NewsBusters' Double Standard on Shunning Ideological Heretics Topic: NewsBusters
Continuing NewsBusters' obsession with the tussle between liberals and Washington Post columnist David Broder, Matthew Sheffield writes in a May 2 post: "The problem Broder is encountering is that even though he is a liberal, the fact that he has crossed the far left on its most important agenda item (surrendering in Iraq) has made him anathema."
First, Broder, while he may not be reliably conservative, is not liberal. Second, Sheffield implies that similar shunning of ideological heretics doesn't happen on the right; it does, and NewsBusters has participated in it.
In early 2006, Bruce Bartlett, an economist and policy analyst who worked in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, lost his job at the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis for writing a book questioning the current President Bush's conservative credentials. And NewsBusters did its part to shun Bartlett as well:
A Feb. 21, 2006, post by Mark Finkelstein complained that the only reason a "conservative author" like Bartlett got attention from "MSM shows" was because he took "serious shots at a Republican president." Finkelstein later snapped at Bartlett's claims about Bush: "I wonder what Bartlett's former boss Jack Kemp would think of that?"
In a March 13, 2006, post, Dave Pierre was upset that the Los Angeles Times quoted Bartlett in a series on the "Conservative Crackup": "How about problems in the Democratic Party and among liberals?"
Aside from a March 29, 2006, post by Tim Graham referencing "anti-Bush books by old Bush officials like Paul O'Neill and Bruce Bartlett," these are the only mentions of Bartlett to be found on NewsBusters.
It seems Sheffield and Co. consider Bartlett to have "crossed the far right" by violating an important part of their agenda -- criticism of Bush is verboten -- and, thus, is now as "anathema" as Democrats consider Broder. Care to discuss why that is, Matt?
All you need to know about Bob Unruh's May 3 WorldNetDaily article on a federal "hate crimes" bill: the word "grandmother" appears five times. Of course, that's all just fear-mongering; Unruh repeats the highly misleading claim that "a grandmother was hauled to jail and threatened with 47 years in prison for proclaiming her Christianity on a public street" without telling the full story of that incident.
Actually, there is one other thing you need to know: Unruh makes no attempt to tell the other side of the story. But you probably knew that already.
CNS' Unbalanced Hate Bill Coverage Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 3 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall on a proposed "hate crimes" bill that would cover sexual orientation repeats without challenge a misleading claim by Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America:
"Justice should be blind," CWA President Wendy Wright said in a news release. She said the assailants of Matthew Shepard - a homosexual youth who was killed in 1998 - should receive the same sentence as the killer of Mary Stachowicz, "a grandmother who was brutally murdered by a homosexual man [in Chicago in 2002]."
"Victims are - and should be - treated equally in the justice system, regardless of their 'sexual orientation,'" Wright added. "We cannot imagine that President Bush would sign a bill that would create a two-tiered justice system that discriminates against grandmothers."
Neither Wright nor Hall explain how the bill "discriminates against grandmothers" -- a shameless, fraudulent appeal we saw a few weeks ago when with both CNS and WorldNetDaily swallowed right-wing spin that the bill will throw grandmas in jail. Nor do they point out that, since it covers "actual or perceived religion," the hate-crimes bill would likely cover Stachowicz, a "devout Catholic" (as described in a CWFA column) whose "questioning" of Nicholas Gutierrez's "lifestyle" is reported to be a factor in her murder.
Hall also adopts the conservative view of gays -- that they are not homosexual but are "individuals who engage in homosexual behavior," a terminology he used in his description of the bill.
In fact, this article features no supporter of the bill defending it. Another May 3 article by Hall on the bill contains a mere three paragraphs (out of 26) quoting a sponsor of the bill in support. Similarly, a May 3 article on the bill by Nathan Birchfiel contains only two paragraphs (out of 19) telling the supporters' case.
Thanks, CNS, For Proving Us Right Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com kindly proves our point on its unbalanced reporting on liberal vs. conservative claims: A day after an article appeared on a book claiming that President Bush committed impeachable offenses that quotes two conservatives rebutting the claim, a May 3 CNS article by Fred Lucas touts a sympathetic biography of conservative icon William F. Buckley but includes no comments from liberals who might mention, say, Buckley's onetime support of segretation.
Why Does Sheffield Hate Free Markets? Topic: NewsBusters
A May 2 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield is another tirade against the New York Times Co.'s dual-tier stock structure, in which the Ochs-Sulzburger family has effective control of the company. Sheffield railed against the "second-class status that regular shareholders receive in comparison to a small liberal clique that has almost exclusive control over the money-losing paper" and claimed that such a structure means the Times is "taking money from investors and not giving them anything to show for it."
As we noted the last time Sheffield did this, dual-tier stock structures are hardly unique to the times, and investors who feel that the company has not given them "anything to show" for their investment are free to cash out -- neither of which Sheffield mentions.
Further, contrary to Sheffield's claim that the company is "money-losing," the New York Times Co. made an operating profit of $54.5 million in the first quarter of 2007, and operating profit for the company's News Media Group, which includes newspaper operations, was $59.6 million.
As an employee of an organization that runs a division that used to be called the Free Market Project, Sheffield should know that in a free market, companies are free to structure their companies in the manner they choose, and that investors are free to invest, or not, in those companies. Why is Sheffield so eager to force a structure on the Times Company contrary to one freely chosen and accepted by its investors?
CNS' Double Standard on Impeachment Books Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 2 CNSNews.com article by Kevin Mooney on a new book by two "liberal authors" who claim that President Bush has committed impeachable offenses includes rebuttals but two conservatives. While such attempts at balance are what we like to see (though Mooney doesn't give the book's authors a chance to rebut the rebuttals), it's a marked change from the Clinton years and another book making a case for impeachment.
An Aug. 17, 1998, CNS article promoted Ann Coulter's book "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," repeating claims by a spokesman for the book's publisher, the conservative Regnery, that it's "a serious look at the case against the President for impeachment, including his actions in scandals going back to the beginning of his presidency right up through his testimony [today]." No apparent effort to contact anyone to rebut claims in Coulter's book was made.
While its record has improved, CNS still has a tendency to serve up conservative rebuttals to claims by liberals while allowing conservative claims to stand unchallenged.
New Article: Fairly Unbalanced Topic: Media Research Center
Appearances by Media Research Center spokesmen on Fox News mostly lack hard questions about the claims they make -- but then, Fox News provides little opportunity for anyone to ask such questions of the MRC. Read more.
CNS Misleads on Abortion, Eugenics Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 1 CNSNews.com article by Monisha Bansal is designed to promote the idea that" Charles Darwin's theories provided the basis for the eugenics movement, which 100 years ago saw the passage of the world's first forced sterilization law," which sounds a lot like D. James Kennedy's factually dubious attempt to link Darwin to Hitler. Bansal's main source is John West, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, whom she describes only as a "conservative policy expert." in fact, the Discovery Institute is an anti-evolution, pro-creationism (which they call "intelligent design") activist group, something alluded to only when Bansal quoted a spokesman for the American Humanists Association, who referenced "the rhetoric creationists have been using since the late 1970s."
Bansal also repeated the usual conservative attack line that "Planned Parenthood Federation of America's founder Margaret Sanger was an advocate of eugenics," quoting West as saying, "Abortions are performed on the poor in disproportionate numbers," countered only by a statement pulled from Planned Parenthood's website that the organization finds Sanger's views on eugenics "objectionable and outmoded." She apparently made no effort to contact an organization spokesman herself.
But, as Pandagon notes, during the period of Planned Parenthood’s history in which Sanger was associating with eugenicists, the organization was, in fact, adamantly anti-abortion.
A State Department report has found that terrorist attacks in 2006 increased 25 percent over the year before, with deaths from those attacks increasing 40 percent, but that's not what NewsBusters' Matthew Sheffield wants you to hear: His May 1 post is headlined, "Terrorism Is Down Almost Everywhere."
According to Sheffield, "the increase in terrorism was almost entirely due to Iraq. Nowhere in either piece do you learn the fact that aside from the Middle East (which does not include Afghanistan according to State), the number of terrorist attacks worldwide is down from a year ago by over 300 incidents. The number of deaths from terrorism was only up 14 percent." Sheffield claimed that this was evidence that "the Bush administration's idea that making Iraq the "central front in the war on terror" seems to be working," adding: "These aren't the kinds of facts you'll hear on the evening news or read in your local newspaper."
"Only 14 percent" more deaths -- that's not exactly progress. Way to spin it there, Matt.
Farah Acknowledges That We Exist Topic: WorldNetDaily
Via Scoobie Davis, we learn that WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, in a appearance on Air America's Thom Hartmann Show presumably to plug his new book, mentioned ConWebWatch:
Hartmann questioned Farah about how he used the Scaife-funded Western Journalism Center to shill for Scaife-funded pseudo-journalist Christopher Ruddy's Vince Foster conspiracy theories (I have a comprehensive post on the matter here). Farah asked if Hartmann got his information from ConWebWatch. Hartmann told him that he got his info from this site. Farah went on and accused me of being a Google bomber and an anti-Semite.
We'll get a transcript together shortly.
It would be rude not to acknowledge it, so: Hi, Joe!
An April 30 NewsMax article by Ronald Kessler gives his patented fluff job to deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino. Kessler has a weird focus on her looks, starting off by noting that she has been "[h]ailed on blogs as gorgeous and sexy" and the going for the full fluff:
She has girl-next-door good looks, blond hair, greenish-blue eyes, and a high forehead. But what you notice when she is interviewed on TV is her expressive delivery. You stop and listen for her interesting nuances of emphasis. She doesn't project the total confidence of the polished newscaster, and as a result, she inspires more trust.
In terms of her ability to rapidly fire out pertinent facts, she is the female Sean Hannity.
Kessler also serves up his, um, interesting take on the White House press corps:
Perino is more likely than Snow to take on reporters who overstep their bounds. Decades ago, reporters understood that press briefings were to convey and clarify news. Questions were asked to elicit information.
Now that briefings are televised, reporters use the opportunity to preen before the cameras and badger the briefer — conduct that years ago editors considered unprofessional. In those days, if reporters wanted to uncover their own facts, they could engage in investigative reporting, as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did during Watergate.
Presumably for Kessler, "overstepping their bounds" means that reporters dare to question Perino. We suspect Kessler would be a lot more tolerant of reporters "overstepping their bounds" if the president was a Democrat.
Kessler keeps up the theme in a hard-hitting question to Perino: "How does she stand the obvious press bias against the president?" He also cheers how Perino "cut ... off" Helen Thomas and happily noted that "Perino in effect called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a liar. But she did it in such a moderate tone that many didn't realize it."
Speaking of Self-Proclaimed Messiahs ... Topic: NewsBusters
An April 30 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd takes ABC to task for an ABCNews.com article (written nearly two months ago) about a guy named Jose de Jesus who calls himself the Second Coming of Jesus, complaining that "Nowhere ... are any Christian scholars or preachers consulted for comment or to condemn Jose de Jesus for blasphemy."
We don't recall seeing anyone at the MRC condemning another certain self-proclaimed messiah by the name of Sun Myung Moon. And we certainly don't remember anyone at the MRC objecting when Moon's newspaper, the Washington Times, pounted out a one-sided, flattering profile of the MRC.
If false messiahs are to be condemned for "blasphemy," let's denounce all of 'em, hmmmm?
Blumer Misleads on Stem Cell Research Topic: NewsBusters
An April 27 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer claimed that an apparent possible treatment involving adult stem cells was made by "a company more interested in advancing human health than in generating unsupported hype" -- that is, doing research involving embryonic stem cells. Blumer concludes: "Five or ten years from now, will we be asking ourselves how many lives that could have been saved or improved by adult and other non-embryonic stem cell research efforts were instead sacrificed because of money diverted to the black hole of embryonic stem cell research?"
That statement assume something for which Blumer provides no evidence -- that embryonic stem cell research is being conducted at the expense of adult stem cell research. Given Blumer's reporting of the results of adult stem cell research, that appears not to be true. While he asserts that adult stem cell research "largely ISN'T where the funding, especially the public funding, is going," he offers no evidence to back up the claim, further ignoring that newer, more experimental research tends to attract public research money because a direct payoff isn't guaranteed. If adult stem cell research is the rousing success Blumer portrays it as, it doesn't need public funding; it should be able to find sufficient private, profit-oriented funding.
Further in describing embryonic stem cell reserarch as a "black hole," Blumer fails to note that while decades of research has been done on adult stem cells, human embryonic stem cells were not isolated until 1998. In other words, given the decades-long head start of adult stem cell research, it's too early to tell whether embryonic stem cell research is the "black hole" Blumer portrays it as. That's why you do research, right? Adult stem cell research probably didn't result in useful treatments the first time either, something Blumer shows no interest in investigating.
Sheffield Backs Faulty Power Line Post Topic: NewsBusters
An April 28 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield endorses a Power Line post by John Hinderaker claiming, "The truth is that the Bush administration has been extraordinarily scandal-free. Not a single instance of corruption has been unearthed."
We'll let David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo demonstrate how wrong Hinderaker and Sheffield are.
Award-Winning WND Article Has Shaky Factual Basis Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 27 WorldNetDaily article touts the third-place win by WorldNetDaily's David Kupelian in the annual Amy Foundation Writing Awards for religious writing. But the factual basis for Kupelian's winning article is questionable at best.
As we've previously detailed, Kupelian's award-winning March 22, 2006, article on teacher-student sex paints the situation as an "epidemic" despite absolutely no hard evidence to back it up. The closest thing to evidence Kupelian cited that wasn't anecdotal was an alarmist claim by researcher Charol Shakeshaft that "the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests." But this number is extrapolated from another survey and has no direct research to support it. But it wasn't until after he recounted that study in detail that Kupelian bothered to note that one criticism of Shakeshaft's work called it "a misuse of the data" and that Shakeshaft herself "acknowledged many factors could alter the analysis." (Indeed, as we've noted, WND has never cited any hard evidence to support its "epidemic" claim.)
We also noted that, in making his moral case against teacher-student sex, Kupelian took a black-and-white approach in portraying anyone who doesn't follow his fundamentalist Christian point of view as supporters of a "secular, de facto atheistic worldview" who believe "there is just no logical reason adults shouldn't be able to have sex with children or whatever else they please," failing to acknowledge that non-religious arguments against teacher-student sex do exist.
Further, he smeared homosexuals as "evil, the source of the lower" for giving into their "selfish or unreasonable feelings."
The Amy Award citation, as quoted by WND, called Kupelian's article a "thought provoking, skillful presentation of biblical truth." But how can you be telling the "truth" if you're fudging facts in the process? And how can such a fact-fudging article be worthy of any award?