For a self-proclaimed "lifelong Democrat," Jerry Zeifman sure spends a good chunk of his time bashing his alleged fellow Dems on the ConWeb. Read more >>
Thursday, August 14, 2008
AIM Strikes Back
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Bethany Stotts takes us to task in an Aug. 12 Accuracy in Media column for noting that in an earlier item she wrote, she seemed to be ignoring that John Hagee appeared to be retracting his apologies for his hateful remarks about Catholics and blaming Hurricane Katrina on God's desire to smite gays. She writes:
The question is not whether Hagee was consistent in invoking "God’s sovereignty and control over human events"; it's whether his insistence that his critics "do not understand the Bible view" means that Hagee still believes the claim he had to publicly retract because of those critics -- that God sent Katrina to smite gays.
As for Hagee's statements about Catholics, Stotts notes "If Pastor Hagee were intent on 'attacking' Catholics, it wouldn’t make much sense to invite them to his Summit. During the banquet Pastor Hagee recognized Bill Donohue and two other Catholic leaders as his honored guests." Stotts added an excerpt from Hagee's Christians United for Israel speech in which he proclaimed his "greater understanding" of Catholics, adding, "Perhaps Krepel didn’t actually listen to Pastor Hagee’s speech?"
Well, we never claimed to be going by anything beyond AIM's own video of excerpted remarks by Hagee and others from the CUFI event. But we'll concede the point that Hagee genuinely appears to want a rapprochement with Catholics.
Stotts wasn't done with us, however:
We can agree to disagree about to what extent Hagee is McCain's Rev. Wright. But it's not at all arrogant to forward the claim that Stotts has a interest in minimizing the McCain-Lieberman-Hagee triumverate to benefit McCain -- indeed, that seemed to be the whole point of her original article. And certainly these sorts of double standards, real or hypothetical, exist on both sides of the political spectrum -- Stotts might want to have a chat with her AIM seniors on the subject of political scandals reported in supermarket tabloids. And besides, as Peggy Noonan might say, it would be irresponsible not to speculate.
Stotts concludes by claiming that we "focus more on fitting Accuracy in Media’s reporting to a preconceived ideological model rather than the dissemination of truthful and accurate information." But by immediately labeling us as a "left-wing blog," she does the exact same thing, never mind that we don't endorse candidates or advocate for political viewpoints, left-wing or otherwise.
Finally, nowhere does Stotts link in her column to the article of ours that she's criticizing. What's up with that?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Just Asking ...
Last December, when a man took hostages at a Hillary Clinton campaign office in New Hampshire, NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard wondered if Hillary "orchestrated this entire crisis to make herself look battle-hardened."
Is Sheppard similarly wondering if the shooting death of the Arkansas Democratic Party chairman was staged by Democratic officials in order to generate a sympathy vote?
WND Still Misleads on Christian Textbook Lawsuit
An Aug. 12 WorldNetDaily article misleadingly claims that a court ruling means that the University of California "discriminate against coursework done by high school students that includes a Christian viewpoint," further claiming that the ruling "concluded the UC system was correct to reject courses from major book publishers, including Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books, a Florida publishing powerhouse, because they include a Christian perspective."
In fact, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "U.S. District Judge James Otero of Los Angeles said UC's review committees cited legitimate reasons for rejecting the texts - not because they contained religious viewpoints, but because they omitted important topics in science and history and failed to teach critical thinking."
The unbylined WND article goes on to misleadingly assert: "According to the lawsuit, a variety of textbooks with supplemental perspectives were accepted – just not those with a Christian perspective." In fact, according to the Chronicle (and not mentioned by WND):
The WND article also failed, as did a previous article, to explain or justify a biology textbook that does not put science first.
Massie Demands the Right To Be A Gluttonous Pig
Really? The Founding Fathers wanted Americans to needlessly waste natural resources and stuff our faces until achieving a Creosote-esque explosion? We don't recall seeing that in the Federalist Papers.
Indeed, Massie's column is filled with ludicrous statements. Like this one: "America today is no longer a nation where her sovereignty is honored. Illegal aliens are not to be called what they are, but rather undocumented immigrants." But if they lack proper documentation and are immigrating, they are, in fact, undocumented immigrants.
Massie also asserts: "Today, businesses like Tyson Foods disallow long-standing national holidays, such as Labor Day – choosing instead to honor Muslim holidays – as if America should be beholding to same." In fact, as even WND reported, a single Tyson plant moved an employee holiday from Labor Day to Eid al-Fitr at the request of the workers there. Are workers not allowed to choose what holiday to have off if the management agrees to it?
And it wouldn't be a Massie column if he didn't throw in some big ol' five-dollar word. Today's word is "picrotoxin":
Massie's Obama-hate has been at Derangement Syndrome levels for a while now.
Bozell's Tabloid Double Standard (And A Bunch of Misleading Claims)
Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell goes on a remarkable run of misstatements in his Aug. 12 column while ranting against the media for not taking a supermarket tabloid's claims about John Edwards' affair at face value, as well as purported disparate treatment of Republican scandals:
Who says he did? Not the media (in the U.S., anyway). Plug in "ted haggard republican" into Google, and the first hit is an article from the British newspaper the Guardian claiming that "The Republican party today was assessing the potential political fallout" from the Haggard scandal." The second is a satirical article from The Onion claiming that Haggard "revealed Wednesday that he was repeatedly molested by an unnamed Republican congressman in the late 1990s," adding, "Authorities have not acted on Haggard's allegations, saying that Republicans are often accused of wrongdoings simply because so many of them lead secret gay or criminal lifestyles." The only other article from a news organization, real or otherwise, on the first page of Google's results is a Rocky Mountain News article noting that Haggard has "direct access to President Bush," noting that "Republicans - who have leaned enormously on the vote of conservative Christians in recent years - already reeling from a series of congressional scandals." That would seem to answer Bozell's question.
We'll let the New York Times answer that one: "Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues."
Let's see ... one case involved (at the time) unverified rumors promoted by a supermarket tabloid of someone who holds no political office and ceased being a candidate several months ago, the other involved an on-the-record guilty plea of a sitting congressman. Further, Edwards' affair is reported to have occured in 2006; Elizabeth Edwards' recurrence of breast cancer, which she may or may not be "dying" from, was revealed in March 2007.
First, the Times never claimed McCain and Iseman had an affair; rather, the article noted that "Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself" and that "to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity."
Second, Bozell was singing a different tune about his new favorite supermarket taboid of choice just a few short months ago. Back in February, Bozell was attacking the Times over the McCain-Iseman story for being -- wait for it -- "fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer."
Bozell isn't slagging the "the likes of" the Enquirer now. Double standard much?
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
New WND Bumper Sticker More or Less Endorses McCain
None of the above? Never mind.
In apparent contradiction of WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah's "none of the above" campaign, WND is now selling a new bumper sticker: "Better an imperfect Republican than a perfect socialist."
The WND store page for the sticker tries hard to put a positive spin on it: "If you're not convinced McCain is right for the job, but think anyone would be better than Obama , this bumper sticker is perfect for expressing that position." (Bold and underlined type in the original.)
This -- on top of WND's hands-off-McCain news policy and managing editor David Kupelian's endorsement of McCain -- undercuts even further Farah's "none of the above" campaign (and related book), not to mention contradicts its own lame "McCain Not Able" sticker.
Farah needs to stop pretending that he and his company haven't taken sides and just tell everyone to vote for McCain already.
Finkelstein: Obama's 'New Economy' = Commie Central Planning
Has Mark Finkelstein been reading a little too much Cliff Kincaid?
Seems so. Finkelstein forwards a different take on Kincaid's Barack-Obama-is-a-secret-commie meme in an Aug. 11 NewsBusters post by making the logical leap that a statement in an Obama commercial referencing a "new economy" means that Obama embraces communist-style central planning:
When, exactly, did Obama endorse central planning? Finkelstein doesn't say -- perhaps because Obama never has. Perhaps Finkelstein needs to take his fevered brain on vacation.
But Finkelstein isn't the only person drawing an MRC paycheck currently trying to link Obama to communists. An Aug. 12 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas goes the Aaron Klein guilt-by-association route by playing up praise for Obama in a Communist Party newspaper.
Gainor Misleads on 4-Day Workweek
An Aug. 11 CNSNews.com column by Dan Gainor, head of the MRC's Business & Media Institute, falsely claims that a 4-day workweek for governmental employees equals "either ... a 25-percent increase in taxes or a 20-percent cut in services." Gainor doesn't explain how that can be, given that those governmental workers are actually putting in the same number of hours.
Nevertheless, Gainor goes on:
Gainor seems not to have considered the possibility that governmental agencies would stagger those 4-day workweeks so that an office can remain open for a full five workdays.
AIM's Tabloid Double Standard
Topic: Accuracy in Media
An Aug. 11 Accuracy in Media blog post by Don Irvine defends the honor of the National Enquirer over the John Edwards affair. After quoting New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt saying that the Enquirer issed "one sensational report after another" and noting that the Times "did not want to regurgitate the Enquirer’s reporting without verifying it," Irvine added: "Note the condescending attitude of Hoyt by equating the Enquirer with the gutter." (He then declares that "I am no fan of the Enquirer.")
But AIM had a much different view when the Enquirer and sister tabloids were repeating a claim that President Bush was having an affair with Condoleezza Rice and "shocking information about how the Bush Administration has failed to respond to terrorist threats." From a June 2006 AIM column by Cliff Kincaid:
So how does ownership of the Enquirer by a former Clinton crony figure into its reporting on Edwards' affair? Irvine and Kincaid don't say. AIM thus joins the rest of the ConWeb in their selective outrage against supermarket tabloids, denouncing them when they report unflattering things about conservatives and treating them as legitimate when they report unflattering things about liberals.
But if we are now to believe that everything in the Enquirer is unquestionably true, then this must be too:
Will Irvine and Kincaid vouch for the Enquirer here as well?
Speaking of Kincaid, he spends his Aug. 11 column trying to steer the conversation his (creepily obsessed) direction, insisting that Barack Obama being a secret commie is a much bigger deal than Edwards:
Not that AIM and Kincaid haved worked all that hard to uncover any Bush administration scandals, mind you.
Kessler's Cut-And-Paste Double Fluff
In writing a fawning Aug. 11 Newsmax profile of Richard Grenell, Bush-appointed spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Ronald Kessler wrote that "Grenell has advised four U.S. ambassadors — John D. Negroponte, John C. Danforth, John R. Bolton, and Zalmay Khalilzad the current U.S. ambassador — on the formulation and articulation of U.S. policy at the United Nations."
Does that sound familiar? It should, because that comes almost word-for-word from Grenell's official bio:
That phrase from his bio also appears on Grenell's Wikipedia page. Apparently, Kessler was so busy fluffing Grenell that he had time only to cut-and-paste Grenell's background.
Curiously, this appears to be the same exact article by Kessler that Newsmax posted five days earlier. The only difference between the two that we noted is that the newer one includes a picture of Grenell. What gives? Is Grenell so nice that Kessler fluffed him twice?
Monday, August 11, 2008
Timmerman Mum on Political Agenda of Vet 'Reporters'
An Aug. 10 Newsmax column by Ken Timmerman highlights a "group of eight citizen-soldier-reporters" who "returned to Iraq last week as civilians to embed as reporters with their former units, to tell the story of recent successes in the war they believe the media is not accurately reporting to the American people."
That's the closest that Timmerman gets to hinting at the agenda of the "citizen-soldier-reporters" he is featuring. The group is associated with Vets for Freedom -- which, as Salon details, not only supports the Iraq war but "has a remarkable number of ties -- some previously unreported -- to Republicans generally and John McCain's campaign specifically. And it has run attack ads against Barack Obama." Timmerman quotes VFF leader Pete Hegseth as part of the group but fails to note, as Salon did, that Hegseth has campaigned for John McCain. Salon adds:
Timmerman reports none of this about the VFF "citizen-soldier-reporters" he features in his article.
CNS: Obama Texting VP Announcement = "Trolling for Email Addresses"
An Aug. 11 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones reports on Barack Obama's plan to announce his vice presidential choice via email to supporters.
But what does the headline say? "Obmaa Trolling for Email Addresses." Jones ominously adds: "The Obama campaign is eager to gather as many email addresses as possible for get-out-the-vote and fund-raising purposes."
Aside from not explaining why gathering email addresses from supporters is hardly an unorthodox campaign procedure -- indeed, John McCain's campaign is also trolling for email addresses, though Jones would likely never call it that -- Jones ignores the actual news here: Obama will also utilize text messaging to announce his VP pick, not just email.
Then and Now
-- Seton Motley, Nov. 27, 2007, NewsBusters post
Tom Blumer, Aug. 11 NewsBusters post
Klein Whitewashes Savage, Lacks Disclosure
An Aug. 10 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein on Michael Savage's once and future legal actions against the Council of American-Islamic Relations is largely a whitewash piece, treating Savage's accusations against CAIR as fact and making no apparent attempt to contact CAIR for a response (though he pulled a few previous quotes by CAIR from some source that Klein doesn't bother to identify).
While Klein does note that Savage's claim that CAIR violated his copyright by repeating excerpts from his show was tossed out of court because the judge "ruled it is legal to use excerpts of a public broadcast for purposes of comment and criticism," Klein fails to mention that Savage has previously tried (and failed) to sue his critics over purported copyright violations.
Further, Klein fails to disclose WND's business relationship with Savage, which in the past has included publishing his books and currently includes hosting his website. The Society of Professional Journalists' ethics code states that journalists have an obligation to "disclose unavoidable conflicts."
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