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Saturday, September 1, 2007
Meanwhile ...
Topic: NewsBusters
Wonkette beats us to noting that an Aug. 31 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham complains that coverage of Republican Larry Craig's arrest and plea after certain alleged activities has eclipsed that of "perhaps the first famous name that comes to mind when it comes to policeman arrests in a restroom," pop singer George Michael. Graham makes no note of the obvious -- unlike Craig, Michael was not a sitting U.S. senator.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Friday, August 31, 2007
Kinsolving Falsely Claims Castro Endorsed Clinton-Obama Ticket
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an Aug. 31 WorldNetDaily article, Les Kinsolving chimes in with his first report from a White House press briefing in more than a month, after engaging in a short-lived, passive-aggressive boycott of the briefings due to purported disrespect by White House press secretary Tony Snow. And, as we've come to expect, Kinsolving gets basic facts wrong. Kinsolving asked:

Reuters reports … that Fidel Castro has just described Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as 'an apparently unbeatable ticket.' But the Reuters report did not mention either of these two U.S. senators repudiating this endorsement. And my question: Does the leader of the Republican Party believe that Clinton and Obama should repudiate this dictator's endorsement or not?

But Castro didn't endorse Clinton and Obama. As Media Matters -- and Kinsolving himself -- pointed out, Castro called Clinton and Obama's pro-democracy views an "error," adding: "They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a Sunday afternoon."

Kinsolving, by the way, has yet to respond publicly to Snow's claim that Kinsolving "twisted" his words or reveal the details of the "agreement" in which Kinsolving agreed to return to the White House press corps. 


Posted by Terry K. at 2:23 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2007 2:25 AM EDT
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Pot, Kettle, Black
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Aug. 30 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah declares that Hillary Clinton should be arrested because one of her campaign fundraisers, Norman Hsu, "is a convicted felon and a fugitive from justice for the last 15 years." Farah writes of Hsu: "He's a convicted felon. As such, he doesn't even have a right to participate in the American political process. And by fraternizing and dealing with him, aren't Hillary and her attorney aiding and abetting a known fugitive?"

So, does this mean we can have Farah and WND reporter Art Moore for "fraternizing and dealing with" Peter Paul? After all, like Hsu, Paul is a convicted felon who was a fugitive from justice (fleeing to Brazil and fighting extradition for two years on charges regarding his role in a$25 million stock fraud scam). If a convited felon "doesn't even have a right to participate in the American political process," why is Paul uncritically repeating Paul's dubious attacks against Clinton?

Indeed, WND did so most recently in an Aug. 14 article by Moore that makes no mention of the fact that Paul is a convicted felon who, according to Moore's boss, "doesn't even have a right to participate in the American political process."

Farah goes on to conclude: "Are the laws on the books just for citizen saps, or do they apply equally to the benighted political elites like Hillary." But if the convicted felon is willing to attack one of Farah's political enemies, Farah is clearly willing to toss his own purported standards aside and treat him as a trusted member of a sort of "benighted" gathering of his own.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 AM EDT
Klein Still Won't Acknowledge His Whitewashing of 'Outlawed' Kahanists
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an Aug. 29 WorldNetDaily article, Aaron Klein repeats criticisms he previously reported on a CNN documentary on religious extremism. But, as before, Klein fails to acknowledge his own whitewashing of Jewish extremists featured in the program.

As he had in an Aug. 23 article repeating the pro-Israeli, anti-Arab group CAMERA's attack on the documentary "God's Warriors," Klein bashed the documentary for mentnioning  right-wing extremist Jew Baruch Goldstein's massacre of 29 Arabs inside Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs, asserting, "Goldstein's actions were widely condemned by Israelis and worldwide Jewry. The organization he was a part of was outlawed in Israel." But as we've detailed, Klein has favorably reported on other former members of the "outlawed" organization to which Goldstein belonged, Kach/Kahane Chai, while downplaying the group's history of extremist violence. Klein also does not mention that the CNN documentary features another Kahanist, David Ha'ivri, who refused to criticize a plot by Jewish extremists to detonate a bomb outside a Palestinian girls' school; Klein has positively depicted Ha'ivri in the past as well.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:42 AM EDT
8-Equals-93 Zombie Meme Watch
Topic: Newsmax

The 8-equals-93 meme won't die. The resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has given the ConWeb the opportunity to revive it yet again.

An Aug. 27 NewsMax article by Ronald Kessler stated:

To be sure, Democrats manufactured a scandal by pouncing on the firing of eight U.S. attorneys to create the impression that the Justice Department and the White House did something improper. In fact, the firings were no more improper than the Clinton administration’s dismissal of 93 U.S. attorneys in 1993.

Like Cabinet officers, U.S. attorneys are political appointees serving at the pleasure of the president. Moreover, a fair reading of the e-mails relating to the firings makes it clear that, rightly or wrongly, the eight were singled out because of job performance.

Kessler doesn't mention that the "job performance" issue has been largely discredited (as we've detailed).

In an Aug. 28 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah asserted the Bush administration's firing of those attorneys was "a non-offense," adding:

The day Bill Clinton assumed the presidency in 1993, he fired all 93 U.S. attorneys. No one asked why. No major news stories resulted. No one called it "the January Massacre." No one accused Clinton of shenanigans (except me, because I knew what he was really doing). 

Farah doesn't share with his readers was Clinton was purportedly "really doing" by replacing the prosecutors. 

And then there's NewsMax's E. Ralph Hostetter, who offers his own, er, unique version of events in his Aug. 29 column:

President Bill Clinton dismissed all 72 U.S. district attorneys from the previous administration of President George Herbert Walker Bush. No reasons for dismissal were given and none were required. This was his prerogative.

The case of Gonzales' removal of seven U.S. district attorneys has been expanded into one of the largest congressional investigations since Watergate. The present investigation was designed to follow the "successful" pattern of the Valerie Plame case where presidential adviser Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney were to be the selected targets.

Hostetter can't even get his numbers right -- he's spouting a 7-equals-72 meme.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2007 1:06 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Out-of-Context Attack
Topic: CNSNews.com

An Aug. 29 CNSNews.com column by Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America, is an attack on a book for teens that pulls quotes out of context and doesn't mention what the book is about.

Barber bashes an Illinois school district for assigning "summer reading to 12- and 13-year-olds that is replete with harsh profanity and references to teen sex (even teen sex with adults)." He then offers salacious quotes from "one of the books," "Fat Kid Rules the World" by K. L. Going. Barber accused the school district of "educational malpractice" for purportedly "willingly -- if not eagerly -- contribut[ing] to their moral degradation by pushing this kind of vulgarity on them." But nowhere does Barber tell readers what the book is about or in what context those quotes appear.

So, what is this purportedly offensive book about? Here's a summary from Common Sense Media, which

Troy, a 300-pound high-schooler, is contemplating jumping in front of a train when he meets Curt, an emaciated, homeless, guitar-playing, drop-out legend in his school. Before he knows what has hit him, Troy has agreed to be the drummer in a new band Curt is forming, despite not playing drums. With a faith in him that Troy doesn't understand, Curt is Troy's nightmare and dream come true, often at the same time.

Though Troy's father suspects that Curt's a junkie, he ultimately supports Troy's efforts to learn the drums, the first thing he has seemed interested in since his mother died. But getting involved in Curt's world of punk rock and street life is more than any of them bargained for.

Common Sense Media raises caution flags about much of the book's content, but rather than issing blanket condemnations, it states for most of those flags, "know your kid." It seems to believe, unlike Barber, that the book covers subjects that adolescents can learn from. Indeed, as the reviewer states:

Troy's father, ex-military, is a rigid stereotype in Troy's, and for a while the reader's, eyes. But from Curt's point of view, and in the midst of crisis, his faults morph into virtues without too much gong-beating from the author. As often happens when we meet someone who has real problems, Curt brings with him a dramatic perspective shift, and young readers may have cause to reassess their opinions of their own parents. 

Is that not a message Barber can endorse?

Common Sense Media aims to "provide trustworthy information and tools, as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume." It appears to be using more common sense and logic than Barber.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 AM EDT
CNS Labeling Bias Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is actually taking a stab at making its labeling in stories on gun issues a bit fairer -- sorta.

In the past, as we've documented, CNS has frequently juxtaposed terms such as "anti-gun" for any non-conservative position on guns, while portraying those on the other side of the issue as "Second Amendment supporters." An Aug. 29 CNS article by Nathan Burchfiel on protests outside of a gun shop from which guns sold there have been linked to numerous crimes, changes things up a bit; "opponents of gun rights" are pitted against "pro-gun demonstrators." Burchfiel uses the "opponents of gun rights" tag even though he quotes one protester saying of "pro-gun" counter-protesters, "We're not trying to take away the rights of the folks that are protesting behind us."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Evidence, Please
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 28 NewsBusters post by Bill Hobbs countered a blogger's claim that the roster of syndicated columnists at the Tennessean newspaper is overwhelmingly conservative by claiming:

While it's true that the paper does run a healthier selection of nationally syndicated conservatives than it does liberals, the Nashville blogger has defined the equation too narrowly - he's left out the paper's own editorials, which consistently lean leftward on national, state and local issues.

And the Tennessean does not employ a local conservative political columnist.

The paper's roster of national syndicated conservative columnists masks the paper's liberal leanings. Strip away all the syndicated stuff, liberal and conservative - which readers can get online and from a myriad of other print sources anyway - and what you have left is the local editorial and commentary content. And it leans heavily leftward.

Hobbs offers no evidence to his readers that the Tennessean's "local editorial and commentary content ... leans heavily leftward. Is he running on the normal conservative assumption that because a newspaper is not explictly conservative, a la the Washington Times and New York Post, it must ipso facto be liberal?

It would appear so. Who needs evidence when you have conservative shibboleths? 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:24 PM EDT
Huston: Bush Critics Hate America
Topic: NewsBusters

Warner Todd Huston is still operating on a blown gasket.  Fresh from ranting against anyone who identifies "Hillary haters," he's now asserting that historians who think George W. Bush ranks among the worst presidents are America-haters who lack academic credentials.

In an Aug. 28 NewsBusters post, Huston rages against a McClatchy article he calls a "pointless Bush bashing presidential rating story filled with quotes from partisan, hack 'historians.'" Huston asserted, "These "ranking" stories are always full of partisan left nonsense and this one is no different," adding that "these 'historians' are part of the far left University system we are saddled with." Note Huston's repeated use of scare quotes around "historians."

By contrast, a historian quoted in the article who said that history has yet to judge Bush is praised by Huston as a "reputable and brilliant historian"-- no scare quotes needed.

Huston then digresses to a rant about Andrew Jackson's place in history:

Every time we see these ridiculous stories, I harken back to the fact that from the 1820's until about the 1920s Andrew Jackson was considered one of the most famous presidents we ever had. How many "Jackson" towns, counties, schools, streets, and other such named municipal buildings do we have across America? "Historians" thought Jackson the best president ever until the PC idea that his owning slaves and fighting Indians made him persona non grata. Now, no matter what he did as president, his name is anathema to these so-called historians all his work forgotten, shunned even, despite the fact that his name is so ubiquitous across the country --now with no one even knowing why thanks to these "historians."

These Charles Beard/Anthony Zini [sic] influenced America haters have no standing by which to be believed. They are almost universally uneducated enough to assess economic history and this makes them completely useless in assessing any president after Andrew Jackson destroyed the Second Bank of the US. Worse, few if any of them have the slightest clue about Constitutional history and interpretation.

Huh? Andrew Jackson's presidential ranking was lowered by his owning of slaves? Huston offers no evidence to support the claim. Anyone who disagrees with Huston's idea of history have "clue about Constitutional history and interpretation"? Really? 

And yes, Huston is saying that any historian who disagrees with him, and who would rank Bush low on the presidential scale, is an "America hater." He offers no evidence that any of the historians quoted in the McClatchy article were "influenced" by Charles Beard of Anthony Zinni, or why it's purportedly such a bad thing to have been "influenced" by them.

As an extra added bonus, Huston rails against Franklin Roosevelt:

The proof of this is the fact that these so-called historians continue to rank Franklin Roosevelt as one of our presidential "greats."

Roosevelt was a socialist in everything but name. He destroyed our Constitution, ruined the economy, made the Great Depression last decades longer than it had to, did nothing about Civil Rights, and lied our way into WWII. His "legacy" is high taxes, welfare, a broken and unconstitutional social security system and a Supreme Court run amuck. But to the extreme leftists in our Universities he is a great president despite all the harm he did to our nation.

This goes beyond revisionhist history to fiction. FDR "made the Great Depression last decades longer than it had to"? Social Security is "unconstitutional"?

And a strident supporter of President Bush bashing another president for having "lied our way" into war? Oh, the irony. 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 9:18 AM EDT
Huston Pretends Hillary Hate Doesn't Exist
Topic: NewsBusters

Warner Todd Huston seems to have blown a gasket, angry at the idea that any journalist would write something that undeniably exists: "Hillary haters."

In an Aug. 27 NewsBusters post, Huston lambasted UPI for "shilling for their favored candidate; Hillary Clinton" by writing about "Hillary haters." Huh? UPI is owned by the Moonies, so it's highly unlikely that a Democrat is any UPI employee's "favored candidate."

(Actually, the UPI article appears to be a condensed version of a Chicago Tribune article on the subject that Michael M. Bates, to a lesser degree than Huston, lambasted on NewsBusters the day before.)

In response to the article's statement that the Hillary haters "aim to crystallize voters against Clinton, much the same way as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in the 2004 election denigrated John Kerry's military service in Vietnam," Huston responded:

UPI forgets one little thing in their partisan dismissal of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Kerry. What they Swift Boaters had to sell was truth. That is why it hurt Kerry so bad. The truth came out and it hurt him. They weren’t selling hate, they were revealing truth and that is why it worked so well against him.

Um, actually, no -- the Swift Boat Vets made several false or misleading claims.

And in response to the article's calling the attack site StopHerNow.com "snide," Huston retorted:

Unlike Koz, and other far, far left sites, you will not find cursing, foul language, or wishes for Hillary to die in baneful language like you do for conservatives and other GOP candidates on those other sites. You just won’t find the kind of REAL hate you see on those leftwing nutroots sites if you go to StopHerNow.com.

In focusing on only one conservative site, Huston conveniently ignores sites like Free Republic, where we were immediately able to locate numerous threads in which Hillary is called "Hitlery." Does Huston consider that "REAL hate"? We suspect not.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 AM EDT
Monday, August 27, 2007
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bartholomew points out that WorldNetDaily reporter Aaron Klein's attempt to disassociate Baruch Goldstein's 1994 massacre of Arabs at Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs is even more hypocritical than we first described.

The CNN documentary on religious extremism that Klein criticized for noting the Goldstein massacre featured David Ha'ivri, who refused to criticize a plot by Jewish extremists to detonate a bomb outside a Palestinian girls' school. Haivri, like Goldstein, is a sympathizer of the extremist movement of Meir Kahane. While Klein was adamant about declaring that "the movement [Goldstein] was a part of was outlawed in Israel," but that didn't stop Klein from featuring Ha'ivri in articles about the 2005 march he and other right-wing Jews led to the Temple Mount "in hopes of reclaiming the site from its Islamic custodians," depicting him, in Bartholomew's words, as "simply a pious Jew" and not mentioning his Kahane ties.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EDT
WND Mum About Latest Lawsuit Against It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has made a lot of noise about the lawsuit filed against it by Clark Jones over a 2000 WND series that it brags cost Gore the presidency. But WND faces another lawsuit that WND hasn't said a peep about.

In mid-July, author Paul L. Williams filed suit against WND and Cumberland House Publishing, WND's former partner in the WND Books imprint. WND/Cumberland House published Williams' 2006 book "The Dunces of Doomsday," which, among other claims, accused Canada's McMaster University of having lax security around its nuclear research reactor that it let members of Al Qaeda enroll under fictitious names and carry off radioactive material. As we've noted, WND/Cumberland House retracted the claim in in June 2006.

According to the Nashville Post, Williams did not sign off on the retraction and stands by his claim. He further claims that WND and Cumberland House exposed him to the Canadian libel charge by selling the book in a country where "journalistic standards" differ from those in the U.S. McMaster has filed a lawsuit against Williams, who has started a legal defense fund.

To date, however, WND has not written a word about Williams' lawsuit against it -- even though it was filed more than a month ago -- nor has it mentioned McMasters' actions against Williams, though it repeated Williams' claims about McMaster in a June 2006 article promoting "The Dunces of Doomsday." WND still promotes Williams' book at the booom of related articles (like this Aug. 22 Joseph Farah column).

So much for WND's purported mission to "seek to stimulate a free-and-open debate about the great moral and political ideas facing the world." How can it when it won't have a free-and-open debate about itself?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Sunday, August 26, 2007
ConWeb Advertises Those (Violence-Inciting) Shirts
Topic: The ConWeb

Those Shirts specializes in shirts that appeal to conservatives. The company loves to advertise on the ConWeb; ads for them have recently been spotted at NewsMax, WorldNetDaily and NewsBusters. (At least one NewsBusters poster endorses the sentiment.)

One of the shirts Those Shirts sells reads: "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required." Regardless of the background of this shirt -- created by the conservative blog Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, whose writers love the idea so much they want to apply it to the Supreme Court and certain politicians as well -- it's an unambiguous incitement to violence. This has been discussed previously in the liberal blogosphere as the eliminationist discourse that it is, but the shirt is still for sale. Any alleged humor behind it is not detectable.

So we wonder: Do NewsMax, WND, and NewsBusters -- some employees of which consider themselves to be journalists -- aware of the message that Those Shirts is trying to profit from? Do they endorse it, even though it applies to them as well? (After all, the shirt excludes no journalists from its fatwa.) And are they offended enough to pull Those Shirts' ads until the shirt is withdrawn from sale?

UPDATE: We've previously noted that WND's Joseph Farah objects to "disgusting" advertising on his website. Does he think that a death threat against journalists is "disgusting," or not? 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 26, 2007 10:11 AM EDT
Mercer Still Defending Vick
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In her column last week, we noted, WorldNetDaily columnist Ilana Mercer ran to the defense of Michael Vick over dogfighting charges and, by implication, sorta defended dogfighting. She continues her defense in her Aug. 24 column, further implying that mistreatment of animals shouldn't be a crime because, well, they're animals.

Mercer attacks animal-rights activists to anthropomorphizing animals: "The love and loyalty dog lovers see in their mutt's eyes is a projection of the owner's large, cerebral cortex." She continues:

Like PETA, I don't distinguish between the pig farmer and the dogfighter. Unlike PETA, I believe all animals are property. Man is the only top dog. Although people will go to great lengths to distinguish their preferred form of animal use from Vick's, the distinction is nebulous. One either owns a resource or one doesn't. Whether one kills animals for food or for fun, the naturally licit basis for large-scale pig farming or game hunting is the same: ownership of the resource.

Arguably, commercial pig farming is crueler than dispatching dogs, then-and-there, as Vick did.

Mercer concludes: "So far, public pressure, not the law, has brought about the termination of Vick's lucrative, promising career. Civil society is clearly quite capable of censuring Vick. The law should leave him be." 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 AM EDT
Saturday, August 25, 2007
NewsBuster Shows Ignorance of Newspaper Economics
Topic: NewsBusters

"Mithridate Ombud" demonstrates a basic ignorance of the current print-to-Internet media paradigm shift when he/she claims, in an Aug. 24 NewsBusters post, that the Tribune Co. is seeing reduced revenue because it won't "get rid of the bias, the America-hating columnists, the socialist editorials, and the reporters pushing a gay/lesbian/transgendered/illegal alien/pro-abortion/anti-God/anti-gun agenda."

"Ombud" fails to note that America's two most prominent conservative newspapers, the Washington Times and the New York Post, are money-losers propped up only by their deep-pocketed owners. Going that route would cause Tribune to lose even more money. 

If we were giving out this kind of "advice," we'd write under a pseudonym, too. 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:48 AM EDT

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