MRC Misleads on Olbermann Claim Topic: Media Research Center
A Nov. 3 Media Research Center CyberAlert item (and NewsBusters post) by Brent Baker falsely suggests that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was wrong to claim, in naming MRC president Brent Bozell as a nominee for Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" segment, that Bozell "wrote the Willie Horton ad." Baker wrote: "Bozell 'wrote the Willie Horton ad'? That 1988 ad, which continues to infuriate liberals, certainly has a lot of fathers."
But Bozell does, in fact, proclaim his involvement in his Nov. 1 syndicated column: "For the record, it was your humble writer here who produced the very first Willie Horton ad." It may not be the specific ad to which Olbermann is referring, but Bozell is clearly taking credit for introducing the Willie Horton issue (though he claims that "[i]t was only when I was shown the final ad that I learned that Willie Horton was black").
Despite what Baker suggests, Olbermann's claim (though not entirely accurate) is not coming from out of nowhere and is based in Bozell's own words.
A Nov. 2 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein purports to quote "senior terrorist leaders" who "ay they hope Americans sweep the Democrats into power because of the party's position on withdrawing from Iraq." But Klein is unusually cozy with the terrorists he quotes, and they have a history of popping up to reinforce conservative talking points.
For instance, Jihad Jaara, who Klein describes as "a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades" and who he quotes here as saying, "Of course Americans should vote Democrat," did a cozy sit-down interview with Klein and radio host Rusty Humphries that aired in January.
Abu Ayman, an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin who Klein quotes as saying that he is "emboldened" by those in America who compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam, is positively chatty with Klein. Just three days earlier, Klein quoted Ayman saying that Ramadan prayers "helped the mujahedeen fighters to mark a great victory" over the U.S. in Iraq.
Upon the death of an American teenager, Daniel Wultz, from injuries suffered in a suicide bombing in Israel in May, Klein reported that Ayman "threatened all Americans and Jews worldwide and expressed regret Wultz was not imediately killed in the blast."
Another terrorist confidante of Klein's is Abu Abdullah of Hamas, whom Klein quotes as saying that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would "convince those among the Palestinians who still have doubts in the efficiency of the resistance." In an Oct. 14 article, Klein quotes Abdullah as claiming that Hamas is "open" to attacking the U.S. And as part of Klein's crusade against Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, he quoted Abdullah in a July 7 article as touting the range of Hamas missiles.
WND was more than happy to play partisan with Klein's article. A Nov. 3 column by Joseph Farah used the article to attack Democrats, claiming that "the terrorists really do want the Democrats to win."
Nowhere in Klein's article does he mention that he may be counterproductive. You may recall that conservatives spun a video released by Osama bin Laden shortly before the 2004 presidential election as evidence that bin Laden supported the election of Democrat John Kerry. In fact, in his book "The One Percent Doctrine," author Ron Suskind reported that CIA analysts agreed that "bin Laden's message was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection."
When CNN aired a video of an insurgent sniper in Iraq targeting U.S. soldiers, conservatives rushed to attack CNN for it, claiming that it was airing terrorist propaganda. Yet Klein's frequent consorting with terrorists gets no notice from these same conservatives, though he is doing the exact same thing -- repeating terrorist propaganda. Why?
Do the terrorists Klein hangs out with know that he's just using them, promoting their statements to whip up conservative sentiment against them and to smear the political enemies of Klein and his employer? Or are they in on Klein's game?
UPDATE: Regarding Jarra, Klein notes that he is living in exile in Ireland, but does not explain how he can be a "senior terrorist leader" though he lives so far from the Middle East. Klein has also done a previous interview with Jarra in which he asks if the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades "used pages of the Bible as toilet paper" during a 2002 siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Kessler Can't Stop Misleading on Dems, Patriot Act Topic: Newsmax
Republican fluffer extrordinaire Ronald Kessler is still pushing his dubious attacks on Democrats. A Nov. 2 NewsMax article by Kessler claims:
In contrast, with the exception of Joe Lieberman and a few others, when it comes to recognizing the threats we face and taking appropriate action, Democrats are in a state of denial. As outlined in an Oct. 31 NewsMax story, Democrats have sought to kill the USA Patriot Act, which FBI agents and CIA officers consider their single most important tool for hunting down terrorists and preventing another 9/11 attack.
As we've detailed, the Kessler-penned article to which he links makes numerous false and misleading claims about Democrats and the Patriot Act.
A Nov. 2 CNS article by Finkelstein forwarded without challenged a claim by the "chief spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq" that the "reason why Americans don't hear as much good news as bad news from Iraq" is because "as soon as we announce [good news], the insurgents will immediately ... target that, in order to discount it." There's no mention of how this explanation conflicts with the standard explanationoffered by conservatives like himself -- that the media, not the military, is to blame for the lack of good news from Iraq.
At the end of that article is the following note: "Mark Finkelstein is heading to Iraq later this month and will report for Cybercast News Service from Baghdad and Fallujah."
So, not only is news bias encouraged at the MRC, it's rewarded.
Corsi Back to Gay-Baiting Strickland Topic: WorldNetDaily
More evidence that the whole "staffer arrested for indecency" issue has turned out to be a dead horse for Jerome Corsi to use as an attack against Ted Strickland: His Nov. 2 anti-Strickland column doesn't mention it. Instead, half of it is a cut-and-paste of Family Research Council attacks on Strickland.
Corsi does, however, goes back to gay-baiting, citing Strickland's alleged support of "the extreme left's radical moral and sexual agenda" and referenced an earlier column in which he used the term "lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender" or slight variants a whopping 22 times (as we've noted).
New Article: The Payroll, Part 2: Works of Fiction Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com downplayed George Allen's "macaca" slur, but it flooded the zone on Jim Webb's fiction excerpts. Did it work with Allen's campaign in doing so? Read more.
Kincaid Bashes Clinton (Yawn) Again Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Nov. 1 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid takes a whack at the New York Post for endorsing Hillary Clinton's re-election to the Senate, claiming that it "can only be explained by direct orders from [owner Rupert] Murdoch to his editor that he wanted Hillary endorsed no matter how bad a record she had on the issues. Kincaid added that "[t]he paper said Clinton had been a 'pretty good Senator' but offered no reasons to believe that's the case."
In the letters column the next day, one reader wrote, "The Post was the only New York paper I could turn to without a liberal left-wing slant; then I woke up and discovered your endorsement. Clinton is a leftist tax-'em-to-death liar who is against monitoring terrorist communication, the Patriot Act, tax cuts and school choice."
But, as he accused the Post of doing, Kincaid offers no evidence (nor, apparently, does the letter writer) to back that up. After all, if you're going to attack others for lack of evidence, shouldn't you be backing up your own claims?
It's just as well -- otherwise, we'd have to spend a lot more time debunking his false and slanted claims. As it is, Kincaid makes one misleading claim about Clinton, that she "indicated she would approve of state action to legalize homosexual marriage." In fact, Clinton said she would not oppose New York approving a gay marriage law because she supports states making the decision on the issue. Kincaid fell for a version of the depiction-equals-approval fallacy: Supporting a state's decision to approve gay marriage is not the same as supporting gay marriage.
Olbermann Watch Falsely Flails At Media Matters Topic: The ConWeb
An Oct. 30 post by Robert Cox at Olbermann Watch (a Keith Olbermann-bashing site referenced on occasion by NewsBusters) purports to respond to a Media Matters item:
Ultra-left, Soros-funded, Media Matters for America is attacking Olbermann Watch for pointing out Keith Olbermann's disturbing habit of referring to the President of the United States as "mister" and monitoring Olbermann's behavior with the nightly "mister meter". Citing a profile of Keith Olbermann by media writer Stephen Spruiell of National Review, MMFA contrasts Olbermann with a few lines taken out of context from a column by National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. In neither case does MMFA provide working links to support its claims.
Where to begin?
-- Media Matters did not "attack" Olbermann Watch; the focus of the item was on Spruiell, who cited Olbermann Watch.
-- If by "a few lines" you mean more than 150 instances, then, yeah.
-- If a lack of "working links" means that you have to be a subscriber to National Review in order to access them, then, yeah. We're surprised that Cox doesn't doesn't already subscribe.
-- Cox does not explain how a reference to "Mr. Bush" in a Buckley column could be "out of context."
-- Cox never actually refutes anything in the Media Matters article.
(Full disclosure: I work for Media Matters. Cox runs the Media Bloggers Association, of which I am a member and whose logo is on the left side of this page.)
Sheppard's Double Standard on Double Standards Topic: NewsBusters
A Nov. 1 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard purports to complain about media coverage of John Kerry's remark on education and Iraq compared with Trent Lott's 2002 comment that if the country had voted for segregationist Strom Thurmond in 1948, "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years."
While Sheppard claims each remark was a "botched joke," that's not how he depicts them; he called Kerry's comments "insensitive remarks," while Lott is described as making an "innocent comment." Why is Lott's remark depicted as "innocent" when he should have known that Thurmond ran as a segregationist in 1948? Why is Kerry depicted as "insensitive" when he is on record saying that (unlike Lott) he meant to say something other than what he actually said?
A Nov. 1 NewsMax article claimed that John Kerry "dug a hole even deeper" regarding his remarks on education and Iraq in an appearance on the Don Imus radio show. But the article never notes that Kerry issued an apology for the statement.
UPDATE: A Reuters article posted at NewsMax leads with the fact that Kerry apologized, but instead of putting in the headline, NewsMax's headline reads, "Kerry's 'Botched Joke' Missed Punch Line." Why is NewsMax working so hard to bury Kerry's apology?
UPDATE 2: A new Nov. 1 NewsMax article claims Kerry "flip-flopped" and offered a "low-key" apology on his website -- again ignoring his apology on Imus.
Corsi Backs Off of His Biggest Anti-Strickland Attack Topic: WorldNetDaily
Has Jerome Corsi given grown weary of the spreading distorted claims about alleged Ted Strickland sex scandals?
Corsi's Nov. 1 anti-Strickland column, surprisingly, doesn't mention his obsession for the past several days -- the claim that Strickland had hired a man who had once been convicted on indecency charges. Perhaps because he realized he would have to address similar actions by his co-author and Strickland's opponent for Ohio governor, Ken Blackwell. In fact, sex is hardly mentioned at all; Corsi does ominously, "Do Ted and Frances Strickland live together as a married couple?" -- an oblique reference to discredited accusations that Strickland is gay.
Kessler Misleads on Dems, Patriot Act Topic: Newsmax
Ronald Kessler carries water for his Republicans once again: An Oct. 31 NewsMax article makes several false or misleading claims about Democrats and the USA Patriot Act.
-- Kessler writes that "This year alone, the Democrats overwhelmingly voted five times to kill the Patriot Act." In fact, in the final vote on the reauthorization of the act in March, only nine Senate Democrats voted against it.
-- Kessler repeatedly portrays Democrats as opposing the entire Patriot Act when, in fact, most opposed only specific provisions. As Rep. Jane Harman, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said: “We must extend it, mend it, but not end it.”
-- Kessler suggests that one Patriot Act provision that Democrats opposed was removal of the "wall" between law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but he offers no examples of Democrats who specifically opposed that provision -- perhaps because there are none. No Democratic opposition that we've seen centered on the "wall."
-- Kessler writes the following:
Under the Patriot Act, each roving wiretap, as they are called, has to be approved by a judge, so there is no question about infringing on civil liberties any more than when a judge approves a search of the house of a suspected child molester. Yet Democrats have portrayed the act as a monstrous invasion of rights.
This, again, conflates questions about a specific provision to opposition to the entire Patriot Act. What Democrats actually opposed was a Bush administration proposal to make roving wiretaps permanent; the renewal puts a four-year sunset provision on them.
-- Kessler also offers a strangely backhanded defense of the idea that we should unequivocally trust the FBI:
Since the days when J. Edgar Hoover ordered illegal wiretaps and improper surveillance, the FBI as an organization has not engaged in illegal conduct. If the FBI cannot be trusted to wiretap within the framework of the law, why trust agents to make arrests or carry weapons?
Doesn't the fact that the FBI did, in fact, engage in "illegal wiretaps and improper surveillance" make it imperative that certain safeguards be in place instead of Kessler's "go and sin no more" benediction?
-- Kessler writes that "Democrats have also claimed that under another provision of the act, the FBI can use 'sneak and peek' tactics in libraries to probe people's reading habits without informing the targets until after a search." Then, he claims that "the FBI has no interest in anyone's reading habits." Then why is he complaining about it? He should, therefore, have no problem with a provision in the renewal that offer more protections for library records.
Further, the main issue regarding library searches had nothing to do with the "sneak and peek" tactics Kessler cites; they involve the fact that the original Patriot Act let libraries be served with National Security Letters, a type of subpoena that forces the party being subpoenaed into a non-disclosure agreement severely limiting their legal rights. The renewal eliminates libraries as a recipient of NSLs.
UPDATE: Further contradicts Kessler's suggestion that Democrats oppose the Patriot Act's dismantling of the "wall" between intelligence and law enforcement, even Sen. Russ Feingold -- the only senator who voted against the original Patriot Act law in 2001 -- has said, "Nobody wants to put the wall back up."
NewsBusters Doesn't Need No Stinkin' Context Topic: NewsBusters
Does Mark Finkelstein understand the idea of context? We suspect not.
An Oct. 31 NewsBusters post by Finkelstein dismissed Chris Matthews' claim that John Kerry "meant to go after the president," not U.S. troops, with his comment with without adequate education one will get "stuck in Iraq," retorting, "To quote that keen observer of human nature, John McEnroe: 'you cannot be serious!' ' But Finkelstein fails to offer the context in which Matthews made his claim.
As Media Matters pointed out -- but Finkelstein doesn't -- Matthews made note of an Associated Press article that placed the comment in its proper context -- as part of "several one-liners," such as stating that "Bush had lived in Texas but now 'lives in a state of denial.' "
In fact, noNewsBusterspost to on the issue has reported on the context in which Kerry made his remark, which supports Kerry's claim that it was targeted at Bush, not the troops.
So, NewsBusters guys: How, exactly, does one fight "liberal media bias" by refusing to tell the full truth?
UPDATE: A post by Noel Sheppard appears to excoriate CNN for allowing Kerry to respond to the charge that he insulted U.S. troops, calling it "unbelievable" that correspondent Andrea Koppel would "amazingly" let Kerry defend himself. Huh?
WND Distorts Kerry Remarks (Duh!) Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 31 WorldNetDaily article continues WND's longstanding policy of spreading distortions and lies about John Kerry. It played up criticism of his remark and conservatives' interpretation of it as an attack on U.S. troops, waiting until the 13th paragraph to note that Kerry has said that it was directed at President Bush, not the troops. The article then goes on to "debunk" Kerry's purported claim that U.S. troops are poorly educated -- something Kerry has made clear he never said.
An Oct. 31 NewsMax article by John Mercurio -- is this the guy who's a senior editor at National Journal's Hotline On Call blog? -- buys into Rep. Curt Weldon's conspiracy theory about the federal investigation into him.
Mercurio stated that an early report about the investigation into Weldon came out on "quite fittingly, Friday the 13th," called FBI raids related to the investigation "suspiciously timed" and asserted without evidence that the Justice Department broke "its own rules in taking provocative steps against a public official shortly before Election Day." In fact, Mercurio himself contradicts that last claim by quoting a DOJ official as saying that "the Department of Justice and all of its investigative agencies do not take political considerations into play when it comes to discharging their duty."
Channeling conspiracy theorist extrordinaire Jack Cashill, Mercurio also repeated without challenge Weldon's claims that he is "painting the leak as a pre-election dirty trick orchestrated by allies of Sestak, who built connections with national Democrats during the Clinton administration as a Navy admiral and a member of Clinton's National Security Council."