Actual ConWeb Watchdogging Topic: CNSNews.com
Well, this is new -- an original conWeb report on the Duke Cunningham/MZM scandal.
A March 16 CNSNews.com article by Sherrie Gossett actually advances coverage of the scandal a bit, noting that a former intelligence analyst, William L. Cruse, will be interviewed by investigators. According to Gossett, whistleblower Cruse has claimed that "intelligence data was deliberately falsified over several years in order to justify the purchase of certain U.S. military weapons systems" in part from MZM.
This puts CNS ahead of WorldNetDaily and its hollow claim to be a watchdog of government corruption.
NewsMax's Slanted Attack on Olbermann Topic: Newsmax
A March 16 NewsMax article by Carl Limbacher Jr. on the feud between Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann was a predictably O'Reilly-loving, Olbermann-bashing piece, calling Olbermann's ratings "paltry" and at one point claiming that "O'Reilly's 4 a.m. repeat show regularly draws a larger audience than Olbermann's first-run prime-time cablecast."
But Limbacher also falsely portrayed the feud as one-sided, with only the obsessed Olbermann taking shots at "ratings king" O'Reilly. Limbacher fails to mention, for example, O'Reilly's threat (later acted upon) to sic "Fox security" on a caller to his radio show who mentioned Olbermann's name.
Limbacher also dubiously claimed that Olbermann "even has his show producers taping O'Reilly's nationally syndicated radio show looking for gaffes to replay on 'Countdown.'" In fact, Olbermann gets many of his O'Reilly clips from Media Matters (my employer). Limbaugh also fails to note any of the O'Reilly quotes Olbermann has featured.
Additionally, Limbacher fails at full disclosure, quoting "legendary news broadcaster George Putnam" without noting that Putnam is a NewsMax columnist.
Beyond the Clinton Equivocation Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax can equivocate anything -- even death threats -- and it doesn't have to resort to a Clinton analogy, as it frequently does.
In a March 16 article, NewsMax responded to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's claim that she and fellow justice Sandra Day O'Connor been the target of death threats, as well as Ann Coulter's "joking" that Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned, this way:
Neither Ginsburg, O'Connor nor the AP complained in 1994, when liberal commentator Julianne Malveaux "joked" about Clarence Thomas: "I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease."
Of course, wishing an unhealthy diet on someone is hardly the same as wishing for deliberate poisoning or threatening that Ginsburg and O'Connor "will not live another week."
Then and Now Topic: Media Research Center
From a March 14 Baltimore Sun article on a Baltimore radio station dropping Rush Limbaugh's show:
Tim Graham, an analyst with the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, also played down the significance of the Limbaugh cancellation in Baltimore. "If you have 600 stations, losing one market is not something to worry about. If you go from 600 to 500, then you have a story," Graham said.
That's not the way the MRC used to feel about these things. In 2001, MRC division CNSNews.com declared that it was news that one of the more than 500 newspapers that carried Cal Thomas' column dropped it, advancing claims that it was evidence that it was evidence of a "house cleaning of conservatives at the paper."
Has the MRC decided that it doesn't need to have a cow over every perceived conservative slight? Well, not totally; that's what NewsBusters is for. There, Graham appears annoyed by the mere existence of Keith Olbermann.
Farah vs. Gore, Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah issued yet another rant against Al Gore today.
Farah, by the way, has yet to respond to our challenge for truth and transparency in both the lawsuit filed against WND by a Gore supporter whom WND trashed in 2000 and WND's legal defense fund, which as currently set up has no public accountibility to show where the money is spent or how it is funded.
Massie's Double Standard Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 14 WorldNetDaily column by Mychal Massie demonstrates once again his blinders toward conservatives with a history or racism.
While Massie makes sure to tar Sen. Robert Byrd as a "cross burning former Klansman," he gives Strom Thurmond the soft touch, describing him only as a "100-year-old senator at his birthday party" about whom Sen. Trent Lott "made jocund statements." Massie doesn't say that those "jocund statements" implied that Lott supported Thurmond's segregationist 1948 presidential campaign.
Indeed, Massie has been an apologist for Thurmond -- as we've previously noted -- despite evidence that Thurmond has never renounced his segregationist views. Byrd, on the other hand, has repeatedlyrenounced his long-ago KKK involvement, a fact Massie fails to note.
As an added bonus, Massie smears filmmaker Spike Lee as a "diminutive, pigeon-toed, filmmaker (who could have been a somatologist's prize find in another time)."
WND's Favorite Felon Checks In Topic: WorldNetDaily
Keeping its tradition of hobnobbing with convicted felons alive, WorldNetDaily ran a March 14 commentary by Peter Paul peddling his usual Clinton-bashing schtick. And Paul manages to rattle off the following statement: "My fortune has been destroyed by the Clintons."
Well, no, Pete. You destroyed your own ill-begotten fortune. You're the guy who pleaded guilty to, and are awaiting sentencing for, your role in a scheme to artificially inflate the stock price of a company you operated with comic-book legend Stan Lee. You have served prison time for two previous felonies (we we've noted).
Before you start hurling accusations against others, Mr. Paul, perhaps you might want to forward a compelling reason why anyone (beyond the dedicated Clinton-haters who are propping you up, that is) should believe what a three-time felon like you has to say.
'Pro-Hillary Paper'? Topic: Newsmax
A March 14 NewsMax article claimed without evidence that the Journal News in Westchester County, New York, which NewsMax described as "Hillary Clinton's hometown newspaper," is a "pro-Hillary paper."
What NewsMax thinks is evidence of its claim is a March 12 Journal News article noting that Hillary's current leading opponent for her New York Senate seat, John Spencer, has an "albatross of anger." NewsMax asserted that with this article, the Journal News "is doing its best to deflect charges that the top Democrat has an anger management problem."
But it's NewsMax and other conservative outlets, as well as Republican National Committee leader Ken Mehlman, who put this issue into play by raising it about Hillary. It's a legitimate campaign issue now, and it's likely that the Journal News would not have done the article had NewsMax, etc., not brought it up.
For NewsMax to suggest that looking at Spencer's anger-management issues is an "attack" is highly disingenuous. And would a "pro-Hillary paper" run an article on the wide spectrum of anti-Clinton protesters, as the Journal News did on March 11?
Weyrich Whoppers Topic: Free Congress Foundation
A March 10 column by the Free Congress Foundation's Paul Weyrich (reprinted at Accuracy in Media), which waxes rhapsodic about the Republican Study Committee and its budget-slashing "alternative" federal budget proposal, makes a few dubious claims that Weyrich himself counters.
Weyrich claims that "this budget is not designed to mollify special interests." That's false; given that Weyrich's own description of what the budget does -- "[l]iberal favorites, such as Title X Family Planning and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, would be eliminated" as would "subsidies for certain Indian tribes to the Legal Services Corporation," while it would also "leave intact the Bush Administration pro-growth tax policy" -- it sounds like a lot of conservative special interests are being mollified here.
Weyrich also adds that "the Departments of Commerce, Energy and Education are so restructured that the case could be made that under this budget those agencies would be, for practical purposes, abolished." Another conservative special interest being served.
Another false claim is in Weyrich's headline, "A Realistic Budget From A Realistic Steering Committee." Well, read Weyrich's history of the RSC, with which he kicks off his column, hints at something different. As Weyrich, one of its creators, tells it, the RSC was created as a "counterpart" to the Democratic Study Group, which he called a "caucus of Democratic liberals which continually pulled their party to the left." So, by definition, the RSC is designed to pull Republicans to the right. This self-defined extremism is "responsible"?
Baby Steps Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily seems to be finally, grudgingly acknowledging that its beloved politician and business partner Katherine Harris might be in a spot of trouble.
Buried in the lower half of WND's front page today is a link to a non-WND article on the "major announcement" regarding her Senate campaign planned this week. The subhead reads: "Reports of illegal contributions dog Senate candidacy." This, in WND fashion, is paired with a headline reading "Katherine Harris exposed." This implies a link with Harris' current scandal, but in fact it's another plug for Harris' ghost-written, WND-published account of her role in the 2000 presidential election.
Not the hesitation toward scandal you'd expect to see a news organization that claims to be a watchdog of government fraud and corruption, eh? But in WND's case, this is all too typical.
NewsBusters Hides Facts in Teacher-Bashing Topic: NewsBusters
A March 11 NewsBusters article by Tom Blumer rants against the fact that Colorado high school teacher Jay Bennish was reinstated to his job after a suspension following a student recorded part of a class lecture in which Bennish compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler. Blumer wrote:
The message to indoctrinating teachers is, "Indoctrinate to your heart's content. When you get caught, you'll get a slap on the wrist (you might even become famous), and then you'll have to 'be good' for a few years. After a while, you can resume your regular habits of indoctrination. Rinse and repeat as necessary until retirement."
The message to taxpayers and parents who expect their kids to be taught the classroom subject matter instead of having them subjected to political rants: "Up yours. You can't touch us."
Blumer quotes an article (he doesn't say where it came from; it's from the Denver Post) that he attacks as "hopelessly slanted -- The lecture was objectively biased; plus, the primary issue here is teaching the subject matter, and secondarily the political indoctrination Jay Bennish engaged in while not doing his job."
In other words (following in the spirit of Blumer's purported interpolation of intent), Blumer doesn't want points of view that he doesn't like to be expressed anywhere, especially in a classroom, even for the purpose of provoking a discussion.
But Blumer selectively quotes from the article, failing to note that the article points out that even the student who recorded Bennish's lecture and then released it to a conservative radio show, Sean Allen, didn't want Bennish fired and later said that he was "confident that the decision ... has been investigated for all sides and is the right decision."
Blumer also fails to note that in the lecture, Bennish took questions from the class and said at the end of it: "And I'm not in any way implying that you should agree with me. ... And I'm glad you asked all your questions, because they're very good, legitimate questions. And hopefully that allows other people to begin to think about some of those things, too."
Permitting questions? Encouraging students to think? That's a pretty sucky way to indoctrinate.
WND Obscures Evidence Against Dobson Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 10 WorldNetDaily article by Alyssa Farah reported on how Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is "striking back hard" against allegations that he is linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But by citing only a New York Times ad by the Campaign to Defend the Constitution -- which she is quick to dismiss as "a left-wing special-interest group" with ties to "the national Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a former ACLU director and the former president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League" -- Farah ignores other evidence of Abramoff's links to Dobson.
As Media Matters has noted, articles in The Washington Post and World Magazine (a conservative Christian weekly) also raise questions about Dobson's connection with Abramoff, mainly through Ralph Reed, a conservative Christian activist who was working for Abramoff. Additionally, Media Matters links to e-mails that lay out a Focus on the Family connection to Reed and Abramoff.
Alyssa Farah, by the way, is Joseph Farah's daughter. Unfortunately, she seems to be following in her father's shoddy-reporting footsteps.
UPDATE: We've noted Alyssa's dubious reporting before. Like father, like daughter: Think about it, won't you?
'Respected Jurist' Topic: Newsmax
A March 9 NewsMax article repeated criticisms of the Supreme Court issued by Alabama Supreme Court justice Tom Parker. The article describes Parker as a "respected jurist."
That claim is immediately undercut when NewsMax further describes Parker as an "ally" of Roy Moore, who was thrown off the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to obey a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that barred the state from displaying the Ten Commandments in the state courthouse rotunda. That immediately tells you about Parker's views on following the rule of law.
But there's more that NewsMax hasn't told you. As the Southern Poverty Law Center informs us, Parker hangs out with some less-than-respected types, like officials with neo-Confederate groups the League of the South and the Council of Conservative Citizens. The SPLC also notes that Parker is also on record as hobnobbing with a couple obsessed with Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
NewsMax really ought to be interested in that little tidbit, given its longtime obsession with Robert Byrd's long-ago KKK association.
New Article: When the Spin Levee Breaks Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center wants you to believe that levee topping and levee breaches are separate, unrelated events. The MRC is wrong. Read more.