Newsmax Flip-Flops on Media Ownership Conflicts Topic: Newsmax
In a March 27 Newsmax column, Lowell Ponte notes that one of the private equity firms that has been negotiating a deal to buy radio giant Clear Channel Communications -- which also owns Premiere Radio Networks, syndicator of such consrevative hosts as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh -- is Bain Capital, co-founded by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Ponte writes:
These hosts never told listeners that a company Romney co-founded, and with which he was still involved, was signatory to a 2006 agreement to buy Clear Channel and that completion of this deal was in process during Romney’s presidential run.
Should these hosts tell their listeners about Romney’s tangential connection to the purchase of Clear Channel if bank funding is resolved and this buyout of the broadcast giant gets back on track — and if Gov. Romney becomes Senator McCain’s running mate?
Nothing in Mitt Romney’s potential involvement in this buyout is in any way whatsoever illegal or unethical. The same can be said for honorable Clear Channel hosts who spoke favorably of Gov. Romney.
But in our age of highly charged, hotly polarized partisanship, leftists have demonstrated an eagerness to turn even the tiniest molehill into a mountain of accusation against Republicans, and even against one another.
Caesar’s wife must be above even the slightest suspicion in our era of undue influence and strange political bedfellows.
By bringing light and ventilation to Bain Capital’s and Mr. Romney’s role (if any) in the Clear Channel buyout, we can give McCain more freedom to consider Gov. Romney as a potentially excellent running mate.
Newsmax wasn't so magnanimous when faced with the opposite situation.
As we've noted, back in 2000 Newsmax was absolutely offended that one investor in the company that owns the National Enquirer is "Clinton confidant and one-time Whitewater figure Roger Altman." Citing stories that made Republicans look bad whose facts it didn't dispute, Newsmax huffed: "Watch for the liberal media food chain at work. ... Smear stories in tabloids that bounce up to the networks."
Of course, Newsmax has some tabloid-esque tendencies -- witness Ronald Kessler's endless Obama attacks -- and serves that exact role in the conservative media food chain, promoting "smear stories" that "bounce up" to talk radio and Fox News. And it considered those very same tabloids a reliable source of information when they reported scandalous information about Democrats.
Newsmax in 2000 wasn't calling anyone at the National Enquirer "honorable" or pointing out that their ownership by a former politician was not "illegal or unethical." And it most definitely was trying to turn "the tiniest molehill into a mountain of accusation."
Back then, Newsmax wanted to highlight a media ownership issue to attack it. Now, a Newsmax columnist wants to highlight the issue in order to whitewash it.
In a March 28 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham makes a big deal out of liberal blog Think Progress correcting an "inaccurate smear" of John McCain. If Graham and NewsBusters are so big on accuracy, let's see NewsBusters correct the record on the following:
-- Writing about controverisal remarks made by Barack Obama's pastor, John Stevenson wrote, "Don't expect Obama to repudiate these remarks." In fact, Obama already had.
-- NumerousNewsBusterswritershaveclaimed that, in the words of Richard Newcomb on March 6, "it was State Department hack Richard Armitage who actually first mentioned [Valerie] Plame's name." In fact, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby also leaked Plame's identity to reporters; Armitage's leakee, Robert Novak, was merely the first to go public with it.
-- Sheppard's false claim that "at the beginning of January, just hours before the New Hampshire primary, and days after a devastating loss to Sen. Barack Obama in the Iowa caucuses, Democrat [sic] presidential candidate Hillary Clinton teared-up in front of the camera." She didn't.
-- Scott Whitlock falsely claimed that author Steven Dubner "Touts Abortion as a Way to Reduce Crime." In fact, his research has merely noted that the legalization of abortion reduced overall crime rates.
-- Kyle Drennen accused CBS' Harry Smith of "sounding like a liberal conspiracy theorist" and "reminiscent of left-winger Rosie O’Donnell" for "question[ing] the authenticity of an audio tape of the confrontation between U.S. and Iranian ships on January 6," even though the Pentagon itself has backed away from the implication that the voice on the tape unquestionably came from an Iranian ship.
That's just this year. We're still waiting for NewsBusters sister site CNSNews.com to apologize to Paul Begala for falsely claiming in 2005 that he said Republicans were trying to kill him and his family.
Navrozov Misstates NY Times Circulation Topic: Newsmax
In a March 27 Newsmax column, Lev Navrozov stated: "In 1993, The New York Times had 757,000 readers, and by 2006, the number fell to 529,000."
That's misleading; those numbers are the Times' daily circulation only in the New York metropolitian area. The Times' total circulation has changed relatively little (not for Navrozov's purpose of attacking them the Times as a dying newspaper, anyway), hovering around 1.1 million during that same time period, as the Times shifted to more of a national focus. Circulation of the Sunday Times declined from 1.7 million to 1.6 million.
Even More Stuff Wrong With Klein's Reporting Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've found yet another thing wrong with Aaron Klein's attack reporting on Barack Obama.
Klein's March 20 WorldNetDaily article claimed that Obama's church "reprinted a manifesto by Hamas [actually, just a Los Angeles Times op-ed] that defended terrorism as legitimate resistance, refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist and compared the terror group's official charter – which calls for the murder of Jews – to America's Declaration of Independence." While Klein claims that "Obama's campaign also did not reply to phone and e-mail requests today for comment," Media Matters notes that a March 20 Jewish Telegraphic Agency article quotes Obama as saying: "I have already condemned my former pastor's views on Israel in the strongest possible terms, and I certainly wasn't in church when that outrageously wrong Los Angeles Times piece was re-printed in the bulletin."
Obama is further quoted as saying, "Hamas is a terrorist organization, responsible for the deaths of many innocents, and dedicated to Israel's destruction, as evidenced by their bombarding of Sderot in recent months. I support requiring Hamas to meet the international community's conditions of recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and abiding by past agreements before they are treated as a legitimate actor."
Klein doesn't get around to mentioning this until a March 22 article, claiming that the statement was made "following WND's story." He offers no evidence to support the assertion.
Klein also referenced the Hamas "manifesto" in the church bulletin in a March 23 article -- but not Obama's condemnation.
We've added this to our ConWebWatch article on Klein.
Meanwhile ... Topic: Newsmax Media Matters details how Dick Morris, in his March 25 Newsmax column, yet again repeats the false claim that Hillary Clinton "said that Chelsea [Clinton] was jogging around the World Trade Center on 9/11 and happened to duck into a coffee shop when the airplanes hit. She said that this move saved Chelsea's life." In fact, she didn't say that at all; rather, Clinton said that her daughter had "gone, what she thought would be just a great jog. She was going to go down to Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers. She went to get a cup of coffee and -- and that's when the plane hit."
Barber Misleads on Gays, Blood and South Africa Topic: CNSNews.com
In a March 27 CNSNews.com column, Matt Barber essentially claims that gays are filthy, disease-ridden scum who are plotting to kill straight people by donating blood. On top of that, he misleads about a few things. One claim in particular is of note:
In South Africa, militant homosexual activists have been "protesting" by deliberately and surreptitiously violating that nation's blood ban, aiming to flood blood banks with 70,000 units. Who knows how much blood has been contaminated or how many innocent people have been infected. This isn't a protest; it's an act of violence.
Barber treats this as if it was a current story; in fact, the BBC first reported on it in January 2006. The BBC goes on to note that at the same time, the South African National Blood Services also banned blood donations from blacks, noting that "President Thabo Mbeki's blood was destroyed because he was black and because his doctor had refused to complete the personal history questionnaire used to screen donors." Does Barber approve of that ban as well?
Barber doesn't mention that South Africa has since lifted the blanket ban on gay men donating blood, allowing those who have been celibate for six months to donate.
While Barber makes a big deal in his column about HIV and AIDS being a "gay disease," that's not the case in South Africa. It's estimated that as many as one in five South African adults -- and nearly 30 percent of pregnant women -- have HIV.
Barber also doesn't mention that most countries test donated blood for HIV, making the actual threat much smaller than he purports it to be.
New Articles -- Anti-Obama Frenzy: Ronald Kessler and Aaron Klein Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's Kessler peddles the inflammatory statements by Barack Obama's pastor while he downplays or hides Obama's criticism of them. WorldNetDaily's Klein hurls guilt-by-association attacks as he admits his hatred of Obama.
Unruh's New False Claim in Homeschooling Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh -- still condoning child abuse by not reporting the truth about the dysfunctional family at the center of a homeschooling case in California -- is making a newly minted false claim about the case in a March 26 article:
The Longs say they have homeschooled because of an anti-Christian bias in public schools. The ruling stemmed from a juvenile proceeding that already had been closed by the court when court-appointed attorneys for their children appealed, specifically attempting to ban homeschooling. The ruling from Appeals Court Judge H. Walt Croskey granted the attorneys' wishes.
Unruh offers no evidence that the court-appointed attorneys for the children "specifically attempt[ed] to ban homeschooling" in their appeal. Indeed, the ruling mentions nothing beyond trying to get the Long children out of their homeschooling situation, which even the juvenile court admitted was “lousy,” “meager,” and “bad.” Croskey merely recited state law in "grant[ing] the attorneys' wishes" -- that there is no provision for homeschooling in state law and no expressed "right" to it in either the California or U.S. constitutions.
And again, Unruh fails to note that the court ruling stated that the Longs have made multiple claims regarding why they homeschool, including that "educating children outside the home exposes them to 'snitches.'"
Anti-Obama Frenzy, AIM Division Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a March 26 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid declares that Barack Obama probably supports slavery reparations because ... a fictional character reportedly based on Obama supported reparations.
One of the liberals’ favorite television shows, “West Wing,” about a fictional White House, also examined the controversy in the context of a controversial nominee for assistant attorney general for civil rights who advocated financial reparations for slavery.
At the time, we noted that three veteran Democrats were advisers to the show. They were former Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers, former Carter official Patrick Caddell, and former Senate Democratic aide Lawrence O’Donnell. Time magazine reported that Conyers’ staff had sent along “200 pages of material on the issue of paying reparations to black Americans as compensation for slavery” to the producers.
Interestingly, it has now been reported by The Guardian that one of the characters in the show, a presidential candidate, was modeled by one of the Democratic writers after Obama. The character in the program wins the presidency.
If this happens in real life, we may finally find out where Obama really stands on the issue of reparations.
In a March 25 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd is upset that "a blog mocking Republican presidential candidate John McCain for his false teeth" appeared at a website "funded by left-wing megamillionaire George Soros."
Given that NewsBusters, funded by right-wing megamillionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, has recently defended the existence of a Hillary Clinton nutcracker, we'd say Shepherd has little room to complain.
It's taken a while, but Ronald Kessler has finally figured out a way to work some of his trademark Bush administration fluffing into his attacks on Barack Obama: by claiming in his March 26 Newsmax column that Condoleezza Rice suffered more racism than Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Yet while Wright, 66, no doubt had brushes with discrimination growing up in Philadelphia, it was nothing compared with what Condoleezza Rice faced — or, for that matter, what six million Jews who were slaughtered by Adolf Hitler faced.
In contrast to Wright, who attended an integrated school, Rice grew up in segregated Birmingham, Ala. Denise McNair, one of Rice’s friends and classmates, was one of the four girls who was killed in the Ku Klux Klan bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Rice's Unbridled Courage
Rice had to sit at the back of buses. When more whites got on, the driver would move a “Colored” sign farther back in the bus, making less room for blacks. Rice could not eat at the same restaurants as whites unless the restaurant had a separate room with a separate entrance for blacks.
She was not allowed to use the same drinking fountains or public restrooms as whites. But Condi Rice, a descendant of slaves and white slave owners, had something else going for her: Her middle-class black neighborhood had developed a culture separate from the rest of the city, one that shut out the racism all around and taught children they had to be “twice as good” to pull even with whites.
Instead of teaching Rice to carry a chip on her shoulder, as she has told me, Rice’s parents amplified those positive values, giving her a strong sense of self-worth.
Rice’s father, the Rev. John W. Rice Jr., instilled in his daughter the faith that she brought with her into the White House and the State Department.
While Rice is comfortable with her own heritage and often speaks before black groups, she does not dwell on the racism she experienced growing up. Above all, Rice is proud of America and the opportunities that everyone now has. Witness the fact that she is secretary of state.
What a contrast to the poisonous atmosphere at the church that Obama has chosen to attend for more than two decades and the demagoguery of the man he calls his friend, sounding board, and mentor.
In his March 25 WorldNetDaily column, Mychal Massie called Barack Obama's speech on race "a transpicuous opprobrium intended to obfuscate."
Massie also claimed that Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, "in effect said Natalie [sic: Natalee] Holloway got what she deserved." Actually, no. According to a Jan. 27 WND article, which first hyped Wright's statement:
"Black women are being raped daily in Darfur, Sudan, in the Congo and in Sub-Saharan Africa. That doesn't make news," Wright said in the August 2005 edition of Trumpet Magazine, a publication of his Trinity United Church of Christ.
But, "One 18-year-old white girl from Alabama gets drunk on a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and 'gives it up' while in a foreign country, and that stays in the news for months!" he added. "Maybe I am missing something!"
Wright never said Holloway "got what she deserved" -- not even "in effect." Massie needs to do a little less thesaurus-mining and a little more fact-checking.
It's An Anti-Obama Frenzy! (And Naked Women!) Topic: WorldNetDaily
How much does WorldNetDaily hate Barack Obama? At this writing, WorldNetDaily has no less than six anti-Obama articles on its front page.
The lead article, by Jerome Corsi, proclaims: "Revealed: Obama's dad polygamist, alcoholic." But there's nothing new. As Corsi admits, his information is more than a year old, from a January 2007 article in London's Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail, by the way, is currently featuring nude photos of Carla Bruni, wife of French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. WND, if you'll recall, stopped linking to articles at Salon.com because the website contained "erotic art" -- you know, photos of naked women. Guess we can forget about that ban.
This is not the first time Joseph Farah and WND have abandoned their professed moral standards to indulge in hatred of a Democratic presidential candidate. In 2004, WND repeated never-verified rumors of a John Kerry affair, even though they originated with the British tabloid The Sun, notorious for its naked Page 3 Girls.
One Free Ride, Coming Right Up Topic: Media Research Center
A few weeks back, the MRC's Tim Graham was chortling at the idea that the then-upcoming book by David Brock and Paul Waldman of Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) claiming that John McCain has been given a free ride by the media wasn't conforming with current events (even though his and Brent Bozell's book claiming much the same thing about Hillary Clinton wasn't either). Graham added regarding the Brock-Waldman book: "It should be fun to rifle through their pages when we can locate a copy."
Well, this is Graham's lucky day: The book was released yesterday. Learn more about it here, and check out the nifty video introducing it:
WND Still Not Telling the Truth About Elmira Prayer Protest Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 24 WorldNetDaily article stated that an appeal "has been filed on behalf of four Christians who were fined for praying in a public park in Elmira, N.Y." The article continues:
The case stems from a visit by seven Christians to a homosexual festival in a public park in Elmira last year. They were convicted of "disorderly conduct" even though the police officer who arrested them testified their actions were peaceful.
The Christians were arrested June 23 after they entered Elmira's Wisner Park with their heads bowed to pray for the participants of the homosexual festival going on. Materials advertising the event stated it was open to the public and all were invited to attend.
The Elmira Star-Gazette reported police Sgt. Sharon Moyer told the court she warned Julian Raven that his rights at the event were limited..
"He said he was there to preach the word of God," Moyer told the court, the newspaper reported. "I explained he was welcome to be there (at the festival), but he would not be allowed to confront the participants."
The officer accused the street preacher of being antagonistic.
[Street preacher Julian] Raven, however, said it was Moyer who was "aggressive from the get-go" and said her orders amounted to a deprivation of his rights.
WND, as it has previously done, fails to tell the full truth about the incident. Merely "praying," as WND repeatedly asserts, was not the issue here; nowhere does it describe the specific circumstances in which the group did so. According to the Elmira Star-Gazette: "The four protesters claimed their right to free speech was violated when they were arrested June 23 after laying prostrate on the lawn in front of a temporary stage in the park."
The article also repeated WND's previous false claim that "A local newspaper reported the judge determined Raven was reckless for going to the park." In fact, what the Star-Gazette stated that Elmira City Judge Thomas Ramich "said in his decision that Julian M. Raven, the leader of the protest group, was being reckless when he inserted the four into the midst of the event participants" -- that is, having them lay prostrate on the lawn in front of a temporary stage in the park, not simply the act of "going to the park."