A Nov. 19 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard called it a "slur" that Dan Rather claimed that Fox News gets talking points from the White House (never mind the evidence that supports the claim). Um, Noel: What's the big deal? Don't your friends at the MRC regularly claim that the "liberal media" uses Democratic talking points?
Why, yes, they do. From 2006 alone:
"Lynne Cheney was right. The Vice President's wife on Friday attacked a CNN pre-election special as straight out of Democratic talking points. ... Close your eyes and it sounds like an ad straight out of the DNC." -- Oct. 31 CyberAlert item (and Oct. 30 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock)
"In his report on the Pennsylvania Senate race for Monday’s NBC Nightly News, reporter Chip Reid had no scrutiny for frontrunner Bob Casey, whom he described using Democratic talking points: The 'son of a popular former governor and an abortion opponent like [incumbent GOP Senator Rick] Santorum.'" -- Oct. 31 "Media Reality Check"
"However, [CBS's Bob] Schieffer made [the Washington Post's Dana] Milbank's column sound as if it attacked all sides, when in fact it was an article that spouted the Democratic talking point that the Republicans are attacking their patriotism." -- Sept. 14 CyberAlert item
"David Gregory, just scolded the day before by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow for advancing Democratic talking points, pushed them again, along with Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's Today show. ... Lauer then followed Gregory's lead, pounding Senate Majority Bill Frist on the Secretary of Defense. Lauer repeatedly interrupted Frist with anti-Rumsfeld questions." -- Sept. 7 CyberAlert item
"The Washington Post reported on Wednesday's front page that House and Senate Republicans reached agreement on extending 'President Bush's deep cuts to tax rates on dividends and capital gains,' but the chart they used on the front page was a Democratic talking point." -- May 10 CyberAlert item
"But they are another example of how ABC takes Democratic talking points and uses them in news stories -- without giving the audience a heads-up about their partisan pedigree." -- April 27 CyberAlert item
"When Blitzer asked [Helen] Thomas if the President had satisfactorily answered her question on his 'real' reason for going to war in Iraq, Thomas started parroting Democratic talking points." -- March 22 CyberAlert item
"Interviewing Terry McAuliffe 18 months earlier, [John] Roberts posed a question that could have been cribbed from DNC talking points." -- February 2 CyberAlert item
Is not the MRC issuing similar "slurs" when it makes that accusation? Shouldn't Sheppard be demanding that the MRC offer the same proof that he demands from Rather?
New Article: The Cold War on Christmas Topic: WorldNetDaily
The ConWeb takes a less aggressive approach to promoting its "war on Christmas" concept -- which includes pretending that it hasn't aggressively promoted it. Read more.
WND Columnist Tries to Back His Claim That Soy Makes You Gay Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Jim Rutz has started the defense of his column last week claiming that soy causes homosexuality.
His first attempt, in his Dec. 19 column (he promises more in the future), isn't very coherent. He mainly focuses on disputed health claims about soy, as well as answering the question, "If soy is so harmful as to potentially alter sexual physiology and behavior, why haven't the Chinese and Japanese all died off or become homosexual centuries ago?" And he doesn't even get to the juicy stuff: "What is that doing to their sex organs and their sexual orientation? Tune in next week." Aw, man...
On a separate footnotes page (but not in his main article), Rutz does offer "three links to articles from prestigious sources that will tell you how safe and wonderful soy is." Interestingly, he doesn't link to one study that that appears to undercut one of his main claims, that soy-based infant formula is what's making our kids all femmy and stuff (he calls infants "worst victims of soy"). That 2001 University of Pennsylvania study found that "in terms of sexual development, there is very little difference between children who, as infants, were fed cow milk formula and those fed soy formula." (Hat tip: World O'Crap.)
As we've learned with Kevin McCullough, it's becoming clear that the level of intelligent discourse in a column about Barack Obama is inversely proportional to the number of times the columnist invokes Obama's middle name.
And so it is with Mychal Massie's Dec. 18 WorldNetDaily column. Not only does he use "Barack Hussein Obama" twice, his column is headlined, "Another threat named Hussein." Massie goes on to call Obama "the extreme socialist liberal version of former Vice-President Dan Quayle, but without the substance," further claiming without evidence that he is a "supporter of sex education for grades K-5."
Massie concludes with a defense of negative campaigning against Newt Gingrich's call to anbandon it, stating: "Newt also overlooks the free use of lies when he calls for an end to negative campaigns. Lying is a negative, and few are more accomplished distorters of the truth than Barack Obama." As we've documented, Massie himself is quite the accomplishedtruthdistorter (not to mention a hypocrite).
Frank Salvato's Dec. 15 CNSNews.com column claiming that "members of immigrating minority groups are increasingly refusing to assimilate into the cultures of their resident countries" might have made a tad more sense had he bothered to substantiate any of his claims.
Instead of evidence, Salvato instead rants against "the Progress-Left, the one-worlders, the globalists, those who have grown to practice the narcissism of placing oneself before all else" and "the aggressive dogma of 'multiculturalism.'"
Then again, evidence is a bad thing when you're trying to mislead your readers, as Salvato does.
He claims that the "reconquista" movement to reclaim the Southwestern U.S. is "aggressive" and "militant." But he offers no evidence to support it, let alone to prove that a widespread "reconquista" movement is anything more than a figment of the imaginations of conservatives (not to mention white supremacists).
Salvato further asserts: "Their motto, “Por La Raza todo, Fuera de La Raza nada” – which translated means "For the Race, everything, for those outside the Race, nothing" – encapsulates the dangers multiculturalism poses to a nation’s identity." But Salvato mistranslates that motto -- typically ascribed to a group known as MEChA, which Salvato calls "a radical organization that promotes Latino superiority" -- or, more accurately since we doubt Salvato speaks fluent Spanish, he regurgitates what other right-wingers have written. As David Neiwert points out, it's more of an expression of ethnic pride rather than something aggressively exclusionary.
Salvato is the managing editor of a right-wing site called New Media Journal (formerly The Rant); part of its slogan is "Researched opinion. Cogent headlines." As you can see, Salvato isn't much into "researched opinion." And really, how sorry of a website are you when you're reduced to bragging about how "cogent" your headlines are?
From the front page of the Media Research Center website:
The MRC's NewsBusters blog came in second of ten blogs nominated for "Best Media Blog" in the 2006 Weblog Awards contest which closed to voting on Friday. But the winner was a far-left site, making NewsBusters the top conservative media blog.
As long as you ignore the fact that there was no "top conservative media blog" category, then yeah...
NewsBuster: Jamil Hussein's Existence Isn't the Point Topic: NewsBusters
You knew this was coming.
After Editor & Publisher reported a blogger's apparent discovery of the existence of Jamil Hussein, an Associated Press source in Iraq whom numerous conservative bloggers declared didn't exist, Warner Todd Huston declared in a Dec. 18 NewsBusters post that Hussein's existence isn't the issue:
However, E&P seems to be missing the real story... as usual.
The fact is, whether this Captain Hussein exists or not, there is still no corroboration for the story of six burned Iraqis.
And, it has always been a staple of journalism that more than one source be required to publish a story reported as "fact". After all, if only ONE source is ever needed for a story, then anyone can publish anything as "fact" merely upon any single person's say so.
I slept with Marilyn Monroe, ya know? Print that as fact, AP... just because I say so. Even though I was but a child when she was found dead. But this one source says it's true, so the AP MUST assume it could be fact!
But as we've noted, the AP has cited other witnesses to the story of the burned Iraqis, so there is more than one source.
While the AP could certainly be more forthcoming on this issue, and while there are legitimate issues to be raised (Bob Bateman offers a less ideologically charged look), Huston and others have an agenda in their criticism: to discredit any war reporting they don't agree with, no matter how true it is.
NewsBusters' Al Brown, Robin Boyd and Greg Sheffield are presumably commiserating on how to spin this news so as not to contradict their own writing; they claimed that Hussein didn't exist because the government told them he didn't.
Keeping the 'War on Christmas' Alive Topic: Media Research Center
Via Tim Graham at NewsBusters, we learn that the Media Research Center's Culture & Media Institute is trying to keep the "War on Christmas" flame alive. In a CMI article, Kristen Fyfe asks why people think there is a "war on Christmas": "Because, Tiny Tim, there is." She adds: "The war on Christmas is not a figment of the imaginations of Fox News or conservative Christians, as the liberal media would have you believe."
This largely ignores that conservative groups (and Fox News) have worked hard over the past couple of years into blowing up unrelated, isolated incidents into a "war on Christmas." For instance, as we'vedetailed, for the last two holiday seasons, WorldNetDaily simply ran nearly verbatim (and occasionally factuallychallenged) press releases from conservative legal groups like Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund promoting their "war on Christmas" legal actions without even bothering to present the other side.
Fyfe touches on this, writing: "Led by Christian organizations like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Catholic League, Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund, the push back against Politically Correct Christmas is gaining momentum." But Fyfe erroneously calls this a "grassroots movement"; in fact, these are groups that reel in millions of dollars in donations each year and have public-relations staffs whose job it is to promote their cause -- hardly "grassroots."
We see that fund-raising component in Fyfe's article by her copious use of the ACLU bogeyman; she claims that the "war" is "[l]ed predominantly by the ACLU (they’ll deny it of course, but ask the folks in Wilson County, Tennessee who are currently in court fighting the ACLU over – among other charges -- a kindergarten class singing two Christmas carols)." Indeed, "ACLU" appears eight times in her article.
Along with her copious ACLU references, Fyfe has no problem ascribing the most negative spin to those who dare to say something other than "Merry Christmas." She writes, "It seemed to culminate last year with Wal-Mart’s decision to forbid its employees to greet customers with 'Merry Christmas' " as if it were part of that purported ACLU plot -- and as if no greeting was offered at all. As the Chicago Tribune points out, the truth is much less nefarious: Wal-Mart simply tried out "Happy Holidays" and caved under the boycott threats of those, er, "grassroots" groups.
The "war on Christmas" may or may not be, in Fyfe's words, "a figment of the imaginations of Fox News or conservative Christians," but it is most definitely their creation -- and Fyfe should honestly acknowledge that.
It appears that Kevin McCullough is trying to turn Barack Obama's metoric political rise into his meal ticket into the next level of conservative prominence, a la Christopher Ruddy, Joseph Farah, et al, with President Clinton.
McCullough has written several WorldNetDaily columns attacking Obama, such as a notorious one this one that Obama "represents the views of Satan." His latest column on Obama continues that overheated tone, referring to "Barack Hussein Obama" no less than three times -- thus buying into a weird little right-wing talking point.
Of course, by buying into that talking point an hurling words like "evil" at Obama, McCullough demonstrates that really has nothing thoughtful to say on the subject. Not that it will stop McCullough from clinging to Obama's coattails, mind you.
In a Dec. 15 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard declared White House press secretary Tony Snow to have "class, integrity and decency" for apologizing to NBC's David Gregory for calling him a "partisan" because he read statements from the Iraq Study Group report. Sheppard concluded: "How refreshing. Now, try to imagine a member of the press being as gracious."
Better yet, try to imagine a NewsBusters poster being as gracious. In a Dec. 8 post on the original Snow-Gregory exchange, Matthew Sheffield called Gregory "petulant" and his ISG quotes "out of context," then bashed Gregory and other reporters for "asking captious, leading questions that no public spokesperson is ever going to answer."
Will Sheppard gently prod his NewsBusters bud to serve up a similarly "gracious" apology?
CNS Overlooks Conservativism of Israeli Pols Topic: CNSNews.com
Two Dec. 15 CNSNews.com articles ignore or inadequately explain the conservative political affiliations of the Israeli politicans they quote.
An article by Kevin Mooney quoting "senior Israeli politician" Uzi Landau does note that Landau is "a member of the opposition Likud Party," but Mooney doesn't explain that Likud is conservative or what it is in "opposition" to -- the center-left Kadima party headed by Ehud Olmert. (Nor, interestingly, does Mooney identify the political persuasion of The Century Foundation, which appears to be a liberal-leaning group; as we've noted, CNS is typically more diligent about identifying liberal groups as such.)
Julie Stahl, meanwhile, offered no political affiliation for Israeli lawmaker Yuval Steinitz in an article featuring his call to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and ship its leaders to the Gaza strip. Turns out he's in Likud, too.
NewsBusters: Proving Stephen Colbert Right Topic: NewsBusters
In a Dec. 13 NewsBusters post, Terry Trippany tells the Associated Press how to write a news story: Don't include anything that makes the Bush administration sound bad.
Trippany decided to deconstruct an AP report on military recruiting, declaring, "One can’t help but note how the AP reporter spins the good news story of recruitment success into a negative screed about American pessimism over the war in Iraq and dissatisfaction with the way President Bush is handling the effort." So she turned it into two articles, one a "biased screed," the other the real story.
But Trippany's good-news version of the story conveniently omits certain realities that would be germane, if not essential, to an article about military recruiting, namely 1) the U.S. is fighting a war; 2) that war is unpopular with the majority of Americans; and 3) most Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of the war. Too negative, you see. Makes Repubicans look bad. Can't have that.
Trippany thus proves Stephen Colbert right: reality really does have a liberal bias. And that's what our friends at the MRC are fighting to save us from.
AIM Likens French News Channel to Al-Jazeera Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Dec. 13 Accuracy in Media column by Andy Selepak felt the need to liken the new French news channel, France 24, to al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based channel AIM is seeking to censor. Selepak writes that "it appears that the new channel is designed, like Al-Jazeera, to counter American influence in the world. It also seems designed to give us a more sympathetic view of those behind international terrorism," concluding that "Like Al-Jazeera, France 24 looks like another government-funded propaganda operation of dubious value." Selepak seems to show disdain for the fact that "France 24 is available in Washington D.C. to Comcast cable subscribers"; is AIM looking to censor that, too?
Selepak also bizarrely claims that "U.S. seems to be practically disarmed" in "the current global media environment." We're not sure what the heck that means, considering the global influence of Hollywood movies and even the reach of CNN's international channel.