Pro-Limbaugh Spin Update Topic: Newsmax
-- Somebody buy NewsMax a thesaurus! The headline of a May 1 article blares, "Newsweek: Rush Limbaugh 'Arrest' Reports Were Bogus." But as the article itself states, Newsweek actually claimed that "the word 'arrest' was misleading." Uh, NewsMax: "Bogus" and "misleading" aren't synonymous.
Of course, the claim that "the word 'arrest' was misleading" is itself a bit misleading because Limbaugh was, in fact, under arrest during his booking and plea.
-- Clay Waters, in a May 1 TimesWatch item, is eager to defend Limbaugh against charges that he's a "hypocrite" for previously suggesting that drug abusers should be jailed. Waters' exculpatory evidence: Limbaugh said it in 1995, which "suggests that perhaps Limbaugh didn't 'regularly' say much about drug users," and that "Limbaugh is talking not about addiction to legal painkillers, but illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin."
-- In a May 1 NewsBusters post, Brian Boyd complained that ABC's "Good Morning America" reported on it "even though there's nothing new to say."
AIM Rehabilitates Scheuer Topic: Accuracy in Media
A May 1 Accuracy in Media article by Cliff Kincaid takes another stab at dubiously asserting that Dana Priest's Washington Post articles about the CIA's secret prisons are "essentially false." This time, Kincaid serves up criticism of the Post articles by former CIA officer Michael Scheuer, who wrote a December 2005 Washington Times column on the issue, as evidence that the stories "damaged our anti-terrorism efforts."
But Scheuer has previously been attacked as not being credible -- by Kincaid himself. In a Dec. 3, 2004, column, Kincaid wrote that Scheuer "made claims that were ludicrous on their face" and "turn[ed]in a rather unimpressive performance" in a "60 Minutes" appearance, though he added that some of Scheuer's claims "echoed our criticism of the agency."
Further, a Dec. 14, 2004, list of AIM's top "underreported/buried stories for 2004" included "[t]he questionable background and qualifications of Michael Scheuer, the former CIA analyst who gave interviews as "anonymous" and criticized the war in Iraq and the war on Islamic terrorism."
And a August 2005 "AIM Report" approvingly quotes Rep. Curt Weldon claiming as a purported example of the CIA's "arrogance" that "[l]ast year, during the presidential election, one of the agents got the approval to write a book to embarrass George Bush during the middle of a campaign" -- a reference to Scheuer's book "Imperial Hubris," originally published anonymously.
Interesting how AIM has transformed yesterday's arrogant, questionable Scheuer to a suddenly authoritative source.
CNS' Resident Xenophobe Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 28 CNSNews.com column by Ralph Hostetter serves up the more xenophobic side of the immigrant debate. He called illegal immigration a "cancer" and a "tumor," and things pretty much went from there:
-- Hostetter referred to phrases like "Immigration is good for America," "America was built by immigrants" as "pabulum phrases."
-- He claimed that the "nation" of illegal immigrants "has an 'army' (the real tumor), complete with flag and provocative posters that proclaim: 'This is our country; we're taking it back.'" This is presumably a reference to the alleged "reconquista" movement hyped by conservatives (not to mention white supemacists and neo-Nazis).
-- He claimed that the planned May 1 immigration rallies will be "more massive than anything this country has ever witnessed." And not only that, they're all a bunch of commies: "May 1, not so coincidentally, since 1889 happens to be Communism's Labor Day. Celebrations in Communist countries around the world will no doubt be played up as support for illegal immigrant demonstrators in the United States."
-- Hostetter lectured unnamed people who state, "Only Communists build walls," claiming that it "reveals nothing more than the ignorance of the person who makes the statement" because "[t]he Berlin Wall was built to keep people in" while "[a] wall on the Mexican border would keep unwanted illegal immigrants out." Despite that, he engaged in his own bad metaphor, claiming that the rallies may "erupt into violence. No one is checking backpacks. Does anyone recall the backpack explosion at the Olympics in Atlanta? Crowds are al Qaeda's favorite target." Of course, al Qaeda did not set off the Atlanta bomb; that crime was committed by anti-abortion extremist Eric Rudolph.
(Hostetter has a habit of linking al Qaeda to immigration.)
-- Hostetter claimed that "[t]he decent image of America may be tarnished for all time" by the rallies. More so than torturing prisoners or spying on Americans without court warrants?
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?