Blumer Wants Us To Believe Anonymous, Unsubstantiated Claims Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 9 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer claims that an Associated Press article on the Scott Thomas Beauchamp controversy "make[s] it appear that this is a "he said, she said" dispute, instead of a situation where Beauchamp and TNR have been thoroughly discredited." Citing the anonymously sourced Weekly Standard article by Michael Goldfarb asserting that Beauchamp's articles have been discredited, Blumer claims "Goldfarb had, and has, at least two sources." But those sources are anonymous, which we thought was a bad thing as far as conservatives are concerned. Indeed, fellow NewsBuster Robin Boyd wrote not too long ago: "The use of 'anonymous' sources is nothing more than a journalistic ploy to prevent others from verifying the information presented."
Further, as Eric Boehlert points out, the Army has said that neither the results of its investigation of Beauchamp's claims nor his alleged recantation of said claims will be made public -- as Boehlert put it, "we just have to take their word for it."
This means Blumer is asking us to believe anonymous claims that lack verifiable proof -- a different standard than the one to which he held the Associated Press in the Jamil Hussein (non-)controversy.
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein continues to hide relevant information about conflicts in the West Bank town of Hebron from his readers.
In his Aug. 9 WND article, Klein again details the eviction by Israeli Defense Forces of two families in a Hebron market without noting their right-wing extremist sympathies, and repeated his assertion that the Hebron market was closed "after a series of clashes broke out in the mid-1990s" without noting that one of those "clashes" was right-wing extremist Jew Baruch Goldstein's massacre of 29 Arabs in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994.
New Article: Freshly Brewed Smears Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnist and Faith2Action chief Janet Folger is all too willing to mislead and lie -- and even quote a neo-Nazi racist -- in order to promote her anti-gay agenda. Read more.
Hillary Too Polarizing, Says Hillary-Hater LeBoutillier Topic: Newsmax
In his Aug. 8 NewsMax column, John LeBoutillier writes of the 2008 presidential election and Hillary Clinton:
Out of it all, the country wants to find someone who makes at least an effort to re-unite us all as Americans first and partisans second.
Hillary cannot do this and will never be able to. The very minute she takes office many will oppose her. And that will never change. She is a polarizing figure, just the way G.W. Bush has become polarizing. Can a nation of 300 million people only elect presidents now from two families? Are the two main political parties the wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Bushes and the Clintons? Until this changes, we, as a nation, are in for more years of division and disgust.
LeBoutillier doesn't mention that one of the reasons Hillary Clinton is a "polarizing figure" is that he himself has a personal, vested interest in keeping it that way. As we've detailed, LeBoutillier regularly attacks Hillary in his column, operates the Stop Hillary PAC, and was the chief spokesman for the now-abandoned Counter Clinton Library.
If Hillary cannot "re-unite us all as Americans" if elected, it's because of people like LeBoutillier (and several other NewsMax writers) who don't want that to happen if Hillary is involved.
Waters Ignores That Giuliani, Romney Share Obama's 'Extreme' Pakistan Position Topic: Media Research Center
In an Aug. 7 TimesWatch item, Clay Waters claimed that a New York Times blog post "takes a rather hostile anti-Republican tone that portrays second-tier candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo as an extremist who has gone too far even for a party that likes to posture as tough," based on Tancredo's assertion that "the United States should reserve the right to bomb Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, in retaliation for a major terrorist attack on American soil." Waters responded: "By contrast, when Democratic candidate Barack Obama suggested the United States invade an ally, Pakistan, to go after Al Qaeda, possibly destablizing a nuclear power, Jeff Zeleny's August 2 report didn't find anything controversial or gaffe-like."
First, Waters didn't give the full context of Obama's statement -- that when he "suggested the United States invade an ally, Pakistan, to go after Al Qaeda," he also said he would do so only if "we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act."
Second, perhaps Zeleny "didn't find anything controversial or gaffe-like" because major Republican presidential candidates hold the same position as Obama. As Media Matters notes, even though Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney attacked Obama for his statement regarding Pakistan, they agreed with its substance. Romney said, "Of course America always maintains our options to do whatever we think is in the best interests of America," while Giuliani said, "I would take that option if I thought there was no other way to crush Al Qaeda, no other way to crush the Taliban, and no other way to be able to capture bin Laden."
NewsBusters Takes Mine Owner At His (Misleading) Word Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 7 NewsBusters post by Terry Trippany (also posted at her own blog, Webloggin) uncritically accepts as fact the assertions of media bias made by Bob Murray, head of the Murray Energy Corp., regarding coverage of a collapse in a Utah mine he operates in which serveral miners are trapped. Murray specifically attacked Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein and Fox News.
Trippany picked up on Murray's attack on Borenstein, claiming that a Borenstein article "looked past any facts in cause of the Utah mine collapse and concentrated instead on the type of mining being done." Trippany adds:
There is no doubt in my mind that an agenda is being driven in Borenstein's report. Why else would he concentrate on the type of mining being done instead of getting geological information that would substantiate or disprove the claims of the mining company? ... A perfect drive by for a perfectly silly report that leads the reader to believe that a greedy corporation is violating safety rules to make a quick buck.
Trippany cited an edited version of Borenstein's article, apparently thinking it was all Borenstein wrote. The full version shows that Borenstein also quoted a co-owner of the collapsed mine and a spokesman for the mining industry calling the method in question safe and successful. Trippany claimed the article "leads the reader to believe that a greedy corporation is violating safety rules to make a quick buck" without noting that Murray Energy has racked up a rather notable tally of federal safety violations and that Murray himself has opposed more stringent mining safety regulations. (Borenstein's article didn't note that either.)
Trippany seems to be making the assumption that everything Murray says is ipso facto true and beyond question. For instance, Trippany states that the mine "collapsed after an earthquake struck the area" -- a claim Murray has made. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey and seismologists at the University of Utah have stated that there was no earthquake in the area, and that the collapse itself caused the recorded seismic event.
Further, while Trippany noted that Murray "also took a swipe at Fox News," she does not explore or attack what Fox News allegedly reported, unlike what she did with the AP. As we'vereported, the MRC typically turns a blind eye to evidence of bias at Fox News.
In an Aug. 8 NewsBusters post, Sheppard notes that Al Gore said in a speech that global-warming deniers "offered a bounty of $10,000 for each article disputing the consensus that people could crank out and get published somewhere" a mere few days after a Newsweek article outlining the strategy and funding behind the deniers makes the same claim (and that both used the word "deniers"), Sheppard asks (while offering no evidence that disproves the claim):
Is this a coordinated attack designed to incite anger in citizens that polls show are not as upset about this issue as the left and their media minions?
Coincidence, or a coordinated campaign by the left to stifle the growing number of scientists around the world who are speaking out and writing articles refuting anthropogenic global warming theories whilst inciting the public's anger?
Certainly, it seems quite suspicious that Gore and Newsweek ignored actual funding data going to both sides of this debate while employing very similar language just days apart to point fingers at "deniers," as well as using the tobacco industry analogy.
That "actual funding data" is, in fact, gamed statistics by Marc Morano, flack for global warming denier Sen. James Inhofe and a former CNSNews.com reporter, alleging that (caps are his) "proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION by comparison." For instance, Morano states (and Sheppard regurgitates) that "The Sierra Club Foundation 2004 budget was $91 million and the Natural Resources Defense Council had a $57 million budget for the same year," but he offers no evidence to support his highly unlikely assumption that all $148 million -- or even any of it; Morano does't bother to detail any specific global-warming activities the two organizations are allegedly engaged in -- went toward fighting global warming. Morano has apparently lumped the entire budgets of such groups into his total regardless of how little of that was actually spent on global warming program related activities.
Meanwhile, as we've noted, it's highly likely that Morano is lowballing the money spent by "skeptics," given that a single conservative activist organization spent a half-million bucks on newspaper ads alone -- more than 5 percent of Morano's claimed total.
Sheppard, meanwhile, should not be complaining about conspiracies and coordination. His own copious history of NewsBusters posts on the subject shows that he's an all-too-willing shill for the global-warming-denial industry, so it's not untoward to wonder who his puppet masters are. In particular, Sheppard may feel a special kinship with Morano, who we can assume to be happy to help his old buddies at the MRC. After all, Sheppard's and Morano's screeds agaisnt the Newsweek article appeared in such close -- one might say suspicious -- proximity to each other that we can certain wonder if there was, in Sheppard's words, a coordinated attack.
Before accusing others, Sheppard needs to come clean with his readers on his own coordination efforts.
P.S.: The MRC proper also gets into the Newsweek-bashing act (coincidence?). In an Aug. 8 CyberAlert, Brent Baker calls the Newsweek article a "screed" and complained that the article "employed the belittling term 'denial machine' 14 times." Not because it's not true, mind you, but because it's "belittling." Baker joins Sheppard in uncritically citing Morano's purported statistics on funding.
UPDATE: More evidence Morano is fudging his numbers: In his article claiming that "$50 BILLION" has been spent "researching and promoting climate fears." Morano cites a "$3 billion donation to the global warming cause from Virgin Air's Richard Branson." In fact, Branson said that money is going toward developing clean technologies, such as wind turbines and cleaner-burning aviation fuel, with a heavy emphasis on developing "cellulosic" ethanol.
Development of non-fossil-based fuels is "promoting climate fears"?
And that $19 million number Morano and Sheppard are tossing around as the paltry figure that "skeptics" get? That's a fudge as well. They haven't added up any figures of the budgets of conservative global warming-denying groups; as Morano himself admits, that's just a single statistic, the amount Exxon Mobil has given to "groups skeptical of man-made global warming."
Aaron Klein's Aug. 7 WorldNetDaily article on Israeli officials who "forcibly evicted two Jewish families from a Jewish-owned market place" in the West Bank city of Hebron keeps up his whitewash job on the incident, again failing to note the right-wing and extremist sympathies of those evicted.
Klein also repeated his statement that the market was closed "after a series of clashes broke out in the mid-1990s" without noting that one of those "clashes" was right-wing extremist Jew Baruch Goldstein's massacre of 29 Arabs in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994.
NewsBusters Wants to See Chelsea Clinton Drunk Topic: NewsBusters
What is with NewsBusters' obsession with Chelsea Clinton's (long-ago) drinking habits?
An Aug. 7 post by Scott Whitlock marks the second time in a month that this issue has come up there. This time around, Whitlock is miffed that a "Good Morning America" report that referenced "Jenna Bush's many underage drinking incidents" didn't mention "the public drunkenness of Chelsea Clinton." Like Mark Finkelstein before him, Whitlock fails to acknowledge one crucial difference: Unlike Jenna Bush, Chelsea Clinton didn't break any laws with her drinking.
That link Whitlock supplies, by the way, is an 2-year-old anonymous report from a gossip blog -- hardly concrete evidence of Chelsea's alleged debauchery. Would Whitlock accept such evidence against the Bush twins?
Sheppard Thinks Press Releases Are News Stories Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 6 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard asserts that a challenge by anti-global warming author Dennis Avery to debate Al Gore on the subject was "reported by PR Newswire."
Um, Noel, PR Newswire doesn't "report" anything. It is a press release distribution service; it distributes only what businesses and organizations have paid to distribute. Sheppard doesn't mention that the organization that paid to distribute Avery's challenge is the Heartland Institute, whose press releases Sheppard has previously regurgitated while failing to note that it's an activist group with conservative leanings, secrecy regarding its funding and dubious ties to the tobacco industry.
Sheppard, strangely, does repeat a quote from the press release that "The Heartland Institute has run more than $500,000 of ads in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Times promoting a debate." That's right -- a half-million dollars spent on ads by one group. Did Marc Morano include this amount in the allegedly paltry $19 million he claims global warming deniers have spent (which Sheppard claimed without support were "actual hard dollar numbers)? We somehow doubt it.
Corsi Conspiracy: NAFTA Blamed for Bridge Collapse Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember conservatives' eagerness to center any and every sort of conspiracy around Bill Clinton? The new bogeyman appears to be any economic cooperation whatsoever between the United States, Canada and Mexico, and WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi is the high priest of that little religion.
An Aug. 5 WND article by Corsi endeavors to blame the Minnesota bridge collapse on NAFTA. Really:
Evidence of increasing international trade truck traffic on Interstate 35 through Minnesota raises concerns that NAFTA Superhighway traffic contributed to last week's collapse of the freeway bridge in Minneapolis.
WND has unearthed a Federal Highway Administration report dating back to 1998 that warned increasing NAFTA truck traffic was expected to create a safety concern with bridges in states along the I-35 NAFTA Superhighway, including Minnesota.
Corsi eventually descends into his longtime activism against a transportation corridor in Texas, the only tangental link to Minnesota is that the corridor would run "parallel to Interstate 35." Corsi doesn't explain why transcontinental trade is a bad thing.
Corsi also rails against something called the North America's SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc. (NASCO), which "designates I-35 as a NAFTA Superhighway." he ominously adds: "The original 2005 NASCO website opened with a graphic map of I-35 that highlighted in yellow the continental nature of the I-35 NAFTA Superhighway, illustrating clearly the highway's links into Mexico and Canada."
But the NASCO map Corsi appended to his article shows that its interest in I-35 in Minnesota stopping short of full transcontinental ambitions. The map's representation of I-35 stops at Duluth, Minnesota and does not extend from there into Canada.
And thus, Corsi's bizarre bridge conspiracy starts to crumble.
UPDATE: An Aug. 7 article by Corsi repeats his conspiracy theory, but again, Corsi doesn't explain why trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico is a bad thing or, if such trade is in fact a good thing, why new highways and trade corridors shouldn't be built and expanded.
Corsi needs to pick a conspiracy and stick with it.
Klein Keeps Up Hebron Whitewash Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein's whitewash of the right-wing extremist aspects of a dispute over two Jewish families living without permission in a market in the West Bank town of Hebron continues.
An Aug. 6 article by Klein repeats his quoting of Shlomit Bar-Kochba without reporting that her father is Moshe Zar, a Jewish landowner West Bank who served prison time for his role in terrorist acts against Arabs in the 1980s, including a bombing that blew off the legs of one Arab West Bank mayor -- a clue to the extremist motivations of Bar-Kochba. Klein also quoted a member of Israel's National Union Party without describing its political persuasion -- that is, right-wing. By contrast, Klein is not shy about pointing out when Israeli political parties are left of center.
The main thrust of Klein's article was a report that some Israel Defense Forces infantry troops and two commanders have refused to participate in the planned evacuation of the families from the market. Klein described those resisting troops only as "mostly religious troops" who "reached their decision after consulting with their rabbis, who instructed them to not play any role in the evacuation, including an indirect one." But as with Bar-Kochba, other sources tell us what Klein does not.
A Jerusalem Post article reports that the rebelling troops belong to a "hesder yeshivot" -- a program which combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service in the IDF. In other words, these are Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox Jews who are resisting their military command.
Further, the UK Guardian reports that Yaakov Amidror -- "a right-wing retired general" whom WND quoted approvingly in December 2004 -- as saying that he strongly opposed the evacuation but that soldiers had no choice but to carry out their orders: "There is only one thing that is worse than the decision to expel Jews from their homes in Hebron ... and that is to ruin the army. Disobeying an order is a sure way to ruin the army."
Will Klein ever put down the whitewash and describe the right-wing extremist motivations behind the Hebron occupation? If he cared about honest journalism he would, but sadly, we know better.
UPDATE: The Guardian article also adds one more pertinent detail that Klein has ignored. Klein writes that "Arab merchants illegally set up shop at the market but were asked by the Israel Defense Forces to leave after a series of clashes broke out in the mid-1990s," but there's much more to the story, according to the Guardian:
The two Jewish families have been squatting illegally in several apartments in the Hebron market for several months. The market has been closed since 1994, when the Jewish militant Baruch Goldstein opened fire in a shrine holy to both Jews and Muslims, killing 29 Palestinians. Settlers have been seeking to re-establish a presence.
We've previously noted Klein's reluctance to mention Goldstein's massacre in his stories set in Hebron or concerning the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Sheppard Hates Hates Hates Newsweek Article on Global Warming Deniers Topic: NewsBusters
We suspect that NewsBusters' resident global warming denier, Noel Sheppard, would not take the Newsweek article about the big money behind the global-warming-denial industry very well.
Sure enough, in an Aug. 5 post, he goes to work attacking it, using the word "disgraceful" four times (plus "disgrace" in the headline) and "disgusting" twice, accusing the article of hypocrisy and complaining that it "painted a picture of an evil cabal whose goal is to thwart science at the detriment of the environment and the benefit of their wallets."
But Sheppard makes no effort to disprove any of the article's claims. And he engages in his own set of hypocrisies; as we've documented, he has cared little about the backgrounds of the deniers he has quoted -- indeed, this may be the first time he has been confronted with such evidence. Sheppard has also baselessly attacked Gore as a "charlatan who doesn't believe in anything but himself and attaining power" -- in other words, an evil cabal whose goal is to thwart (right-wing) science at the detriment of the environment and the benefit of their wallets.
We're verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.
Sheppard followed up with an Aug. 6 post touting an attack on the Newsweek piece by Marc Morano, anti-global warming Sen. James Inhofe's communications director (and former CNSNews.com reporter). Again, Sheppard uses the word "disgraceful" to describe the article (twice), as well as "thoroughly offensive" and "piece of detritus."
Sheppard highlighted Morano's assertion that he gave Newsweek "the documentation showing that proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION by comparison." Sheppard added: "Unlike Newsweek, Morano presented actual hard dollar numbers contributed by various groups to fund global warming research and the advancement of climate change hysteria. How was this information ignored by Newsweek which presents itself as a member of the media, and not a political action group?"
Perhaps because Morano is a paid shill who has a history of making misleading claims, both atCNS and as Inhofe's flack. Morano has shown that there's good reason not to trust him any farther than one than throw him. Perhaps Newsweek figured that Morano's numbers were gamed and unreliable -- a not-unreasonable assumption considering Morano's track record.
The overall tone we get from Sheppard's attacks is that no one is permitted to question him or his fellow global-warming deniers (yes, we know he hates that term). That's probably more disgraceful than anything Newsweek has done.
An Aug. 6 WorldNetDaily article reports that "WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving is returning to the presidential press briefings this week after a one-on-one conference with White House Press Secretary Tony Snow – ending Kinsolving's 'boycott' of the daily press sessions brought on by what he considered Snow's disrespectful treatment of him." (Yes, the word "Kinsolved" is used in a front-page promo for the article.) Missing, of course, is the full context of the dispute.
As we've detailed, the crux of the dispute was that Snow accused Kinsolving of having "twisted" his words in WND articles. There's no mention of that here -- indeed, WND has never addressed that issue.
Instead, the article states: "Kinsolving and Snow reached an agreement during a phone conversation, after which an aide to Snow told Farah 'Tony is very fond of Les and holds him in high personal regard.'" We suspect that the aide said a lot more about Kinsolving than that.
Thus, WND and Kinsolving continue their overall dishonesty about the dispute. Can someone who does that really be held in "high personal regard" by Snow?
Another Aaron Klein Whitewash Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein must have a new bucket of paint, because the WorldNetDaily Jerusalem reporter is engaging in a new round of whitewashing.
An Aug. 3 article by Klein asserted that "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert now has directed his forces to forcibly evict two families that moved into a market in Jewish sections of Hebron, the oldest Jewish community in the world." He features quotes taken from a Jersalem Post article about Shlomit Bar-Kochba, who moved back into the market with her husband and eight children.
But Klein leaves out one important detail that the Post reported: Shlomit Bar-Kochba is the daugher of Moshe Zar, who purchased large amounts of land in the West Bank (Samaria) to develop Jewish settlements. Neither the Post nor Klein tell the story of Moshe Zar -- and his terrorist past.
In the 1980s, Zar was a part of a "Jewish underground" group that targeted violence against Arabs in the West Bank and plotted to destroy the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jersalem. Zar served a short prison term for his role in the bombings of the cars of three Arab West Bank mayors. Nablus Mayor Bassam Shaka lost both legs in the bombing. A July 22, 1985, Washington Post article noted that Zar and 14 others put on trial over the bombings were "vigorously supported by leaders of the Jewish settlement movement in the West Bank and by many Israeli members of parliament from the Likud bloc and other right-wing parties."
In other words, these are no ordinary, everyday Israelis who are being evicted. They are right-wing activists trying to make a political statement -- something Klein utterly fails to address.
Klein's exclusion of the political aspect extends to his description of the Hebron dispute:
In January 2006, Jewish families took up occupancy to strengthen Jewish ties to the area following the murder of an infant by a Palestinian sniper, yards away from the market.
Following a standoff with the army last year, the Jews who had moved into the market decided to leave, reportedly after receiving promises from military officials they could return a few months later, after the court systems – which deemed the property Jewish – worked with the IDF to verify the legality of the Jewish residence.
Here's how the Jerusalem Post described the incident:
Back in 2006, hundreds of right-wing activists, mostly teens and young adults, had flocked to the city to defend the right of eight Jewish families to live in the stalls which had not been operated by Palestinian merchants since 1994.
But at the time, said Bar-Kochba, given the option for a peaceful outcome, her family and the others who lived in the former shops chose to avert violence, and the activists dispersed.
Again: These are right-wing activists doing this. Even the Jerusalem Post has admitted it. Why can't Klein tell that to his readers?
Because whitewashing the extremist backgrounds of the Israelis he sympathizes with is what he does. As we've documented, Klein has portrayed the AWOL Israeli soldier who killed four Arabs on a bus as being a murder victim when those who witnessed the soldier's shootings subdued and killed him, and he has hidden the violent, extremist backgrounds of other right-wing Israelis he has featured.
The whitewashing has apparently worked for Klein in the past, despite the existence of the Internet and, thus, the ability to learn what he's not reporting. And Joseph Farah apparently approves. Why would he bother to start being honest now?