Topic: The ConWeb
The former CNS reporter, now flacking for a conservative senator, peddles transparently bogus numbers about funding of global warming -- and the ConWeb eats 'em up. Read more.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
New Article -- Lies, Conservatives and Statistics: Marc Morano's Fantasy
Topic: The ConWeb
The former CNS reporter, now flacking for a conservative senator, peddles transparently bogus numbers about funding of global warming -- and the ConWeb eats 'em up. Read more.
NewsBusters Thinks Michelle Obama's Remarks Targeted Hillary
An Aug. 22 NewsBusters post by Geoffrey Dickens, as well as the Aug. 23 "Gaggle" cartoon takeoff on the post, declares something as fact for which they have no evidence: that Michelle Obama's remark that "If you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House," was, as Dickens wrote, a "slam of Hillary Clinton."
But if one listens to the whole quote, the word "Hillary" is never mentioned (nor is the name of any other candidate), and Obama frames the remark by talking about her own family.
While NewsBusters and "Gaggle" artist Greg Sheffield seem to have arbitrarily chosen Hillary as the purported target of Obama's words, they certainly weren't alone. How do they know she wasn't referring to Rudy Giuliani, who can't even get his own kids to campaign for him?
UPDATE: The MRC CyberAlert version of Dickens' post softens it a tad, calling Obama's remarks a "presumed slam of Hillary Clinton." On what evidence is that presumption being made?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
An Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article begins by asserting that cellular provider Alltel "is raising eyebrows with a TV spot featuring a woman wearing large earrings in the shape of a Pentagram, the symbol of Satanism and other occult beliefs and practices." The article doesn't mention the pentagram earrings again; instead, it launches into an anti-Clinton rant that began:
Because, obviously, a company tied to the Clintons would use pentagrams in their ads.
The article then descends into an orgy of factually questionable Clinton conspiracy-mongering.
It asserts that Alltel "was called Systematics"; in fact, Alltel was founded as Allied Telephone in 1943, changed its name to Alltel in 1983, and purchased Systematics in 1990. The article further claims that "Systematics would go on to develop the secret computer 'Clipper' chip capable of bugging every phone, fax and e-mail transmission in America." That's highly unlikely, since Systematics, as described in a 1990 Alltel press release announcing the company's acquisition, was "the leading provider of data processing management, services and advanced applications software exclusively for banks, savings institutions, mortgage companies and credit unions." Given that the company's expertise is in financial services, it's doubtful that it would be terribly involved in "develop[ing]" black-ops spy chips; its role, if there was one at all, was likely minor at best, probably limited to information-gathering (the bulk of Systematics' business was performing back-room processing for banks). Systematics was renamed Alltel Information Services in 1995; Alltel sold the company in 2003.
This is a little factually dubious conspiracy WND has been peddling for years; Joseph Farah was spouting the same stuff in a February 2000 column. A November 1999 WND column by Charles Smith spoke in similarly conspiratorial terms about Systematics.
From there, things decend even further into Clinton Conspiracy name-dropping, even throwing in a guest appearance by Vince Foster and another member of the Clinton Death List, Charles Wilbourn Miller (which WND misspells as "Wilbourne"). WND sinisterly notes: "Even though two weapons were found at the scene and two rounds from the Ruger had been fired, Miller's death was ruled a suicide." Apparently nobody actually commits suicide in Arkansas since, as WND wants you to think, Bill Clinton kills 'em all. That's recycled stuff too; Farah was peddling it back in 1999.
This makes an interesting -- if paranoid -- companion piece to Jack Cashill's ongoing Clinton Conspiracy-mongering series on Curt Weldon.
Shocker: Bozell Admits Fox Is Hostile to Democrats
Topic: Media Research Center
From Brent Bozell's Aug. 21 column: "GOP candidates do not have the Democrats’ luxury of ignoring hostile media outlets like FOX as if they did not exist."
That's right -- Bozell admitted the truth without qualification: that Fox is hostile to Democrats.
We're verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.
Cashill, Part 3: More Misleading Claims
Hey, kids, it's time for Part 3 of Jack Cashill's Clinton Derangement Syndrome epic at WorldNetDaily (we've gone through Part 1 and Part 2 already), portraying Curt Weldon has a victim of the Clinton Conspiracy. What did Cashill get wrong this time?
He starts off by dropping another reference to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) as a "George Soros-funded watchdog group," again failing to mention that Richard Mellon Scaife has funded Judicial Watch to a much greater extent than Soros has funded CREW.
Cashill then asserted that during his 2006 interview with Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace, Bill Clinton's mention of Weldon was "announced out of nowhere" when he stated: "A three-star admiral who was on my National Security Council staff, who also fought terror, by the way, is running for the seat of Curt Weldon in Pennsylvania." In fact, Clinton's mention of Weldon and his opponent was not "out of nowhere"; it was in the context of describing the military backgrounds of Democratic candidates running in the election. From the Wallace-Clinton interview:
Finally, Cashill called the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" "an honest, if unflattering, account of events." Wrong; as we've detailed, conservatives loved the heck out of it because it contained fabricated scenes that made the Clinton administration look bad. Cashill must have a different definition of "honest" than the rest of us.
Cashill's got one more part left. Can he keep up the level of false and misleading claims? Stay tuned...
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Kessler Misleads on FISA Vote
An Aug. 16 NewsMax column by Ronald Kessler claimed that "Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's greatest vulnerability in the general presidential election" is "their vote against revising the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)":
But Kessler offers no evidence that either Clinton or Obama ever specifically opposed the government's "ability to monitor, without a warrant, calls between terrorists situated in foreign countries." In fact, as Media Matters notes, Clinton voted in favor of a version of the bill -- introduced by Democrats -- that would have reversed a reported ruling limiting the administration's ability to intercept certain foreign-to-foreign communications without a warrant. The bill Clinton voted against was a much broader bill to amend FISA to give the administration authority to intercept certain domestic-to-foreign communications without a warrant.
Further, as the New York Times reported, the bill that was passed "could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include — without court approval — certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans’ business records."
In fact, FISA has long allowed the government to obtain warrants for wiretapped conservations up to 72 hours after the conversation has taken place.
Gladnick Doesn't Think Rove Leaked Plame's Identity, Even Though He Did
Call it Rove Denial Syndrome.
An Aug. 19 NewsBusters post by P.J. Gladnick, in declaring that San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford is suffering from "Rove Derangement Syndrome" for his rant against Karl Rove, in which he says, among other things, that Rove "intentionally commit[ted] treason by leaking the name of a CIA agent to reporters in an insidious attempt to silence critics of your boss' horribly failed war." Gladnick responds:
But Rove did leak Plame's identity to reporters -- in fact, he served as confirmation of hte information for columnist Robert Novak, who first went public with the name. Rove also leaked to then-Time reporter Matthew Cooper.
This follows a long pattern of NewsBusters writers trying to shove all blame for the leak of Plame's identity onto Armitage, peddling the absurd notion that because Armitage leaked Plame's name to Robert Novak, and Novak was the first to report it ahead of the reporters to whom Rove (and Scooter Libby) leaked, Rove's and Libby's leaks somehow magically didn't happen.
Cashill Smears Sestak
It's Part 2 of Jack Cashill's Clinton Derangement Syndrome series for WorldNetDaily, so the question is: How does he mislead in this episode? By smearing Curt Weldon's opponent for his House seat, Joe Sestak.
Cashill calls Sestak "a former vice admiral forced into retirement for what the U.S. Navy charitably called 'poor command climate.' " But he lets the smear stand without telling the full story. (Cashill did the same thing in a November 2006 WND column.) In fact, here's what the Delco Times -- which Cashill cites authoritatively elsewhere in his article -- reported about Sestak's military service
The Times also quoted critics of Sestak, but none of them "would talk about Sestak without a promise of anonymity." Brave folks, eh?
Cashill also claimed that Mary O. McCarthy, a Sestak donor, was "recently fired from the CIA after failing a polygraph on leaked classified information in regards to CIA prisons overseas." In fact, as Media Matters has detailed, McCarthy has denied that she was the source of the Washington Post's November 2006 report by reporter Dana Priest regarding the CIA's secret detention operations. Moreover, the Post has reported that "a senior intelligence official said the agency is not asserting that McCarthy was a key source of Priest's award-winning articles last year disclosing the agency's secret prisons." The CIA has acknowledged only that McCarthy was dismissed for "knowingly and willfully shar[ing] classified intelligence," and that Priest was among the journalists McCarthy allegedly contacted.
What fresh falsehoods and misleading claims will Cashill serve up in tomorrow's segment? Stay tuned...
Monday, August 20, 2007
WND Columnist Hearts Michael Vick, Sorta Defends Dogfighting
There aren't many people running to the defense of Michael Vick these days following his arrest on dogfighting charges. But one who has is WorldNetDaily columnist Ilana Mercer -- who paints Vick as a misunderstood manly-man and even quasi-defends dogfighting as part of a noble tradition of "blood sport." From Mercer's Aug. 17 column:
Mercer goes on to claim that "Animal-rights activists share a humanity-hating agenda with environmentalists," concluding: "Human beings ought to care for and be kind to animals, but a civilized society is one that never threatens a man's liberty because of the callousness with which he has treated the livestock he owns."
Farah Falsely Ties Heinz Kerry to Tides -- Again
Maybe we can call this Kerry Derangement Syndrome.
An Aug. 20 WorldNetDaily article by Joseph Farah, reporting on a "Soros-backed media outlet" -- the IndyMedia network of websites -- that suggested that a federal nuclear-terror drill "may be a 'false flag' operation leading to the detonation of a real nuclear device to set the stage for martial law," claims that "IndyMedia.org has also received support from Teresa Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation."
In fact, Heinz Kerry does not sit on Tides' board of directors, so it can't really be "Teresa Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation." As we detailed the last time Farah and WND tried to falsely portray the relationship between Heinz Kerry and Tides, foundations controlled by Heinz Kerry have donated money to Tides, but that money is earmarked for specific environmental projects in Pennsylvania. Farah offers no evidence whatsoever that any money Heinz Kerry donated to Tides sent to IndyMedia.
This goes to show just how much of a bitter, angry, hateful man Farah is that he still feels compelled to tell lies about Heinz Kerry three years after her husband lost the race for the presidency.
Cashill Misleads on CREW
Cashill's main point is that, unlike the "vast right-wing conspiracy" Hillary Clinton complained about (which Cashill called "self-parodying"), the Clinton Conspiracy is real:
Note that Scaife is merely called a "millionaire," while liberal financiers get disparagingly tagged as "unscrupulous plutocrats." Of course, Cashill is wrong; Scaife was never the only funder of conservative causes. Cashill conveniently overlooks family foundations such as Koch, Bradley and Olin that have pumped millions into conservative causes.
Cashill goes on to haul out its favorite conservative bogeyman: "For coordination, they have been able to count on an aggressive and effective George Soros-funded 'watchdog' group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW."
Cashill misleads here, too. As we've pointed out, CREW did not receive Soros money until after scandal-tarred Rep. Bob Ney made the accusation, as CREW's Melanie Morgan said, "We now get money from The Open Society Institute, and it is probably thanks to Bob Ney."
Cashill then compares CREW to Judicial Watch, asserting that "CREW was to function as something of a counterweight to Judicial Watch, the D.C.-based conservative watchdog group" but "has emerged as something of a dirty tricks operation for a truly worrisome cabal known as the Democratic Alliance." Cashill, at this point, offers no evidence that CREW is involved in "dirty tricks" or how its operation differs from the way Judicial Watch attack the Clinton administration.
Cashill also ignores a more significant contrast between CREW and Judicial Watch. As we've noted, as of 2006, CREW has received a mere $100,000 from a Soros-backed group. Meanwhile, from 1997 to 2002, Scaife foundations gave more than $7 million to Judicial Watch.
Cashill does seem to be backing away, though, from his suggestion that the Clintons are to blame for Mark Foley's downfall, saying that "Foley deserved his fate" but questioning "the highly suspect timing of his outing, just six weeks before the critical 2006 elections."
However, Cashill is more than eager to absolve Weldon of allegations that he traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter: "Regardless of any charges that may be filed against him, Weldon committed only one unforgivable crime: Investigating the intelligence failures of the Clinton era."
Should be a fun next few days as Cashill continues on his conspiratorial bent.
An Inconveniently Biased Column
Topic: Accuracy in Media
An Aug. 15 Accuracy in Media column by Matt Hadro recycles Sen. James Inhofe's attack on Al Gore -- his demand that Gore take a pledge to "consume no more energy for use in my residence than the average American household." Hadro adds: " Also, today, August 15, 2007, marks the 147th day that Gore has failed to embrace the challenge and sign Senator Inhofe’s pledge. Quite an 'inconvenient' truth for the face of the global warming activists."
Hadro neglects to mention that Gore has made significant efforts in offsetting the carbon footprint of his energy usage by purchasing "green energy" at a higher price that regular electricity and installing solar panels at his house. Nor does Hadro mention that Inhofe didn't give Gore a chance to answer his challenge during Senate testimony, repeatedly interrupting Gore's response.
Hadro also wrote:
Actually, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee doesn't do studies like that. The number Hadro is referring to is the number reported by the AP after the Tennessee Center for Policy Research promoted a different, higher (not to mention unsubstantiated) amount. Hadro likely lifted his claim from the committee's minority spokesperson, serial misleader Marc Morano.
According to his column, Hadro "is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia." Are such sloppy, biased claims what AIM and AIA think is "journalism" that should be taught to students?
Sunday, August 19, 2007
NewsMax Defends Wash. Post Reporter's Attacks on Edwards
The Aug. 12 edition of NewsMax's "Insider Report" does something unusual for the ConWeb: it comes to the defense of a reporter in the dreaded "liberal media." That's because the reporter has done some of NewsMax's work for it through misleading reporting on John Edwards.
The "Insider Report" item focuses on an Aug. 4 Alternet column (which NewsMax erroneously calls "Alter.net") by Alexander Zaitchik attacking Washington Post reporter John Solomon's articles on Edward, in particular Edwards' hedge fund work, real estate dealings and the infamous $400 haircut. NewsMax states:
"Accurate and well-researched"? Not exactly. As Media Matters points out, Solomon's article on the sale of Edwards' house suggests without evidence that the sale was somehow shady without noting that the profit Edwards made on the house was not out of line with the state of the real estate market and the improvements Edwards made to the house while he owned it. In an online discussion about the article, Solomon went even further, baselessly suggesting that Edwards broke campaign finance law in the the sale of the house.
And even Post ombudsman Deborah Howell criticized the tone of Solomon's reporting on Edwards' work for a hedge fund for implying "that consulting for a hedge fund, whose offshore tax havens he has decried, is incompatible with caring about the less fortunate."
Beware when NewsMax praises your work -- that means you're adhering to the conservatives' agenda.
NewsBusters Complains That Coulter Is Misquoted -- Not That She Misquoted Maher
The Media Research Center just can't stop running to the defense of poor, helpless Ann Coulter.
An Aug. 18 NewsBusters post by Michael M. Bates complained that ABC News reported "less than the whole story" by reporting an "incomplete" version of what Ann Coulter said in June about John Edwards. But in pointing out that Coulter's remark that "If I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot" played off remarks Bill Maher made about Dick Cheney, Bates doesn't mention that Coulter misquoted Maher.
As we've pointed out, Maher did not say that "he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack," as Coulter claimed. Rather, he said: "I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow. ... I'm just saying that if he did die -- other people -- more people would live."
If Bates is going to accuse one party of misquoting another, shouldn't he note all relevant misquotes?
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Foley Scandal Was Clinton's Fault?
An Aug. 18 WorldNetDaily article announcied an upcoming four-part series by Jack Cashill purporting to detail "the Clinton-directed targeting and defeat of former Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., the one member of Congress who likely did more to expose Clinton administration culpability in 9-11 than any other." It also states the following:
It's the Clintons' fault that Foley was trolling for male congressional pages? We can't wait to hear that explanation -- plus the one that holds the Clintons responsible for Scooter Libby's lying before a grand jury and obstructing an investigation, for which a jury agreed that there was enough evidence to convict.
Cashill's most notable journalistic moment, you will recall, was a seven-part WND series in which he declared that James Kopp was innocent of killing a doctor who provided abortions -- a few months before Kopp pleaded guilty to the crime. Cashill also tried to suggest that convicted and admitted Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph was the victim of an FBI conspiracy to attack anti-abortion protesters.
So it's probably safe to take Cashill's overarching Clinton conspiracies with a grain of salt -- though we can't wait to hear how the Clintons forced Foley to chase after young boys.
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