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Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Evidence, Please
Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Feb. 14 Accuracy in Media press release is long on accusations and posturing but short on actual facts.

The press release features Cliff Kincaid -- taking about from obsessing about Rachel Maddow's lesbianism -- accusing "the major news media" of behaving in a "rabid manner" regarding Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting companion. "From charges that Cheney was drinking to claims that the shooting was an assassination attempt, our media have behaved in a completely irresponsible manner that brings discredit upon the journalism profession," Kincaid said.

The problem is that Kincaid offers no proof that Kincaid has offered no proof of the media pushing "charges that Cheney was drinking to claims that the shooting was an assassination attempt."

Presumably, Kincaid was taking his marching orders from NewsBusters, which had just a single instance of something that resembled Kincaid's claim at the time the AIM press release was posted: an appearance on MSNBC's "Hardball" by Ron Reagan. (NewsBusters later noted an item at the Huffington Post suggesting Cheney was drunk, but since when are blogs "major news media"?)

A single instance on the third-rated cable news network does not a campaign by "the major news media" make. Kincaid might want to shy away from issuing sweeping, overbroad indictments based on just one incident.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:49 PM EST
Farah Doth Protests Too Much
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a Feb. 14 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah takes umbrage at a North Carolina newspaper critical of its coverage of a North Carolina speech by NAACP president Julian Bond.

Farah is real sensitive to the fact that WND got a quote by Bond wrong. Relying on an eyewitness report, WND reported on Feb. 2 that Bond was "equating the Republican Party with the Nazi Party" when he allegedly said that "The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side." In fact, Bond said "Confederate swastika," which puts a different spin on things. WND didn't report that until Feb. 7 -- five days later -- forcing it to backtrack a bit and state that Bond "did not directly equate the Republican Party with the Nazi Party."

Yet somehow, according to Farah, the local paper, the Fayetteville Observer, is to blame for not reporting Bond's "swastika" comment at all, insisting that it was "the most explosive quote Bond uttered at the speech." Farah further defended WND's reporting on the event by claiming the quote was reported "almost completely accurately."

Well, when you've had to retract two articles in the past year because of the false information contained in them, like WND did, and have been caught red-handed plagiarizing news, as Farah was, "almost completely accurately" seems like a reasonable jouralistic standard by comparison.

And if you're going to bash "the Old Media" for allegedly "deny[ing] their dwindling number of readers, viewers and listeners the truth," it's best if you don't have a history of not reporting inconvenient facts. As ConWebWatch has documented, WND's Jerusalem reporter, Aaron Klein, has a history of whitewashing the terrorist history of the right-wing extremists he writes about, it couldn't be bothered to report on Republican political scandals, its coverage of the Terri Schiavo case was highly biased, it painted a soft 'n' cuddly portrait of an anti-abortion extremist, it falsely portrayed the admitted killer of an abortion doctor as innocent ... we could go on.

Before Farah starts criticizing the journalism of others, he needs to stand up and admit -- and then fix -- his own journalistic shortcomings.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:17 PM EST
The Twice-Weekly Les
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In the Feb. 14 edition of his twice-weekly WorldNetDaily column, Les Kinsolving weighs in on Tom Toles' cartoon depicting an amputee U.S. soldier, claiming offense that the Washington Post "used a triple amputee – with his head also covered with bandages – as a joke in a cartoon."

No word on whether Kinsolving found Mike Lukovich's cartoon -- which also used an amputee soldier -- similarly offensive.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 PM EST
The Daily Les, 2/13
Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving was on a roll:

KINSOLVING: WorldNetDaily has just reported that Navy Chaplain James Klingenschmitt's statement that under the new guidelines the Air Force will continue to punish and exclude chaplains who pray in Jesus's name, while Rabbi Arnold Oretznikov (phonetic) points out, "the bottom line has not changed; clergy may not invoke the name of Jesus Christ while offering prayers at official government ceremonies."

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I don't know about those specific --

KINSOLVING: And my question -- my question: Why is a devout Christian like the Commander-in-Chief continuing to allow this censorship of Jesus?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Monday, February 13, 2006
The Clinton Equivocation
Topic: Newsmax
Shorter NewsMax: But Hillary whacked a guy too!

NewsMax plays fast and loose with the facts in this article as well. The article is falsely headlined "Media AWOL When Hillary Clinton Injured a Cop" and falsely claims that "Sen. Hillary Clinton injured a police officer who was manning a security post at the Westchester County Airport while she was rushing to a fundraiser." But later, the article refers to Clinton's "Secret Service driver." So Hillary didn't whack the guy after all.

Will NewsMax be dragging out the "Clinton body count" next?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:12 PM EST
CNS Misleads on Estate Tax
Topic: CNSNews.com
A Feb. 11 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel, part of CNS' saturation coverage of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), paints a highly simplistic and misleading portrait of the estate tax, which Burchfiel calls the death tax (without quote marks) throughout his article. Only once does Burchfiel use the term "estate tax":

The death tax, also called the estate tax, places a tax on the assets of deceased individuals' before the heirs can gain access to the assets.

But that's an extremely simplistic and misleading view of the estate tax ("death tax" is a conservative term). As the friendly folks at the IRS tell us:

Most relatively simple estates (cash, publicly-traded securities, small amounts of other easily-valued assets, and no special deductions or elections, or jointly-held property) with a total value under $1,000,000 do not require the filing of an estate tax return. The amount was $1,500,000 in 2004 and 2005. For 2006 through 2008, the amount is raised to $2,000,000.

Burchfiel might want to have told his readers that the "death tax" applies only to large estates and that the vast majority of estates are untaxed.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EST
Humor, NewsBusters Style
Topic: NewsBusters
In a Feb. 13 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard declares that he doesn't think Al Franken is all that funny, particularly the line about Dick Cheney shooting his hunter companion "just to watch him die."

Perhaps, as an expert on humor, Sheppard would like to further explain why Franken isn't funny, but "Gaggle" is.

And as a bonus question, Sheppard could note why, if he finds "tasteless satire" offensive, he blogs for an organization that has a history of telling Clinton sex jokes.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EST
Sunday, February 12, 2006
A Distinction Without a Difference
Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 11 NewsMax article noted that Michael Steele, Maryland lieutenant governor and Republican Senate candidate, apologized for saying the following about embryonic stem cell research to the Baltimore Jewish Council: "Look, you of all folks know what happens when people decide they want to experiment on human beings, when they want to take your life and use it as a tool."

But NewsMax claims that "Steele was falsely accused of linking embryonic stem cell research to the Holocaust, which killed 6 million Jews," adding that "he was referring to inhuman Nazi research experiments and not the Holocaust."

In fact, many of those experiments were performed on Jews, including those in concentration camps, which makes the experiments a part of the Holocaust. (see here, here, and here).

NewsMax is making a distinction without a difference in order to protect a conservative; it has previously repeated without challenge the dubious claim that Steele was "pelted" with Oreo cookies at a 2002 debate.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EST
More On Lynne's Less-Than-Whole Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In our December review of Diana Lynne's book on the Terri Schiavo case, we noted that Lynne made no mention at all of anti-abortion extremists Randall Terry and Gary McCullough, who served as spokesmen and advisers to the Schindler family. We speculated that Lynee didn't mention them because Terry's and McCullough's history of extremism would taint the Schindlers as extremists as well. We've discovered another possible reason: Lynne didn't want her readers to know how much orchestration and manipulation went into putting the Schindlers' version of the Terri Schiavo story in the public eye.

Terry lays it all out in an article on the website for his group, the Society for Truth and Justice, written in October 2003, shortly after a judge granted the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube (which was reversed via the passage of "Terri's Law" by the Florida legislature). Terry leads off with a quote from Bob Schindler, Terri's father:

Our family asked Randall Terry to come, and we gave him carte blanche to put Terri's fight in front of the American people. He did exactly what we asked, and more. Randall organized vigils and protests, he coordinated the media, he helped us meet with Governor Bush, which gave us the momentum to pass the law that has saved Terri, for now, from death. My daughter is alive today because of Randall Terry's efforts.

Terry also laid out his seven point plan for publicizing the case, which he developed with McCullough, who Terry calls "my 'media man,' " adding that he "has worked with me since the early days of Operation Rescue. He helps me with the press in every conceivable way":

1. A 24-hour a day, non-stop vigil in front of the hospice where Terri was held starting the next day (Monday) at noon.

2. Focus our public cry for help squarely on Governor Jeb Bush.

3. To garner national press coverage, we would use a noon press conference Monday to notify the media that Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, was leading efforts to make Terri’s plight known to the nation. (We did this because in the news media world, this announcement was sure to get their interest, and get the press present at the hospice. The family’s voice could then be heard across the nation through the media, who up to this point had largely ignored Terri’s plight.)

4. We crafted a short statement asking Florida Governor, Jeb Bush to intervene ("Governor Bush, I appeal to you as one father to another, please save my daughter") and communicating to Terri’s errant husband ("he could have the money, we just want our daughter.")

5. We would need a motor home to park near the hospice where we could strategize and rest. We needed food, water, and signs for those who responded to our call to join the vigil.

6. We would solicit local clergy and politicians for support.

7. Those present would send out emails and make phone calls to everyone they knew locally to come to the vigil. Furthermore, we would utilize larger lists, such as "conservativepetitions.com" and "Terri’s list" to alert people around the nation to what we were doing, and implore their help. (People came from all over Florida as well as Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. And Focus on the Family and other national organizations rallied their troops, as well.)

So, far from being the "grass-roots effort" portrayed by Lynne in her book, the Schindler family publicity machine was an orchestrated campaign conducted by professional, committed activists.

Why does Lynne want people to think differently? Because, as we demonstrated in our article, she's biased toward the Schindlers, perhaps as much as Terry and McCullough.

We've added this to our original article on Lynne's book. While we don't normally don't do such major additions to an article this long after it was originally posted, it's important enough to make sure all this stuff is in one place.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EST
Saturday, February 11, 2006
As We Predicted ...
Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard is so far living up to our prediction: He has written another post complaining that the media isn't paying enough attention to the AP's Reid-Abramoff story without noting that the story leaves out key information.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:12 AM EST
Sheppard Proves Us Right
Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard is so far living up to my prediction: He has written another post complaining that the media isn't paying enough attention to the AP's Reid-Abramoff story without noting that the story leaves out important information.

UPDATE: Added headline. Oops.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 11:17 AM EST
Friday, February 10, 2006
NewsBusters Nonsense, 2/10
Topic: NewsBusters
-- Note to Lyford Beverage: You might appear more credible bashing the media for calling the NSA surveillance program a "domestic spying program" if you weren't slavishly using the Bush administration's preferred term for it, "terrorist surveillance program."

-- Megan McCormick frowns upon CNN's Miles O'Brien noting that scientists who deny the existence of global warming tend to be "bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry," fails to note that people like Steven Milloy are.

-- Noel Sheppard thinks the media isn't giving enough attention to Harry Reid's alleged ties to Jack Abramoff, as reported in an Associated Press article. Any chance Sheppard will give any attention at all to the fact that the AP article left out exculpatory information about Reid? We don't think so, either.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:52 PM EST
Debunked?
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 10 WorldNetDaily article claimed that the death of Matthew Shepherd "was believed to be an 'anti-gay' hate crime – a charge recently debunked in an investigation by ABC's '20/20.'"

Debunked? If you call trusting the current version of an ever-changing story told by a convicted murderer and demonstrated liar, then yeah.

But then, WND has a bad habit of trusting convicted felons and demonstrated liars.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:48 PM EST
Fred Phelps, Leftist?
Topic: Horowitz
A Feb. 9 article by Mark D. Tooley at David Horowitz's FrontPageMag is a laughable, poorly written attempt to pull off a bizarre bit of guilt by association: claiming that virulently anti-gay Kansas preacher Fred Phelps is a leftist.

Headlined "The 'God Hates Fags' Left," Tooley's article falls way short of proving that Phelps is a leftist. Tooley writes that Phelps "supported Saddam Hussein and has been appreciative to Fidel Castro," but he offers no supporting evidence to back it up; If Phelps has a "God Loves Saddam" website, Tooley didn't mention it. Details of Phelps' Democratic links -- he ran for office as a Democrat and "actively supported Al Gore in 1988 and 1992" -- may be true, but they are meaningless because Tooley offers no evidence that Democrats currently support Phelps, particularly after launching his "God Hates Fags" campaign.

Tooley also ignores evidence to the contrary. Phelps promoted a 2005 vote in Topeka, Kan., his hometown, to repeal a city ordinance prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals in city government hiring -- a position that puts him in the mainstream of social conservatism. And when Phelps' granddaughter, Jael Phelps, ran against the state's first openly homosexual officeholder for a Topeka City Council seat (and got clobbered), the Souther Baptist Convention-owned Baptist Press newswire deemed it worthy of coverage.

In short, it's the kind of reporting we've gotten to know and love from the Horowitz organization.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 AM EST
Thursday, February 9, 2006
The Daily Les, 2/9
Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving was in full Gannon mode today:

KINSOLVING: The New York Post notes the following – and this is a quote – "Jimmy Carter's disgraceful performance at Coretta Scott King's funeral marks him as the most shameless," while The New York Times Page 1 report mentioned "the overt political jibes." And my question: Did any of the King sons or daughters thank the president for his tribute to their mother and his extraordinary control, despite the performances of Jimmy Carter and Joe Lowery?

[...]

The New York Post also noted, "Carter couldn't quite bring himself to note that the wiretappings of Dr. King was conducted under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and was originally ordered by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, all Democrats." And my question: Can the president deny that Jimmy Carter was, in this statement, revenging himself on Teddy Kennedy for running against Carter's re-election [in 1980]?



Posted by Terry K. at 6:56 PM EST

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