print them. The "sour grapes" appear to be on the part of Media Mythbusters for our having caught Byrd in her error.

While we may have been gloating a bit about this, we somehow doubt that Byrd would not have corrected it on her own if we had not written the Examiner -- after all, it was not until that letter was published that Byrd issued her correction. Byrd's claim that the AP "retracted" the "Sunni Burning Six" story would otherwise have become another misleading conservative meme.

P.S.: Monroe-Hamilton asks in another July 29 post: "Why would the media blithely believe sources within our enemies’ ranks?" Good question. Go ask Aaron Klein


Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Gratuitous Pacer-Bashing
Topic: CNSNews.com

A July 31 CNSNews.com column by Kevin Martin -- a member of the black-conservative group Project 21, just like Erebus-obsessed Mychal Massie -- makes misleading claims about auto efficiency and safety, gratutiously slamming the hapless AMC Pacer in the process.

After noting that Barack Obama doesn't drive a hybrid car despite supporting increased fuel efficiency, Martin writes:

I choose to drive a Suzuki Grand Vitara. It gets me 18 miles per gallon inthe city and 22 miles per gallon on the highway. I need an SUV because my job as an environmental contractor requires me to carry both equipment and people to building sites. I can't do that in a hybrid Honda Insight.

Besides, I can't even buy a Honda Insight anymore. Honda discontinued it last year due to poor sales, and it just announced it is discontinuing its Accord hybrid for the same reason.

Aside from falsely suggesting that the Honda insight and Accord are the only hybrids on the market and nobody wants to buy them (has he never heard of the Toyota Prius) Martin is suggesting he would buy a hybrid SUV. Allow us to suggest the Ford Escape, the Mercury Mariner, or (if Martin can afford it, which his wingnut welfare just might do) the Lexus RX400 -- all hybrid SUVs of which beat his Grand Vitara in mileage and can still haul his equipment and people.

Then, after claiming that "approximately 2,000 deaths per year since 1975 can be attributed to smaller vehicles that were downsized to increase their fuel efficiency," Martin adds: "Raising fuel economy requirements again wil make the reincarnation of a car-safety blunder like the AMC Pacer almost a certainty."

Huh? While there were many issues with the Pacer (not the least of which is that Garth drove one), safety was not one of them. In fact, it was designed to incorporate many safety features. It was also not as fuel-efficient as intended; designed around a Wankel engine that GM ended up canceling, the Pacer used heavy, inefficient engines from other AMC cars and actually got somewhat worse mileage than Martin's Grand Vitara.

Martin needs to do a bit more research on hybrids before putting pen to paper again -- and not lie about AMC products.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell's Aug. 1 column takes a stab at a quasi-defense of Alberto Gonzales -- not by actually defending the guy, but by attacking his attackers, specifically Sen. Charles Schumer, and rather lamely playing the Clinton Equivocation card by rehashing misleading Clinton-scandal talking points. Bozell writes:

How many Democrats would suggest that Hillary Clinton should resign, or should have never run for office, for hiding Rose Law Firm documents from the special prosecutor in the Whitewater investigation for several years (until they were discovered near her private office in the White House quarters)? Special prosecutor Robert Ray found Hillary Clinton provided factually false statements to the special prosecutor in the Travel Office case. Neither Rep. Schumer nor Sen. Schumer cared.

Bozell, of course, leaves out important information in order to bash the Clintons. He offers no evidence that Clinton was deliberately "hiding" the records, nor does he note that the records don't implicate her in any way in the Whitewater scandal. And Bozell conveniently ignores that Ray also ruled regarding the travel office:

The decision to fire the Travel Office employees was a lawful one. The Travel Office employees served at the pleasure of President Bill Clinton, and they were subject to discharge without cause.

[...]

[T]he evidence is insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that either Mr. Watkins or Mrs. Clinton committed perjury or obstruction of justice during the course of their testimony before GAO, the Congress, and this investigation.

[...]

Thus, absent persuasive, corroborated, and admissible evidence to the contrary, there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mrs. Clinton's statements to this Office or to Congress were knowingly false.

Bozell added:

This controversy is supposedly about the dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys. So where was Chuck Schumer when the Clinton administration dismissed all 93 U.S. Attorneys in 1993? Back then, it was perfectly fine. Now he’s outraged. No one in the “news” media cares about the hypocrisy.

As we've repeatedly documented, there's no comparison -- no matter how much Bozell and his MRC minions insist there is -- between the Clinton's dismissal of U.S. attorneys at the start of his administration and the Bush administration's dismissal of attorneys he appointed, apparently because they refused to inject politics into their prosecutions.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:21 PM EDT
Folger Apologizes for Using Neo-Nazi Source
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ed Brayton reports that WorldNetDaily columnist Janet Folger has posted an addendum to her July 24 column in which she apologizes for using a racist neo-Nazi as a source of information. Brayton notes that she doesn't address or correct the other false claims in her column: "I think that speaks volumes - the truth doesn't matter, only the perception that she might be associated with a racist matters."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 AM EDT
WND's Passive-Aggressive Protest Begins
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has begun its passive-aggressive protest of Tony Snow. Instead of Les Kinsolving attending White House press briefings, WND is posting on its website "one question from WND, one proposed from among WND's millions of readers and two from Kinsolving." The questions from Kinsolving for July 31 are the frivolous kind we've come to expect from him. Here's one:

In the president's speech to the American Legislative Exchange Council in Philadelphia, the transcript quotes him as saying, on page 7, "I believe you'll be driving to work over the next couple of years in an automobile powered by electricity and it won't have to look like a golf cart. Question: Is that possibly a typo with the word years instead of decades?

That's just a snarky smear of electric cars. Snow certainly does not need to wastte his time answering it. 

Meanwhile, in that July 31 article containing the day's questions, WND is engaging in revisionist history regarding its dispute with Snow. WND asserts that "Within one week's time Snow refused to take any Kinsolving questions during three out of four daily White House press briefings" without offering evidence that Snow is legally or traditionally compelled to take questions from Kinsolving.

Further, WND makes no mention all of Snow's base complaing with Kinsolving: that he twisted Snow's words in a WND article. As we've detailed, WND has never addressed this complaint.

We're not exactly sure what all this passive-aggressiveness is supposed to accomplish. Joseph Farah's purported goal is for Snow to treat Kinsolving with respect, but 1) Kinsolving's history shows he doesn't exactly deserve it; 2) you don't see other reporters whining when mean ol' Tony doesn't treat them with the respect they think they deserve; and 3) WND hasn't addressed Snow's base concern and has, in fact, exaberated it by telling its readers an increasingly misleading story about what happened -- not exactly the best way to get back in Snow's good graces.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Erebusic!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Mychal Massie reprises his favorite (non)word in a July 31 WorldNetDaily column comparing "Michael Vick's alleged involvement in dog fighting" with the alleged "40,000 black children a month ... ripped apart in what should be their most sacred sanctuary" -- with a little explanation:

The Erebusic evil of child genocide, black child genocide specifically, must be stopped. And for those Magdalenian liberals who are as unfamiliar with the name Erebus as they are Greek Mythology, Gene Wolf or Anne Rice – abortion is indeed the very personification of the darkness and hell that shadows our society.

The WND database shows five columns in which Massie has used the word -- three in the past month. While the dictionary does note the existence of Erebus, it contains no provision for using the name as a adjective.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:25 PM EDT
A Double Standard on Campaign Hires
Topic: NewsBusters

Remember when the MRC folks got all het up over the John Edwards campaign hiring two bloggers for low-level posts who wrote things prior to their hiring that the MRC didn't like? Brent Bozell treated the bloggers' views as Edwards' own, as the headline "John Edwards Maligns Faith" attests. Months after the bloggers were forced to resign, the MRC was still ranting about "John Edwards' bigoted bloggers."

Fast-forward to a July 29 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston regarding another controversial hire by another presidential candidate. But the treatment is much, much different.

Huston reported on the Fred Thompson campaign's hiring of former congressman Spencer Abraham. Described in some news reports as a "campaign manager," Huston declares that "Spence" (as Huston affectionately calls him -- interesting that he feels close enough to Abraham to call him that) "will be a mere campaign advisor and 'ambassador' to Washington, NOT the campaign manager," adding "Abraham is not in the decision making position that other news media is assuming he is going to be." Either way, though, Spence is in a pretty high-level position in the campaign.

Why is that noteworthy? Because Abraham has been accused of being "anti-Israel," not a popular stance in the Republican Party and certainly not a part of the platform of any Republican presidential candidate.

While Huston acknowledges the issue, he doesn't rush to hang Abraham's views around Thompson's neck, as his fellow MRC writers did with Edwards and the bloggers, or even make an effort to confirm or deny that characterization of Abraham's views. Rather, in addition to demonstrating that Abraham will not be in a "decision making position" in Thompson's campaign, Huston digs up several examples to show that "Thompson does not have a record of being anti-Israel," concluding, "Man. None of THAT seems too anti-Israel!!"

Would Huston and the rest of the NewsBusters gang be as charitable if a person with Abraham's views had hired onto a Democratic campaign? As the Edwards case demonstrates, not a chance. It's just another double standard.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:34 PM EDT
New Article: A Nostalgia for Racism
Topic: The ConWeb
Will those conservatives who support a return to restrictive 1920s-era immigration laws acknowledge the racist and eugenicist origins of those laws? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EDT
NewsBusters Bashes Blumenthal
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Matthew Balan went on a tirade Monday, devoting two entire posts to attacking liberal blogger Max Blumenthal, as well as CNN's featuring of Blumenthal's video nailing College Republicans who support the Iraq war but won't enter the military.

Balan's first July 30 post smears Blumenthal as a "left-wing hack" and his video as a "hack job," but he offers no evidence of the "hackery" he accuses Blumenthal of. Balan is also inordinately fond of saying "left-wing"; he makes use of the terms "left-wing Internet clips," "left-wing Internet production," "Blumenthal’s left-wing associations," "the left-wing writer," and "left-wing partisan journalist."

In his other post, Balan again references "Blumenthal latest [sic] left-wing hack job." he also takes issue with the CNN descriptor "a man named Max Blumenthal":

Blumenthal is not merely a "writer" and/or a "man." He has written for  "The Nation" magazine, "The Huffington Post," and for "Media Matters for America," the left-wing "watchdog" group. All three institutions are part of the radical left-wing, a label that Blumenthal apparently rejects, as [CNN's Josh] Levs repeated in the first segment.

Crikey! We work for a "radical left-wing" institution? But since the Media Research Center -- where Balan is a news analyst -- is the ideological opposite of Media Matters, doesn't that mean the MRC is a "radical right-wing" institution? And, thus, shouldn't Balan refer to the MRC as that? We will.

Further, Balan gets it wrong by claiming that the College Republicans video was not "Blumenthal['s] latest left-wing hack job." That was posted July 19; Blumenthal's actual latest video, posted July 27, takes a look inside John Hagee's Christians-for-Israel gathering.

UPDATE: Brent Baker toned down Balan's rhetoric in turning the posts into a July 31 CyberAlert item, deleting Balan's "hack" attacks and his description of Media Matters, et al, as "radical left-wing" institutions.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 12:45 PM EDT
Monday, July 30, 2007
Folger Defends Neo-Nazi Source
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ed Brayton is still on the case of WorldNetDaily columnist Janet Folger's dubious anti-gay claims -- particularly, her use of a neo-Nazi racist's purported statistics to support a claim about anonymous gay sex. Brayton now reports that Folger apparently just plucked that statistic off a Free Republic post without doing any further research, and Folger's spokesman defends the use of the neo-Nazi racist because, hey, Charles Darwin and Karl Marx were racists too.

As we've noted, Folger has a history of making misleading or false claims. 

(h/t Bartholomew)


Posted by Terry K. at 11:46 AM EDT
WND Twists Obama's Words
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long had an anti-immigrant -- and anti-Barack Obama -- bias. Those two interests meshed in a July 29 WND article, which gave it a chance to smear both.

The article took Obama's support for a court decision that overturned efforts by the town of Hazelton, Pa., to penalize landlords who rented to illegal immigrants and twisted it as saying that Obama "praised the recent court decision overturning one city's attempt to protect itself from hostile foreigners filling their streets with drugs, crime and gangs as 'a victory for all Americans.'"

In fact, as the article itself later notes, Obama merely echoed the court's ruling that the law was "unconstitutional and unworkable," adding that "it underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform so local communities do not continue to take matters into their own hands." 

The article's headline went on to describe Hazelton as a "terrorized town," but it offers little evidence to support that claim. The only actual crime in Hazelton the article notes is that "two illegals were charged in a fatal shooting" -- hardly evidence of "terrorism."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EDT
Does Kinsolving Really Deserve Respect?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has come to the defense of his White House correspondent, Les Kinsolving -- but he never addresses the base conflict that caused the situation in the first place.

In his July 26 column, Farah declared that Kinsolving "will no longer attend" White House press briefings because press secretary Tony Snow was not being "fair" to Kinsolving. This stems from an altercation between the two at the July 26 press briefing. According to Farah's excerpt of the briefing, Snow asserted that Kinsolving had "thoroughly twist[ed] out of context the answer I gave you" a previous story, which Snow called "a disservice to this White House and to the craft of journalism" and told Kinsolving to "pick up the phone and tell them [WND] to start cleaning up or writing corrections."

Farah wrote: "This is a rebuke, and a threat, and an attempt to control Les Kinsolving and WND's right to ask questions at the White House." But Farah never responds to Snow's base claim -- that Kinsolving "twisted" his words.

Snow's criticism appears to stem from a July 23 WND article, unbylined but presumably written by Kinsolving, which claimed: "Attempts by cities or other governments to sidestep federal policy and make their own provisions for illegal aliens won't get any attention from the White House, spokesman Tony Snow says." Kinsolving had asked: "Reuters reports that New Haven, Conn., will begin issuing to illegal aliens city ID cards to allow them access to city programs and to open bank accounts. My question: What is the president's reaction to this municipal…",

Kinsolving left out important context in his question to Snow; unmentioned was the fact that New Haven intends the cards as a way to, as the Christian Science Monitor reported, "protect them from crime that can happen because of a lack  of documentation, and encourage them to be more willing to report crimes to police." And those "city programs" that the ID card allows illegals access to? That would be "libraries, beaches, and parks – and as a debit card for city parking meters and at 15 downtown shops." In other words, the city isn't giving away money to illegals, as Kinsolving seems to suggest.

Snow responded to Kinsolving's misleading question by saying, "Let me lay down a general rule, which is: The president, because of federalism reasons, does not talk about state, local, county, municipality, Cub Scout, Girl Scout, or other resolutions." Kinsolving twisted that to say that the law "won't get any attention from the White House," adding, "Nor is this the only time the White House has expressed little interest in what local governments do concerning the federal issue of immigration – legal or otherwise." As evidence of the latter claim, Kinsolving cited an exchange between Snow and Kinsolving after Kinsolving asked about the Portland, Ore., mayor's statement that he was "angered" that 150 suspected illegal aliens were arrested; Kinsolving asserted that the mayor "openly advocated overlooking existing federal immigration law" though he didn't explain how expressing anger equated advocating "overlooking existing federal immigration law":

SNOW: Was he not talking about an arrest, Lester?

WND: Yes.

SNOW: Well, then I hardly see that the mayor was in a position to circumvent the law.

Again, Kinsolving does not explain how Snow pointing out that the mayor had no power to reverse the arrests constituted the White House "express[ing] little interest in what local governments do concerning the federal issue of immigration."

So we have this allegation of bad journalism against Kinsolving and WND, which Farah makes no attempt to answer either in that column or a follow-up column on July 28 in which he alluded to the issue of Kinsolving "twisting" Snow's words only by noting that Snow "chew[ed] him out because he didn't like the way stories were reported and edited in WND," not addressing the specific allegation. Instead, Farah insisted that Kinsolving is a "truly distinguished journalist" and "a good and decent man" who "has character. He is a living institution – the kind of man who should be honored with dinners and testimonials, not treated like somebody's crazy aunt."

Really? We've previously noted the kinds of questions Kinsolving has asked -- which swing from Jeff Gannon-esque sycophancy to the stunningly irrelevant -- and they've definitely earned Kinsolving the privilege of being "treated like somebody's crazy aunt."

Farah manages to get something else wrong -- claiming that columnist Helen Thomas "is treated with respect – even deference by Snow." Not even close, unless Farah thinks Snow saying to her, "thank you for the Hezbollah view" -- and "stop heckling and let me conduct a press conference" are part of some new definition of "deference" Farah has conjured up.

UPDATE: Kinsolving has a history of getting basic facts wrong. Read more about that and other sycophantic questions under our "Daily Les" file (see also Holden's Obsession with the Gaggle). And the Raw Story has video of the final Snow-Kinsolving altercation.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 30, 2007 1:10 AM EDT
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Huston's Partisan Attack
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters is normally relatively restrained when it comes to partisan attacks on Democrats and progressives. But Warner Todd Huston has apparently decided that needs to change. In a July 29 post, he:

  • Calls liberal activists "nutroots."
  • Uses the false, politically motivated construct "Democrat Party." 
  • Falsely asserted that Al Gore said he invented the Internet: "We can't let the left beat us with the Internet. I mean, Al Gore may have invented it, but WE should OWN it!"
  • Accompanied his post with a highly unflattering photo of Hillary Clinton. 

Huston went on to assert that the San Francisco Chronicle, in a article on YearlyKos, the convention held by supporters of the Daily Kos blog, has gone "ga ga over the YearlyKos convention being held in Chicago" and is "interested in smoothing the differences between the assumed powerful Internet lefties and candidate Hillary Clinton." Huston claims the Chronicle is "acting in the role of mediator" between Daily Kos denizens and Hillary Clinton by "trying to get readers to believe that Hillary is seeing a 'thaw' in the hate the nutroots has shown her thus far. They sure hope so, anyway, and here is their bid to help that "thaw" along." Huston added: "The Chronicle would love this “thaw” to be the case. Fortunately, there is no real evidence that such a thing is taking place except in the Chronicle's fevered imagination."

Huston, of course, offers no actual evidence of this; he's merely making the depiction-equals-approval-like assumption that mere reporting on the dispute between Daily Kos and Clinton equals endorsement of their views and a desire to present them in as positive a light as possible. He conveniently omits evidence to support the opposite -- namely that the Chronicle also quoted Markos Moulitsas Zuniga saying, "It's hilarious that (Hillary Clinton's) not even attending her own group," the moderate Democratic Leadership Council meeting -- a group that Bill Clinton was heavily involved in -- held at the same time as YearlyKos. If the Chronicle is really agitating for a "thaw," as Huston asserts, would it have included that quote?

Huston might want to check with his NewsBusters superiors to see if such a blatantly partisan attack is permitted under the MRC's 501(c)3 tax exemption -- and perhaps offer up some actual evidence to back up his claims while he's at it. 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:10 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 29, 2007 5:58 PM EDT
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Double Standard on Boycotts
Topic: NewsBusters

Remember how NewsBusters' Tom Blumer was trying to get people to take seriously conservative activists' boycott against Ford for its alleged "aggressive support of homosexual advocacy groups and publications" and insisting that the boycott was hurting the automaker's sales (though he had no actual evidence to back that up)?  You'd think that NewsBusters would take all boycotts seriously, right?

Well, think again. Here's NewsBusters executive editor Matthew Sheffield, in a July 28 post on a plan to boycott Fox News advertisers: "Ah to be a liberal, to proclaim my tolerance and open-mindedness with a few tacky bumperstickers and then turn around and try to silence any type of political divergence." 

Gosh, somebody doesn't like boycotts -- and he might want to alert his NewsBusters underling.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:00 PM EDT

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