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Thursday, April 20, 2006
More Disclosure!
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Is somebody at WorldNetDaily reading ConWebWatch? Could be, because for the second time in the past few days, WND has -- in a change from previous policy, as we've long documented -- properly disclosed the WND ties of the people it covers.

In an April 19 article, WND actually begins by introducing Craig Smith as a "WND author and columnist." The only flaw is that WND didn't identify Smith as head of Swiss America Trading, a major WND advertiser. Still, this is a big step up from earlier this month, when WND not only didn't disclose Smith's WND ties, it didn't disclose that one of Smith's Swiss America employees wrote the article.

Does this mean that WND has decided that it has some shred of journalistic decency after all, after years and years of abuse? For the sake of honest journalism, let's hope so.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
The New Meme: "Anti-Bush" Pulitzers
Topic: NewsBusters
An April 19 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield claims that this year's Pulitzer Prizes were "given to anti-Bush journalism." This is a presumed reference to the New York Times' James Risen and Eric Lichtblau winning for disclosing the Bush administration's secret, possibly illegal domestic surveillance program and the Washington Post's Dana Priest winning for exposing the CIA's secret interrogation sites around the world.

This is a talking point that NewsBusters has been harping on since the Pulitzers were announced. Rather than being bothered by such dubious actions, NewsBusters has abandoned its watchdog status and has gone into full partisan mode, defending the Bush administration:

-- Noel Sheppard wrote that "three of the recipients wrote stories about top-secret military information that conceivably compromised America’s War on Terror." Sheppard apparently has no evidence that they actually did.

-- Brent Baker wrote that the Pulitzers were given to "reporters who exposed -- and thus undermined -- secret anti-terrorism efforts." Again, no hard evidence was offered that anything was, in fact, "undermined."

Baker also beat up on Pulitzer winner Robin Givhan, "a Washington Post critic who mocked Vice President Cheney's outdoor apparel and ridiculed the supposed 1950s-era clothing worn by then-Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' kids." Is Baker suggesting that Cheney wasn't dressed "to operate a snow blower" when he was at Auschwitz? Well, no; apparently, merely saying it is offense enough, as Baker called it a "notorious hit piece." Baker also fails to mention Givhan's critiques of Democratic fashion, such as Cynthia McKinney's hair.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:13 PM EDT
Author Bails on Own Book; Will WND?
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Another strike against WorldNetDaily's favorite book: Even the guy who wrote "I've Always Been a Yankees Fan," a collection of purported Hillary Clinton quotes, isn't vouching for the authenticity of the quotes contained therein. Thomas Kuiper said on CNN that he "can't verify" that the quotes are "100 percent true."

What do think the chances are that WND will report this development to its readers? Of course, WND publishes books by felons and liars, so this may not be a deterrent.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 PM EDT
Aaron Klein's Selective Memory
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In an April 18 WorldNetDaily article on Jews celebrating Passover at "the Tomb of the Patriarchs -- the second holiest site to Judaism," Aaron Klein yet again rehashes the history of Hebron, the West Bank town where the tomb is located, without noting the 1994 massacre of Arabs at the tomb by Baruch Goldstein.

What plausible explanation does Klein have for this continued refusal to acknowledge a significant historical event? (That is, aside from his affinity for Kahane-linked right-wingers like Goldstein.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 PM EDT
Misleading Headline Alert
Topic: Newsmax
An April 19 Associated Press article, as posted on NewsMax, has the headline, "Tom DeLay Conspiracy Charge Tossed Out." That's misleading; as the article itself states, what actually happened was that an appeals court upheld the dismissal of a conspiracy charge against Tom DeLay back in December. The other two charges against DeLay -- a money-laundering charge and another conspiracy charge -- still stand, as they have since they were filed.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:25 AM EDT
New Article: The Masters of WorldNetDaily
Topic: WorldNetDaily
What are the links between WND and an evangelist and radio mogul who has been accused of being a cult leader? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
WND Embraces Dubious Clinton Quote Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In recent weeks, WorldNetDaily has been heavily plugging a new book of Hillary Clinton quotes, titled "I've Always Been a Yankees Fan," which it sells in its store. The book's title claim, as described in a March 16 WND article:

How about the her claim, while running for the U.S. Senate in New York, about being a lifelong Yankees fan. Only problem – she grew up in Chicago rooting for the Cubs.

That's false; she's a fan of both the Yankees and the Cubs. As Media Matters points out, Clinton's Yankee fandom has been long documented.

WND also claims that the quotes are taken from "extensive, attributed sources." But Media Matters notes that chief among those "extensive, attributed sources" are numerous anti-Clinton tomes whose veracity is dubious at best and can be counted on to have a hostile, biased (and, therefore, possibly inaccurate) take on anything Clinton says. The book's introduction was supplied by professional Clinton-basher Dick Morris, which is another clue to the book's intent.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:36 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 6:49 PM EDT
NewsMax Smears Zinni
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax defends the Bush administration by attacking its critics in an April 18 article:

Former CENTCOM Commander, Gen. Anthony Zinni - who has called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign because of his alleged incompetence in running the Iraq war - admitted six years ago that he made the disastrous decision to have the U.S.S. Cole use the port of Aden, Yemen for refueling, where the ship was blown up by al Qaeda terrorists.

Worse still, at least one report indicates that Gen. Zinni may have played a role in an August 1998 leak that tipped off Osama bin Laden to an impending U.S. cruise missile attack - allowing the top terrorist to escape.

NewsMax makes no attempt in the article to respond to Zinni's criticism of Rumsfeld.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:10 PM EDT
Re: Vaporizing Defenses
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In an April 18 WorldNetDaily column, Rebecca Hagelin weighs in on the controversy over an Ohio research librarian, Scott Savage, allegedly being investigated for sexual harassment for recommending that David Kupelian's "The Marketing of Evil" and three other right-wing books for a student reading list. In response to one professor's claim that Kupelian's claim that "'the widely revered father of the "sexual revolution" has been irrefutably exposed as a full-fledged sexual psychopath who encouraged pedophilia.'" is "a factually untrue characterization of Dr. Kinsey and his work on every point," Reisman writes:

Excuse me, professor, but Judith Reisman, a Ph.D. researcher and world-renowned Kinsey expert, absolutely vaporizes your laughable defense of the mad sex scientist in her pioneering book "Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences."

(I'm suddenly reminded of Prince of Space repeatedly declaring, "Your weapons have no effect on me!")

However, as Poppy Dixon writes in a critique of Reisman's research:

The online-only Journal of Human Sexuality, sponsored by Leadership U (a spinoff of Campus Crusade for Christ), has published Reisman's essay, Kinsey and the Homosexual Revolution. The essay is comprised of 31 complex and leading questions, questions designed to prejudice the reader, questions like "...what if all of Kinsey's work was fraudulent, or worse?", and "...could not some American scientists teach pederasts and pedophiles techniques for sexually abusing children for 'science'?", and "Was Kinsey himself a closet homosexual, pedophile or pederast?"

The answer to these questions is "no," which is why they're posed as questions and not as statements. Though Dr. Reisman includes tables and footnotes, she offers no proof or support for the innuendo she directs at Kinsey. In fact, her "research methods" could call her own background into question.

The Kinsey Institute has also responded to Reisman's allegations.

Max Blumenthal has more on Reisman's obsession with Kinsey.

Hagelin might want to investigate Reisman's research methods before she continues to endorse her conservatively correct "findings."

UPDATE: Added link to Poppy Dixon critique.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:23 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 8, 2006 11:00 PM EDT
NewsBusters Condones Death Threats?
Topic: NewsBusters
An April 18 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard claims that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann "wrongly" named Michelle Malkin the winner of his daily "Worst Person in the World" segment for posting the names and phone numbers of University of California-Santa Cruz students who protested military recruiters on campus. Sheppard claimed that "What Keith conveniently failed to inform his viewers was that these phone numbers were actually part of a press release by the organization responsible for the protest," adding that "these names and phone numbers are still available at a number of left-wing websites."

While Sheppard fulminates about "the atrocious e-mail messages and threats that Malkin herself has been receiving all day for posting this previously made public information at her website," Sheppard does not condemn the death threats issued against the students as a result of Malkin posting the students' addresses.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 24, 2006 2:21 PM EDT
Monday, April 17, 2006
The Daily Les, 4/17
Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving once again brings his creepy obsession with non-heterosexual sex into the White House briefing room. Today's question:

KINSOLVING: Since this morning's annual White House Easter Egg Roll welcomed everybody, including those wearing rainbow leis promoting their sexual orientation, will next year's event include all sexual orientations, including those wearing arm bands proclaiming that pain is pleasure, or not?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:33 PM EDT
Softball Interview Watch
Topic: Newsmax
In an April 17 NewsMax article, Dave Eberhart does a delightfully softball interview with Jack Kemp. How softball is it? This is the first question: "Sir, you are a man of many accomplishments. What's the source of your energy and inspiration?"

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 PM EDT
CNS Champions Disgraced Hansen-Bashing Ex-NASA Spokesman
Topic: CNSNews.com
George Deutsch is back, and this time he's leaking documents.

An April 17 CNSNews.com article by Marc Morano plays enabler to the former NASA spokesman's crusade against NASA scientist James Hansen. "Deutsch provided Cybercast News Service with agency internal documents and e-mails detailing the frustration among NASA public affairs officials over Hansen's refusal to follow protocol when it came to granting media interviews," Morano reported. Nowhere in the article does Morano explain under what authority an ex-NASA employee has to release internal NASA documents for the sole purpose of attacking a current NASA employee.

Deutsch resigned his job in February after it was revealed that he did not graduate from college as he had claimed on his resume. As he did in a March interview, Morano gives Deutsch another opportunity to explain that away: "I had more credits than are required to graduate, but I needed one math class," Deutsch said.

Unsurprisingly, it's a one-sided attack, filled mostly with Deutsch's Hansen-bashing. Morano claims at the end of the article that "several phone calls to Hansen's office seeking comment were not returned."

P.S.: Morano unquestioningly reported Deutsch's claim regarding his instistence while at NASA that the word "theory" be attached to "big bang": "Deutsch said he was simply making recommendations to comply with Associated Press style." That's false; as Deutsch himself wrote in a memo, it was about a lot more than style. As the New York Times reported:

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It [Deutsch's memo] continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 17, 2006 4:13 PM EDT
CNS Peddles False GOP Immigration Spin
Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 12 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones passed along a statement from House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist attacking Senate Democrats, "making it clear that it was Democrats who insisted on making unlawful presence in the United States a felony rather than a misdemeanor." But neither the statement nor CNS' attempt at a "clarification" tells the truth about the issue.

To Hastert and Frist's statement that "there were 191 House Democrats who voted to oppose House Republican efforts to reduce the crime of unlawful presence in the United States from a felony to a misdemeanor. Instead, they voted to make felons out of all of those who remain in our country illegally," Jones added only, parenthetically, "Some conservative Republicans also favored making unlawful presence a felony."

A "clarification" later added to the article states that "a majority of House Republicans wanted to elevate the violation to a misdemeanor; but Democrats proposed making it a felony -- to undermine the entire bill by making it appear too harsh, according its sponsor, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)."

That's false. Sensenbrenner himself put the felony provision in the bill at the beginning, and it was passed by the House in December in that form with only 36 Democrats supporting the bill. Thus, it is Republicans who are flip-flopping on the issue after negative public reaction and trying to reduce it to a misdeameanor; Democrats oppose criminalizing it at all (it's currently a civil violation), plus they're not terribly motivated to help save the Republicans' bacon.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Neil Young, Has-Been
Topic: Newsmax
Who thinks Neil Young is a has-been musician who hasn't had a hit in 30 years? Why, NewsMax, of course.

In an April 15 article on Young's upcoming album, which features the "somewhat less than creatively" titled "Impeach the President," NewsMax claims: "Some say Young, who hasn't had a major hit since his 1972 chart-topper, 'Heart of Gold,' is looking to revive his career by bashing Bush." No word on whether the "some" who say that exist outside of NewsMax's offices.

Depicting Neil Young as desperate for a hit single appears to be the biggest ConWeb musical misinterpretation since Accuracy in Media declared Rufus Wainwright a "mainstream" artist.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:24 AM EDT

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