AIM Contradicts Itself Topic: Accuracy in Media
A May 22 AIM Report by Wes Vernon takes contradictory stands on the idea of anonymous sources. As part of AIM's factually dubious war on Washington Post reporter Dana Priest and her article on secret CIA detention facilities in Europe, Vernon first dismissed Priest's story because it was "based completely on anonymous sources," adding that the story "has not been confirmed."
But later, in coming to the defense of Rep. Curt Weldon over his claims regarding the "Able Danger" intelligence program, takes a different tone on anonymous sources and lack of smoking-gun evidence. Vernon dismissed a Philadelphia Inquirer article questioning Weldon's claim that the Soviets buried dozens of suitcase-size nuclear devices in the U.S. during the Cold War: "So the Inquirer essentially casts doubts on the 'suitcase nukes' charge based on the failure to find a needle in a haystack." Vernon also notes that "Among those who came to the congressman's defense was Lowell L. Wood, Jr., who has outstanding credentials in science"; Vernon wrote that "Wood added that 'a fundamental adage' in the 'always imperfect' intelligence business is that 'the absence of evidence isn't the evidence of absence.'"
Vernon also defends Weldon's use of an anonymous source to back up his claims:
The Philadelphia Inquirer's March 15 hit pieces include the name of someone they claim was "Ali." Weldon says, "I have not and will not identify [my source]." Curiously, the media seem oblivious to the possibility they may have put the man's life in danger.
AIM needs to make up its mind about a few things and not judge them by how well they support conservative talking points.
Still Waiting On That Retraction Topic: NewsBusters
As we enter our third day following the emergence of questions about the National Post report that the Iranian parliament passed a law requiring non-Muslims in the country to wear certain insignia identifying them as such -- and as evidence continues to mount that the story is false -- Noel Sheppard and the rest of the NewsBusters crew has remained silent about it, even though it was quick to repeat claims against the veracity of USA Today's story on the NSA phone database.
Double standard, anyone? Apparently, the MRC isn't as interested in accuracy if a fellow conservative publication is the one that gets its facts wrong.
NewsBusters Misleads on Party ID, Abramoff Topic: NewsBusters
A May 21 NewsBusters post by Mithridate Ombud claims that none of the six articles about corruption allegations against Rep. William Jefferson to which he links uses the word "Democrat." That's misleading; five of the six linked articles (the exception is the one from the CBS affiliate in Fresno) add "D-La." on the first reference to Jefferson, clearly indicating that Jefferson is a Democrat.
Ombud also claims that "We all know that even when someone who isn't even in the Republican party, like Jack Abramoff, gets caught doing something bad the media frames the story with the word 'Republican' four or five times per column inch." Not only does Ombud offer no evidence to back it up, he/she is wrong about Abramoff, who has a long history of Republican and conservative activism, starting when he was president of -- that's right -- a College Republicans group.
BadgeGate: The Tally Topic: NewsBusters
How has the rest of the ConWeb covered the apparently bogus accusation about Iran requiring non-Muslims to wear badges?
WorldNetDaily: Wrote article questioning original claim. Columnist Craig R. Smith, however, didn't get the memo; his May 21 column attacking Iran over the claim as if no doubts had been raised about its veracity.
Hellooooo? Topic: NewsBusters
As evidence mounts that the National Post story claiming that the Iranian parliament passed a law requiring non-Muslims in the country to wear certain insignia identifying them as such appears to be false, NewsBusters -- after writer Noel Sheppard scolded the media for not immediately repeating the story -- has yet to acknowledge this development in a post. We're closing in on 48 hours since evidence that the story is false first surfaced -- much longer than the six hours that Sheppard gave the media to pick up the original (and apparently false) story.
Tick ... Tick ... Tick ... Topic: NewsBusters
It's been more than 24 hours now since both the Iranian Embassy and experts on Iran have raised significant doubts about the report by Canada's National Post that the Iranian parliament passed a law this week requiring non-Muslims in the country to wear certain insignia identifying them as such, and NewsBusters -- which demanded that the media report on it a mere six hours after the National Post's report came out -- has not dedicated a post to it.
WorldNetDaily Wackiness Topic: WorldNetDaily
-- Oh, here's a surprise: Another story based on an Alliance Defense Fund press release.
-- It's hard to get too worked up about WND executive news editor Art Moore's May 19 column in which he suggests that the alligators who have been chomping on humans in Florida be deployed on the Mexico. Heck, Moore can't even bother to be original: His "joke" about putting illegal immigrants to work to build a moat on the border might have been funny if he hadn't stolen the basic concept from Ann Coulter (who, in turn, stole it from "Saturday Night Live").
Time For A Retraction? Topic: NewsBusters
From a May 19 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard about a report by Canada's National Post that the Iranian parliament passed a law this week requiring non-Muslims in the country to wear certain insignia identifying them as such:
The question is: will America’s media report this? At this point six hours after the National Post article was published, a Google news search identified that, other than Canadian and German news sites, no major American media apart from blogs have covered this story. Moreover, if someone from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in L.A. was questionned on this matter, American media can’t be in the dark on this issue.
As such, where is the media outrage concerning this extremely heinous move by the current extremists in Iran?
Well, it could be that the story is false. Even WorldNetDaily, no stranger to ignoring inconvenient facts, has pointed this out, noting that not only has the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa denied it, but "several experts on the regime have raised doubts about the National Post story."
WND posted this article at 4 p.m. ET May 20. At this writing, it is nine hours later -- three more hours than Sheppard gave the "American media" to report the original National Post story -- and neither Sheppard nor any other NewsBusters writer has made these doubts about the story's accuracy the subject of a post.
Meanwhile, NewsBusters writers are assailing the accuracy of USA Today's story on the NSA's database of domestic phone records because the phone companies cited in the article have denied (several days after the fact) cooperating with the NSA. Needless to say, the boys have been ignoring reports that appear to corroborate the story, such has reports that phone companies have allowed third-party "scapegoats" to give their phone records to the NSA.
It appears that at NewsBusters, some allegations of false stories are more equal than others.
NewsBusters Cites Slanted Poll Topic: NewsBusters
A May 20 NewsBusters item by Brad Wilmouth notes "a recent Zogby poll showing 84 percent of Americans, including 77 percent of Hispanics, support making English the nation's official language" as evidence against a contention by NBC's Brian Unger that Republicans are taking a "hard turn to the right" by pushing to declare English America's official language.
But that poll, linked by Wilmouth from the group ProEnglish, was in fact commissioned by ProEnglish, which means that its questions are slanted to generate a result that reinforces ProEnglish's agenda -- which, as the name indicates, is to "make [English] the official language of the United States."
Wait -- weren't the boys at NewsBusters complaining about biased polls not too long ago?
Corsi's Next Book Deal Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 19 item at Human Events Online by Jerome Corsi has an interesting tagline at the end. It list three books he has written -- but not his soon-to-be-released book, co-authored with Ken Blackwell.
The tagline also states Corsi's next project: "He will soon co-author a new book with Jim Gilchrist on the Minuteman Project." Sounds like another WND Books deal.
CNS Slants 'Net Neutrality' Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 19 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones on the issue of "net neutrality" takes a slanted approach to the issue. Jones describes its proponents as "interest groups" and its opponents as "free marketeers," as if interest groups weren't working that side of the issue.
Jones also identifies MoveOn.org as one group that supports the pro-"net neutrality" campaign, but she fails to identify the supporters of the anti-"net neutrality" groups she quotes as bashing MoveOn. She identifies FreedomWorks as a "a group that advocates lower taxes and less government"; in fact, it's a conservative activist group -- in other words, an interest group -- chaired by former Rep. Dick Armey and longtime activist C. Boyden Gray.
If there is any one publication that cannot be considered a shill of the New World Order – as more than a few e-mails accused me and/or WND of being – it is the New American, the journal of the John Birch Society. When I did daily talk radio, I subscribed to the publication because of its reliable, tough-minded reporting.
The first theme of the rock and roll counterculture, as everyone knows, was sex. Not, of course, the old-fashioned kind that cemented marriages and begat children, but the modern, recreational kind, the kind that has produced a pandemic of venereal diseases, abortions, unwed mothers, and broken homes.
Then there's the occultic backdrop so common these days in rock music, and not just among notorious heavy-metal poseurs like Marilyn Manson and Ozzie Osbourne. What are we to make of an artist like Tori Amos, a sweet-voiced, low-key performer whose songs (such as "Father Lucifer") and stage performances are laced with blasphemous imagery and convey a ferocious hatred of Christianity?
Bono, along with many other influential rock stars, is a shrewd propagandist for the cause he advocates. Not all propaganda, after all, emanates from Goebbels-style ministries.
In keeping with the requirements of mass culture, much of rock music encourages severing personal ties: to family, to church, to tradition. Children are incited to rebel against their parents, marriage and sexual purity are sneered at, and traditional modes of dress and conduct are deliberately contravened.
More recently, taboos like homosexuality have also come out of the closet, thanks in no small measure to homosexual rock groups like Queen and the Village People, whose 70's-era anthems to deviant behavior helped set a precedent for frank and open treatment of the subject in the media and in other venues of mass entertainment.
Fortunately, a wide variety of genuinely uplifting, edifying music is still available, from the timeless works of the classical masters to the refined rhythms of the Big Band era, the soulful romance of Hit Parade favorites, and many other wholesome genres. Winning the culture war requires us not only to understand the baneful effects of the "diabolical bawling and twanging" of today's popular music but also to seek out the refining and even ennobling influence of music at its best.
'Pro-Emissions' Topic: CNSNews.com
Josh Marshall got a kick out of a CNSNews.com e-mail that promoted a May 18 article this way: "Pro-Emissions T.V. Ads Counter Gore Film."
But there's more amusement to be found here. The article, by Monisha Bansal, quoted an MIT professor who castigated a global-warming scientist who "libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry." But Bansal described the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the funder of those "pro-emissions" TV ads, as merely a "free-market environmental think tank" while failing to note that CEI receives a significant amount of funding from -- that's right -- the fossil-fuel industry.
Lack of Disclosure Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 18 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein quotes Israeli politician Effie Eitam as favoring an Israeli attack on Iranian weapons facilities. Klein describes Eitam as "chairman of the National Union Party," but he never identifies the party's political orientation. That's because it's a right-wing party, one that presumably falls in line with Klein's political orientation as demonstrated by the bias shown in his WND articles.
While Klein regularly identifies the political orientation of Israeli parties and politicans if they are left of center -- for instance, a December 2005 article by Klein describes Israel's Labor party as "leftist" and another politician as an "extreme leftist" -- but Klein rarely points out the orientation of right-of-center parties and politicians.
UPDATE: Here's some background on Klein's labeling bias.