NewsBusters Schadenfreude Topic: NewsBusters
Wow -- Mithridate Ombud (aka Bruce Rheinstein) really wants to see the video ABC's Bob Woodruff was shooting before the bomb went off. Or does he just want to take a little sadistic pleasure in watching a journalist get blown up?
We've added this to our new article on NewsBusters' extreme rhetoric.
New Article: Going to Extremes Topic: NewsBusters
Writers and commenters at the MRC's NewsBusters blog dehumanize journalists and whitewash terrorist acts. Is this any way for a division of a multimillion-dollar organization to behave? Read more.
WND Rented House for Klein in Gaza Topic: WorldNetDaily
Well, this is interesting. In an interview with Jewish Press on the implication of wearing (or not wearing) yarmulkes in Israel, WND Jerusalem reporter Aaron Klein drops this little factoid in reference to his coverage of the Gaza disengagement:
Several months before the Gaza evacuation, WorldNetDaily rented part of a house in Gush Katif and I went there regularly.
So WND can afford to rent houses in Gaza -- presumably from the same settlers Klein got to be so buddy-buddy with to the point that he whitewashed their violent extreme-right backgrounds in his articles on the Gaza disengagement. Such a relationship indicates further that he has no intention of reporting a straight story; as we've noted, he's doing the same thing in his coverage of conflicts in the West Bank.
Jewish Press calls itself "the largest independent Jewish newspaper in the United States," though it appears to be a right-leaning publication. It considers Meir Kahane, he of the right-wing, violence-linked Kach/Kahane Chai movement, as merely one of its "colorful and thought-provoking writers." Klein writes a column called "Quick Takes" for Jewish Press, which, judging by his Feb. 1 column, are summaries of his WND work.
Klein also adds: "I have been privileged with the opportunity to report news accurately to millions of people every day. I'd rather get to the areas so that I can report and people can read what is really going on and not what CNN is reporting." Of course, as we've documented, "reporting news accurately" is not what Klein is doing.
NewsMax, Malzberg Lie About Ginsburg Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 1 NewsMax article accepts at face value a claim made by New York radio host (and NewsMax columnist) Steve Malzberg that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg "favored lowering the age of consent for women to 12."
This is false. As we've previously pointed out, Ginsburg has never "argued the age of sexual consent should be lowered to 12"; rather, she merely discussed a child-rape law in which she approved the fact that the law's language was gender-neutral and never spoke to the age aspect.
The same goes for Malzberg's false claim that Ginsburg is in favor of "legalized prostitution"; Ginsburg merely said that an argument for legalized prostitution could be made but has never made one herself.
Malzberg forwarded yet another falsehood: denying that Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch recommended Ginsburg's nomination. Wrong again.
NewsMax was more concerned with pointing out that National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy said "That is such bullshit" on the air when Malzberg made the false claim about Ginsburg wanting to lower the age of consent. The article also falsely attributes the source of Gandy's anger, claiming it was because Samuel Alito was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice even though the transcript of the Malzberg-Gandy exchange included in the article makes it clear that it's over his false statements about Ginsburg, not about Alito.
Negativity = Bias? Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters (and, presumably, the rest of the MRC) is employing a new standard in "liberal bias" detection: If you say or write negative things about the Bush administration, no matter how truthful they are, you're biased. A few State of the Union-related posts on NewsBusters illustrate the concept:
BlackwellNetDaily Topic: WorldNetDaily
Continuing with its policy of stroking Ohio's Ken Blackwell, today's WorldNetDaily commentary page features outside links to a pair of pro-Blackwell articles, promoted thusly:
NewsBusters' Ginsburg Distortion Topic: NewsBusters
In a Jan. 31 NewsBusters post, Clay Waters peddles a favorite conservative distortion: that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was considered an unrepentant liberal at the time she was nominated for the Supreme Court.
Complaining that a New York Times article on newly confirmed Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito "emphasizes Alito’s conservatism again and again" (Waters seems to have a problem acknowledging the simple and uncontested fact that Alito is, in fact, conservative), Waters wrote that "the Times covered the Senate vote that made liberal former ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg a Supreme Court Justice." Waters does not explain how being a "former ACLU lawyer" automatically makes one a "liberal."
In hurling the "liberal" tar brush and dangling the ACLU bogeyman, Waters ignores Ginsburg's record as a moderate on the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, where she served for 12 years after her ACLU stint, often voting with respected conservative judges as Kenneth Starr, Robert Bork and Laurence Silberman. Waters also ignores the fact that she was recommended to President Clinton by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch as a candidate whom Republicans would approve.
NewsBusters Nonsense, 1/31 Topic: NewsBusters
-- Tim Graham takes a whack at a Time magazine reporter for "flacking" for a convicted murderer who proclaimed his innocence (later DNA testing showed him to be guilty). Graham's employer has not been bothered by that before. CNSNews.com has run five articles (here, here, here, here, and here) that cite Gary McCullough, mostly in his role as "media coordinator" and spokesman for Terri Schiavo's relatives, and none of them mention McCullough's murderer-flacking history: He was a media consultant to Paul Hill, who was convicted and executed for the murder of a doctor who performed abortions (and is quoted as saying, "Paul Hill is my friend. No, I won't denounce his actions").
-- Mark Finkelstein unearths another insidious example of "liberal media bias" in the woodwork: a sports columnist who was exhibiting "blatant blue state/red state bias" claiming that Detroit is "a real city" because "[y]ou can get the New York Times here", while calling Jacksonville, Fla., a "yahoo town."
-- Lyford Beverage complains that the Washington Post offered an "apparent attempt at humor" on the State of the Union address that is "a mocking, snarky piece, that is ... not close enough to reality to actually be funny." And that differs from NewsBusters' "Gaggle" comic how?
Gays vs. Taxes Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 31 WorldNetDaily article features a same-sex couple who refuse to pay their taxes, claiming discrimination because he is legally prohibited to marry his same-sex partner and therefore unable to claim the tax benefits married couples receive.
Now, WND loves tax protesters. It regularly promotes groups like We the People, group that believes that the federal government lacks any legal jurisdiction to enforce the income tax, that there is no law that requires Americans to pay the tax, and that the tax is enforced in a manner that violates the U.S. Constitution.
But rather than offer links to any of its tax-protest articles at the end of the Jan. 31 article, WND instead offered links only to articles on same-sex marriage, such as a 2004 article purporting to explain how "homosexual activists" are trying to "force same-sex marriage on an unwilling nation."
WND did something similar last year, again ignoring its longtime support of tax protesters by trying to sic the IRS on Cindy Sheehan after she vowed not to pay her income taxes as a protest over the Iraq war.
Apparently, only conservatives are allowed to protest paying taxes -- another WND double standard.
It does just that in a Jan. 30 article by Jerry Zeifman attacking Ted Kennedy. Not only does "Former Democratic Chief Counsel" appear in the headline, the tagline describes him as a "lifelong Democrat," and Zeifman himself isn't even five words into his commentary before he is pointing out that he is "a Democrat and former chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee."
So, who is this purported "lifelong Democrat"? The kind of Democrat the Republicans at NewsMax like -- you know, the kind who's actually a Republican. Zeifman is the author of a book called "Without Honor: Crimes of Camelot and the Impeachment of President Nixon," in which he claims, according to a 1996 Washington Post review, that "Kennedy loyalists" such as Hillary Rodham obstructed the Nixon impeachment to protect the reputation of John Kennedy. The Post called the book "an unconvincing, if imaginative, tale of intrigue." Zeifman's conspiracy theories have also popped in such dens of Democratic thought as the New York Post and Judicial Watch. He wrote a 1996 Clinton-bashing commentary for the Wall Street Journal that begins in familiar fashion: "Sadly, as a life-long Democrat and chief counsel of the House Judiciary Committee..."
In other words, like other NewsMax faves like Tammy Bruce and Zell Miller, a Democrat only NewsMax could love.
WND Campaigns for Blackwell Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 30 WorldNetDaily article makes it clearer than ever that the only reason WND has bothered to report on a Republican political scandal in Ohio is that it boosts conservative darling Ken Blackwell.
As we've detailed, despite being a self-proclaimed exposer of government corruption, WND has been essentially AWOL on the two biggest government corruption scandals of recent months, Randy "Duke" Cunningham's bribe-taking and Jack Abramoff's bribe-making. The only Republican-linked scandal it has done any sort of reporting on in recent months is the Ohio "pay to profit" scandal that just happens to implicate many of the Republican challengers to Ken Blackwell's run for governor.
The pro-Blackwell bias was present in the other articles, but WND has stopped trying to hide it in the new article:
Yesterday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published a major investigative report disclosing the charges of two prominent Republican lawyers. Jack Morrison and Ray Weber claim their law firms lost virtually all state legal business because they refused to contribute to the campaign of Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro.
Petro is the only remaining challenger to Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell in the Republican Party gubernatorial election slated for May 2.
Saturday, Blackwell's website published an independent Ohio Republican Party survey showing him with a commanding 10 point lead over Petro, 40 to 30 percent, with 29 percent undecided, despite Petro's $1.6 million television commercial blitz in December and January.
The McLaughlin & Associates research said Blackwell is in a position to extend his lead.
With the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal rocking the Republican Party nationally, the "pay to profit" scandal takes on an additional dimension. The only major Ohio Republican the scandal seems not likely to touch is Blackwell.
"If I could have nailed Blackwell, I would have," [attorney Kenneth] Seminatore told WND. "Believe me, I looked hard, but Blackwell is clean."
If Ken Blackwell emerges as the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Ohio, national pundits believe he will be in a position to carry a reform banner forward for the Republican Party, not just in Ohio, but nationally as well.
Blackwell's campaign ought to be paying for this kind of "news." And WND ought to admit that its "coverage" of the Ohio scandal is little more than a thinly disguised campaign ad for Blackwell.
Propaganda Alert Topic: CNSNews.com
In a Jan. 30 column, CNSNews.com editor David Thibault has informed us that he and his news organization is fully in the tank for the Bush administration (as if we didn't know that already). CNS, he has declared, will be promoting the claims of Georges Sada, author of the new book "Saddam's Secrets: How an Iraqi General Defied and Survived Saddam Hussein." Why? Because Sada "demolishes the myth that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction and posed no international threat"; perhaps more importantly, Sada's claims "may or may not be giving Kerry and Pelosi heartburn."
Thibault writes: "It should not surprise any of our readers to learn that Gen. Sada is scheduled to meet on Monday, Jan. 30, with a member of my cracker-jack staff, Sherrie Gossett." Nope -- given the partisan nature of CNS, it doesn't surprise us at all.
What will suprise us, though, is if Gossett and CNS does something other than present Sada's claims at face value -- you know, conduct the interview like a real journalist. Daily Kos outlines some ways to challege Sada here. And while she's at it, Gossett might also want to think about explaining why Sada's book, osensibly dealing with national security issues, is being issued by a religious publisher. Or what Sada is doing hanging out with the same PR agency that handles the likes of Mona Charen, Star Parker, Kenneth Starr, Cal Thomas and Judge Roy Moore. (They call themselves "the oldest and most established Christian-based talent agency in the United States."
Quote of the Day Topic: NewsBusters
"While the impious media will probably plea for Woodruff and Vogt tonight, those of us with a soul will say a prayer for them."
-- Mithridate Ombud of NewsBusters, putting conservatives' hostility toward journalists like ABC's Bob Woodward and Doug Vogt into more perspective. After all, if journalists don't have souls, why feel sorry for them if they are hurt or killed?
Getting It Wrong: The NSA Surveillance Program Topic: NewsBusters
In a Jan. 29 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard takes a whack at the New York Times for an editorial attacking the Bush-approved NSA surveillance program, claiming that the paper "prosecuted its case, and acted as both judge and jury to seal a conviction." Sheppard rebuts the article point-by-point; let's take a look at some of Sheppard's points, shall we?
-- Sheppard claims "the Old Grey Lady criminally decided to out" the surveillance program, which conflicts with his concluding claim criticizing the Times for "convicting people in its publication before they’ve been charged with a crime."
-- Sheppard claims: "The reality is that what the New York Times has reported up to this point has been called into serious question by administration officials including the deputy director of National Intelligence and the former director of the NSA, Gen. Michael Hayden, just this past Monday. As such, the Times here is introducing its own opinions as fact." But Sheppard has no basis on which to authoritatively claim that what Bush administration officials such as Hayden are telling is the truth; he has merely assumed, as has his fellow NewsMax posters, that because the Bush administration is Republican, it's telling the truth, and that because the Times is purportedly liberal, it must be lying.
-- In response to the Times' claim that the surveillance violates the FISA law, Sheppard states that it "is thoroughly ignoring previous administrations that have made exactly the opposite case, including the Clinton administration in Congressional hearings in 1994." That's a false claim. While the hearings Sheppard cites do assert a claim that some spying was legal under FISA, it was made illegal in 1995.
-- Sheppard claims that "there was Congressional oversight over this program inasmuch as high-ranking members of Congress from both sides of the aisle were apprised of the program’s creation, and regularly apprised of its on-going activities." Not entirely true; the members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, have said that the administration likely did not inform them of the operation to the extent required by law, or about the program's full extent.
And as far as "convicting people in its publication before they’ve been charged with a crime" goes, Sheppard might want to thumb through the MRC archives and count how many times its writers have done just that to Bill Clinton.