Sheppard's Laugher: Substance-Free Attack on Vanity Fair Article Topic: NewsBusters
In a Sept. 4 NewsBusters item, Noel Sheppard feels the need to hurl all sorts of invective at a Vanity Fair article detailing how mainstream media reporters repeated false claims and misquotes about Al Gore during the 2000 presidential election.
Sheppard declared "absurd" the idea that "the media were much kinder to George W. Bush during the 2000 election campaign cycle than Vice President Al Gore" and challenged readers to say it "without laughing hysterically." He went on to personally attack the writer, Evgenia Peretz:
"Makes one wonder what the color of the sky is in Peretz's world."
"Get the feeling this was going to be a balanced report from Peretz, or an attempt to assist Gore in a makeover he's been working on since the day he conceded to Bush in December 2000?"
"This coming from a woman who admittedly can't possibly be impartial, and, as a result, should never have been given this story."
"I guess Vanity Fair couldn't find anybody on its staff with less connection to the former vice president. Liberal media? What liberal media?"
"Of course, as an obvious Gore sycophant, Peretz can't be so introspective or impartial."
Completely and utterly missing from Sheppard's screed is any evidence that anything Peretz reported is misleading or incorrect or even biased, despite his suggestion that Peretz's disclosure that she has had "maybe two passing exchanges with Gore in my life" somehow disqualifies her from writing the article. Oops!
Sheppard concludes by writing of the Vanity Fair article: "all I have to say is caveat emptor." That would apply to Sheppard himself if had bothered to make any substantive criticisms instead of making hysterical attacks. Indeed, as we've detailed, Sheppard has made numerous unsubstantiated attacks on Gore -- which certainly disqualifies him from making a critique of Peretz's article that anyone should take seriously (not that he has done so here, mind you).
Bozell Ignores DeLay's Indictment Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell's Sept. 4 column praises Tom DeLay for being "clearly in a fighting mood" on NBC's "Today" to counter charges that the Larry Craig scandal is emblematic of Republican scandal problems. DeLay accused host Matt Lauer of a "double-standard" for listing only Republican scandals and not ones involving Democratic politicians (though DeLay had to go back to the 1980s -- as Bozell wrote, "the old 1980s examples of Reps. Barney Frank and Gerry Studds" -- to fill out his Democratic scandal scorecard).
Bozell somehow fails to include one certain relevant fact: DeLay himself is part of the Republican scandal problem, having been indicted on campaign finance fraud charges, which ultimately forced him to resign from the House.
MRC's Evidence of Couric Bias Is Thin Topic: Media Research Center
An Aug. 30 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Brent Baker and Rich Noyes purports to document Katie Couric's "liberal approach" to her first year of hosting the CBS Evening News. But the evidence they provide is a bit thin -- only 12 examples over a year containing 200-plus half-hour programs. If the MRC could only find one a month, that's not a bad record.
Meanwhile, Media Matters found 17 examples of "conservative misinformation" on the part of Couric and the CBS Evening News over the past year. Doesn't that suggest that Couric is, in fact, leaning conservative?
Baker and Noyes also stated that Couric "put her liberal fingerprints all over Today during her 15 years at NBC." As we've detailed, that claim is not terribly reliable either -- among the MRC's evidence that Couric was biased at "Today" was the false assertion that she called Ronald Reagan an "airhead" when, in fact, all she did is report a claim to that effect in Edmund Morris' Reagan biography.
Meanwhile ... Topic: WorldNetDaily Media Matters picks up on our item describing how WorldNetDaily's Les Kinsolving falsely claimed that Fidel Castro had endorsed a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama presidential ticket.
AIM Rehashes Bogus Morano Claims Again Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Sept. 4 Accuracy in Media "AIM Report" by Roger Aronoff, attacking yet again the Newsweek article on global warming deniers, repeats and expands his previous citing of Marc Morano's bogus statistics about funding of global warming deniers vs. supporters:
Senate staffer Marc Morano, a long-time conservative journalist and activist, points out that while those skeptical of the man-made global warming theory have received some $19 million, the forces favored by Newsweek have taken in closer to $50 billion, much of it from American taxpayers and channeled through federal and global agencies. This figure, of course, doesn't include the dollar value of all of the media coverage in support of the theory.
That's $50 billion versus $19 million.
But as we've detailed, Morano's $50 billion number is not suppored by a detailed breakdown and is almost certainly overinflated by counting the entire budgets of organizations toward that number, even if only a portion of the budget went for global warming purposes, and including tangental items as alternative fuel research. Morano's $19 million number is, in fact, only a single statistic -- money ExxonMobil has given to conservative groups -- and ignores the entirety of conservative denier activism (and does not include AIM's budget).
Aronoff previously cited Morano's bogus stats in an Aug. 10 AIM column.
In both articles, Aronoff wrote that the Newsweek article shows that "The facts have taken a back seat to propaganda." By embracing Morano's dubious numbers, Aronoff has certainly proven that he is even more eager than Newsweek to put propaganda before facts.
Klein's WND-Published Book Coming Soon Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 3 WorldNetDaily article marking the fifth anniversary of WND's book division touts upcoming books it describes as "imminent potential blockbusters." One is "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists reveal their global plans – to a Jew!" by WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein. The Amazon page for Klein's book -- WND doesn't have one set up for it yet -- describes the book thusly:
Presented here for the first time are face-to-face conversations that noted journalist -- and Orthodox Jew -- Aaron Klein has conducted with leaders and members of terror organizations, including every major Palestinian Arab terror group, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Martyrs, Popular Resistance Committees, Arab liberation front, PFLP, Iraq insurgents, Taliban officials and even groups suspected of operating on U.S. soil (including Al-Muhajiroun).
This clever, often humorous but deeply disturbing book focuses not on how terror cells operate or how they get their funding, but on the individuals behind the masks and suicide bomber vests. It tells stories, often horrifying, about the events that have shaped, and are shaping, today's Middle East, as told by the perpetrators, in their own words.
Will Klein address the issue of his use of these terrorists to promote his conservative political agenda (as we've detailed)? Will he tell us if he has ever verified what these terrorists have told him, or why his readers trust what they have to say? Will Klein tell us what deals he presumably has made so that he, an orthodox Jew, can hang with Arab terrorists without them killing him? We shall see.
The promotional article hangs a lot of its anniversary weight on "the one that started it all," the first book under the WND Books imprint, Katherine Harris' "Center of the Storm," which "tells the inside story of that battle for the White House following the Nov. 7, 2000, vote." But as we've noted, Harris didn't really write the book at all; it was farmed out to a ghost writer and his students.
The article also laughably asserts that WND Books "to fill a void in the traditional book-publishing marketplace, just as the news site, launched in 1997, met a demand for news uninfected with corporate influences and political and social agendas." As we'verepeatedlydocumented, WND's news coverage is far from being "uninfected" by "political and social agendas"; rather, WND insists that its own political and social agendas infect its coverage.
Further, as we've detailed, WND was all too eager to turn its "news" pages into a promotional vehicle for Harris' book, and Klein himself is a veritablefont of biased reporting.
What's Wrong with MRC's Latest Study? Topic: Media Research Center
On Aug. 29, the Media Research Center released a study claiming that network morning shows have devoted more time to covering Democratic presidential candidates than to Republican candidates. Needless to say, there are a couple of holes in MRC's methodology that misleadingly pump up Democratic numbers.
Tim Graham sorta concedes one in an Aug. 30 NewsBusters post, responding to criticism of the study by the morning shows themselves (reported by the Associated Press) that coverage of Elizabeth Edwards' cancer relapse was included in the total. Graham wrote:
It's a decent argument to suggest that Elizabeth Edwards interviews about her cancer shouldn't count as campaign coverage. But her interviews are often partially (or even barely) about her illness, and mostly about her husband's campaign, or her husband's squabbles with Ann Coulter. Elizabeth's cancer is a constant undercurrent in their campaign, as in suggesting they know how important universal health care would be -- because of her illness. But it doesn't dominate her interviews when she's been on.
Graham offers no evidence to support these claims, however.
The study went on to assert that "the networks also aired more stories about the never-declared candidacy of former Democratic Vice President Al Gore than the actual candidacies of Republicans [Mitt] Romney and [Rudy] Giuliani," noting that Gore "was a network guest eight times, getting more than 48 minutes of airtime," later citing its methology behind it: "MRC analysts only counted interviews in which a potential Gore presidential campaign was discussed." But nowhere does the study note what we can likely surmise -- that much of the Gore coverage was centered around his global warming activism, specifically his promotion of the Live Earth concerts and his winning of an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth."
The study suggests as much, claiming that "Gore’s coverage consisted of praise for his work on behalf of a liberal global warming agenda." And nowhere does the study note that Gore has repeatedly disavowed serious interest in running for president in 2008.
It appears that if interviewers asked just a single question pondering if Gore was running in 2008 -- again, despite his repeatedly expressed lack of interest in doing so -- the MRC apparently counted the entire interview as coverage of a "Democratic presidential candidate." That's a stretch.
CNS Misleads on Clinton Donations Topic: CNSNews.com
Two CNSNews.com articles by Fred Lucas -- on Aug. 31 and Sept. 3 -- about the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton fundraiser Norman Hsu fails to tell the full story about one Clinton donor.
In the Aug. 31 article, Lucas wrote regarding Hsu's practice of "bundling" donations to Clinton's campaign:
In one example, the family of William Paw -- a San Francisco area mail carrier who lives in a bungalow near the airport -- reportedly donated $55,000 to the Clinton presidential campaign. The money apparently was raised by Hsu.
Lucas similarly wrote on Sept. 3:
The most prominent example is the Paw family, who live in a one-story bungalow near the San Francisco International Airport. Having apparently never donated to a political campaign before 2004, the family has given $45,000 to Clinton's campaign organizations since 2005.
Combined, the family reportedly gave more than $200,000 to Democrats running for statewide office in New York. The Paw family is headed by William Paw, a mail carrier who reportedly earns $49,000 a year, and his wife Alice, a homemaker.
Lucas implies that the Paw family's donations are illegal because, consisting of a mail carrier and a homemaker, it can't afford to give that much money -- something for which he offers no evidence. But Lucas doesn't tell the full story of the Paw family, which would contradict Lucas' implication.
As the Wall Street Journal detailed, William Paw's "grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to 'attendance liaison' at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund." In addition, the family owns a gift shop. Further, as Media Matters noted, half of the $200,000 in political contributions reported by Lucas came from Winkle Paw, an adult son. The Journal reported Winkle Paw's statement that "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."
By withholding all the relevant facts, CNS appears to be trying to gin up a Clinton controversy that isn't really there.
Graham's Falsely Smears Frank -- Again Topic: NewsBusters
A Sept. 2 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham carries the headline, "Remember Barney Frank As Larry Craig Resigns." In it, Graham states, "Frank was a lawmaker with a male-prostitution ring in his house," thus implying that Frank himself was running it.
As we noted the last time Graham attacked Frank on this line of reasoning, a House ethics committee investigation determined that Frank "did not have either prior or concomitant knowledge of prostitution activities involving third parties alleged to have taken place in his apartment."
Graham added that Frank "kept getting the pimp's parking tickets waved off," but didn't mention that the House officially reprimanded Frank for that infraction.
Graham concludes by attacking "the people who manufacture the news in America." But Graham's clearly not above manufacturing a few factoids of his own.
WND Still Mum on Correspondent's Gay-Porn Past Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has published two more dispatches from Matt Sanchez in the past few days -- an Aug. 29 article on how Iraqi children aren't afraid of "gentle giant" American soldiers, and a Sept. 1 column suggesting that Gen. David Petraeus will not report what there is "no doubt" about: that "the so-called surge is working."
Neither item, like Sanchez's first WND missive, mentions what we've detailed: Sanchez's past as a gay porn actor and alleged male escort.
Why is it important for WND to tell the truth about Sanchez? One, for the sake of full disclosure; and two, to live up to its own alleged policies, as voiced when the similarly seedy past of another conservative writer was revealed.
In a Feb. 23, 2005, column, WND founder and editor Joseph Farah attacked James Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, for "eading a double life as a would-be purveyor of homosexual pornography and $1,200-per-weekend stud services on the Internet through now defunct websites such as Hotmilitarystuds.com, Militaryescorts.com and Meetlocalmen.com" while working as a White House correspondent for GOPUSA's Talon News service. Farah called Gannon "a right-wing political activist with a seriously compromised personal life. Somewhere along the line, he decided the best way he could make a name for himself or help spread his 'conservative' political ideology was to pose as a journalist," declaring that he hurt the cause of conservative journalism:
I have no doubts that the people who launched Gannon-Guckert in his ill-fated journalism career probably looked at the success of WorldNetDaily and said to themselves: "We can do this. Any one can start a website and claim to be a news operation, get access to government and use this platform to spread our ideology, befriend politicians we like and buy influence with politicians. It looks easy."
However, what the political activists pretending to be journalists never understood – and still do not understand to this day – is that you can't fool everyone.
Farah further delcared: "WorldNetDaily's mission is to telling the truth – no matter whose ox is gored. WorldNetDaily hires only serious and experienced journalists with the highest standards of ethics – both in their professional lives and their personal lives."
So, given that homosexuality is a pretty obvious disqualifer for employment at WND, how did Sanchez pass the test? According to Sanchez's blog, it was WND's idea for Sanchez to write for it.
It appears that WND is willing, if not eager, to compromise its principles -- its so-called "highest standards of ethics" -- when disseminating a certain message becomes a higher priority. WND has a verylonghistory of doing exactly that.
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.
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.
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.
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.