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Thursday, November 9, 2006
The ConWeb Loses the Election
Topic: The ConWeb

We noted before the election that ConWeb writers had done enough work in support of specific candidates that they might as well have been on the campaign's payroll. Let's look at the fruit of their efforts:

The writer: Jerome Corsi of WorldNetDaily

His candidate: Ken Blackwell

His nemesis: Ted Strickland

Election result: Strickland 60%, Blackwell 37% 

* * *

The writer: Jack Cashill of WorldNetDaily

His candidate: Curt Weldon

His nemesis: Joe Sestak (and Bill Clinton)

Election result: Sestak 56%, Weldon 44%

* * *

The writer: Randy Hall of CNSNews.com

His candidate: Diana Irey

His nemesis: John Murtha

Election result: Murtha 61%, Irey 39% 

* * *

The writer: Christopher Ruddy of NewsMax

His candidate: Joe Lieberman

His nemesis: Ned Lamont

Election result: Lieberman 50%, Lamont 40%

* * *

Races ConWeb candidates won: 1

Races ConWeb candidates lost: 3


Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EST
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Prelutsky Likens Gore to Serial Killers
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a flourish of rhetoric that is both bizarre and clumsy, Bert Prelutsky uses his Nov. 8 WorldNetDaily column to liken Al Gore to serial killers. Noting that a handful of infamous serial killers "all lived for at least 10 years after being found guilty of their heinous crimes," he then writes: "Which brings us to Al Gore. How is it he is still around, still having media attention paid to him, still trying to pass himself off as one of the big brain people?"

Prelutsky also recycled a couple of old discredited smears about Gore, writing: "It was bad enough when he was claiming to be the model for the boy in 'Love Story' and even worse when he was claiming credit for the Internet." As we pointed out a very long time ago, 1) Gore was merely repeating a newspaper article in which the claim was made and that was "all I know"; 2) "Love Story" author Erich Segal has, in fact said that Gore was a model for the lead male character; and 3) Gore actually does deserve some credit for the legislative role he played in laying groundwork for the modern version of the Internet.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:38 PM EST
Malkin Misleads on Voter Fraud
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In her Nov. 8 syndiated column (which appears at WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com), Michelle Malkin attacked the Democrats' purported "pre-emption strategy" of "[c]all[ing] into question the results of the midterms even before Election Day had begun," calling it "a phony vehicle to sow seeds of doubt, paranoia and chaos as substitutes for action."

But, as she did when she portrayed Democrats as "unhinged," Malkin ignored the fact that Republicans and conservatives have made the same exact claims, as seen here, here, and here. And before the 2004 election, NewsMax and Robert Novak were claiming that Democrats were planning to steal it.

Is Malkin saying that Republicans who accuse Democrats of voter fraud are also using "a phony vehicle to sow seeds of doubt, paranoia and chaos as substitutes for action"?

UPDATE: Joseph Farah does the same thing in his Nov. 9 column, claiming that "Democrats, and their allies in places of influence, reserve charges of voting fraud exclusively for elections in which they lose."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 9, 2006 8:53 PM EST
Kessler's Bush-Fluffing Kicks Into High Gear
Topic: Newsmax

His scare tactics having failed, Ronald Kessler uses his post-election Nov. 8 NewsMax column doing what he does best: fluffing President Bush and comparing him to Abraham Lincoln, Warren Buffett, and Harry Truman:

Like Warren Buffett, Bush keeps his eyes on the horizon. Buffett invests in companies he believes have long-term growth potential and holds on to those stocks regardless of short-term price fluctuations, negative media coverage, and downgrades by stock analysts. Today, Buffett is the second richest American with $40 billion in assets.

Bush isn't particularly interested in his place in history, either. Like any good CEO, he simply wants results and views challenges as opportunities. But he is also aware of how transitory opinion polls can be.

When Truman left office, his approval rating stood at 25 percent. Yet today, because of his firm approach to national security, Truman — whom the press portrayed as a simpleton — is viewed as one of the great presidents.

Similarly, the media have portrayed Bush as a buffoon, a religious fanatic, or a monster with the temerity to topple a man who had killed 300,000 people, not to mention liberating 50 million people.

In the same way, Democratic papers and critics disparaged Abraham Lincoln as a "dictator, ridiculed him as a baboon, damned him as stupid and incompetent . . ." according to Stephen B. Oates' book, "With Malice Toward None."

This is the thing to remember about Kessler's work for NewsMax: He's not doing "reporting," he's creating Bush hagiography.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EST
Slanted Rhetoric Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

A Nov. 8 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones on the rejection of a near-total ban on abortion in South Dakota describes supporters of the ban as "pro-life" but describes opponents of the ban as "abortion defenders" and "abortion advocates."

This follows CNS' longtime policy of using subjective and misleading terminology to describe those who advocate non-conservative positions. 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 AM EST
Farah Plagiarizes Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Nov. 8 WorldNetDaily article by Joseph Farah summarizing the midterm elections was objective and balanced. That's how we knew that Farah couldn't have written it. As it turns out, he didn't -- it's mostly a cut-and-paste job from wire-service stories that moved during the evening of Nov. 7; nowhere in the article are the wire services credited.

Some spot-checks of Farah's plagiarism:

Farah:

Two years after a decisive election victory for President Bush and Republicans, Democrats picked up more than the 15 seats they needed to recapture control of the 435-seat House for the first time since 1994.

Reuters:

Two years after a decisive election victory for Bush and his Republicans, Democrats picked up at least the 15 seats they needed to win control of the House for the first time since 1994, according to TV network projections.

* * * 

Farah:

Democrats needed to gain six seats to reclaim control of the 100-seat Senate for the first time in four years, and so far had taken three seats from Republicans.

Reuters:

Democrats needed to gain six seats to reclaim control of the 100-seat Senate for the first time in four years, and so far had taken three seats from Republicans. 

* * * 

Farah:

Pelosi, 66, appears certain to be elected House speaker by fellow Democrats when the new 110th Congress convenes in January, replacing Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican.

Under U.S. law, the speaker is second in the line of succession to the presidency, behind only the vice president.

Pelosi has said she will not try to end U.S. funding of the Iraq war, will pressure Bush to shift course, begin a phased redeployment of U.S. troops and require Iraqis to take greater responsibility for their own nation.

Reuters:

Pelosi, 66, appears certain to be elected House speaker by fellow Democrats when the new 110th Congress convenes in January, replacing Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican.

Under U.S. law, the speaker is second in the line of succession to the presidency, behind only the vice president.

Pelosi has said she will not try to end U.S. funding of the Iraq war, will pressure Bush to shift course, begin a phased redeployment of U.S. troops and require Iraqis to take greater responsibility for their own nation.

* * * 

Farah:

Democrats have promised votes on much of their agenda within the first 100 hours of taking power in January, including new ethics rules and a hike in the minimum wage. 

Wire service (either Reuters or AP):

Democrats have promised votes on much of their agenda within the first 100 hours of taking power in January, including new ethics rules, a rise in the minimum wage, reduced subsidies to the oil industry and improvements in border and port security. 

* * * 

Farah:

Democrats toppled Republican senators in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Rhode Island, with races too close to call in Maryland, Virginia and Missouri.

Democrats won gubernatorial races in New York, Ohio and Massachusetts for the first time in more than a decade.

Charlie Crist kept the Florida governorship now held by the president's brother Jeb in Republican GOP hands.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, running as an independent, won a new term in Connecticut – dispatching Democrat Ned Lamont and thus winning when it counted most against the man who had prevailed in a summertime primary.

Associated Press (with sections that appeared verbatim in Farah's article in bold):

Resurgent Democrats toppled Republican senators in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Rhode Island and gained ground in the House Tuesday, challenging for control of Congress in midterm elections shaped by an unpopular war in Iraq and scandal at home.

Aided by public dissatisfaction with President Bush, Democrats won gubernatorial races in New York, Ohio and Massachusetts for the first time in more than a decade.

Charlie Crist was a bright spot for Republicans, keeping the Florida governorship now held by the president's brother Jeb in GOP hands.

[...]

In a comeback unlike any other, Sen. Joe Lieberman won a new term in Connecticut - dispatching Democrat Ned Lamont and thus winning when it counted most against the man who had prevailed in a summertime primary. 

Why point this out (beyond the obvious, that plagiarism is wrong and that Farah should know better)? Because not only does Farah have a record of such plagiarism, he regularly throws fits when other news services use WND copy without credit. Hint to Mr. Farah: You get only the respect you earn, and not stealing the work of others and putting it under your name without properly crediting the original authors would be a good first step toward earning that respect.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 8, 2006 3:05 AM EST
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Disclosure!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Nov. 7 WorldNetDaily article on Republican Ken Blackwell's loss in the Ohio governor's race to Democrat (and WND and Jerome Corsi punching bag) Ted Strickland actually notes that Blackwell is "author of 'Rebuilding America,' published by WND Books."

That's unusual, given WND's previous reluctance to disclose its financial interest in Blackwell when attacking his opponents.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:26 PM EST
Noyes: Matthews 'Doesn't Routinely Attack Democrats'
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Nov. 7 NewsBusters post, Rich Noyes complains about conservative Joe Scarborough's claim to Chris Matthews that "I have been bashing my party more than the Democratic party because I want to make sure that I am fair and down the middle":

So “far and down the middle” means hitting Republicans harder than Democrats? Too bad Matthews, a former staffer to Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, doesn’t routinely attack Democrats to prove how “fair and down the middle” he is.

Well, as a longtime MRC staffer like Noyes should know (and as we've documented), Matthews routinely bashed President Clinton during the impeachment episode and has bashed John Kerry. But the MRC stopped noticing those things -- not to mention Matthews' praise of President Bush -- and cherry-pick comments in order to slam Matthews as liberal.

Noyes might want to check into the facts sometime.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 PM EST
Sheppard Misleads on Robo-Calls
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Nov. 7 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard claims that "the media have been wrongly depicting" the use of "robo-calls" by political candidates "as exclusively being a Republican strategy, while ignoring the Democrat campaigns that are doing exactly the same thing."

But it's misleading for Sheppard to focus on the general use of robo-calls -- a strategy both parties use; the debate is over certain tactics used in them. The only relevant counter-example Sheppard cites in response to a CNN report claiming that the National Republican Congressional Committee was making robo-calls in which the message didn't identify the caller at the top of the call and include a phone number -- both required by the FCC -- is a robo-call against Montana Sen. Conrad Burns made by "the international firefighters union’s political action committee." But an independent PAC is not the same thing as a direct party operation, which the NRCC is.

Further, the CNN report Sheppard cited also noted the deceptive tactic of making the listener think at the start of the call that it's from one candidate when in fact it's from the other, and of making multiple calls to residences. Sheppard offers no examples of Democrats being accused of those tactics.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 AM EST
Corsi's Last, Desperate Shot at Strickland
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jerome Corsi's gay-baiting sex obsession with Ted Strickland didn't work -- in fact, it may have scared voters away from Corsi's buddy and co-author (and Strickland's opponent for Ohio governor), Ken Blackwell -- so Corsi is spending Nov. 7 column, his final election shot at Strickland, trying to tie him to John Kerry and bizarrely taking Strickland to task for not having served in the military.

The only thing for Corsi to do at this point is place a bet on just how badly Blackwell will lose. 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 AM EST
Lack of Disclosure Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

A Nov. 6 CNSNews.com article by Dawn Rizzoni on a trip by relatives of slain U.S. soldiers to Iraq, organized by Move America Forward, doesn't disclose a lot of things.

First, it's cobbled together from press releases.  The first section of the article details comments by the prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, which first appeared in a Nov. 5 MAF press release. Other quotes come from a Nov. 4 press release.

Second, Rizzoni fails to offer any description of MAF; it's a conservative-leaning, liberal-bashing political group. 

Third, Rizzoni noted a previous CNS article that "a newly released book" claimed that John Kerry "tried to recruit them at their son's funeral to speak out against President Bush and the war in Iraq." But Rizzoni failed to note that the book was written by Melanie Morgan, chairwoman of MAF -- the group she featured in her Frankensteined article.

UPDATE: Why, lookie here! WorldNetDaily built an article around those very same MAF press releases. 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 7, 2006 1:33 AM EST
Monday, November 6, 2006
Ponte Cites Discredited Study
Topic: Newsmax

In a Nov. 6 NewsMax column claiming that by voting against Democrats, "you can vote against the Left wing media," Lowell Ponte cites as evidence that there are "lords who rule America's liberal press" who have "unchecked power" by their alleged support of liberal politicians the following:

A 2005 University of California Los Angeles-led study found that 18 of the nation's top 20 media outlets skewed their news coverage significantly to the Left.

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose, the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

Of the two media outlets that did not tilt Left, the UCLA-led study found, the Fox News Channel program "Special Report with Brit Hume" indeed "proved to be right of center," and Fox News is "often cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet."

However, the study continued, ABC's "World News Tonight" and NBC's "Nightly News" – which present themselves as unbiased newscasts - are about as far left of center as the Fox is right of center.

Ponte does not note that the Groseclose study has been discredited because it employed a measure of "bias" so problematic that its findings are next to useless (for instance, it considers the ACLU "liberal") and it lacks citations to scholarly literature on the subject of media bias (yet offers numerous links to right-wing sources). Ponte also fails to note that Groseclose and his co-author, Jeffrey Milyo, have ties to conservative think tanks.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:25 PM EST
Kessler's Scare Tactics
Topic: Newsmax

In his Nov. 6 NewsMax column, Ronald Kessler abandons what little pretense of being a fair reporter he had to further smear Democrats.

Echoing his previous false and misleading attacks on Democrats, Kessler writes:

If the Democrats win control of Congress and their rhetoric and votes are to be believed, they would adopt the Clinton administration's spineless approach to fighting terrorism.

They would gut the USA Patriot Act.

They would stop interception of calls from al-Qaida to and from the U.S.

They would end tracking of terrorists' financial transfers.

They would bestow legal rights on al-Qaida terrorists who are being interrogated about planned plots rights similar to those enjoyed by American citizens.

Finally, they would cut off funds to support the war effort in Iraq, handing al-Qaida a win in what the terrorists themselves have described as a crucial battleground in their effort to defeat America and impose their vision of radical Islam on the world.

No evidence, no analysis -- just scare tactics. This is the guy who has claimed to earn prestigious journalism awards?

As we've detailed, Kessler threw away a distinguished journalism career to commit to NewsMax -- whom he laughably claimed "practices journalism honestly and fairly" -- and Bush hagiography. This just confirms how far away he is from what he tossed aside. If Kessler this his column is an example of "honest and fair" journalism, he is seriously deluded.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 AM EST
Farah Gets It Wrong about Klein's Terrorist Buddies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Nov. 6 WorldNetDaily article promoting Aaron Klein's claim that terrorists want Democrats to win on Tuesday features a rebuttal of a Media Matters item I co-wrote pointing out Klein's regular promotion of previous statements by his stable of terrorists:

David Brock's media watchdogs at Media Matters are fighting mad about what they see as Fox News Channel's promotion of the WND scoop.

Media Matters hyperventilates that Klein "has similarly promoted inflammatory statements by terrorists in the past."
"I think most of the world understood that neither Klein nor WND was 'promoting' what these terrorists had to say," explained WND Editor Joseph Farah. "There is much speculation in the press about what these dangerous people think and want. Our reporter just happens to be one of the very few who is not afraid to ask them questions and report their answers verbatim. That's not promotion. It's good journalism – something about which David Brock and his organization apparently know little."

As we point out in our analysis of Klein's reporting of terrorist statements, Klein clearly has some kind of relationship with them -- after all, as a right-wing Jew, he is their enemy, a writer has no history of fairness toward their views. 

And speaking of "good journalism," Klein has no evidence that the three terrorists he quotes in his article to are representative of the views of all terrorists on the U.S. elections -- yet he and WND are claiming that they are, which is hardly sound journalistic practice. As Media Matters has noted, intelligence agencies have concluded that Osama bin Laden's release of a videotape before the 2004 election was designed to get President Bush re-elected -- something Klein fails to mention in his article. Klein's terrorist buddies could have similarly been feeding him disinformation they know he would use as red meat for his conservative readers because they, in fact, want the Republicans to win.

So let's not pretend that "good journalism" had anthing to do with Klein's article. Klein has a long history of using his reporting for partisan ends, and nothing has changed here.

To that end, we have a challenge for Klein and Farah: Print our detailed criticisms of Klein's reporting on WND, and rebut them point by point. Tell us why we're wrong to note Klein's history of bias and lack of full context. Tell us how three people constitutes an official consensus of the views of hundreds of thousands of terrorists. Tell us how Klein maintains a working relationship with these terrorists when he is their enemy.

You wanna take us? Go ahead on. 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EST
New Article: Aaron Klein's Terrorist Buddies
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Another election, another excuse for WorldNetDaily's Jerusalem reporter to try to link Democrats to terrorists. Do the terrorists Klein quotes know he's using them, or are they a party to his game? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EST

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