More Deceptive Poll-Bashing Topic: Accuracy in Media
A March 24 Accuracy in Media column by Roger Aronoff is the latest to attack a CBS poll that found President Bush's approval rating at an all-time low of 34 percent as sampling too many Democrats without noting that the weighted percentage difference of Democrats to Republicans in the poll matches the demographics of the adult American population.
Aronoff also attacks the poll for being "based on a sampling of 1018 'adults,' rather than likely voters," but he fails to explain why a sampling of "adults" is less valid that one of likely voters. After all, Bush is the president of all Americans, not just likely voters. And Bush isn't up for re-election again, so limiting the poll to "likely voters" is a bit on the moot side.
Aronoff further claims, without evidence, that "the number of Democrats was inflated to get a more dramatic anti-Bush result." But as Media Matters noted, a CBS poll taken a couple weeks later in which the weighted percentage of Democrats and Republicans was roughly equal produced the same 34 percent job approval rating for Bush. Additionally, CBS weights its polls based on demographic characteristics, not party affiliation.
Dear NewsBusters... Topic: NewsBusters
Note to Tim Graham, Mark Finkelstein, Ian Schwartz, and the other NewsBusters denziens enraptured by Laura Ingraham's claim that the reporters are covering the Iraq war by watching it from the balconies of their Baghdad hotels:
Ingraham has not offered any actual evidence that this is the case. And neither have you.
You might want to try that whole evidence thing before continuing this particular line of attack.
Swift-Boating Olmert, Part 3 Topic: WorldNetDaily Today's attack on acting Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert by WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein is a reframing of the previous, anonymous-source-laden, scandal-report-being-suppressed article.
CNS Uses Documented Liar as Source Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 23 CNSNews.com article by Marc Morano describing the Democratic links of James Hansen, a scientist who has complained that the Bush administration is censoring his views on global warming, featured comments from a former NASA spokesman who was forced to resign for, among other things, making a false claim on his resume.
Morano quoted George C. Deutch to refute Hansen's claims of censorship. Deutsch resigned as a NASA spokesman in February after it was disclosed that his resume falsely claimed that he graduated from Texas A&M University (he hadn't received his degree). Deutsch has been unapologetic about the false claim, insisting that his resume was written in anticipation of graduating. Morano also repeated Deutsch's own claims of a "culture war" at the agency in which "[a]nyone perceived to be a Republican, a Bush supporter or a Christian is singled out and labeled a threat."
Morano also fails to make clear that the among the people Hansen and others accused of censorship was Deutsch. The Feb. 11 Washington Post article from which Morano pulled his Deutsch quotes also stated that Deutsch faced criticism because, allegedly, "he had edited scientists' writings to conform to administration views and tried to limit reporters' access to Hansen." But Morano cited only the "controversy surrounding a false resume claim" as the reason Deutsch resigned.
Farah: Evolutionists Are Nazis Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a March 23 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah claims that a recent article in a archaelogical magazine "illustrates how the genocidal mania of Hitler could only be built on a foundation of evolution." He further claims that "evolutionary theories ... led directly to Hitler and Stalin and Mao." Finally, Farah dismisses evolution as "a malodorous, filthy, contemptuous lie from the pit of hell. After all, where else but hell could Hitler get his inspiration?"
I think we have an early front-runner for a Slantie Award, folks.
Ann Coulter: Anarchist, Not Conservative Topic: Free Congress Foundation
"I take second place to no one in denouncing these kinds of threats. People who advocate killing Justices because they profoundly disagree with them are not conservatives. They are anarchists." -- Paul Weyrich, March 22 column.
So, Mr. Weyrich, may we put two and two together regarding your statement and Ann Coulter's wish to see John Paul Stevens poisoned?
Sexipemic!: The Origin Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily shares with us the apparent explanation of its creepyobsession with (female) teacher-(male) student sex. It comes in the form of a March 22 article by David Kupelian taht appeared in the teacher-student sex issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine. It's alarmist in the WND kind of way, but it's not a bad read until it starts embracing dubious statistics and gets overly moralistic.
Kupelian states, "Recently, there has been a seeming explosion in a special type of teacher sexual abuse – female teachers having sex with underage teenage boys, who as a rule are willing participants in the sex," without disclosing that WND has played a role in making it seem like an explosion. As we've previously noted, WND has repeatedly printed a laundry list of alleged incidents it found on a gossip site without telling its readers that the alleged incidents on the list date back as much as 15 years. But Kupelian offers no solid evidence that there actually is an "explosion" in female teacher-male student sex.
Kupelian also touted an alarmist claim by researcher Charol Shakeshaft that "the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests," despite the fact that this number is extrapolated from another survey and has no direct research to support it. But it's not until he recounts that study in detail before Kupelian noted that one criticism of Shakeshaft's work called it "a misuse of the data" and that Shakeshaft herself "acknowledged many factors could alter the analysis."
In making his moral case against teacher-student sex, Kupelian plays it black-and-white in portraying anyone who doesn't follow his point of view as supporters of a "secular, de facto atheistic worldview" who believe "there is just no logical reason adults shouldn't be able to have sex with children or whatever else they please." And what is Kupelian's point of view? It's roughly summed up by this statement: "The sexual revolution glorified the destruction of Judeo-Christian civilization and the morality at its core." He also claims that "artificial birth control, abortion, [and] alternative sexual acts" is "an absurd end-run around God and His obvious restrictions on sex."
Apaprently, in Kupelian's world, there's no room for moderation; he seems unable to grasp that a person can oppose adults having sex with minors and not be a fundamentalist Christian like himself. After all, there is a nonreligous basis for laws against sex with minors, the idea that a minor, because he or she is a minor, cannot consent to sex. Kupelian might want to check into that sometime.
NewsBusters to Media: Don't Investigate Bush Topic: NewsBusters
It's not often you hear conservatives insist that the news media not investigate something, but that's what Noel Sheppard does in a March 22 NewsBusters post.
In attacking the Oregonian newspaper for seeking the release of "documents that could prove the existence of a potentially illegal domestic spying program," Sheppard claims: "The Oregonian has no pony in this race. Instead, it is clearly muckraking without regard to how it might impact national security and the war on terror."
Sheppard then argues that the Oregonian shouldn't investigate this case because "neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has yet determined the legality or illegality of this terrorist surveillance program" (using the Bush administration's preferred term for the eavesdropping program). He adds: "Shouldn’t it wait until such a determination has been made before filing a lawsuit over documents that might end up having been legally obtained?"
Sheppard missed the part where the Oregonian said that the documents it's seeking could "prove the existence of a potentially illegal domestic spying program." And the lack of a determination about legality certainly didn't keep conservatives from making myriad accusations of illegal behavior against President Clinton. For instance, do a search for "clinton and perjury" on the MRC's search engine, and you get 194 results, despite the fact that Clinton was never convicted of, let alone indicted for, perjury.
New Article: The Disconnect Topic: Media Research Center
A Media Research Center official insists that the media has a liberal bias, even as he admits that most news reports the MRC watches aren't biased. Read more.
Swift-Boating Olmert, Part 2 Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein moved into the next level of attacking acting Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, using a March 21 article to repeat accusations against Olmert's family -- specifically, according to the headline, as "pacificsts" and "army deserters." WND hurling dubiously sourced accusations at a candidate -- gee, where have seen that before?
Klein gives Olmert representatives no space to specifically respond to the accusations, but does provide three paragraphs (out of a 24-paragraph article) to a representative of Olmert's Kadima party to call the accusations "inappropriate and immature" -- followed by a quote from "an Israeli-based political consulting firm" claiming that a candidate's family is fair game.
Sounds a lot like the falseaccusations WND made against John Kerry's wife during the 2004 presidential campaign.
Double Standard Watch Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a March 20 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid was in high dudgeon about "the illegal leak of classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen about the NSA surveillance program into planned al-Qaeda operations on U.S. soil." Kincaid added that at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), "[m]any applauded when I called for Risen to be prosecuted for publishing information benefiting al Qaeda."
First, Kincaid offered no evidence that disclosure of the NSA surveillance program benefited al Queda. Second, Kincaid's AIM colleagues were much less concerned about the possible illegality of another disclosure: the leaking of Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee memos in 2004, which conservatives pounced on as alleged evidence that Democrats colluded with special interest groups to block conservative judicial nominees. In three AIM articles by Notra Trulock on the case, on March 9, March 12 and April 27, 2004, the leak's legality is never discussed, despite the fact that the disclosure of the leaked documents resulted in the resignation of the person most prominently linked to the stolen memos, Manuel Miranda, from the staff of Sen. Bill Frist and a number of investigations into the theft, including one by the Justice Department. In fact, Trulock complained on March 12 that "[s]uch an investigation is unprecedented" and asserted that "these memos are only the tip of the iceberg."
Where was Kincaid's concern when these memos were leaked under questionable legal circumstances?
Swift-Boating Olmert Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has apparently decided to give acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert the John Kerry treatment.
A March 20 article by Aaron Klein uses anonymous sources to allege that an investigation of alleged "multiple charges of corruption and illegal appointments" by Olmert is "being delayed until after next week's elections in which Olmert is running for top office." There are no on-the-record quotes in the article at all; Klein cites "a source close to the report" and "a spokesman for the Likud party," which stands to benefit from Klein's attack on Olmert (who is running in the Kadima party). Nobody from Olmert's side is given a chance to respond.
Klein and WND have long opposed Olmert and supported his opponent, Likud candidate Benjamin Netanyahu. A March 15 article accused Olmert of staging a military raid "to boost acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's campaign ahead of elections later this month." Klein added: "Israeli analysts have pointed out Olmert, who lacks a military background, has been loosing some ground on security issues to other candidates, particularly to Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, known for his tough stance against Palestinian terrorism." A Feb. 7 Klein article featured another anonymous source accusing Olmert of staging an evacuation of Jewish homes in the West Bank "as a tactic to win votes from leftist Israelis by demonstrating he is capable of withdrawing Jews from the West Bank."
UPDATE: What was it that WND editor Joseph Farah said about things said by anonymous sources? Ah, yes: he said they are "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."
Selective Reporting Topic: Newsmax
In a March 17 article, NewsMax reported on a claim by Rep. Curt Weldon that Osama bin Laden is dead, but failed to note another newsworthy item from the same interview in which Weldon made that claim: Weldon's claims about the defense intelligence operation Able Danger appear to be falling apart, including a central claim that a chart that purportedly Able Danger identified 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta by photo prior to 9/11:
He [Weldon] now says that he's not sure the chart had a picture of Atta, as he has sometimes maintained, and that he has been relying on the memory of an intelligence analyst who helped produce it.
Meanwhile, other key players in the story, including [national security adviser Stephen] Hadley, contradict Weldon, saying they never saw Atta's picture. Moreover, several government investigations have failed to find any documentation so far that the program had identified hijackers before the attacks, and Weldon has begun to allow that there are parts of his story that may not be proven.
NewsMax has played up the Able Danger allegations and repeated several dubious claims regarding it, as we've noted (here and here).
More Abramoff Avoidance from WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's lack of interest in the Jack Abramoff scandal, despite its claim to be a watchdog of government corruption, comes in no small part because the scandal touches some of its favorite people. As we've noted, that list includes Rep. Katherine Harris (WND published her book) and Rep. Richard Pombo (WND editor Joseph Farah co-wrote a book with him).
Another person on the list is Rabbi Daniel Lapin. BlatherWatch reports (via TPM Muckraker) that Lapin is having financial difficulties, as evidenced by Lapin's organization, Toward Tradition -- of which Abramoff is a former chairman, and through which Abramoff funneled money to influence politicians -- leaving its rented offices to move into Lapin's home.
WND has run numerous commentaries by Lapin, most recently a pair of articles in February. WND also printed a Lapin commentary in the December 2005 issue of its Whistleblower magazine. Lapin contributed a blurb for WND managing editor David Kupelian's book, "The Marketing of Evil." WND promoted the launching of Toward Tradition in a 2002 article that also noted Abramoff's presence on the advisory board.
Given its numerous contacts with people involved in the Abramoff scandal, WND should own this story. Instead, it's running a protection racket to shield their roles from public view. Not exactly watchdogging, is it?