Accuracy in Conservatism Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid is doing a fine job of obliterating any pretense that Accuracy in Media actually cares about "fairness, balance and accuracy in news reporting."
An Oct. 3 Kincaid column bashes Fox News employees Geraldo Rivera and Shepard Smith for not being conservative enough during their reporting on Hurricane Katrina. "The first thing that needs to be said is that neither one of them was ever a conservative," Kincaid writes. "Hopefully, their antics in the aftermath of the hurricane, when they railed against the federal government, will finally, once and for all, put a lie to the claim that Fox New is some kind of hotbed for conservative Republicanism."
David Shuster, former Fox News correspondent, might beg to differ:
"At the time I started at Fox, I thought, this is a great news organization to let me be very aggressive with a sitting president of the United States (Bill Clinton)," Shuster said. "I started having issues when others in the organization would take my carefully scripted and nuanced reporting and pull out bits and pieces to support their agenda on their shows.
"With the change of administration in Washington, I wanted to do the same kind of reporting, holding the (Bush) administration accountable, and that was not something that Fox was interested in doing," he said.
"Editorially, I had issues with story selection," Shuster went on. "But the bigger issue was that there wasn't a tradition or track record of honoring journalistic integrity. I found some reporters at Fox would cut corners or steal information from other sources or in some cases, just make things up. Management would either look the other way or just wouldn't care to take a closer look. I had serious issues with that."
Another reason not to take AIM seriously: An Oct. 3 press release claiming that 'the key question to be answered in covering the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is whether President Bush broke his campaign promise to appoint judges in the tradition of conservatives Scalia and Thomas":
"Most experts and observers agree that Miers is not the best qualified person for the position," said Kincaid. "But the record shows that she is not necessarily a conservative and that she financially contributed to the Al Gore for president campaign. This means she is definitely NOT a Scalia or a Thomas."
Why does a "media watchdog group" care about a political issue like the qualifications of a presidential nominee? Because it cares more about conservatism than it does about media watchdogging.
Pre-Approval Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 3 WorldNetDaily article on the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers claims that "Miers apparently had the pre-approval of Democratic leaders." But nowhere is it noted that this is not a precedent; Clinton Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg had the pre-approval of Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to the point where, Hatch claims, he suggested to Clinton that Ginsburg be nominated.
Spinning "Terri's Story" Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is cranking up its promotion for Diana Lynne's "Terri's Story" like it usually does for a WND-published book: by running "news" articles related to the subject. Two Oct. 1 articles seem to bear out what we have previously surmised will be the pro-Schindler, anti-Michael slant of the book.
One article is essentially an attack on George Felos, Michael Schiavo's lawyer. It starts out by describing a cruise for health professionals on which Felos will host a seminar on "end-of-life issue." The article then goes on rehash Terri Schiavo's death, implying that Felos is a liar because he described Terri's death as "calm, peaceful and gentle" while "[v]irtually all other eyewitnesses described her as 'gaunt,' 'drawn," 'struggling' and 'fighting like hell' for life.'
The second article (like the first, unbylined) plays guilt by association by quoting Dr. Jack Kevorkian as saying that he would have assisted in Terri's death had he not been in prison.
More WND Press-Release Journalism Topic: WorldNetDaily
In keeping with WorldNetDaily's apparent policy of uncritically running lightly rewritten press releases from the conservative legal group Alliance Defense Fund (whose president, Alan Sears, is also a WND columnist), an Oct. 1 WND article does yet another stellar job of reproducing an ADF press release on a lawsuit ADF filed on behalf of a group called Love in Action.
Missing (because it wasn't in the press release) is any hint of the controversy surrounding Love in Action, a Christian ministry whose claimed purpose is "prevention or remediation of unhealthy and destructive behaviors facing families, adults, and adolescents." One of those "unhealthy and destructive behaviors" is homosexuality. Love in Action gained attention earlier this year after a teenage boy wrote on his blog that his parents were sending to the Love in Action facility to "cure" him of his homosexuality. The state of Tennessee investigated, determined that Love in Action was providing housing, meals and personal care for mentally ill patients without a license and ordered it shut down.
In refusing to go beyond the ADF press release, WND missed an oppotunity to pimp the ex-gay cause, which he has done in the past. See what happens when you slavishly devote yourself to regurgitating what others want you to say?
Misquoting Broussard -- Again Topic: Newsmax
As part of attacking Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard as a phony for emotional comments he made in relation to Hurricane Katrina on NBC's "Meet the Press," an Oct. 1 NewsMax column by Humberto Fontova heavily distorts comments Broussard made in a return appearance on "Meet the Press":
Tim Russert had Broussard on again on September 24 and actually – but very politely – brought up the touchy nursing home story matter, hinting at obvious embellishments if nothing more serious.
"What kind of sick mind ... what kind of black-hearted people want to nitpick a man's mother's death!" Broussard teared up again. "Get out of my face!" Now he broke down again. "Get out of my face!"
By selectively citing only Broussard's most emotional comments, Fontova leaves out a lot of context, as the full video of Broussard's remarks demonstrates. Broussard did not tell Russert to "get out of my face," nor did he "tear up" or "break down" as he said it. Fontova also fails to note that Broussard did admit that the story of the death of the mother of his parish's emergency operations director (the one with the "obvious embellishments" Fontova notes) was how he understood it at the time.
Fontova isn't the first NewsMax writer to misquote Broussard; editor Christopher Ruddy, attempmting to paint Broussard as a greedy incompetent, misquoted Broussard's statement "'or God's sake, just shut up and send us somebody" as "just shut up and send us the money!" It was changed to the correct quote after ConWebBlog exposed the misquote.
New Article: A Letter to Project 21 Topic: WorldNetDaily
We write to conservative group Project 21 questioning the use of Mychal Massie to denounce Rep. Charles Rangel for comparing President Bush to segregationist Bull Connor. Massie, after all, has used the very same Bull Connor slur against Sen. Harry Reid and other Democrats. Read more.
Earle Gets Borked Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax jumps on the Republican bandwagon to smear Ronnie Earle, the prosecutor who filed charges against Tom DeLay, as a partisan -- and worse. A Sept. 28 article, for instance, quotes Dick Morris as saying that Earle "makes Garrison - the guy who made that whole deal about the Kennedy assassination - look like a model of respectability."
A Sept. 29 article by Dave Eberhart purports to answer the question, "Who really is Ronnie Earle?" but instead mostly engages in making unsupported claims against him. And Eberhart attempts a lame dismissal of the fact that Earle has prosecuted many more Democratic officeholders than Republicans: "But DeLay defenders note Texas has only recently become a Republican stronghold and that the liberal prosecutor has even engaged at political prosecutions of fellow Democrats."
MRC In A Nutshell Topic: Media Research Center
In its coverage of the Tom DeLay indictment on NBC's "Today" show, reporter Chip Reid played a clip of DeLay saying, "This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history. It's a sham, and Mr. Earle knows it," a clip introduced by Reid saying that "In a blistering attack, DeLay called [Texas district attorney Ronnie] Earle, who is a Democrat, a partisan fanatic." Reid followed that by saying that Earle "vigorously denied his investigation of DeLay is motivated by politics," followed by a clip of Earle: "We prosecuted four times as many Democrats as Republicans. This is not about Democrats and Republicans. This is about cops and robbers."
At the Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog, MRC staffer Geoff Dickens wrote of the above report: "Chip Reid attempted to play down Tom DeLay's charges of partisanship in Texas Democrat prosecutor Ronnie Earle's indictment."
That Dickens thinks a report that allowed a Democrat to respond to charges made by a Republican equals "playing down" the Republican's charges is pretty much all you really need to know about the Media Research Center.
UPDATE: Another NewsBusters post, by Tim Graham, claimed that on "Hardball," Chris Matthews "downplayed" Earle's alleged partisanship, but Graham failed to note that the first segment of "Hardball" was Matthews' interview of DeLay, in which DeLay repeatedly bashed Earle as a partisan and Matthews made no attempt to challenge DeLay's accusations.
Graham's claimed source for his "Hardball" item? Geoff Dickens.
You Gotta Sin to Get Saved Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 29 WorldNetDaily article describes "a sexy commercial for the National Hockey League featuring a bare-chested man being dressed by a scantily clad, buxom woman."
In keeping with its policy of offering both sin and salvation, the WND article provides not only links to the video but also a plug for David Kupelian's "The Marketing of Evil," under which this commercial presumably qualifies. But isn't WND now an active participant in this marketing?
Arrogant Massie Topic: The ConWeb
Project 21 issued a press release quoting Mychal Massie denouncing Rep. Charles Rangel for saying "George Bush is our Bull Connor" -- even though Massie himself has used the exact same slur against Sen. Harry Reid.
The Daily Les, 9/26 and 9/28 Topic: The Daily Les
On Sept. 26, Les Kinsolving asked Scott McClellan to respond to comments made by Rep. Charles Rangel who said that "George Bush is our Bull Connor": "Since The New York Post says Rangel should be ashamed of himself, I'm wondering if the White House agreed?"
Kinsolving does not note any outrage that his fellow WorldNetDaily columnist, Mychal Massie, similarly likened Sen. Harry Reid to not just Bull Connor but Orval Faubus as well.
On Sept. 28, Kinsolving asked about President Bush's pick for a new Supreme Court justice:
"President Bush has suggested his pick to replace Sandra Day O'Connor will likely bring diversity to the court. Does he mean diversity in color, gender or philosophy? Or is he more concerned with the look of the new justice, rather than the substance?"
All Gay, All the Time Topic: Media Research Center
In a Sept. 28 post at NewsBusters, Lyford Beverage insists that the Boston Globe is "referred to by some as the "all-gay, all the time" Boston Globe," purportedly because "the Globe has consistently found ways to put stories on the front page that focus on 'gay' issues, whether they're legitimate front-page news or not (most often, not)."
You Knew This Already Topic: The ConWeb
Initial ConWeb coverage of the indictment of Rep. Tom DeLay is going predictably. Reports by WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com played up accusations by DeLay and his spokesman, Kevin Madden, that the Texas prosecutor who filed the charges, Ronnie Earle, is a partisan seeking political retribution against DeLay without noting that Earle has prosecuted more Democratic officials than Republicans. (WND earns extra points for using the term "Democrat Party" even though there is no such thing.)
Begging for Money Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs disparagingly details Air America Radio's attempt to seek donations from listeners. The headline of Kovacs' article calls it "Panhandle broadcasting," and Kovacs plays up the comments of Michelle Malkin, who claims Air America is "crumbling."
Kovacs fails to point out, however, that Air America is hardly the first for-profit media organization to beg for money from its listeners or readers. One organization whose efforts precede Air America's is ... WorldNetDaily.
Regular appeals by WND editor Joseph Farah, like this one in April, seek donations from readers in the form of "voluntary subscriptions," which are available as one-time or monthly payments.
"To supplement the revenues from the sales of products and advertising, we need additional financial support from those readers who understand what we're up against," Farah wrote.
WND also solicits money for its legal defense fund, which is mostly tied to a defamation lawsuit regarding an 18-part series WND ran in 2000 bashing Al Gore (and which WND has been rather quiet about of late, as ConWebWatch has noted).
WND's history of begging for money is really no different from Air America's, except that WND doesn't throw in any cool swag.