An Oct. 5 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham falsely claimed that Rep. Barney Frank showed "scandalous tolerance" of a prostitution ring run out of Frank's apartment by a personal aide in the 1980s (dredging up old stories being yet another sign that conservatives are desperately trying to deflect attention away from the Foley scandal). Graham offers no evidence that Frank knew about the ring during the year and a half that it was going on -- after all, to "tolerate" something first requires knowledge of it.
A quick Google search turned up no independent evidence that Frank knew about, and thus "tolerated," the prostitution ring. The aide, Stephen Gobie, claimed Frank knew, but Frank has denied it.
UPDATE: A House ethics committee investigation determined that Frank "did not have either prior or concomitant knowledge of prostitution activities involving third parties alleged to have taken place in his apartment."
As part of CNSNews.com's efforts to deflect attention from the Mark Foley scandal and to get some positive news out there that will make Republicans feel better, an Oct. 5 CNS article by Susan Jones essentially rewrites Republican talking points about Joe Biden.
The funny part is, Jones admits that this is exactly what she's doing:
With Republicans bogged down by the Mark Foley sex scandal -- and Washington buzzing about a Democratic takeover of Congress -- the RNC is asking Americans to take a good look at Sen. Joe Biden, the Delaware Democrat who could end up chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Biden, currently the committee's ranking Democrat, is "often wrong but never in doubt," the RNC said in a "research" brief (also known as "talking points).
And no, Jones didn't contact Biden for reaction. That would have made it an actual news article, which was not the point of this little exercise.
If some right-wing blogger on the Internet chooses to exhaustively research that alias, digging up photos and personal information, then trumpeting the findings in a press release — culminating in a post linked and publicized by a major flotilla of high-visibility right-wing chatterers, including Bozell’s foundation-funded Newsbusters — it is no one else’s responsibility.
Newsbusters doesn’t hire the best. They mimic the standard form of GOP misinformation well enough, but often ruin their efforts with obvious fudges and childlike fibbing.
We've previously noted NewsBusters' attempt to sully the credibilty of ABC's reporting on the Foley case.
WND Misleads on CREW and Soros Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 5 WorldNetDaily article on the Mark Foley scandal pushes the vast left-wing conspiracy meme by describing Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a Washington group that had been pushing for an investigation of Foley long before the scandal broke last week, as "a George Soros-sponsored organization," "Soros-backed" and "Soros-funded." But WND fails to offer all of the facts regarding CREW and Soros.
According to a May 24 Cleveland Plain Dealer article, CREW did not receive any money from a Soros-funded group until January of this year, after CREW had been previously been falsely accused by scandal-ridden Rep. Bob Ney of being a Soros lackey:
"For the longest time, we got no money from George Soros," says Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "We now get money from The Open Society Institute, and it is probably thanks to Bob Ney."
After Ney and his spokesman, Brian Walsh, repeatedly insisted her group was funded by Soros, Sloan brought their claims to Soros' foundation.
"We kept saying, They say you are already funding us. Shouldn't you?' " recalls Sloan, who said the group got its first grant in January.
"We don't get money from Mr. Soros directly. We get it from the Open Society Institute," Sloan says. "I still haven't personally talked to George Soros."
It's worth noting that WND editor Joseph Farah used a similar defense to deflect claims of being a lackey of Richard Mellon Scaife after the Clinton-bashing organization he founded, the Western Journalism Center, accepted $330,000 from Scaife organiazations in the mid-1990s (CREW, by contrast, has received only $100,000 from Soros). from a May 6, 1998, Farah column:
I shouldn't have to say this, but, in an effort to derail the inevitable attacks of the Clinton propaganda machine, I will swear that my organization has received no funding from Scaife or his foundations since early 1995, when they embarked on their so-called "Arkansas Project." Not that it should make any difference, mind you. I'd be happy to accept Scaife's money. There's nothing tainted about it.
Perhaps Farah can explain why Scaife's money isn't "tainted" but Soros' money apparently is.
Elder Recycles Dubious Clinton Racism Claims Topic: WorldNetDaily
Larry Elder's Oct. 5 syndicated column (reprinted at WorldNetDaily) rehashes a pair of questionable racism claims about the Clintons, presenting them as factual and unchallenged. In fact, the accusations -- popular among Clinton-haters in the 1990s -- are factually dubious given the political motivations, credibility problems and conflicting claims made by the accusers.
According to Clinton's bodyguard, Arkansas State Trooper Larry Patterson, Clinton frequently used the "N" word, using it to describe Reverend Jesse Jackson, as well as a local black civil rights leader. Said Patterson, "When [Bill Clinton] had black political leaders in the state and he disagreed with them, he would frequently use the 'N' word."
What about former First Lady and current Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton [D-NY]? She allegedly called Clinton's congressional campaign adviser, who failed to secure her then-boyfriend's 1974 election to Congress, a "f***ing Jew bastard." Not only did Paul Fray -- the target -- go public, so did his wife, as well as campaign aide and businessman Neil McDonald.
Elder fails to note that, regarding the Bill Clinton accusation, Larry Patterson was a political enemy of Clinton who cashed in on his Clinton-hate among right-wingers. As we've noted, NewsMax sold tapes of Patterson making lurid claims against the Clintons.
In their book "The Hunting of the President," Gene Lyons and Joe Conason point out that Patterson "was said to harbor a grudge" against Clinton "for going to Washington without setting [him and a fellow state trooper] up in federal jobs" and because he didn't push a bill funding a state police lobbying group Patterson had helped to found through mandatory dues from state troopers' paychecks. Lyons and Conason also quote Patterson's former supervisor as saying Patterson's "mentality and objective in life was to sleep with as many women as he could. You could not have a conversation with Larry Patterson more than five minutes that sex didn't enter into it and whose britches he was trying to get in. ... If Bill Clinton had a meeting with a woman behind closed doors, Larry assumed it was for the purpose of sex, because that's what it would have been if he had been there."
Regarding the accusation against Hillary Clinton, Elder fails to note that Fray has serious credibility problems. As we've detailed, Fray lost his law license after admitting he was paid to alter a court document. Additionally, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that led to seizures, addiction to prescription pain killers, erratic behavior and memory loss, according to court records. he wrote a letter to Clinton begging her forgiveness for saying things about her "without factual foundation."
While Elder also claims that "campaign aide and businessman Neil McDonald" corroborated the account, author Gail Sheehy reported that McDonald "told me he didn't hear it," according to the New York Daily News.
Bartholomew reports on the background of a book currently being advertised on the WorldNetDaily website that nicely dovetails with WND's editorial philosophy toward Israel -- it claims that Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert is the Hebrew anti-Messiah.
We have to wonder: Is that what WND Jerusalem reporter (and Olmert-hater) Aaron Klein believes?
ABC News now has obtained 52 separate instant message exchanges, which former pages say were sent by Foley, using the screen name Maf54, to two different boys under the age of 18.
This message was dated April 2003, at approximately 7 p.m., according to the message time stamp.
But blogger William Kerr of Passionate America says that he has identified the former page, that he is 21 now, and that he was 18 at the time the instant messages were exchanged.
That would make ABC's story of an "underage" page being stalked by a predator a story about two consenting adults exchanging instant messages. Did Brian Ross know this, or did he willfully lie in order to run with the story and "get" the Republicans five weeks before the elections?
By focusing on this one claim -- that one of the pages Foley chatted up was 18, not "under 18" -- Brown ignores the entire creepy pattern of Foley chatting up numerous pages.
A better question: Will Brown take Sean Hannity and National Review's Andy McCarthy to task for telling the "willful lie" that Monica Lewinsky was 19 at the time of her dalliance with President Clinton? (In fact, she was 22.)
WND Finds Yet Another Publishing Partner Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 4 WorldNetDaily article reports that WND has found yet another partner for its WND Books imprint, conservative publisher World Ahead Publishing. The imprint will move there from Cumberland House in early 2007.
This is the third partner WND has had for its book imprint. Founded with Christian publisher Thomas Nelson in 2002 (where the line lives on under the Nelson Current imprint), WND jumped to Cumberland House in 2004.
Sheppard on Smearing Clinton: Strike Two Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard takes another whack at bashing the Clintons over Osama bin Laden -- with similarly misleading results.
As we previously noted, in a Sept. 29 post, Sheppard brought up the issue of a December 1998 Presidential Daily Brief warning of potential attacks by bin Laden as an example of Clinton administration inaction, but he failed to note that the 9/11 Commission report stated that the Clinton administration did do numerous things in response to the PDB -- namely, increasing security at major airports.
In an Oct. 2 NewsBusters post, Sheppard gives his attempt at a smear another go. He again suggests that the Clinton administration did nothing in reaction to the PDB, again not reporting what the 9/11 Commission stated. Sheppard then rehashes an alleged opportunity to take out bin Laden in late 1998, but he is so busy trying to furiously attack that he fails to examine the evidence. He notes that the 9/11 Commision report stated that one general had predicted the number of "innocent bystanders who would be killed or wounded" would be "well over 200 and was concerned about damage to a nearby mosque" and that then-counterrorism expert said, "I’m sure we’ll regret not acting last night," then huffed that "the Clinton administration was more concerned with the politics of the Middle East than in preventing the loss of American lives."
At least Sheppard quoted the 9/11 Commission report this time; unfortunately, it's selective quoting. Here's what the report stated about the strike that Sheppard didn't include in his post:
By the end of the meeting, the principals decided against recommending to the President that he order a strike. A few weeks later, in January 1999, [counterterrorism chief Richard] Clarke wrote that the principals had thought the intelligence only half reliable and had worried about killing or injuring perhaps 300 people. Tenet said he remembered doubts about the reliability of the source and concern about hitting the nearby mosque. "Mike" [Scheuer] remembered Tenet telling him that the military was concerned that a few hours had passed since the last sighting of Bin Ladin and that this persuaded everyone that the chance of failure was too great.
So, even Scheuer -- Sheppard's unimpeachable source -- agreed that the intelligence information had gone bad quickly and was not the ironclad claim Sheppard suggested it was. But if Sheppard had quoted the full 9/11 Commission account, he wouldn't have had a post.
NewsMax Gets Marching Orders from Limbaugh Topic: Newsmax
Rush Limbaugh has decreed that Dennis Hastert must not be forced out as House speaker, so that's what NewsMax thinks too.
An Oct. 3 editorial rushes (so to speak) to Hastert's defense, declaring that "we feel that in the [Mark] Foley matter he has done nothing that can be construed as malfeasance":
It is clear that Hastert and the Republican leadership did not ignore this matter, as minor as it seemed to the media outlets. They instructed Foley to cease communicating with the teenage page.
It is clear, then, that Hastert has acted appropriately, and that the only culprit is Foley himself, who deceived the Republican leadership – and the nation – by adopting a strong public stance against pornography and child exploitation.
NewsMax has also adopted Limbaugh's strategy of blaming Democrats for allegedly exposing Foley's misdeeds:
We also feel there could likely be an untold story behind the sudden revelation of the instant messages so close to Election Day – a story involving Democratic attempts to torpedo the campaign of a Republican almost assured of victory in November. Already Democratic candidates are using the Foley case to buttress their campaigns for Senate and House seats all across the country. How convenient.
Of course, there is no explanation of how this is any different than conservatives' attacks on Bill Clinton during his presidency. Nor does it explain the significance of Foley's misdeeds being revealed by political opponents, if true -- is it somehow less offensive if exposed that way?
NewsMax's editorial is mostly a regurgitation of comments made by Limbaugh. Earlier in the day, it reported on Limbaugh's claim that "the Foley scandal was part of a larger effort by the "Clinton War Room" to hurt the GOP's chances just weeks before election day." A second Limbaugh-inspired article followed, in which he (after hosting Hastert on his show) was quoted exhorting Republicans to "fight back and, led by Hastert, point out how the Democrats continue to avoid the real issues of importance ... and are trying to distract the American people from what essentially is a non-existent agenda on the part of the Democrats to deal with things that really, really matter."
Again, NewsMax fails to ask the obvious -- even if Foley's misdeeds were revealed by political opponents, what bearing does that have on Foley's guilt or innocence or his fitness to hold a congressional seat?
UPDATE: NewsMax later added yet another Limbaugh transcription accusing the "Clinton war room" of being behind Foley's exposure.
Bozell Plays the Clinton Equivocation Card Topic: Media Research Center
In his Oct. 3 column, Brent Bozell resorts to that old conservative standby, the Clinton Equivocation, in the Mark Foley scandal to accuse Democrats of a double standard:
Since when have the Democrats ever insisted a politician be held accountable for a sex scandal involving a staffer, let alone the politician’s party leaders? Take Senator Durbin. Did he vote on any impeachment counts against President Clinton for perjury or obstruction of justice over Clinton’s sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky?
Did Democrats – the party of feminism, the party that hates sexual harassers – demand accountability when President Clinton was accused of putting Kathleen Willey’s hand on his crotch as she asked for a job? Or demand accountability when President Clinton was accused of dropping his pants in front of Paula Jones and asking that state employee to kiss his genitalia?
You know the answers. Let’s continue.
Did Democrats – who must have chortled at the 1996 GOP convention when NBC anchor Tom Brokaw suggested the Republicans don’t think much about “women’s issues” like rape – demand answers from President Clinton when Juanita Broaddrick tearfully recounted to NBC in 1999 how Bill Clinton raped and brutalized her in a Little Rock hotel in the late 1970s?
Nice equivocation there, Brent. Also nice of him to downplay the Foley case as a "sex talk scandal" (though he does say of Foley, "I hope he's prosecuted"). But has Bozell ever spilled much ink decrying ethical lapses by Republicans compared to his repeated blanket denunciations of Democrats? We doubt it.
Which makes him just as guilty of "making national political hay" out of the Foley scandal as he accuses Democrats of doing.
Fat Jokes: A Double Standard, Part 2 Topic: NewsBusters
This time, NewsBusters' Brad Wilmouth weighs in, so to speak, on the pressing issue of Keith Olbermann telling fat jokes about Roger Ailes. Again, no mention of the fact that NewsBusters doesn't exactly discourage its posters from making fat jokes about Rosie O'Donnell.
And if Olbermann's cracks about Ailes reach "new levels in displaying personal insults," as Wilmouth claims, where does that leave the MRC's proud tradition of telling sex jokes about Bill Clinton?
In an Oct. 3 WorldNetDaily column, Linda Harvey ("founder of Mission America, which monitors and reports on the promotion of homosexuality to youth") calls former Rep. Mark Foley's inappropriate contacts with underage congressional pages "typical behavior for homosexuals." Then she launches into an gay-bashing tirade:
Open or suspected homosexuals should never be elected. The problem with homosexuals is that they frequently don't have common sense and don't acknowledge appropriate boundaries. Weird sex, public displays of "affection" and nudity, and sex with youth are built into the "gay" sub-culture. Witness any pride parade, stroll around any predominantly "gay" neighborhood, or visit "GLBT" websites and you quickly see the problem.
We are insane to allow suspected or open homosexuals to assume positions as public officials, pastors, teachers, camp counselors or coaches.
Harvey opposes not just gays but also "suspected" gays, whatever that means. Perhaps Harvey could share with us the signs of "suspected" gay behavior we should all be so fearful of.