What the Hell Is Mychal Massie Talking About? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Mychal Massie's July 18 WorldNetDaily column sees him taking a break from hypocritically attacking politicians for using segregationist metaphors that he himself has used. This time, he's smearing a senator and a writer -- but he won't tell us exactly why.
Among the many insults Massie hurls toward Sen. Barbara Boxer and writer Terry J. Allen are "carrion," "the worst kind of human beings," "disgusting pissoirs," and Allen himself gets the appelation "the hanky that catches the spittle from Boxer's lips." Their alleged offense? According to Massie, they hurled "personal, ad-hominem attacks" at American troops, "label[ing] our military as being in a drugged stupor."
But this paraphrase is all Massie tells us about what he's attacking. He doesn't tell us where or when this accusation was made. He doesn't even tell us who Allen is. Such scarcity of supporting information means only one thing: that Massie is hiding facts in order to proceed with his harangue.
What Massie appears to be referring to is a May 17 letter by Boxer to defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld reacting to a Hartford Courant article "detailing stories of American soldiers who are being redeployed to Iraq despite being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other acute mental health conditions." Boxer said: "You cannot simply have doctors prescribe psychiatric drugs such as Zoloft and send these men and women back to a combat zone, where they pose a risk to themselves and to their fellow soldiers." Allen, meanwhile, appears to be targeted by Massie's because he wrote a May 31 article for In These Times on the same subject, noting that such medications given to soliders being redeployed "must be monitored for effectiveness and safety, which is beyond the Army’s capability in Iraq." Oddly, the Hartford Courant escaped Massie's wrath.
So it appears that, despite Massie's claim, Boxer and Allen never said American troops were in a "drugged stupor" but, in fact, expressed an entirely legitimate concern about troops sent back into action before they may be ready. And besides, antidepressants of the Zoloft class (Prozac is similar) do not generally result in "stupors"; insomnia, nausea and sexual dysfunction are much more common side effects.
Now we know why Massie was so vague about his allegations: if he told the full truth, he wouldn't have had a column this week.
A July 17 WorldNetDaily article (unbylined) reports that Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert vowed that "he will fight until the terrorist threats of Hamas and Hezbollah are eliminated."
This appears to contradict what WND reporter Aaron Klein has been telling us all along during this conflict -- that Olmert is too weak to defend Israel and what little he was doing was mostly for show. As part of his strategy to undermine support for Olmert, Klein regularly claimed that Olmert was lying or suppressing information about terror groups, claiming that "Security analysts maintain publicity about terror groups' current missile capabilities in the territories could generate criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria," never naming those analysts or offering any on-the-record evidence to support his claim.
This looks like a good time for Klein to address his readers about his biases, and whether he has changed his mind about Olmert or is just trying to suppress his animus toward him while the Israeli conflict is raging. An apology for his attacks on Olmert would seem to be in order, but apologizing isn't exactly WND's style.
A July 16 NewsMax article repeats the false claim made in a New York Times article (we thought good conservatives like NewsMax didn't trust the Times) that she warned a gathering of Democrats in Arkansas "to avoid doing things that inflame the state's conservative base."
In fact, as Media Matters reports, Clinton was actually referring to the Republican-led Congress. As a recording of the speech indicates, Clinton said that Republicans in charge of Congress are "wasting time" by focusing on "controversial ... things that try to inflame their base so they can turn people out and vote for their candidates."
The Times has yet to issue a correction. Here's NewsMax's big chance to stand up for honest, accurate journalism and show up the Times at the same time by pointing out the Times' error and correcting it for its readers.
The Enemy Topic: NewsBusters
A July 16 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield repeats a Little Green Footballs item attacking a New York Times photo of a Shiite sniper "fir[ing] towards U.S. positions" in Iraq. Sheffield's headline on his post: "Fraternizing with the Enemy."
Is even mere depiction of Iraqi militants -- and this is mere depiction, not glamorization -- an act of treason? In Sheffield's eyes, apparently so. Telling the whole story of the war -- or at least a version that diverges from what conservatives want the public to know -- is apparently frowned upon at the MRC.
A July 16 NewsBusters post by Gary Hall is one long, partisan harangue of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. Hall starts off poorly by making a misleading claim about Wilson's New York Times op-ed that eventually resulted in the exposure of his wife, Plame, as a CIA operative. Hall claims that Wilson's op-ed is "so weak that even Dana Milbank, over at the Washington Post is forced to acknowledge in an Oct, 25, 2005 article that: 'Wilson had to admit he had misspoken.' " In fact, Milbank wrote that the inaccuracy for which Wilson apologized was "was not central to Wilson's claims about Niger."
Hall then created a list of questions that "we will not see Tim Russert ask of the principal player in this personal conspiracy to damage the President and the honor of the U. S." Here, he misleads again: the first question starts off by saying, "It seems obvious to many that the decision, by your wife, to send you on this trip, had political overtones from the beginning." In fact, there is no evidence that Plame "sent" Wilson on the trip to Niger; even the Senate Intelligence Committee never asserted more than that Plame "suggested" Wilson for the trip.
Hall then goes on to ask such less-than-balanced questions as:
-- "Did you and your wife dream up this scheme to attempt to find information to discredit the Administration, in the privacy of your home?"
-- "Were other Democratic operatives involved from the beginning in hatching this plan?"
-- "Do you feel shame? Do you feel any remorse? Is there anything in heart that you wish to express to the American public today? An apology, perhaps?"
-- "Your efforts damaged the US effort abroad. It led a few of our allies to abandon us on the ground in Iraq. It caused the administration to spend much vital time being sidetracked on pathetic political sideshow. Are you sorry for the damage which you and your wife have caused?"
In that same spirit, we ask a question of Hall: Did you ever demand that similar questions about schemes to discredit a president, coordination with political operatives, shame and pathetic political sideshows be asked of Paula Jones?
Speaking of Historical Revisionism ... Topic: NewsBusters
A July 14 NewsBusters post by Howard Nemerov accuses liberals of "historical revisionism" by claiming that "Gun-rights groups contributed nearly 14 times as much as gun-control groups in the 2004 election cycle." To refute it, Nemerov claims that the money raised by John Kerry's presidential campaign and the political donations by the National Education Association and "big-time gun controller" George Soros' be included in the pro-gun control total.
But Nemerov doesn't explicitly insist that the money raised for President Bush's re-election campaign or other Republican political groups be included in the "pro-gun" total. While he admits that "there are PACs and other organizations which support the right to keep and bear arms, even though this is not their primary mission," he doesn't want to talk about it: "The point here is to highlight that as far as campaign finance is concerned, gun control is alive and well."
In other words, Nemerov has no intention of presenting a full view of the situation by subjecting "pro-gun" advocates to the same standards as pro-gun control advocates, which seems to be its own brand of historical revisionism.
More WND Undermining Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've already noted that Israeli military action won't stop WorldNetDaily from trying to undermine Israeli leader Ehud Olmert and his ruling Kadima party. Why would Israel being embroiled in battles on two fronts stop it?
And WND proves it with a July 15 article -- credited to Aaron Sichel, "a writer for WND's Jerusalem bureau" -- claiming that "the No. 2 representative in America" for Kadima, Marc Mishaan, "is a convicted criminal facing a possible lengthy prison sentence after pleading guilty to felony grand larceny." While stating that Mishaan's "arrests and convictions are a matter of public record," Sichel's sources on Mishaan's background are all curiously anonymous. They include:
-- "prominent New York rabbi who asked that his name be withheld" -- "A former self-described best friend of Mishaan, who agreed to talk to WND on background" -- "Several sources close to Mishaan" -- "scores of people in the New York Jewish community"
Remember what WND editor Joseph Farah has to say about this: that claims attributed to anonymous sources are "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better." If Farah has changed his views and policies on anonymous sources, he needs to let his readers know.
Compare this treatment of Mishaan to WND's treatment of another convicted criminal facing a possible lengthy prison sentence for another kind of grand larceny, Peter Paul. As we've noted, WND writer Art Moore has regularlydownplayed Paul's extensive criminal record -- including the case of stock fraud to which he has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing -- in order to play up his accusations against Hillary Clinton.
Aaron Klein's War Fever; Undermining Continues Topic: WorldNetDaily
It appears that with the escalation of the conflict in Israel, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has dialed down his undermining of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Meanwhile, Klein has found somebody (anonymous, natch) to claim that Israel should expect "a provocation of some kind from Damascus."
This doesn't mean the undermining has stopped, however: WND is still featuring on its front page a pre-escalation article by Klein calling Olmert's policies "failed."
Ignorance Confirmed Topic: NewsBusters
A July 14 NewsBusters post by Mithridate Ombud appears to confirm what we suspected earlier: Because all Ombud apparently understands about the media is filtered through his/her hardcore conservative lens, the only possible reason he/she can come up with to explain a drop in profits for newspaper companies is because of their hopelessly liberal bias.
If we thought like that, we wouldn't use our real name, either.
CNS Tells Only One Side of Judicial Nomination Story Topic: CNSNews.com
A July 14 CNSNews.com article by Kate Monaghan took a conservative group at its word in describing the opposition to federal appeals court nominee William G. Myers III.
Monaghan repeated, without offering an opposing view, the contention by Manuel Miranda -- former possibly illegal leaker of congressional memos-turned-conservative judicial activist -- that "The opposition to William Myers is entirely about trial lawyers and profits. ... His principle [sic] fault is, like most of the other Bush judges that have been opposed, is who his clients have been, and unfortunately he has made the fateful error of feeding his family by working for what some people would consider to be the 'wrong' clients."
In fact, critics of Myers' nomination point out not only that Myers worked as a lobbyist for ranching and mining interests (to translate Miranda's description into English), but also that Myers has no judicial experience nor any significant courtroom experience.
WND Still Undermining Olmert Topic: WorldNetDaily
Even as the conflict in Israel escalated dramatically over the past several hours, WorldNetDaily is still working to undercut the authority of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. At this writing, WND's front page still features an article by Aaron Klein quoting former defense minister Moshe Arens calling Olmert's policies "failed."
Of course, Klein neglects to mention that Arens was a member of the conservative Likud party, whose interests Klein promoted (while attacking Olmert) in his coverage of Israeli elections earlier this year.
Dear Ian Schwartz: Topic: NewsBusters
When you and your NewsBusters cohorts admit that Kenneth Starr and Robert Ray's decision not to charge the Clintons in the Whitewater investigation means that the Clintons are innocent, we will then take seriously your complaint that Patrick Fitzgerald's decision not to charge Karl Rove means that he "did nothing wrong."
New Article: WorldNetDaily Undermines Olmert Topic: WorldNetDaily
Biased WND reporter Aaron Klein is portraying the Israeli incursion into Gaza negatively in order to attack Israel's prime minister. Read more.
Rather Repetitive Topic: NewsBusters
Ho-hum -- another insistence by Dan Rather that his Bush National Guard story, dubious documents aside, was mostly true and corroborated, another dismissal by Brent Baker of the story as "discredited."
Hey, Brent, we have an idea: Instead of going through this stimulus-response kabuki dance every time Rather brings up the issue, how about the MRC engaging in some actual media research and provide a detailed analysis of Rather's story -- the entire story, not just the part involving the documents -- telling us once and for all what is "discredited" and what is not. (Much of the story did not hinge on those documents and has not been disproved, as we've noted.)
Ah, but it's just too easy to regurgitate long-memorized conservative talking points instead, isn't it, Brent?
UPDATE: Today's MRC front page linking to the CyberAlert version of Baker's item goes even further, calling the Bush National Guard story "bogus" and "thoroughly discredited." Prove it, Brent.
Credit Where It's Due Topic: NewsBusters
A July 12 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard on the latest press release by the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- which attacks an upcoming Discovery Channel program by Tom Brokaw on global warming -- does what Tim Graham failed to do when he cited the committee's previous release: note that one of the persons behind it was Marc Morano, formerly a reporter for MRC's CNSNews.com.