CNS' Own Readers Bash Its Anti-Huckabee Bias Topic: CNSNews.com
We weren't the only ones to notice CNSNews.com's slanted attack on Mike Huckabee's record on taxes in Arkansas -- rank-and-file readers noticed too, judging by CNS' Jan. 15 letters column.
Letter-writer Randy H. stated: "You failed to mention the court-ordered mandate to raise income for schools and roads. If this is not a hit piece, why did you not mention the facts concerning what Gov. Huckabee had to do?" Randy added a little stinger at the end: "Unfortunate that what I thought was the last bastion of unbiased media has activist journalists as well." Poor guy doesn't know just how wrong he was about that.
Another writers adds in a similar vein: " Huckabee may still be a tax raiser, but don't charge him for what is court-ordered."
Yet another person wrote:
It is interesting that the CATO Institute, at the request of Cybercast News Service only did an analysis of Mike Huckabee's tax record. If the intent was to help readers understand the potential impact of a candidate's tax policy, wouldn't it make sense to include the massive tax increases under Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani? The truth is none of the GOP hopefuls can be given an A+ on taxes, especially those who were conservative governors in liberal states as were Huckabee and Romney. Cybercast News Service could and should take the lead in objective reporting by evaluating all candidates on the same issues and by the same criteria. In the end, Huckabee may not look as good as Romney or Giuliani, but Cybercast News Service would look better than their counterparts in the establishment media. ...
CNS no longer has to take our word for it that their reporting is fairness-challenged -- real, live readers don't like it either. Will CNS do anything about it? We shall see.
A bizarre Jan. 12 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston bashes the Associated Press for doing an article Chris Matthews' remarks about Hillary Cinton. The AP, Huston asserts, "is trying to drum up sympathy for Matthews who is supposedly on the receiving end of a "backlash" for his supposed attacks on Hillary Clinton." Huston excerpts a statement from the AP article noting that "The liberal watchdog Media Matters for America counted more than eight negative remarks Matthews made about Clinton for every positive one during September, October and November." Huston responded: "Gadzooks! EIGHT THINGS? That monster!" (Boldface his).
Um, Warner, honey, that's a ratio. The actual count is 82 negative remarks vs. 10 positive ones.
Corsi Offers Biased Promotion of Anti-Hillary Film Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ken Timmerman isn't the only one engaging in a little historical revisionism in connection with the new anti-Hillary movie. Jerome Corsi writes in a Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily article:
Also attending the premiere was Billy Dale, the 35-year White House travel office manager whose career began under President Kennedy and ended when the Clintons pressed criminal charges against him that later were proved false. The Clintons, according to federal investigators, were trying to clear the way for their campaign contributors to place their own people in the travel office.
In fact, as we've noted, contrary to Corsi's suggestion, independent counsel Robert Ray reported that there were irregularities in the travel office under Dale and that "the Federal Bureau of Investigation had determined that sufficient evidence existed to provide the requisite predicate for the opening of a criminal investigation." Further, Ray also pointed out that "The decision to fire the Travel Office employees was a lawful one. The Travel Office employees served at the pleasure of President Bill Clinton, and they were subject to discharge without cause."
Corsi also noted that "Featured in the film and attending the premier was Kathleen Willey, author of WND Books' 'Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton[.]' In the film, Willey speaks at length about the Clinton camp's personal attacks on her for accusing the president of sexually accosting her in the White House." But Corsi -- following apparent WND editorial policy -- doesn't note Willey's history of contradictory statements and outright lies. Similarly, Corsi noted the film touches on "Peter F. Paul's $17 million civil lawsuit" without noting that Paul is a convicted felon.
Further, Corsi curiously fails to use the word "conservative" in the article, describing Newt Gingrich, Frank Gaffney, Tony Blankley, Ann Coulter and Robert Novak only as "political notables" and failing to accurately describe them as conservatives.
In a Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily column about turmoil within Episcopal congregations over the issue of homosexuality, Les Kinsolving writes:
An overwhelming majority of the members of these two historic parishes recently voted against continuing their membership in the Episcopal Church. They did so because their faith is the same as existed at the time of George Washington: that the practice of sodomy, which is so frequently condemned in Holy Scripture, is not only morally wrong, but remains the major means of distribution of that massive lethal disease AIDS, for which science has not been able to find a preventative or a cure.
You mean George Washington knew about AIDS? Wow, those Founding Fathers were more amazing than we ever imagined.
In a Jan. 15 Newsmax review of David Bossie's new anti-Hillary movie, Kenneth Timmerman writes that Dick Morris "says he parted ways with the Clintons after he saw Hillary hire private investigators and retired intelligence officers to track down and harass the women who were threatening to reveal the sexual antics of her husband in the White House."
Morris's resignation was announced hours before President Clinton delivered his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last Thursday night. His departure came after the Star, a supermarket tabloid, published allegations by the $200-an-hour prostitute that she had a long-running relationship with Morris.
NewsBusters hasn't exactly shown the love to Mike Huckabee lately, but a Jan. 15 post by Mark Finkelstein tried to turn that around by taking MSNBC's Willie Geist to task for saying that "without his charm and his personality," Huckabee would "be dismissed as a crackpot" and happily noting that Joe Scarborough accused reporter David Shuster of hypocrisy for criticizing Huckabee, but not Barack Obama, for "going into a church to preach his political word."
A few days ago, Finkelstein was defending Fred Thompson at Huckabee's expense. Are the NewsBusters boys starting to realize that the Huckster really is a conservative after all?
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily article on its recent Bahamian cruise includes the following:
[WND managing editor David] Kupelian had harsh words about Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., stating if she were to be elected in November, American culture would descend into "a level of hell."
"Things are weird enough now with people Tasering each other and piercing every part of their bodies," he said. "[Hillary] reminds me of a 'Terminator' who can morph into any shape."
Huh? Body piercings are Hillary's fault? Was this guy blaming Hillary for getting Tased? Did we miss something? Perhaps not: WND has also likened people who get tattoos and other body modifications to Charles Manson.
NewsBusters: Obama Too African to Be President Topic: NewsBusters
A Jan. 11 NewsBusters post by Seton Motley noted that the church Barack Obama attends claims that it is "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian" and remains "true to our native land." Motley has decided that this means Obama isn't a real American -- and isn't even American enough to run for president:
A commitment to Unashamed Blackness, remain true to (his) native land (that would be Africa, as per Trinity United parlance) and the embrace of the Black Value System certainly seems to stand in diametric opposition to Obama's potential upcoming oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and his doing his very best to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Our prohibition on the Presidency for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has chosen fidelity to the United States but whose loyalties are called into question merely by the matter of his place of birth, could reasonably be extended to Obama, who had the good fortune to be born in America, but who chooses to pledge allegiance elsewhere as an article of faith.
All of these are questions worth asking. So why are the media not?
Because it doesn't matter all that much, and because Motley is so hopelessly biased against Obama that he's trying to throw a racial bogeyman into the presidential race? That's our guess.
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
We predicted Nov. 1, that at some point, tears would be a weapon in the Clinton campaign; however, modesty requires us to admit we picked the wrong Clinton for weepy duty. We thought Bill would be appointed to get teary over the rough treatment accorded his wife, but it was Hillary herself who played the sensitivity card.
There was a catch in her voice, a whimper, an expression of how deeply she cares. But we examined the TV tape minutely, and she was dry-eyed. Good thing, too. If this woman every really wept, her tear ducts would spew BBs and buckshot.
Sheriff Says WND Quoted Him Out of Context Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has been obsessed in recent days with a Colorado incident in which, according to a Jan. 8 article by Bob Unruh, a 11-year-old boy "was taken by police against his parents wishes to a hospital after he was horsing around and bumped his head." Unruh quoted Garfield County, Colo., Sheriff Lou Vallario as saying that the decision to use SWAT team force -- after the father repeatedly refused to allow paramedics to examine the child and, as a result, a magistrate's order was issud for the boy to be seized -- was justified because the father was a "self-proclaimed constitutionalist" and had made threats and "comments" over the years.
Apparently, that's not quite what Vallario said. From a Jan. 12 article in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent:
Authorities said they have received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails this week from people around the country who think Garfield County uses SWAT teams on people just because they are constitutionalists.
Some messages included angry cursing and comparisons between Garfield County and Nazi Germany.
Callers mistakenly believed the Garfield County All Hazards Response Team - similar to a SWAT team - was used for "no reason other than that (Sheriff Lou Vallario) personally had it in for constitutionalists," said community relations deputy Tanny McGinnis. She estimated the Sheriff's Office received up to 400 calls and e-mails on the matter this week. Most were in response to a story that appeared on a website Monday about the use of the armed team to remove a child from the home of Tom Shiflett near New Castle, to get the child medical attention.
"A lot of people have shared with us that they were misled by the original World Net Daily article," McGinnis said. "(Sheriff Lou Vallario) made a statement about constitutionalists that was completely taken out of context."
She said many people apologized in e-mails after hearing Vallario's side of the story, and that a WND reporter cut off Vallario and wouldn't listen to answers he didn't want to hear.
"It wasn't an interview," McGinnis said. "It was an argument. This guy would not listen if he didn't like the answers."
Unruh responded to the paper:
WND reporter Bob Unruh responded in an e-mail: "When I interviewed the sheriff, I tried diligently to allow him to wander where he chose with his answers. I specifically was trying to find out the reasoning for dispatching a SWAT team under the circumstances the family already had described to me, or whether this family's version was incorrect. I understand the sheriff has been telling people my reporting is incorrect. However, he's declined to contact me about any concerns he has.
"His reference to Mr. [Tom] Shiflett [father of the injured boy] as a 'constitutionalist' came when I asked him specifically about why a SWAT team was used to take a child to a doctor's exam. I asked him what that meant, or if anything was wrong with that; the sheriff then said he'd had 'personal encounters' with Mr. Shiflett, and he'd made threats. I asked if Mr. Shiflett had been cited, or ticketed, or otherwise penalized for those 'threats,' and the sheriff refused to cite a single incident or situation. ... I would be more than happy to talk to the sheriff, especially to hear an explanation why he responded with the 'constitutionalist' description of Mr. Shiflett when I asked about the use of a SWAT team."
The only allusion to the fact that there's a controversy over what exactly Vallario said on WND is a Jan. 12 article by Unruh in which he noted that "Vallario also criticized WND reporting on the events to a local newspaper, without contacting WND with any concerns." But Unruh didn't mention Vallario's complaint about the "constitutionalist" remark being taken out of context or the threats and vulgar comments made to the sheriff's office as a result of Unruh's reporting; he didn't note what the Post Independent quoted Vallario as saying in response to Unruh's defense: "But Vallario said it's not his job to make sure a reporter reports the news accurately." The article does not indicate that Unruh has since tried to contact Vallario.
It's no surprise that WND would stand accused of twisting words -- indeed, Unruh joins Les Kinsolving as being credibly accused of such in recent months. Vallario's description of Unruh's interview with him as "an argument" and that Unruh "would not listen if he didn't like the answers" certainly lends itself to the type of belligerant, slanted journalism Unruh has engaged in at WND. We suspect that Unruh didn't learn such an argumentive style of "interviewing" at the Associated Press, where he worked for nearly 30 years.
WND should address Vallario's concerns on its own website, but unfortunately, it has a history of a lack of transparency regarding its operations.
Unruh also appears to blame Vallario for not telling him about Tom Shiflett's history of questionable behavior that Vallerio cited for using a SWAT team to seize the boy, as his comment to the Glenwood Springs paper indicates. Unruh notes in the Jan. 12 article that "in an e-mail response to a WND reader who questioned his actions," Vallario stated that "when we requested his cooperation [Shiflett] said, 'if you want my son, bring an army.'" Unruh then bashed the sheriff again:
However, what the sheriff left out of his response was what [caseworker Matthew] McGaugh reported happened just before the alleged threat. McGaugh confirmed he had delivered a not-so-veiled threat to Shiflett.
"This worker explained that the Department had an obligation to investigate the report, that it appeared the child needed medical attention, and that if he didn't consent, the Department would have to obtain a court order to get a medical evaluation for the child," McGaugh stated in a sworn affidavit.
So stating what is presumably standard procedure in such a case is a "threat"? Unruh then allows Shiflett to explain away his own threat -- claiming it was because "social workers had upset him by threatening a court order" -- as well as a previous arrest of Shiflett for "chasing a man down the street with an ax." Yet Unruh won't give Vallario a fair opportunity to tell his story or air his complaints about WND's coverage.
Graham: 'Fox & Friends' Too Easy on Hillary Topic: NewsBusters
We're pretty sure we've posited before that the Media Research Center believes that anyone named Clinton must not be given any positive coverage whatsoever. This theory is confirmed yet again in a Jan. 12 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham, who complains that "Fox & Friends" is being too nice to Hillary Clinton: "But please, Mr. Ailes, can't we ask Hillary a tougher question about her views or her record or her scandals?"
Graham repeatedly bashes Hillary's performance during a recent "Fox & Friends" appearance, claiming that "Hillary babbles on" and at one point begging, "Won’t anyone interrupt?"
We suspect that Graham's demand for hard-hitting coverage from "Fox & Friends" doesn't extend to any interviewee who's not liberal. After all, the MRC's Brent Bozell appeared on "Fox & Friends" the other day and was tossed a series of softballs (and, as we noted, was not even identified as conservative). We suspect Graham doesn't want that little arrangement to change. Otherwise, Fox News would have to have on someone from -- gasp! -- Media Matters opposite them. We can't imagine Bozell (or Fox News, for that matter) allowing that -- which is to say, a real debate -- to happen.
WND Still Not Backing Up Mafi Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
We're previouslydetailed how WorldNetDaily has reported on the case of Denise Mafi -- a Utah homeschooling mom who claims she was threatened with loss of custody of her children because she did not provide required paperwork to state officials notifying them of her homeschooling plans -- without offering any independent corroboration of her story. That is, the article (and all previous ones) quotes only homeschooling activists regarding the nature of the charges.
That trend continues in a Jan. 12 WND article, which again repeats the claim that Mafi's "recollection of events has been confirmed by attorneys" without identifying who those "attorneys" are. It also repeats a previous claim that "Court officials told WND the comments didn't happen as Mafi reported, but have been unable to provide a transcript to confirm either version," but it's buried at the end of the article, and WND doesn't bother to tell what court officials have to say. If Mafi's story can be told without having a court transcript, why can't the court's side?
This is basic journalism, folks. Does WND care more about advancing an agenda than telling the full story? (Wait -- we already know the answer to that.)
MRC Hates Huckabee, Loves Thompson Topic: Media Research Center
We know that the MRC doesn't like Mike Huckabee, judging by CNS' unbalancedattacks on him. But, judging by whom its writers defend on NewsBusters, we're starting to get a picture of who it does like: Fred Thompson. A sampling of recent posts:
A Jan. 11 post by Scott Whitlock was upset that "ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos derided GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson as a 'hit man'" for his attacks on Huckabee during a recent debate.
A Jan. 11 post by Mark Finkelstein was similarly annoyed that Joe Scarborough called Thompson a "hatchet man" for John McCain in the debate, adding that Huckabee "went scatalogical in responding to Thompson."
A Jan. 11 post by Clay Waters bashed the New York Times for "hitting the theme of a 'faltering' Fred Thompson, lashing out in a desperate bid to salvage his campaign" and portraying Huckabee as "turning the other cheek."
A Jan. 10 post by Whitlock praising an ABC report on the shady past of a supporter of Barack Obama, specifically cited a similar report on Thompson to claim that ABC's "investigations of Republicans often include a sneering, sarcastic tone that was lacking in his segment on Obama." (Whitlock does include one of the few defenses of Huckabee to be found on NewsBusters, complaining that an ABC report on "Mike Huckabee and the his record on crime ... leveled charges of hypocrisy."
This, on top of Warner Todd Huston's Thompson sycophancy, suggests that the MRC has chosen sides in the Republican primary. Are 501(c)3 groups allowed to do that?
UPDATE: A Jan. 12 post by Tom Blumer regurgitates Rush Limbaugh's complaint that the "drive-by media" is tyrying to declare Thompson's candidacy over and that Huckabee as the Republican nominee is "exactly what the Drive-Bys want." Does this mean the MRC is doing the bidding of Limbaugh?
WND Falsely Describes California Law Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 11 WorldNetDaily article referred to "a new state law that would mandate a positive – and no other – portrayal of bisexuals, homosexuals, transgenders and others choosing alternative sexual lifestyles in public schools."
This is false. SB 777 adds sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination laws as they apply to schools and requires that schools don't present material that "promotes a discriminatory bias" against those groups covered under the anti-discrimination clause. The word "positive" does not appear in the law.
UPDATE: A Jan. 11 Newsmax article by Lowell Ponte weighs in on the same issue. Ponte, unlike WND, gives a notable amount of space to supporters of the law, though he allows opponents to have the last word on with the law "might" do or "could in theory" do.
Of course, WND does the same thing, admitting that "technically" supporters are correct about the law's provisions but pushes alarmist speculation about what the law "could" do.