NewsMax Gets It Wrong Topic: Newsmax
In an Oct. 7 article, NewsMax falsely claimed that Democrats tried to bury an investigation dating back to the Clinton administration.
In quoting Sen. Lindsey Graham calling for the release of a report by Independent Counsel David Barrett, NewsMax stated: "The document, finished 13 months ago, has been bottled up by the panel - with Democrats in the Senate making an unsuccessful bid earlier this year to quash its publication."
In fact, since the investigation report is complete and in the hands of a supervising three-judge panel, its eventual release is in the hands of those judges, not politicians. Democrats were attempting to cut off funding for an investigation that began in 1995 to investigate then-HUD director Henry Cisneros -- who pleaded guilty to charges from the investigation in 1999 -- and has spent more than $22 million, including $1.26 million in the last six months of 2004.
NewsMax mentions nothing about the length of the investigation or its original target, let alone the fact that he hasn't held public office in years.
NewsBusters Notes Topic: Media Research Center
A couple items of note from NewsBusters:
-- Mark Finkelstein tries out a new meme: Being "pro-life" does not mean you support overturning Roe v. Wade.
-- Tim Graham gets in a minor snit because Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler (soon to be ombudsman for PBS) ignored the MRC's continual complaints about liberal bias. He also claims that NPR co-ombudsman Ken Bode is the "liberal" counterpart to Bill Schulz's "conservative." Not quite; Schulz is definitely a conservative, but Bode is an adjunct fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, and endorsed a Republican for Indiana governor in 2004.
The Daily Les, 10/6 Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving got shy again and wrote didn't include everything he asked in his WorldNetDaily article. So we consult the White House website for the first question:
KINSOLVING: Scott, a two-part. The New York Times reports that the pill called misoprostol, or Cytotec, is an ulcer drug that can induce an abortion for less than two dollars. And my question: Does the President believe this should be outlawed, or not? Scott McClellan's answer: Talk to the FDA.
And Kinsolving didn't say a word about this question:
KINSOLVING: How does the President stand on the issue of evolution versus intelligent design?
Does Kinsolving really not know the answer to that?
New Article: A Tale of Two Prosecutors Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb eagerly advanced charges of partisanship against Tom DeLay's prosecutor, Ronnie Earle -- but it did the exact opposite when the prosecutor was Ken Starr and the target was Bill Clinton. Read more.
But this was all publicly available in the fall of 2004, when Bush was running for re-election -- and Corsi has admitted knowing about it then. Why didn't Corsi and Farah consider questions about Bush's National Guard stint newsworthy then?
Because, as we've noted, their focus was on attacking John Kerry, and they had no interest in advancing anything negative about Bush.
If WND had any journalistic integrity whatsoever -- even Accuracy in Media has attacked it for distorting facts -- we might take its little anti-Miers crusade a little more seriously.
Misleading About Shuster Topic: Media Research Center
In an Oct. 5 NewsBusters post, the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens misleadingly summarizes MSNBC reporter David Shuster's comments about his former employer, Fox News (which we've previously noted). Dickens asserts that "Shuster revealed he is a lot more comfortable at MSNBC than he was at Fox News," later saying that Shuster "feels more at home with the liberal MSNBC." Dickens' short summary ignores Shuster's claim that Fox News wouldn't let him be as aggressive in covering President Bush than he was in covering President Clinton and that he describes MSNBC not as "liberal," as Dickens insinuates, but as "an organization that cares very deeply about journalistic integrity."
And if Dickens is going to call MSNBC "liberal," shouldn't he also be calling Fox News "conservative"?
Bankrolling Topic: Newsmax
Jane Fonda gives $2,000 to Hillary Clinton's campaign, and NewsMax declares that Fonda is "bankrolling" her. By that same definition, between Christopher Ruddy's political contributions and subsequent fawning NewsMax coverage, we can declare that NewsMax is bankrolling Florida Rep. Mark Foley.
The NewsMax article also notes the following:
"If Hillary wants us to think she supports the military - she can't afford to be seen taking money from 'Hanoi' Jane," one longtime Clinton-watcher told NewsMax.
Why is this an anonymous quote? Probabaly because a NewsMax employee said it; it's something NewsMax clearly wanted out there, and they couldn't get any non-NewsMax employee to say it. We're guessing that it's longtime Clinton-hater John LeBoutillier.
Trifecta Topic: CNSNews.com
Susan Jones shovels out a whole passel of biased writing in her Oct. 5 CNSNews.com articles:
-- Her first article runs to the defense of Tom DeLay as she details how Democrats "are demanding that Republican Members of Congress return DeLay's 'tainted money.'" She states in the lead paragraph that the indictments DeLay faces come from "a Democrat who is out to get him, DeLay says" without noting prosecutor Ronnie Earle's record of prosecuting Democratic politicians. Jones also notes that "Some observers note that the indictments against DeLay rest on insubstantial legal ground; and of course, he is innocent until proven guilty." She concludes with a polemical statement: "The [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] message urges Americans to 'help the DCCC change the leadership in Washington.' Sucking money out of Republican campaigns -- based on unproven charges against a leading Republican -- appears to be a key tactic in achieving that goal."
-- Jones' second article is a lopsided piece on a Republican-backed bill that would automatically suspend the Davis-Bacon Act (which mandates that employees under a government contract be paid the area's prevailing wage) following a disaster. Not only does Jones include 11 paragraphs describing support for the bill versus three paragraphs describing opposition, she insinuates that Democrats are playing class politics by describing their opposition to the bill this way:
In recent weeks, a number of Democrats and advocacy groups have accused President Bush of enriching contractors (the rich) at the expense of laborers (the poor), by allowing contractors to hire workers at "depressed" wages.
Jones has previously forwarded an unchallenged claim that the Davis-Bacon Act is racist, as ConWeBlog has noted.
-- In a third piece regurgitating a press release from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Jones takes a pejorative swipe at my employer, Media Matters for America, describing it as "a liberal advocacy group that seeks to discredit leading conservatives." Jones should try seeing what happens if she describes her employer, the Media Research Center, as "a conservative advocacy group that seeks to discredit leading liberals."
Now He Tells Us Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his Oct. 4 WorldNetDaily column, Jerome Corsi drops a startling admission among a big pile of disingenuousness. In the midst of raising questions about Harriet Miers, President Bush's pick for Supreme Court justice, he makes note of Ben Barnes, a former Texas lieutenant governor linked to a state lottery scandal during the time that Miers was running the lottery -- and the guy who said he pulled some strings to get a young George W. Bush into the National Guard.
Corsi drops this important note in the middle of this: "The Barnes melodrama got drowned out by the forged document saga, but to this day nobody has disproved Barnes played the role he said he did."
Unfortunately, instead of running with that, Corsi turns disingenuous:
I doubt if the Swift Boat Vets will come back together to pursue this one – the only complaint the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ever agreed on was that John Kerry was "Unfit for Command," not that George W. Bush was. Just writing this article should dismiss some of the urban legend that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were just a Bush campaign surrogate.
Wrong. By relentlessly attacking Kerry -- and raising no questions about Bush's military record -- Corsi and the Swift Boat Vets were de facto Bush supporters. And we don't recall Corsi being eager to take a few minutes away from his Kerry-bashing to relay this news to the public before the election.
Remember how WND conveniently forgot to disclose anything about Corsi's record of bigotry until well after the election, when it couldn't do any damage to WND's Kerry-crushing crusade? This is the same thing. Corsi could have forwarded damaging information about Bush before the election -- which he admits here that he knew -- but he chose not to.
AIM vs. WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
What's this? Has Accuracy in Media decided it actually cares about accuracy in the media after all?
An Oct. 4 column by Cliff Kincaid -- whom we were lambasting just yesterday for caring more about conservatism than being a media watchdog -- takes WorldNetDaily to task for "sensational but factually inaccurate reporting" in an Oct. 3 article on the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers:
WorldNetDaily (WND) is alleging that Bush Supreme Court pick Harriet Miers "is on record as supporting the establishment of the International Criminal Court" and "homosexual adoptions" and other controversial positions. But the documents being cited as proof of the claim have been distorted by WND. One document is merely a listing of issues that were supposed to come before a meeting of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association in 1998. There is no evidence that Miers personally endorsed them.
Kincaid adds that "Accuracy in Media is urging the conservative media, who could play a constructive role in analyzing her background, to conduct their research in a careful and constructive way and not jump to unwarranted conclusions about her personal views on public policy issues."
What Kincaid doesn't note, though, is the author of that "sensational but factually inaccurate" WND article: none other than the editor himself, noted liar and plagiarizer Joseph Farah.
Meanwhile... Topic: Media Research Center
As the Media Research Center's Brent Baker was tweaking CBS for using "using phraseology favorable to abortion backers" such as "anti-abortion" and "abortion rights," his co-workers at CNSNews.com were using phraseology favorable to abortion opponents by putting the term "pro-abortion" in a headline (and "pro-life" in the copy) of an Oct. 3 article.
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?