And the Spin Continues Topic: Newsmax
A May 1 NewsMax column by James Hirsen called the prosecutor who pursued Rush Limbaugh on doctor-shopping charges "a Ronnie Earle wannabe prosecutor" and claimed that he engaged in "a politically motivated investigation" without offering evidence to support it. Hirsen also called Limbaugh's $30,000 fine "a small fine." For Limbaugh and Hirsen, perhaps...
Pro-Limbaugh Spin Update Topic: Newsmax
-- An April 29 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker claimed that ABC didn't back up its claim that Rush Limbaugh was "a hypocrite for previously condemning drug users" because it "didn't offer any evidence Limbaugh has ever denounced those hooked on prescription pain medication." While ABC did play a clip of Limbaugh saying, ""The people who are caught doing this stuff ought to be sent away. They ought to be punished," Baker parsed it away:
What, however, was the “stuff” to which Limbaugh referred? Kofman did not specify in delivering his broadside, but if Limbaugh was condemning users of illegal hallucinogenic substances, such as cocaine or heroin, that's quite a bit different than obtaining an excessive level of legal drugs to control pain.
Baker similarly whacked The New York Times for "an uncorroborated broadside which didn't differentiate between illegal mind-altering drugs and legal, prescription-controlled pain relievers."
-- An April 29 NewsMax article promotes Limbaugh's $250,000 donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while mentioning nothing about his plea deal.
The Pro-Limbaugh Echo Chamber Topic: Newsmax
This is rich: NewsMax -- whose first and, for much of the 24 hours following its announcement, only coverage of the Rush Limbaugh doctor-shopping plea consisted of reprinting the press release from Limbaugh's lawyer -- is complaining about media bias in coverage of the plea deal.
This is even richer: NewsMax's evidence of this, as told in an April 30 article, is a rehash of Tim Graham's NewsBusters post -- which, as we've noted, is peddling its own pro-Limbaugh spin.
NewsMax has also added an Associated Press article on the plea to its site. It stands out by virtue of telling both sides of the story -- something no original NewsMax article on the case has yet to achieve.
NewsBusters Pushes Limbaugh Spin, Part 2 Topic: NewsBusters
An April 29 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham continues the MRC's pro-Limbaugh spin by bashing the Washington Post for saying in teaser copy that Rush Limbaugh was "arrested" -- which, as we've noted, is an accurate description of what happened. Graham emphasizes that Limbaugh's plea deal contains "no admission of guilt" while not noting that Limbaugh is paying a $30,000 fine, which is certainly an admission of something.
NewsBusters Pushes Limbaugh Spin Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 28 NewsBusters post, Brent Baker falsely implied that it was wrong to report that Rush Limbaugh was "arrested" as part of his plea bargain on doctor-shopping charges because it "was really more of a booking session that did not put Limbaugh into handcuffs or any jail." In fact, Baker's version of events is what Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, wants you to believe. As CNN reported:
Although Black urged reporters not to call it an arrest -- because Limbaugh turned himself in and was never handcuffed -- a sheriff's spokesman said technically he was under arrest during his booking.
NewsMax Spins for Limbaugh Topic: Newsmax
None of that "reporting the news" stuff for NewsMax on the Rush Limbaugh doctor-shopping case. Its first "report" on today's events is a press release by Limbaugh’s attorney, Roy Black, the headline of which proclaimed, "Rush Limbaugh Prescription Drug Case Settled."
In addition to Morgan's canards, an April 22 WND article claims that the documents Berger took from the National Archives were "possibly with handwritten notes." In fact, even the Wall Street Journal has pointed out that Noel Hillman, a Justice Department prosecutor in the Berger case, said that the copies of documents that Berger took (that they were copies, not originals, is a detail WND is finally starting to get correct) "don't have notations on them." Hillman further called claims to that effect an "urban myth."
That puts WND in the company of NewsMax in peddling urban myths.
Book-Bashing Goes Bust Topic: NewsBusters
An April 26 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield regurgitates a Drudge Report item claiming that "Crashing the Gate," co-written by Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, isn't selling. While Sheffield excerpts Moulitsas' response, he has thus far failed to update with sales figures for recently released books by conservative bloggers Glenn Reynolds and Hugh Hewitt, which are apparently doing even worse than "Crashing the Gate" (according to the same flawed Bookscan figures Drudge used).
More WND Press-Release 'Journalism' Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 28 WorldNetDaily article showcases its usual anti-gay biases, then takes it a step further by being even more one-sided than the press release it's lifted from.
The article tells the case of Arlington, Va., video duplicator Tim Bono, who refused to duplicate "two pro-homosexual films" for "lesbian activist Lillian Vincenz." The city's Human Rights Commission ordered Bono to duplicate the video or face further action against him.
What's missing here -- besides the usual WND failure to contact anyone on the other side to present a fair and balanced view -- is any evidence that the the films to be duplicated are "pro-homosexual" (or Bono's secondary complaint, that he would be helping to "promote homosexuality" by duplicating them) or that Lillian Vincenz is a "lesbian activist." Meanwhile, Concerned Women for America, from whose press release WND lifted its report, does not get the "activist" moniker Vincenz gets, even though it obviously is an "activst" group.
WND also left out some of the evidence that the Arlington Human Rights Commission used in reaching its decision, cited in the CWA release. While WND did note that "Bono did not review the content of the videos," it did not note, as CWA did, that Bono "perceived the Complainant to be 'gay' and to have a gay agenda." And in noting CWA's claim that the case is "reminiscent" of that of an Ontario printer who was fined $5,000 for refusing to print materials for a group called the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, WND doesn't use the name of the organization, instead substituting the term "homosexual advocacy group."
Gratuitous Klan Reference Watch Topic: Newsmax
The boys at NewsMax just can't help themselves.
In a continuation of its strange obsession with Sen. Robert Byrd 60-years-past Ku Klux Klan affiliation, an April 27 NewsMax article refers to it twice despite it being unrelated to anything else the article contains.
Methinks NewsMax's strange obsession is turning pathological.
New Article: At Home With a Crappy Study Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC's designated New York Times-basher issues a report on the paper's coverage of Hillary Clinton that's full of dubious and unsupported claims. Read more.
NewsBusters: Positive Review of Play = Endorsement of Views Contained Therein Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 26 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham insinuates without evidence that The Washington Post gave a positive review of a play, Tony Kushner's "A Bright Room Called Day," solely for its subject matter -- its comparison of Reagan's America with Hitler's Germany.
The headline of Graham's post reads, "Reagan = Hitler? The Washington Post Likes That Play," and he starts out by writing, "Ronald Reagan may now be remembered as one of America's greatest presidents, but the Washington Post is still willing to consider him comparable to mass-murdering dictators." Of course, the Post isn't making that comparison; the play is. Graham offers no evidence that the Post's management endorses the views in the play or even that the reviewer's positive review constitutes an endorsement of the views contained therein.
To recall a counterexample: NewsBusters writers and posters have dehumanized journalists and whitewashed terrorist acts. By Graham's example, should we therefore assume that the Media Research Center as a whole endorses those views as well?
WND Uses Misleading Comparison to Plug Book Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 26 WorldNetDaily article claiming that David Kupelian's book "The Marketing of Evil" claims, using an anonymous Virginia Tech librarian as a basis, that the book is in relatively few college libraries because liberal librarians discriminate against "conservative, traditional-values-oriented books." To illustrate the alleged discrimination, the article notes that there are 3,542 copies of Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Nickel and Dimed" in libraries nationwide, while "The Marketing of Evil" appears in only 188.
But the article fails to inform readers that "Nickel and Dimed" was released in 2001 and has sold more than 1 million copies. "The Marketing of Evil," meanwhile, was released in the fall of 2005, and WND, the publisher, has not disclosed how many copies of the book have been sold. We suspect it's a lot less than 1 million. Additionally, Ehrenreich's book has appeared on the New York Times' best-seller list, a feat "The Marketing of Evil" has yet to achieve despite WND's repeated claims that the book is a "bestseller."
Note to WND: Unless you're willing to divulge how many copies Kupelian's book has sold, you might want to withdraw this misleading and unfair claim.
AIM Falsely Attacks Post Reporter Topic: Accuracy in Media
An April 25 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid and a related AIM press release claim that Washington Post reporter Dana Priest's article revealing the existence of secret CIA detention facilities overseas, for which Priest won a Pulitzer Prize, is "false" and that Priest should resign and give back her Pulitzer. But Kincaid's evidence for making that claim is far from definitive on the subject.
Kincaid's claimed evidence is a report by the Council of Europe, which, he wrote, "after a major investigation, declared that 'At this stage of the investigations, there is no formal, irrefutable evidence of the existence of secret CIA detention centers' in Europe." Gijs de Vries, the counterterrorism chief of the European Union, has said that he had not been able to prove that secret CIA prisons "does not appear to be proven beyond reasonable doubt." But as the International Herald Tribune reported, that conclusion has been criticized:
But Mr. de Vries came under criticism from some legislators who called the hearing a whitewash. "The circumstantial evidence is stunning," said Kathalijne Buitenweg, a Dutch member of Parliament from the Green Party, even if there is no smoking gun.
"I'm appalled that we keep calling to uphold human rights while pretending that these rendition centers don't exist and doing nothing about it," she said.
A number of legislators challenged Mr. de Vries for not taking seriously earlier testimony before the committee by a German and a Canadian who gave accounts of being kidnapped and kept imprisoned by foreign agents.
The committee also heard today from a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who said, "I can attest to the willingness of the U.S. and the U.K. to obtain intelligence that was got under torture in Uzbekistan.
"If they were not willing, then rendition prisons could not have existed," he added.
(Daily Kos notes some editing done by the New York Times, owner of the IHT, to this story.)
Kincaid also did not report another claim made in the report that director of central intelligence Porter Goss "did not deny the existence of CIA secret prisons in various parts of the world where people suspected of terrorism were held."
What we seem to have here is something that nobody is explicitly admitting to -- but nobody is denying either. All of the statements Kincaid quotes are qualified -- "no formal, irrefutable evidence," "not ... proven beyond reasonable doubt" -- which indicates that there is indeed evidence to support the claim of secret prisons.
In other words, despite what Kincaid says, Priest's article hasn't been proven false.
Lack of Disclosure Watch Topic: Horowitz
In an April 24 FrontPageMag column by the Alliance Defense Fund's David French on the Scott Savage book-recommendation case, French fails to disclose that the ADF is representing Savage in this case and that he himself is, in fact, the lead attorney for Savage.
In other words, French has a highly vested interest in publicizing this case and attacking the Ohio college that Savage works for. Isn't this lack of disclosure at least mildly unethical behavior for an attorney?