NewsBusters Defends O'Reilly Over False Claim Topic: NewsBusters
A July 26 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth (repeated in a July 26CyberAlert) railed against Keith Olbermann for viciously smearing" Bill O'Reilly over his false claim that Americans massacred German troops in World War II at Malmedy -- in fact, Americans were the ones massacred by Nazis. Wilmouth claimed that "O'Reilly later corrected his mis-statement."
But did O'Reilly really issue a correction? Here's what O'Reilly said on the May 31 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, a day after he made the false claim in a debate with Wesley Clark: "In the heat of the debate with General Clark, my statement wasn't clear enough. ... After Malmedy, some German captives were executed by American troops." Claiming he "wasn't clear enough" is hardly a correction, much less an apology -- something one might think would be in order after falsely accusing Americans of committing a war atrocity. Would this "correction" be acceptable to Wilmouth and the MRC if it came out of the mouth of, say, Chris Matthews? We doubt it.
Wilmouth then defends O'Reilly, claiming that he "had no motive to intentionally fabricate a claim specifically about Malmedy." But while Wilmouth further claims that Olbermann "chose to attribute the worst possible motives to the FNC host's statement," motivation is not an issue here; it's a matter of properly correcting a false claim. And even if ascribing motives was an issue, how is Olbermann any different from the MRC? Wilmouth and his co-workers ascribe nefarious motives -- i.e., "liberal bias" -- to its political enemies on a regular basis. That comes from the top; Brent Bozell insists that the New York Times is motivated by a "left-wing agenda" (or is it a "far left-wing agenda"?). And Wilmouth's bretheren at CNSNews.com regularly assume that Democrats act only for purely political reasons, an assumption it refuses to make about Republicans.
In other words, Wilmouth is criticizing Olbermann for doing the exact same thing his employer does.
We Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means Topic: NewsBusters
A July 25 NewsBusters post by Geoffery Dickens begins:
So there you are enjoying your morning coffee, perusing Sports Illustrated’s Web site for the latest training camp information on your favorite NFL team and then whammo, you get hit with liberal bias. Is anyplace safe from it?
So what was SI writer Peter King's grave offense? Recommending in an opinion column that his readers go see Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth."
Since when is expressing an opinion "liberal bias"?
NewsMax Promotes WND Book -- And Its Dubious Claims Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax and WorldNetDaily typically have very little to do with each other publicly -- and have even fired a few pot shots at each other -- but NewsMax has signed on to promote and sell the new WND-published book on the Minutemen by Jim Gilchrist and Jerome Corsi, complete with a fawning review of the book by Phil Brennan. Thus, NewsMax is promoting the same dubious claims regarding the book and its authors as WND.
A July 25 NewsMax article touts the claim that "The real number of illegal aliens in the U.S. is not 12 million, as the federal government claims, but closer to 30 million." No evidence is offered to support the claim. Similarly, a July 25 article by Gilchrist and Corsi calls the 30 million number "an estimate documented in our book" but, again, no documentation is offered here.
The NewsMax article also repeats the claim that "A number of the terrorist hijackers on 9/11 were in this country illegally" -- actually, it's a slightly more accurate version of the claim at WND that all of the 9/11 hijackers were here illegally. In fact, all 19 hijackers entered the U.S. legally, though two had overstayed their visas and were thus illegal at the time of 9/11.
UPDATE: WND did not publish the Gilchrist-Corsi book; World Ahead Publishing, best known for its questionable book of purported Hillary Clinton quotes, did. It appears that the wall between WND and NewsMax still stands.
A July 24 Washington Post article describes research into partisan behavior, including a study in which both pro-Israel and pro-Arab respondents saw the exact same news reports as critical of their respective causes: "Both groups were certain they were right and that the other side didn't know what it was talking about." The article also notes:
The tendency to see bias in the news -- now the raison d'etre of much of the blogosphere -- is such a reliable indicator of partisan thinking that researchers coined a term, "hostile media effect," to describe the sincere belief among partisans that news reports are painting them in the worst possible light.
Which would seem to explain the Media Research Center.
In a July 21 CNSNews.com harangue, Frank Salvato -- last seen here suggesting that Hillary Clinton wants to kill all conservatives -- made numerous false and unsubstantiated claims in the course of bashing anyone who has criticized President Bush as a "Fifth Column."
Salvato attacked Joseph Wilson as "the whiniest man on the face of the planet," criticizing him and his wife, Valerie Plame, as "disgruntled political has-beens" for filing a "nuisance lawsuit" against Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby over their role in exposing Ms. Plame's undercover CIA status "as Hezbollah committed itself to an all out war against Israel, the United States and the free world, setting the Middle East afire." Salvato wrote: "Pay no attention to the fact that during an investigation into the Plame matter a federal prosecutor failed to find one noteworthy piece of evidence to bolster the assertion that Cheney, Rove or Libby had anything to do with facilitating columnist Robert Novak with Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA covert operative." In fact, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation is continuing and he has made no public conclusions about whether Cheney, Rove or Libby "had anything to do with" leaking Plame's name.
Salvato added: "Disregard the unarguable fact that Plame was serving as a CIA analyst and hadn't been a covert operative for years at the time the story was printed." His assertion seems to conflict with an actual unarguable fact: that Plame's CIA status was classified, and it is presumably an offense on some level when a classified CIA operative's identity is disclosed.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also made Salvato's list of fifth-columnists. Why? Because Pelosi wanted to include language in a resolution expressing support for Israel in its battle against Hezbollah and Hamas language "asking that both sides concern themselves with limiting civilian casualties." According to Salvato, "by including such language Pelosi would have had the United States House of Representatives recognizing Hezbollah and Hamas as legitimate entities worthy of seats at a negotiating table rather than the terrorist organizations that they are," though he doesn't explain exactly how this would, in fact, be so.
Stuff You Won't Read at WorldNetDaily Topic: WorldNetDaily
Via Orcinus, we learn that there's a major rift in the Minuteman organization is undergoing a major split between co-founders Jim Gilchrist and Chris Simcox. Further, questions have been raised about how the group's donations are being accounted for -- even Joseph Farah's former buddies at the Washington Times have made note of it.
Why won't you read about this rift and funding question at WorldNetDaily? Because it has a book to sell -- specifically, Gilchrist's version of the Minuteman story (with an assist from bigot and terrorist enabler Jerome Corsi). A July 21 WND article designed to juice early sales of the book lets us know what we're in for when there are two highly misleading, if not outright false, statements in the promo copy.
The article claims that the book will show that "The real number of illegal aliens in the country is not 12 million, which the federal government claims, but closer to 30 million." WND's Joseph Farah was caught peddling this same claim a few months. There appears to be no real-world evidence to support it.
The article also quotes Gilchrist as saying, "The terrorist hijackers on 9/11 were in this country illegally." In fact, all 19 hijackers entered the U.S. legally, though two had overstayed their visas and were thus technically illegal. It's a staple of anti-immigration folks who want to link 9/11 to the current immigration debate by claiming, like Peter Brimelow at the "white nationalist" VDARE.com, that "Every one of nineteen 9/11 hijackers was an illegal immigrant by definition. None of them told the U.S. immigration authorities what they intended to do."
The article further makes the claim that "What the ACLU called [the Minutemen] can't be published on a family-friendly Internet news site." Look for unsupported hearsay to support that claim, because the record doesn't. Even WND's own articles about ACLU monitoring of the Minutemen (here, here and here) fail to note any non-family-friendly comments by the ACLU, just an anonymous person purportedly quoted as saying that "They give us the middle finger every chance they get to try to get us to react."
UPDATE: Despite Corsi's co-authorship, WND did not publish the Gilchrist-Corsi book; World Ahead Publishing, best known for its questionable book of purported Hillary Clinton quotes that WND previously plugged the heck out of, did.
A July 23 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield promoted a National Review article by Richard Nadler which cites a poll by the International Republican Institute claiming, among other things, that "most Iraqis feel safe in their own neighborhoods."
But neither Sheffield nor Nadler note the partisan ties of the IRI. As Media Matters has pointed out, well-connected Republicans fill every seat on IRI's board of directors. Given that partisan connection, would the IRI report any results that make the Bush administration look bad? Probably not.
What does it say about the reckless rhetoric emanating from the Horowitz organization that even NewsMax feels compelled to correct it?
A July 22 NewsMax article looks at the battle between Pat Buchanan -- who has spoken out against Israel's bombing of Lebanon -- and the neoconservatives who Buchanan claims want the U.S. to take advantage of the current Middle East situation by bombing Iran. NewsMax noted that in a July 21 unsigned Frontpagemag.com editorial, "Fellow conservative David Horowitz's online magazine, Frontpagemag.com, has opened up a front against Buchanan, with an article that levels charges of anti-Semitism against Buchanan and other so-called 'paleoconservatives' for their condemnation of Israel's actions in the war." Then, NewsMax gets in a dig at Horowitz:
Noting that in two of his columns Buchanan accused President Bush "of being a puppet of nefarious Jewish warmongers," the editorial charged that "Nothing sets Buchanan’s imagination racing like a Bush-backed Israeli war. On Tuesday, Pat asked, 'Who is whispering in his ear?' His answer: 'bloodthirsty Hebrews.'" (Note: Buchanan never used this term.)
NewsMax's dig at Horowitz is even more surprising given that the David Horowitz Freedom Center is using NewsMax -- through a page on the NewsMax website and use of NewsMax's mailing list -- by to solicit donations to facilitate distribution of a booklet designed to "counteract the lies spread by the left" about Israel. So NewsMax is biting the hand that feeds it to an extent.
Still, the fact that a news outlet Horowitz is paying to promote his views is criticizing his rhetoric says much about how irresponsible the Horowitz organization is.
If certain segments of the ConWeb are going to bash the New York Times as "fraternizing with the enemy" for taking a picture of an enemy sniper in Iraq, shouldn't they also be bashing WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein for his close association with terrorists?
In a July 21 WND article, Klein touts an "exclusive interview" with Abu Nasser, the second-in-command of the terrorist group Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Klein also keeps in touch with Mahmoud Abed El, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees terrorist organization.
If presenting a story from the point of view of our opponents is going to be perceived as anti-American, isn't Klein -- through his association with and regular quoting of terrorist sources -- also anti-American and anti-Israeli? Logic dictates that if the former is true, than the latter should be as well.
The headline on a July 20 Associated Press article posted at NewsMax reads, "Howard Dean Targets 'Flyover Country.' " This implies that Dean used the somewhat derogatory term "flyover country" to describe what is broadly described as the Midwest -- which is false. The term appears nowhere in the article, let alone quoting Dean as saying it. Further, the original AP headline reads, "Dean Says Midwest Crucial for Democrats."
In other words, it's NewsMax that is slamming the Midwest as "flyover country," not Dean.
ConWeb Praises ... Oliver Stone? Topic: The ConWeb
Rhapsodic reviews of Oliver Stone's new movie, "World Trade Center," are coming from two unlikely sources: Brent Bozell and NewsMax's James Hirsen.
In a July 17 Media Research Center press release, Bozell is quoted thusly:
"World Trade Center is a masterpiece and must be seen by as many people as possible. Oliver Stone has created something spectacular and it deserves our nation’s gratitude. Conservatives and liberals will praise this movie."
Hirsen was similarly effusive in a July 17 NewsMax article. Starting out by stating, "Oliver Stone has made a movie that is sure to please cops, fire fighters, red-staters, the military, and even the GOP. Yes, you read the name correctly. It's that Oliver Stone," Hirsen wrote that "what came through on the screen was a tender rendering of a story that is rich with timeless themes":
From the opening sequence to the end of the film, one can discern that Stone used painstaking care to tell the WTC story without embellishing it with a political agenda.
More than a mere chronicle of the nation's attack, the film is a homage to the courage and selflessness that were displayed amidst tragedy.
"World Trade Center" is about real-life superheroes. And Stone may have just performed the super-cinematic feat of his career.
Like the dog in that Far Side cartoon, Noel Sheppard apparently hears what Chris Matthews is saying only when Matthews is being allegedly critical of Republicans.
A July 20 NewsBusters post by Sheppard claims that in a "Tonight Show" appearnce, Matthews "did more Republican bashing than even he usually does" and went into "Bush-bashing high gear." But Sheppard seems never to have heard of Matthews' long history of praising Republicans (cited here) or his attacks on President Clinton (which his MRC compadres praised him for until it was decided that Matthews makes a better enemy).
Further, Sheppard seems to have missed the segment in Matthews' appearance in which he predicted that "the next president of the United States will be Rudy Giuliani." Last time we checked, Giuliani was a Republican.
Sheppard also misrepresents Matthews by selectively editing his comments. He quotes Matthews as saying, "But I think we want a president, like we grew up in a big city, you know, you grew up near Boston," then stops the quote there to quip: "Hmmm. We need a president that grew up in a big city like Boston. Any questions?" In fact, Matthews continued: "-- four-alarm fire, the police commissioner's there, the police, the fire commissioner's there, the mayor's there. They're standing on the street corner telling us what's going on as they look up at the fire. ... I want a president who's there on the spot." Which is not only a repeat of Matthews' earlier praise of Bush for being "dynamite when he hit the rubble" of the World Trade Center after 9/11 -- though Sheppard saw only "Bush-bashing" when Matthews noted that Bush didn't do that after Hurricane Katrina -- but also an implicit endorsement of the Republican Giuliani.
A tip for Mr. Sheppard: When you issue media criticism, try watching the whole show you're criticizing so that you can put things in their proper, accurate context.
Over the past week, CNSNews.com has added advertising space to its site. Not a big deal, other than meshing outside advertising with the Media Research Center's 510(c)3 nonprofit tax status, which tends to frown on such things. The MRC seems to have found a way to make it work. If it's OK with the IRS, it's OK with us.
However, in explaining the decision in a letter to readers, CNS editor David Thibault gets a bit too self-aggrandizing. Thibault states that the ads will be screened in order to alleiviate concerns that "our journalistic integrity and independence are being sacrificed." He adds that the revenue will help "expand the already excellent team of reporters and editors at Cybercast News Service who bring you the hard hitting investigative reports and news of the day without the liberal bias that infects so much of the establishment media."
Of course, given the fact that CNS is a division of a conservative political organization, "integrity" and "independence" are not words normally associated with CNS. And Thibault's blather about "hard hitting investigative reports ... without the liberal bias that infects so much of the establishment media" is merely a code phrase for conservative bias, as we've repeatedlydemonstrated.
So, accept all the ads you want, CNS (as long as Brent Bozell and the IRS approve, of course). Just don't pretend you're anything other than what you are.
Breaking: NewsBusters Gives Up On Labeling Chris Matthews As Liberal! Topic: NewsBusters
Apparently giving up on the idea that Chris Matthews i, in the words of fellow NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, a "San Francisco liberal" with an "ultra-left, San Francisco Chronicle columnist side," Mark Finkelstein has come up with a new appellation for Matthews: "anti-neo-con." Finkelstein even goes so far as to liken Matthews to Pat Buchanan. However, Finkelstein never explains why being "anti-neo-con" is a bad thing.
Does this mean that NewsBusters is admitting the truth that Matthews is not as liberal as it and the rest of the MRC has portrayed him to be?