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Friday, September 7, 2007
Huston's Double Standard on Criminal Fundraisers
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 7 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston makes the stunning discovery that people are more interested in a congressional sex scandal than campaign finance. According to his accounting, he has declared "another small indication of how the GOP is treated unequally with the Democrat Party revealing Media Bias" in purportedly finding that there are been more media mentions of Larry Craig than Norman Hsu. Huston then tsks-tsks:

Now, wouldn't it seem to you that the story of a perhaps closeted gay Senator being "outed" is far less important to the "culture of corruption" in Washington than the story of a presidential candidate who has been taking massive campaign contributions from a convicted felon who is on the run from justice? Isn't it far more important to investigate illegal campaign donations to a politician than it is to report on the sex life of a politician?

So, Huston has declared "campaign contributions from a convicted felon" as something that deserves coverage. But we could find no mention by Huston -- or, indeed, by any NewsBusters blogger -- of Alan Fabian, a fundraising "bundler" for Mitt Romney's campaign and co-chairman of his national fiance committee, who has been charged in a 23-count indictment with mail fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice.

Looks like Huston is operating on a double standard that "illegal and criminal political campaign donations" should be news only when they involve Democrats.

UPDATE: Richard Newcomb, in a Sept. 7 post similarly complaining that "the media" hasn't reported on Hsu to his liking, also fails to mention Fabian.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2007 12:49 PM EDT
Dick Morris Non-Disclosure Watch
Topic: Newsmax
Dick Morris has penned yet another column trashing Hillary Clinton -- appearing Sept. 5 at NewsMax and The Hill and Sept. 6 at FrontPageMag. And again, nowhere does he (or those who published the column) disclose that he is actively working against Clinton's election.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EDT
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Judicial Watch Misleads on Democratic Donor
Topic: CNSNews.com

In a Sept. 5 CNSNews.com column on fundraiser Norman Hsu's legal problems, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton wrote:

The Wall Street Journal reported Hsu's connection to some suspicious fundraising activity when it uncovered the fact that one of Clinton's leading donors, the Paw family, lived in a 1,250 square foot lime-green bungalow outside of San Francisco. William Paw, the 64-year old head of household is a mail carrier who earns $49,000 per year. His wife is a homemaker. And yet, the Paw family has donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005.

But Fitton doesn't tell the whole story of the Paw family. In fact, as we've noted, the Journal also reported that William Paw's "grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to 'attendance liaison' at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund." In addition, the family owns a gift shop. Further, half of that $200,000 in political contributions from Winkle Paw, an adult son. The Journal reported Winkle Paw's statement that "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."

Fitton also asserted, "Our work also led to the federal prosecution of David Rosen, her [Clinton's 2000] Senate campaign's national finance director," but he failed to add that Rosen was acquitted, which hardly makes that a bragging point. Indeed, Rosen's mother called his prosecution "totally 100 percent political from the onset," which summarizes nicely the Clinton-hating Judicial Watch's history of legal harrassment of the Clintons.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:07 PM EDT
Kinsolving's Semantics Problem
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Sept. 6 WorldNetDaily column, Les Kinsolving takes offense to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann naming him to his daily "Worst Person in the World" list for insisting that Fidel Castro endorsed a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama presidential ticket. Kinsolving also references the Media Matters item (which, in turn, references us) similarly pointing this out; Kinsolving suggests that Media Matters got the idea from Olbermann, but Media Mattters' item appeared before Olbermann's citing of Kinsolving.

Kinsolving insists that Olbermann and Media Matters (and us) are suffering from a semantics problem: 

In other words (of Olbermann on MSNBC), Castro's written statement that Senators Clinton and Obama are "an apparently unbeatable ticket" is no endorsement at all, no endorsement whatsoever, no endorsement in any way.

This, therefore, has been turned by Olbermann into a semantic argument.

How does "Webster's New World Dictionary" define the word "endorse"?

Several ways – beginning with what is done on the back of a check – then:

2. To write a note, title etc. on (a document);

3. To give approval to; support; sanction; to endorse a candidate.

In other words, there are six different definitions of the word "endorse" before the dictionary mentions any endorsement of a political candidate.

Fidel Castro – as neither a Democrat, nor a Republican – and surely not a U.S. citizen but a Cuban communist – surely did fulfill more than one of those dictionary definitions of the word "endorse" since he undeniably "gave approval to" and "support" as well as "sanction."

I will surely not denounce Olbermann as being one of the World's Worst People for this spectacular blunder. I would merely suggest that his comedy writers need, seriously, to recruit either a semanticist – or at least someone who is more familiar with the dictionary than Mr. Olbermann is.

[...]

To these two Internet critics and to MSNBC I would suggest: 1) Back to the dictionary! and 2) Try to avoid such astringencies as "false claim." 

But Kinsolving doesn't acknowledge (except through his reproduction of the Media Matters item) that Castro also wrote that Clinton and Obama's pro-democratic views are an "error," and he said of the two candidates, "They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a Sunday afternoon." If Castro is attacking Clinton and Obama in this manner, how can he be simultaneously "endorsing" them?

It appears that Kinsolving is as unfamiliar with the rules of logic as Olbermann supposedly is with the dictionary. Then again, Kinsolving also believes that Bill Clinton was "indicted, tried and found guilty of both perjury and obstruction of justice."

UPDATE: Media Matters weighs in.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2007 3:10 PM EDT
Ruddy Ignores Evidence That bin Laden Supported Bush
Topic: Newsmax

In a Sept. 5 NewsMax column on the 2008 presidential candidates, Christopher Ruddy wrote regarding the "X factor" of a new terror attack benefitting the Republican candidate:

The Democratic theory behind this is that Osama bin Laden is well informed about U.S. politics and will act to influence the elections, if he needs to. The Democrats think bin Laden really wants another president like George Bush to succeed him, one who continues an aggressive war on terror, continues the Iraq occupation, and remains confrontational with states like Iran to sway world opinion.

This same Democratic theory says bin Laden and company believe they have been winning the war of world opinion as America spends hundreds of billions fighting a conventional war against an enemy, the terrorists, who fight asymmetrically using simple and inexpensive tactics. In the end, such a war bankrupts the United States at home while leaving us without allies abroad.

It’s nice theory. But I am not sure al-Qaida is happy about the destruction the U.S. military has rained on them in Afghanistan and Iraq. And they appear incapable of launching a major strike in the U.S. after many years since Sept. 11.

In fact, there is evidence to support this "Democratic theory" that Ruddy doesn't mention. As Media Matters has detailed, Ron Suskind, in his book "The One Percent Doctrine," reported on CIA analysts agreeing that a videotape of Bin Laden vehemently criticizing Bush released shortly before the 2004 presidential election -- and potrayed by conservatives as an endorsement of John Kerry's campaign -- "was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Huston Still Under Delusion That 'Path to 9/11' Was True
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 5 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston rehashed unsubstantiated accusations by screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh that ABC is blocking the DVD release of his ABC miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," because of purported pressure by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Huston happily plays along: "It sure seems like just another Clinton dirty trick to which a compliant media is happy to lend an assist," adding, "It looks like a certain political candidate's future is more important than either the truth or artistic integrity to the execs at ABC."

Well, no, "the truth" is not an issue because Nowrasteh's miniseries didn't tell it. As we've detailed (as Media Matters has noted), Nowrasteh portrayed the Clinton administration's reaction to terrorism much more negatively than actual events, and the Bush administration's reaction much more positively than actual events.

Conservatives have never conceded the fact that "The Path to 9/11" didn't tell the truth about the Clinton administration, and Huston is merely trying to keep up a false pretense.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Sheppard's Laugher: Substance-Free Attack on Vanity Fair Article
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 4 NewsBusters item, Noel Sheppard feels the need to hurl all sorts of invective at a Vanity Fair article detailing how mainstream media reporters repeated false claims and misquotes about Al Gore during the 2000 presidential election.

Sheppard declared "absurd" the idea that "the media were much kinder to George W. Bush during the 2000 election campaign cycle than Vice President Al Gore" and challenged readers to say it "without laughing hysterically." He went on to personally attack the writer, Evgenia Peretz:

  • "Makes one wonder what the color of the sky is in Peretz's world."
  • "Get the feeling this was going to be a balanced report from Peretz, or an attempt to assist Gore in a makeover he's been working on since the day he conceded to Bush in December 2000?"
  • "This coming from a woman who admittedly can't possibly be impartial, and, as a result, should never have been given this story."
  • "I guess Vanity Fair couldn't find anybody on its staff with less connection to the former vice president. Liberal media? What liberal media?"
  • "Of course, as an obvious Gore sycophant, Peretz can't be so introspective or impartial."

Completely and utterly missing from Sheppard's screed is any evidence that anything Peretz reported is misleading or incorrect or even biased, despite his suggestion that Peretz's disclosure that she has had "maybe two passing exchanges with Gore in my life" somehow disqualifies her from writing the article. Oops!

Sheppard concludes by writing of the Vanity Fair article: "all I have to say is caveat emptor." That would apply to Sheppard himself if had bothered to make any substantive criticisms instead of making hysterical attacks. Indeed, as we've detailed, Sheppard has made numerous unsubstantiated attacks on Gore -- which certainly disqualifies him from making a critique of Peretz's article that anyone should take seriously (not that he has done so here, mind you).


Posted by Terry K. at 3:50 PM EDT
Bozell Ignores DeLay's Indictment
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell's Sept. 4 column praises Tom DeLay for being "clearly in a fighting mood" on NBC's "Today" to counter charges that the Larry Craig scandal is emblematic of Republican scandal problems. DeLay accused host Matt Lauer of a "double-standard" for listing only Republican scandals and not ones involving Democratic politicians (though DeLay had to go back to the 1980s -- as Bozell wrote, "the old 1980s examples of Reps. Barney Frank and Gerry Studds" -- to fill out his Democratic scandal scorecard).

Bozell somehow fails to include one certain relevant fact: DeLay himself is part of the Republican scandal problem, having been indicted on campaign finance fraud charges, which ultimately forced him to resign from the House.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
New Article -- Lies, Conservatives and Statistics: Crime Waves, Lie Waves
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily and the ConWeb embrace a congressman's unreliable numbers about crimes committed by illegal immigrants. Read more.

And check ConWebWatch's new look


Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 AM EDT
MRC's Evidence of Couric Bias Is Thin
Topic: Media Research Center

An Aug. 30 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Brent Baker and Rich Noyes purports to document Katie Couric's "liberal approach" to her first year of hosting the CBS Evening News. But the evidence they provide is a bit thin -- only 12 examples over a year containing 200-plus half-hour programs. If the MRC could only find one a month, that's not a bad record.

Meanwhile, Media Matters found 17 examples of "conservative misinformation" on the part of Couric and the CBS Evening News over the past year. Doesn't that suggest that Couric is, in fact, leaning conservative?

Baker and Noyes also stated that Couric "put her liberal fingerprints all over Today during her 15 years at NBC." As we've detailed, that claim is not terribly reliable either -- among the MRC's evidence that Couric was biased at "Today" was the false assertion that she called Ronald Reagan an "airhead" when, in fact, all she did is report a claim to that effect in Edmund Morris' Reagan biography.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Media Matters picks up on our item describing how WorldNetDaily's Les Kinsolving falsely claimed that Fidel Castro had endorsed a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama presidential ticket.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:41 PM EDT
AIM Rehashes Bogus Morano Claims Again
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Sept. 4 Accuracy in Media "AIM Report" by Roger Aronoff, attacking yet again the Newsweek article on global warming deniers, repeats and expands his previous citing of Marc Morano's bogus statistics about funding of global warming deniers vs. supporters:

Senate staffer Marc Morano, a long-time conservative journalist and activist, points out that while those skeptical of the man-made global warming theory have received some $19 million, the forces favored by Newsweek have taken in closer to $50 billion, much of it from American taxpayers and channeled through federal and global agencies. This figure, of course, doesn't include the dollar value of all of the media coverage in support of the theory.

That's $50 billion versus $19 million.

But as we've detailed, Morano's $50 billion number is not suppored by a detailed breakdown and is almost certainly overinflated by counting the entire budgets of organizations toward that number, even if only a portion of the budget went for global warming purposes, and including tangental items as alternative fuel research. Morano's $19 million number is, in fact, only a single statistic -- money ExxonMobil has given to conservative groups -- and ignores the entirety of conservative denier activism (and does not include AIM's budget).

Aronoff previously cited Morano's bogus stats in an Aug. 10 AIM column.

In both articles, Aronoff wrote that the Newsweek article shows that "The facts have taken a back seat to propaganda." By embracing Morano's dubious numbers, Aronoff has certainly proven that he is even more eager than Newsweek to put propaganda before facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2007 1:43 PM EDT
Klein's WND-Published Book Coming Soon
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 3 WorldNetDaily article marking the fifth anniversary of WND's book division touts upcoming books it describes as "imminent potential blockbusters." One is "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists reveal their global plans – to a Jew!" by WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein. The Amazon page for Klein's book -- WND doesn't have one set up for it yet -- describes the book thusly:

Presented here for the first time are face-to-face conversations that noted journalist -- and Orthodox Jew -- Aaron Klein has conducted with leaders and members of terror organizations, including every major Palestinian Arab terror group, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Martyrs, Popular Resistance Committees, Arab liberation front, PFLP, Iraq insurgents, Taliban officials and even groups suspected of operating on U.S. soil (including Al-Muhajiroun).

This clever, often humorous but deeply disturbing book focuses not on how terror cells operate or how they get their funding, but on the individuals behind the masks and suicide bomber vests. It tells stories, often horrifying, about the events that have shaped, and are shaping, today's Middle East, as told by the perpetrators, in their own words. 

Will Klein address the issue of his use of these terrorists to promote his conservative political agenda (as we've detailed)? Will he tell us if he has ever verified what these terrorists have told him, or why his readers trust what they have to say? Will Klein tell us what deals he presumably has made so that he, an orthodox Jew, can hang with Arab terrorists without them killing him? We shall see.

The promotional article hangs a lot of its anniversary weight on "the one that started it all," the first book under the WND Books imprint, Katherine Harris' "Center of the Storm," which "tells the inside story of that battle for the White House following the Nov. 7, 2000, vote." But as we've noted, Harris didn't really write the book at all; it was farmed out to a ghost writer and his students.

The article also laughably asserts that WND Books "to fill a void in the traditional book-publishing marketplace, just as the news site, launched in 1997, met a demand for news uninfected with corporate influences and political and social agendas." As we've repeatedly documented, WND's news coverage is far from being "uninfected" by "political and social agendas"; rather, WND insists that its own political and social agendas infect its coverage.

Further, as we've detailed, WND was all too eager to turn its "news" pages into a promotional vehicle for Harris' book, and Klein himself is a veritable font of biased reporting.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2007 1:33 AM EDT
Monday, September 3, 2007
What's Wrong with MRC's Latest Study?
Topic: Media Research Center

On Aug. 29, the Media Research Center released a study claiming that network morning shows have devoted more time to covering Democratic presidential candidates than to Republican candidates. Needless to say, there are a couple of holes in MRC's methodology that misleadingly pump up Democratic numbers.

Tim Graham sorta concedes one in an Aug. 30 NewsBusters post, responding to criticism of the study by the morning shows themselves (reported by the Associated Press) that coverage of Elizabeth Edwards' cancer relapse was included in the total. Graham wrote:

It's a decent argument to suggest that Elizabeth Edwards interviews about her cancer shouldn't count as campaign coverage. But her interviews are often partially (or even barely) about her illness, and mostly about her husband's campaign, or her husband's squabbles with Ann Coulter. Elizabeth's cancer is a constant undercurrent in their campaign, as in suggesting they know how important universal health care would be -- because of her illness. But it doesn't dominate her interviews when she's been on.

Graham offers no evidence to support these claims, however. 

The study went on to assert that "the networks also aired more stories about the never-declared candidacy of former Democratic Vice President Al Gore than the actual candidacies of Republicans [Mitt] Romney and [Rudy] Giuliani," noting that Gore "was a network guest eight times, getting more than 48 minutes of airtime," later citing its methology behind it: "MRC analysts only counted interviews in which a potential Gore presidential campaign was discussed." But nowhere does the study note what we can likely surmise -- that much of the Gore coverage was centered around his global warming activism, specifically his promotion of the Live Earth concerts and his winning of an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth."

The study suggests as much, claiming that "Gore’s coverage consisted of praise for his work on behalf of a liberal global warming agenda." And nowhere does the study note that Gore has repeatedly disavowed serious interest in running for president in 2008.

It appears that if interviewers asked just a single question pondering if Gore was running in 2008 -- again, despite his repeatedly expressed lack of interest in doing so -- the MRC apparently counted the entire interview as coverage of a "Democratic presidential candidate." That's a stretch.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:51 AM EDT
CNS Misleads on Clinton Donations
Topic: CNSNews.com

Two CNSNews.com articles by Fred Lucas -- on Aug. 31 and Sept. 3 -- about the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton fundraiser Norman Hsu fails to tell the full story about one Clinton donor.

In the Aug. 31 article, Lucas wrote regarding Hsu's practice of "bundling" donations to Clinton's campaign:

In one example, the family of William Paw -- a San Francisco area mail carrier who lives in a bungalow near the airport -- reportedly donated $55,000 to the Clinton presidential campaign. The money apparently was raised by Hsu. 

Lucas similarly wrote on Sept. 3:

The most prominent example is the Paw family, who live in a one-story bungalow near the San Francisco International Airport. Having apparently never donated to a political campaign before 2004, the family has given $45,000 to Clinton's campaign organizations since 2005.

Combined, the family reportedly gave more than $200,000 to Democrats running for statewide office in New York. The Paw family is headed by William Paw, a mail carrier who reportedly earns $49,000 a year, and his wife Alice, a homemaker. 

Lucas implies that the Paw family's donations are illegal because, consisting of a mail carrier and a homemaker, it can't afford to give that much money -- something for which he offers no evidence. But Lucas doesn't tell the full story of the Paw family, which would contradict Lucas' implication.

As the Wall Street Journal detailed, William Paw's "grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to 'attendance liaison' at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund." In addition, the family owns a gift shop. Further, as Media Matters noted, half of the $200,000 in political contributions reported by Lucas came from Winkle Paw, an adult son. The Journal reported Winkle Paw's statement that "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."

By withholding all the relevant facts, CNS appears to be trying to gin up a Clinton controversy that isn't really there. 

UPDATE: NewsMax, which loves ginning up Clinton controversies, reprinted Lucas' Sept. 3 article. 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:32 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 3, 2007 12:30 PM EDT

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