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Friday, November 23, 2007
CNS' Sham 'Balance'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Recent CNSNews.com articles make a mockery of its purported mission to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" by making only token efforts to obtain the other side of a story, then not bothering to follow up tell the full story.

A Nov. 21 article by Pete Winn on a planned boycott of the upcoming movie "The Golden Compass" reatures two conservative activists who "told Cybercast News Service" their objections to the movie. The other side, meanwhile, was represented by an excerpt from a 2002 interview with the author of the book on which the movie is based and an excerpt from an Australian newspaper interview with one of the actresses in the film. Winn made no apparent effort to contact anyone involved with the film for a specific response to the boycott threat.

A Nov. 20 article by Nathan Burchfiel quoted two "pro-life activists" claiming that  "high abortion rates among black women" are linked to "high levels of 'hopelessness' in African-American communities across the United States." Burchfiel's attempt to "fairly present" the other side was limited to stating that "A spokesman for the Alan Guttmacher Institute did not respond to requests for comment by press time" and pulling statistics off the group's website. Was this story so time-sensitive that it couldn't wait for a live person from the Alan Guttmacher Institute to respond? Hardly.

A Nov. 16 article by Melanie Hunter featured a campaign by "[t]he nation's largest pro-life group" to urge Congress "to stop giving taxpayer dollars to organizations that perform abortions by passing one of two bills designed to ban the funding of abortion." Hunter made no apparent effort to contact an actual "organization that perform abortions" for a response; instead, she copied a statement from the Planned Parenthood website.

A Nov. 14 article by Burchfiel was almost entirely devoted to pushing a report from MRC sister organization Business & Media Institute claiming that "Major news outlets are largely ignoring personal responsibility in their coverage of a recent increase in loan foreclosures." Not until the final paragraph is it noted that "Representatives for the NBC 'Nightly News,' ABC 'World News' and CBS 'Evening News' did not respond to requests for comment by press time Tuesday." Again, this was not a time-sensitive article that needed to be pushed out as quickly as possible. And the absence of a follow-up article suggests that Burchfiel has made no further attempt to give the networks a fair opportunity to respond.

CNS' lack of balance is more evident in a series of articles it published on speakers at a recent gathering of the conservative Federalist Society. But while remarks by unabashedly conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and John Roberts and President Bush weren't countered by any opposing view, the speech by Rudy Giuliani, who has a record of being less than conservative, was. Kevin Mooney wrote that "Some pro-life and Second Amendment advocates in attendance felt Giuliani's address was deliberately crafted to avoid directly addressing some of their central concerns."

By contrast, a July 31 article by Hutner covered a speech by Sen. Chuck Schumer before the American Constitution Society, the Federalist Society's liberal counterpart -- and Hunter contacted the leader of a conservative legal group for a response.

And there are still CNS articles that don't even make the pretense of telling the other side. A Nov. 21 article by Susan Jones on a California law that forbids employers from using state funds to deter union organizing tells only of business interests trying to overturn the law; Jones makes no indication that she even bothered to contact any supporter of the law for a response.

All of this further confirms our suspicions that CNS is pulling further right -- and more biased and unfair -- under new editors Terry Jeffrey and Michael Chapman.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EST
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Is Zelnick Disappointed Clinton Wasn't Indicted?
Topic: CNSNews.com

In a Nov. 20 CNSNews.com review of Brent Bozell and Tim Graham's anti-Hillary book (hint: he likes it), Bob Zelnick writes (emphasis added):

Most journalists who sought to investigate the Clintons' alleged improprieties in Little Rock or Washington came away with lots of suspicious behavior but no smoking guns. The Clintons, of course, stonewalled those hot on the trail of impropriety, as did their closest associates. Even so massive an effort as that undertaken by the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal yielded a disappointing harvest of conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. Investigations headed by special prosecutors proved no more productive. From Whitewater to Travelgate, the Feds quietly gave up one ghost after another. Not a single indictment was returned against either Clinton in any case. Impeachment produced a division along partisan rather than evidentiary lines.

That can be read as saying that Zelnick was rooting for an indictment and was disappointed that the Clintons weren't indicted on anything, even though there was no "conclusive evidence of wrongdoing." If so, that seems to contradict Bozell and Graham's thesis that the media is monolithcally liberal on the subject of the Clintons; after all, Zelnick worked for ABC News for 21 years, notably coving national political and congressional affairs from 1994 to 1998, during the Clinton administration. 

Given that one of the cornerstone beliefs among conservatives is that because many journalists hold liberal beliefs, those beliefs are reflected in their reporting -- Zelnick himself admits as much, praising the MRC for "provid[ing] me with ammunition for verbal repartee with my cherished liberal students and faculty friends" -- doesn't this also mean that Zelnick's conservative views were reflected in his reporting for ABC? If so, Zelnick -- and Bozell and Graham -- should admit as much, that conservative reporters are just as biased as they accuse liberal reporters of being.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:43 PM EST
Newsmax Hillary-Hate Watch
Topic: Newsmax

As we've noted, NewsMax really hasn't gone as soft on the Clintons as Christopher Ruddy's recent rapproachement suggests. The latest evidence:

  • A Nov. 18 article promoted Karl Rove's Newsweek column attacking Hillary, which "implied that a controversial question asked to Sen. John McCain by a woman in South Carolina ["How do we beat the bitch?"] was not without justification."
  • Dick Morris' Nov. 19 column in which, as we noted, he called Hillary Clinton "the commander of the Clinton secret police" and Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson a "KGB enforcer look-alike."
  • John LeBoutillier spends his Nov. 21 column ranting about how "CNN stands for Clinton News Network." 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:00 AM EST
CNS' One-Sided Stem Cell Coverage
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've previously noted that CNS passed along discredited information in a Nov. article on a breakthrough in stem cell research. CNS has now done done two more articles on the research; they, like the first one, quotes only supporters of the research and critics of embryonic stem cell research, which the breakthrough research -- which turns skin cells into something resembling embryonic stem cells without the use of actual embryos -- purportedly would make obsolete.

Missing from CNS' reports is a crucial statement from one of the lead researchers on the breakthrough. The New York Times reported that James A. Thomson, leader of the University of Wisconsin team that helped research the breakthrough, said that "it would be premature to abandon research with stem cells taken from human embryos." That statement is found nowhere in any of the three CNS articles on the subject.

Is this a violation of CNS' stated mission to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" -- or does it not consider embryonic stem cell research to be a "legitimate" story it is compelled to "fairly present"?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EST
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
WND Still Misleading On Border Patrol Agents
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Earlier this year, we detailed how WorldNetDaily has distorted the case of two Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting an illegal immigrant. A Nov. 21 WND article by Jerome Corsi keeps up the distortions.

Corsi's article is entirely devoted to accusations by a "Border Patrol activist group" that the U.S. attorney who prosecuted the Border patrol agents, Johnny Sutton, of suborning perjury in the case. At no point does Corsi indicate that he contacted Sutton or any of his representatives to allow them to respond to the charge, even to the statement that "Sutton is an overzealous prosecutor, just like Mike Nifong in the Duke University case."

Corsi also, in recounting the case, hides important details that conflict with his vision that the agents are innocent. Corsi sums it up this way:

Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are in solitary confinement in federal prisons serving 11- and 12-year terms respectively for shooting Aldrete-Davila as he fled across the border on foot after bringing 750 pounds of marijuana across the Texas border.

Corsi ignores the fact that the salient reason Ramos and Compean were convicted was that they tried to cover up their involvement in the shooting by picking up their shell casings afterwards and failing to file an incident report on it. And Corsi's making a big deal about Ramos and Compean being "in solitary confinement" ignores the fact that the reason they are in solitary confinement is because Ramos was assaulted when he was in the general prision population -- where Ramos was placed after Corsi complained that Ramos was "held in solitary confinement treated as if he were Charles Manson," despite the fact that imprisoned law enforcement officers are typically held separately from the rest of the prison population. (Yeah, Corsi made a big deal out of the assault, too.)

Corsi needs to decide whether he wants Ramos and Compean in solitary confinement or not -- as well as decide whether he wants to actually become the real journalist he pretends to be and tell both sides of the story. 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:34 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:39 PM EST
Sheppard Advocates Violence Against Liberal Columnist
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Nov. 20 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard seconds indicted Tom DeLay's claim that he would like to "bitch-slap" New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, calling the idea "delicious" and adding, "Don't you love it when you find out that leading political figures in America think just like you?"

So much for fellow NewsBuster Tim Graham's suggestion that conservative bloggers are more civil than liberal ones... 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 AM EST
CNS Repeats Discredited Claim About Stem Cells
Topic: CNSNews.com

A Nov. 20 CNSNews.com article by Patrick Goodenough on "news of a breakthrough in stem cell research that some ethicists believe could spell the death knell for the controversial science of cloning human embryos for their cells" claimed that research involving "adult stem cells from non-controversial sources like bone marrow and placentas ... have -- unlike in the case of ESCs [embryonic stem cells] -- already reportedly yielded dozens of treatments."

As we noted the last time CNS made this claim -- forwarded by anti-embryonic stem cell researcher David Prentice -- Prentice's list of ailments treatable by adult stem cells has been discredited; FDA-approved adult stem cell treatments are available for only nine diseases.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EST
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Criticism of Bush = 'Anti-American'
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 20 NewsBusters post by Kyle Drennen noted a CBS segment on a group of American bridge players who held up a sign saying "We didn’t vote for Bush" during the World Bridge Championship in China last month. After repeating a transcript of the segment describing positive reaction to the sign, Drennen added: "Isn’t being anti-American fun?"

So a mere public statement that you didn't vote for Bush makes you "anti-American"? We must not have gotten the memo.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:26 PM EST
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax

We note at Media Matters that Dick Morris has upped his dosage of Clinton Derangement Syndrome in his Nov. 19 Newsmax column, calling Hillary Clinton "the commander of the Clinton secret police" and Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson a "KGB enforcer look-alike."


Posted by Terry K. at 6:57 PM EST
New Article: Not-So-Special Reports
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's "special reports" purporting to demonstrate liberal media bias have holes big enough to drive misleading claims through. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EST
Sheppard Just Can't Stop Smearing Gore
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 19 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard begins: "As NewsBusters readers are well aware, we have for months been chronicling Nobel Laureate Al Gore's profit motive concerning the advancement of climate change hysteria."

Well, actually, no. As we've detailed, Sheppard has regularly attacked Gore for making money in connection with his global warming activism, but he has never provided evidence to support his central thesis -- that Gore is involved in global warming activism for the sole purpose of making money.

Sheppard couldn't even confine today's outbreak of Gore Derangement Syndrome to a single post; he penned another Nov. 19 post featuring the smear that Gore "could be this decade's Ken Lay." Again, Sheppard offers no evidence that Gore is motivated only by the Benjamins.

In fact, given his aggressiveness in making false and misleading claims about global warming, one might more rationally conclude that it is Sheppard, not Gore, who is the mercenary, hurling smear after smear in order to rake in the cash that the MRC sends his way as a NewsBusters associate editor, plus whatever he might be taking on the side from the the various energy industry-funded interests that typically fund claims by folks like Sheppard. He needs to disclose such connections to his readers so we can judge if he is any purer than Gore.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 1:10 AM EST
Monday, November 19, 2007
Did WND Columnist Call Hillary Worse Than Manson?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From a Nov. 19 WorldNetDaily column by Mark Crutcher:

First, even though the Democrats are poised to nominate someone who could probably make Charles Manson seem like the lesser of two evils, a significant part of the Republican base does not see the Giuliani as any better.

The current Democratic front-runner is Hillary Clinton, which means Crutcher is calling Hillary worse than Manson. Nice burst of Clinton Derangement Syndrome there, guy.

UPDATE: Crutcher's statement meshes well with the anti-Clinton paranoia gripping the rest of WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:43 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 19, 2007 6:43 PM EST
AIM Still Misleading About 'Path to 9/11'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

From a Nov. 16 Accuracy in Media column by Roger Aronoff:

Bill Clinton himself showed his mastery of manipulating the media when he lined up some senators and others to put pressure on ABC when the network announced plans to air “The Path to 9/11,” a September 2006 miniseries demonstrating how Clinton’s inaction on terrorism may have contributed to the horrendous act of terror committed on that fateful day. The pressure resulted in certain cuts favorable to Clinton being made in the film that eventually aired. 

In fact, as we've pointed out, the problem with "The Path to 9/11" was not that it criticized the Clinton administration; it was that it lied in doing so. Conservatives like Aronoff have clung to the idea that the miniseries -- writtten by conservative activist Cyrus Nowrasteh -- was factually accurate when, in actuality, it portrayed the Clinton administration in a more negative light than the facts warrant and the Bush administration in a more positive light than the facts warrant.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EST
Updated: Monday, November 19, 2007 1:12 PM EST
WND Mum on Minutemen Controversies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've long noted that WorldNetDaily pledge of "hard-hitting investigative reporting" doesn't apply to conservatives. WND keeps up that selective enforcement of its purported mission of being "a light exposing wrongdoing, corruption and abuse of power" by ignoring controversies surrounding a group it has long championed.

Over the past year or so, as David Neiwert detailed, a rift has been developing between the Minuteman movement's co-founders, Jim Gilchrist and Chris Simcox, and questions have been raised over where the money raised by the Minutemen has gone. Earlier this month, CNN reported that the border fence the Minutemen are attempting to build in Arizona -- promised to be 14 feet high and topped with razor wire -- is instead a mere 5-foot-high wire-mesh cattle fence.

WND has devoted no original coverage whatsoever to this controversy -- surprising since it has been among the Minutemen's biggest boosters, even touting the Minutemen's fence project in an April 2006 article.

Perhaps WND is a little too cozy with the Minutemen to tell the truth. As we've noted, Simcox was a featured player in then-WND writer Jon Dougherty's anti-illegal-immigrant book (in which he whitewashed the weapons violations of Simcox and allegations of pistol-whipping of a border-crosser against a Simcox collegaue). Last year, current WND writer Jerome Corsi also co-authored with Gilchrist a book about the Minutemen, which we somehow suspect also whitewashed the Minutemen's misdeeds.

It appears that WND isn't going to report anything negative about the Minutemen -- which means it will not be telling its readers the truth. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EST
Updated: Monday, November 19, 2007 1:02 AM EST
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Dear Noel Sheppard ...
Topic: NewsBusters

Dear Mr. Sheppard:

We see that in a Nov. 17 NewsBusters post, you declare the headline "Bush Death Watch: Countdown!" on a San Francisco Chronicle column to be "unimaginably deranged," adding, "if heads don't roll at the San Francisco Chronicle for this one, something is really wrong in this nation."

Well, we noticed that NewsBusters, under its "Editor's Picks," lists a post by the blogger JammieWearingFool. This blogger recently posted a Photoshopped image of Hillary Clinton being shoved in front of a subway train by Rudy Giuliani, which he has declared to be "satire."

As NewsBusters associate editor, will you hold JammieWearingFool to the same standards as the San Francisco Chronicle? Will there be heads rolling at NewsBusters for promoting a blogger who posts images that are, to coin a phrase, unimaginably deranged?

Sincerely,

ConWebWatch 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EST

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