MRC Quiet As NYT's Blumenthal Story Falls Apart Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loves to hammer the reporting and commentary at the New York Times -- heck, it has an entire division devoted solely attacking it.
But those attacks are not about the Times' journalistic quality -- it's about its occasional conservative incorrectness. Out of the dozens of articles the Times publishes each day, the MRC's TimesWatch can identify only a paltry few that violate its standards of not being conservative enough, which would seem to undermine the right-wing notion that the Times has a liberal bias.
So when the Times publishes a factually deficient story that attacks a Democrat -- as it did with its May 18 article accusing Connecticut senate candidate Richard Blumenthal of lying about his service in Vietnam -- the MRC not only ignores those problems, it defends the article as accurate.
The only article at TimesWatch on the Blumenthal story is a May 19 item by Clay Waters that strains to find something, anything, to criticize about it -- that it waited until the third paragraph to identify Blumenthal as a Democrat and that the accompanying photo "didn't identify Blumenthal as a Democrat either."
Meanwhile, the rest of the MRC was eager to promote the story -- despite its history of attacking the Times' reporting. Scott Whitlock used a May 19 item complained that CBS didn't report on Blumenthal's "military scandal," that ABC "devoted less than a minute to the topic." and that NBC didn't identify him as a Democrat.
NewsBusters' Tom Blumer, meanwhile, was incredulous that Blumenthal would even be allowed to defend himself: "These Times-delivered facts and quotes are not subject to "dispute." They are part of the historical record." Nevertheless, he still strained to attack the Times, complaining that the story appeared "only four days" before Connecticut Democrats meet to choose an official candidate for the Senate seat, adding that they are unlikely to "dare to withhold or deny an endorsement to its highest state officeholder." Also at NewsBusters, Alex Fitzsimmons was similarly incredulous that MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski wanted to hear Blumenthal's side of the story.
Tim Graham also didn't believe that Blumenthal should be allowed to defend himself. In a May 19 NewsBusters post, he wrote that PBS "NewsHour" anchor Judy Woodruff reported on Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s lies that he served in Vietnam, but reported with a straight face that he didn’t lie on every occasion." Graham added that the idea that Blumenthal might have misspoke about his service was just a "weasel word" and that a reporter from "the liberal Hartford Courant newspaper ... aggressively worked on the damage control squad for Blumenthal."
NewsBusters' P.J. Gladnick piled on, attacking Times columnist David Brooks for being "both absurd and contradictory in the same paragraph" for suggesting that Blumenthal claiming he servedin Vietnam was an "accident" and that while the claim that he did was "dishonorable ... everybody expects politicians to lie."
Meanwhile, the Times' story was starting to unravel. The Associated Press reported that among the evidence the Times cited against Blumenthal was "a video of Blumenthal saying at a 2008 event that he had served in Vietnam," but that "[a] longer version of the video posted by a Republican opponent shows Blumenthal at the beginning of his speech correctly characterizing his service by saying that he 'served in the military, during the Vietnam era.'"
MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan had the temerity to say the Times was telling "only part of the story" because it didn't report Blumenthal's other statement in the video, so MRC analyst Kyle Drennen scoffed that it was "[h]ardly a statement that would have corrected the record for the audience." When Ratigan noted that the Times story has received "criticism from NPR, Columbia Journalism Review, and others," Drennen retorting by quoting National Review's Jonah Goldberg -- not an unbiased media analyst -- claiming that "everyone outside the realm of naked partisan politics agrees that Blumenthal is a liar and shameful one at that."
Since then, the Times story has continued to unravel. It claimed that Blumenthal was never on the Harvard swim team despite having been described as team captain; in fact, Blumenthal was on the team, and there's no evidence he ever claimed to be team captain. It has also been revealed that the Times had the full video of Blumenthal's speech before publication. Further, Times public editor Clark Hoythas admitted problems: "Were there flaws in the story? Yes: It should have said more about how it originated; it should have provided mitigating information far higher; it should have noted that his official biography was accurate. The full video should have been posted so readers could make their own judgments."
Still, despite these problems, Mark Finkelstein attacked Times reporter John Harwood for "casually dismissed the candidate's lies about having served in Vietnam as just a case of getting 'a little carried away,'" adding that "Mark Halperin of Time essentially sided with Harwood." At no point does Finkelstein mention the problems that have been identified with the Times story.
The lesson: The MRC doesn't care about journalism, only politics. It's willing to stand by the distorted conclusions of a badly reported article when a Democrat suffers from the bad reporting.
WND Still Hiding Manning's Obama-Hate Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember last week when WorldNetDaily penned a fawning story about the so-called "trial" of Barack Obama held by rabid Obama-hater James David Manning? Unsurprisingly, Manning's kangaroo court found Obama "guilty," and WND's Stewart Stogel has penned a similarly fawning May 22 article.
Stogel allows Manning to baselessly and ludicrously claim that "the fact that the Secret Service, charged with protecting the president and investigating threats, allowed the 'trial' to take place constitutes evidence it was legitimate." Strangely, though, Stogel doesn't detail any of the "evidence" that Manning used to arrive at his "guilty" verdict -- too crazy even for WND, perhaps?
As he did before, Manning failed to detail evidence of Manning's visceral hatred of Obama, such as calling him a "long-legged mack daddy." Instead, Stogel deceptively portrays Manning as having "heaped praise on the 42nd president" -- which goes against Manning's history.
Stogel appears to know that if he told the truth about Manning, it would discredit WND through its promotion of him. And Stogel is not getting paid to discredit his employer, so he deceives his readers instead.
New Article: Klein the Slime v. Elena Kagan Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has hurled repeated attacks -- many of them distorted or completely false -- at President Obama's Supreme Court nominee. Read more >>
Cashill Revives An Old Conspiracy Topic: WorldNetDaily
Back in 2006, we detailed how WorldNetDaily's Jack Cashill tried to portray then-Rep. Curt Weldon as the victim of a conspiracy by the Clinton Shadow Government to keep him from investigating "the truth behind Sandy Berger's shredding of stolen files, the Rosetta Stone of the Clinton saga."
Cashill revisits that conspiracy in his May 20 column, occasioned by the defeat of Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary by Joe Sestak, who ultimately defeated Weldon in 2006. The FBI raid of the homes of Weldon's daughter and a friend a couple weeks before that election -- as part of an investigation into whether Weldon used his office to steer defense-related contracts to family members --were politically motivated, Cashill again insisted, ominously adding: "By noon of that same day, a group of nearly 20 Democratic activists were protesting outside Weldon's district office in Upper Darby, carrying matching signs that read, 'Caught Red-Handed.' This, too, had to be coordinated."
Cashill concludes by stating, "Oh, by the way, Weldon has never been charged with anything." Cashill is quiet, however, about who has been charged in the investigation.
As TPM notes, a lobbyist and "very good friend" of Weldon's, Cecelia Grimes, was charged in 2008 with destroying evidence in the investigation, including throwing away her Blackberry. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five months of home detention. And in 2007, Weldon's former chief of staff, Russell James Caso Jr., agreed to plead guilty to helping a consulting firm championed by Weldon obtain federal funds and for concealing money the firm paid his wife. He was also sentenced to home detention.
Gee, wonder why Cashill doesn't want you to know about that?
WND Columnist: Stay Away From My Food Stockpile! Topic: WorldNetDaily
Patrice Lewis -- who we last saw likening women who use birth control to rutting cattle -- begins her May 22 WorldNetDaily column by stating, "On Thursday I made a severe error in judgment. I logged onto the Drudge Report[.]"
If she had just stopped there, we would have totally agreed with her. Instead, Lewis spends the rest of her column complaining about the "grasshoppers" are aren't preparing themselves for the coming apocalypse -- "I expect the bleep to hit the fan within a year, possibly less" -- and she fears those people will try to mooch off her apparently substantial survival food supply:
After some discussion, my husband and I decided to dedicate 10 percent of our income to preparedness projects. That's 10 percent of an income that's already dropped 40 percent from a couple years ago. In other words, we're eeking out what preparations we can despite our lower-income status.
And yet we have thoughtless and unprepared friends, relatives and strangers – most of whom are better off financially than we are – who are doing nothing. But they will blithely come knocking at our door when times get tough and expect us to cheerfully and freely share everything. The reality is, we cannot feed them all. We simply cannot do it. It is impossible. And so … we'll have to choose whom to turn away.
Some people argue they don't have the money or room to stockpile things. In which case, I urge them to stockpile knowledge. Pick a specialty that is useful in a new economy and perfect it. Sewing, welding, mechanics, gardening, medicine, carpentry, animal husbandry … there is a whole world of knowledge and skills out there crying for people to learn them.
In other words, if you're going to mooch off someone, at least have the courtesy to offer something useful in exchange.
Please, folks, become Ants. If you insist on remaining a Grasshopper, don't come a-knocking at our door. We may not answer, because so many have already been let in ahead of you.
We realize Lewis probably hates Obama and all -- it is, for all intents and purposes, a condition for working at WND, unless you're one of the couple of liberal columnists Joseph Farah keeps around for window dressing -- but methinks she's been taking those survival-seed ads at WND a little too seriously.
Sorry, Ken -- Conservatives Really Are Obsessed with Kagan's Sexuality Topic: NewsBusters
We would take Ken Shepherd's complaint that the idea that, as his May 21 NewsBusters headline states, "Conservatives Are Obsessed with Kagan's Sexuality" is just a liberal meme if we hadn't just highlighted a column by a conservative writer explaining how he is, um, obsessed with Elena Kagan's sexuality.
Also, Senate Republicans do not consitute the whole of conservatism, no matter what Sheppard suggests.
WND Columnist's Brain-Dead (And False) Attack on Kagan Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 21 WorldNetDaily column by Kent Clizbe forwards the brain-dead notion that because Elena Kagan has worked in academia, she is ipso facto a "socialist" and has a "love affair with socialism." Because Clizbe is so desperate to smear and not illuminate, he makes more false claims about Kagan:
Fast forward to 2003, Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard Law School, in the middle of a global war in which Americans were fighting and dying, was in "deep distress" because the American military was allowed to meet with prospective recruits on campus. Then, before the Supreme Court reversed, by a 9-0 decision, an appellate court's ruling that supported her stand, Kagan banned American military recruiters from using Harvard Law's placement office.
The stark difference between the pre-communist-covert-influence response in 1917 and Kagan's oh-so-PC response in 2003 is stunning. Recent research has revealed the extent to which American media and American academia were penetrated by Soviet covert influence operations, beginning soon after World War I. A side-by-side comparison of the attitudes towards America's involvement in military actions, 1917 with 2003, stuns any objective observer.
Kagan is helpless to be anything but an anti-American, socialist stooge. She is a product of an academic system that is permeated by the anti-American message, for nearly 100 years. To move up in American academia, one must be a PC true believer. he covert influence message planted by Communists carries on like an advertising campaign that never quits. After the anti-American messages were planted by agents of influence in American media, academia and Hollywood, the KGB's officers were mostly annihilated in purges. But the messages, like an advertising jingle stuck in your head, echo through the ivy halls, up till today.
In fact, Kagan is not anti-military. Further, Clizbe is engaging in a desperate and sleazy bit of guilt by association by suggesting she's a covert KGB agent by mere dint of working in academia.
We've previously noted Clizbe, writing at Newsmax, weirdly attacking Eric Holder for not making personal sacrifices on the War on Terror, while Clizbe's son "went from a happy, engaged, charming 13 year old with straight A’s and a focus on the future, to a sullen, uncommunicative, high school flunky" because of Clizbe's long absences from home doing post-9/11 CIA work. Apparently, Clizbe's son becoming a teenager had no role in that. He similarly sleazily portrayed President Obama as a Soviet tool and the culmination of work begun by Lenin in 1920 to "undermine the culture, society, and economy of the United States."
A May 21 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas states:
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it has “no records” of any communication either “to or from” its chairman that mentions Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham or Michael Savage.
The FCC made the declaration in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by CNSNews.com that sought all its records reflecting communications from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski mentioning the popular radio hosts. "No records of correspondence responsive to your request were located as a result of a search of records of the Chairman's office," said the FCC in a May 6 letter to CNSNews.com.
Despite this assertion, a letter about “hate speech in the media” specifically citing “radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh” was in fact sent to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski by a coalition of liberal groups last fall.
This seems to be an attempt by CNS to use its FOIA request play "gotcha" with the Obama administration to portray it as lying and hiding -- even though later in the article, Lucas concedes the possibility that the "gotcha" letter CNS cited may have been misfiled or thrown out.
Lucas also uncritically quotes right-wing activist and voting suppression expert Hans von Spakovsky baselessly suggesting that because the FCC wouldn't release internal discussions about " local ownership rules" as CNS sought in its FOIA request, that FCC officials are trying to "avoid a document trail." Lucas offers no evidence that refusing to release internal discussions about a policy that has not been -- and may never be -- introduced is in any way out of the ordinary.
WND Busted On Its Dishonest Journalism -- But Won't Correct False Claims Topic: WorldNetDaily
On May 11, WND published an article by Bob Unruh repeating allegations made by attorney Larry Klayman against a manager at Persian News Network, a division of Voice of America. Klayman is representing someone who has filed a lawsuit against VOA claiming that she suffered "harassment after she expressed her pro-Iranian- freedom perspective." Unruh uncritically repeated Klayman's claims, including an assertion that the manager "has close ties to the Islamic regime; in fact his father is a mullah in Iran." Unruh adds that "Contacted by WND, [VOA attorney Paul] Kollmer-Dorsey declined to respond to any questions about the dispute, referring WND to a media contact at the organization. That office did not respond to requests for comment."
A VOA official Danforth W. Austin fired back in a letter to WND, which WND published May 19:
The Voice of America strongly rejects the allegations in Mr. Bob Unruh's May 12 article: "Lawyer accuses VOA manager of pro-Iranian bias." The Voice of America has a firm commitment to its congressionally approved charter that requires its programming to be accurate, objective and comprehensive. Thus, we reject the article's claim that one of the editors in VOA's Persian News Network (PNN) is biased in favor of the government of The Islamic Republic of Iran. The claim is not only unsubstantiated, it is false. How is it false? To begin with, the PNN program Mr. Unruh's article cites, "Parazit," is a popular satirical show. During the segment in question, the show poked fun at the absurdity of PNN's alleged bias toward Iran. At no time did the program side with the "mullahs in Iran." It is also untrue that the PNN editor's father is a "mullah in Iran" who sides with the current leadership. His father is a retired professor of Islamic Studies; he was never a practicing clergyman. In fact, he was forced to retire after the 1979 Islamic revolution. We ask that you set the record straight.
WND appended an editor's note to the letter:
Editor's note: During the preparation of the story, WND tried repeatedly to obtain a comment from VOA, including leaving a message on an answering machine at the organization. WND also talked directly to Paul Kollmer-Dorsey, but he declined to respond to any questions. The allegations in the report are from the lawsuit and a letter by Larry Klayman, the plaintiff's lawyer, to VOA.
Thus far, Unruh's article has not been corrected or updated, nor has a separate update article been published. Further, WND deletes its letters to the editor from its website after a week, so Austin's letter will be purged on May 26.That means unless Unruh's article is updated or a separate update is published, the other side of the story will disppear -- presumably, the way WND likes it.
Whether or not VOA responded to Unruh's supposed requests for comment is irrelevant to the fact that his article contained errors that WND thus far will not formally correct.
This treatment of a request for a correction runs contrary to WND editor Joseph Farah has established as his preferred treatment. As we detailed, Farah complained in a September 2008 column that a Kansas newspaper published a letter to the editor claiming that Rep. Steve King got incorrect numbers about immigration from WND; in fact, WND was attributing the claim to King. We'll let Farah take it from here:
I was hopeful the editor-publisher of the Morning Sun would recognize he had printed a letter that is defamatory, prejudiced, incendiary and just verifiably untruthful and retract it and apologize for it. Having been an editor and publisher of daily newspapers much bigger and more influential than the Pittsburg Morning Sun, I was actually confident of being able to reason with Stephen Wade. I was wrong.
He wrote back to me suggesting I pen a letter to the editor in response. Facts were not important to him. Reality is not important to him. Stephen Wade, like so many other media types in this strange new world, seems to think everything is just a matter of opinion. And that's scary.
So I wrote to Wade's bosses at GateHouse Media in New York demanding a retraction and apology – so far to no avail. Bottom line: I may have to sue these people, costing them and me a lot of money, just to motivate them to do what decent journalistic and business ethics should motivate them to do.
To sum up: In Farah's view letter to the editor in response to a letter to the editor was not sufficient to correct an error. But when WND makes false claims, it will not correct it but merely print the correction in a letter to the editor that's deleted from the website a week later.
Speaking of unethical journalism, in addition to publishing false claims that it won't correct, Unruh committed another violation of journalistic ethics by not disclosing a serious conflict of interest -- that Klayman is also working for WND.
UPDATE: Farah concluded is rant against the Kansas newspaper: "Nevertheless, because of arrogance or ignorance or stubbornness or pettiness, this little newspaper in this little town refused to do the right thing. That's the sad state of the media – even in small-town America." At WorldNetDaily, too.
Media, here's your question: "Solicitor Kagan, do you identify as a lesbian?" Ms. Kagan, your answer is simpler still: "Yes" or "no."
Pipe down, lefties. Yes, it is relevant. Most liberals would disagree, but despite "progressive" protestations to the contrary, character does, in fact, matter. A majority of Americans still consider sexual morality – or a lack thereof – a pertinent factor in contemplating one's fitness for any public service – chiefly, perhaps, a lifetime appointment to our most supreme earthly court.
Every major world religion, thousands of years of history and uncompromising human biology have established that homosexual conduct is among other volitional behaviors rightly filed under "sexual immorality." Indeed, the majority of folks around the world – billions, actually – count this a timeless truth.
But the controversial nature of homosexuality is but one point of concern. Another involves potential conflicts of interest, "real or perceived." If we had a judicial nominee – widely believed a compulsive gambler – tapped to preside over gambling cases, would it not matter? If we had a nominee credibly rumored to use medical marijuana who might someday rule on the legality of medical marijuana, wouldn't such information be germane?
And before you liberals throw out that favorite red herring: "By this logic, Clarence Thomas shouldn't rule on cases involving race or sexuality because he's a black heterosexual male" – remember: skin color is a neutral, immutable characteristic. Being black is what someone is.
On the other hand, being "gay" is what someone does.
The question is important for context. The answer, for instance, might explain why Kagan drop-kicked our brave men and women of the armed services in the solar plexus, during a time of war, by banning military recruiters from Harvard while dean of the law school. She did so in protest of the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy, calling it "a profound wrong" and "a moral injustice of the first order."
Indeed, whether or not Elena Kagan self-identifies as a lesbian, she has proven herself a radical anti-military, pro-homosexual ideologue and activist. There's little doubt that she would take this activism with her to the high court.
Of course, the ideas that Kagan is "anti-military" and that she "bann[ed] military recruiters from Harvard" have been completelydiscredited.
Will NewsBusters Apologize for Mocking Katrina Victims? Topic: NewsBusters
We've noticed that NewsBusters -- and, indeed, the entire Media Research Center -- has been silent about the controversy involving Fox Sports' Chris Myers, who mocked victims of Hurricane Katrina by saying that "the people in Tennessee, unlike -- I'm not going to name names -- when a natural disaster hits people weren't standing on a rooftop trying to blame the government, okay. They helped each other out through this."
Perhaps that's because a NewsBusters blogger said the very same thing.
As Media Matters' Eric Boehlert notes, celebrity blogger Charlie Daniels wrote in a May 14 NewsBusters post:
What I want to write about is the people of Tennessee and the true volunteer spirit of the Volunteer State. In the limited coverage given the flood by the national media did you see anybody on a rooftop waiting for a coast guard chopper to pick them up?
No you didn't, because when something like this happens the good people of the mid south get their priorities in order. First, thousands of prayers went up to the one who is truly in charge. They didn't wait for or depend on the government; people took their personal boats into the flooded neighborhoods and picked up perfect strangers, taking them to the safety of higher ground.
Any chance NewsBusters will apologize (as Myers did) for Daniels' uncivil mocking of Katrina victims? Probably not , since NewsBusters is oblivious to its own double standards on media coverage of such disasters.
Farah Decries News 'Manipulation,' Ignores His Own Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah spends his May 20 WorldNetDaily column complaining that "There are lots of people discovering today that 'news' is often manipulation," which is best exemplified by Walter Cronkite allegedly helped a group of college students in the 1960s to obtain Ed Muskie for a speech. Farah then suggests his own "news" organization doesn't manipulate the news: "independent news sources like the one you are reading are still as scarce as hen's teeth."
That, of course, is a bald-faced lie.
As we've detailed, Farah uses WND for activism -- read: manipuation -- and not journalism. That manipulation has surfaced yet again with Aaron Klein's distortedandfalseattacks on Elena Kagan masquerading as "news."
The capper: Farah hilariously whacks "phony 'newsmen' like Walter Cronkite" for "misrepresenting their own opinions as the facts on the ground." Isn't Farah even more phony of a newsman than Cronkite? And isn't misrepresenting opinions as facts the entire raison d'etre for WorldNetDaily?
Unruh Still Misleading About Supplements Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
As he did in February, Bob Unruh once again misleads about the nature of the complaint by a "Christian nutrition ministry" fighting with the Federal Trade Commission in a May 20 WorldNetDaily article.
Unruh's article is barely comprehensible, so we'll summarize, including the parts that Unruh wouldn't report: The "Christian nutrition ministry" Daniel Chapter One drew an FTC complaint for making specific health claims about the nutritional supplements it sells. Daniel Chapter One doesn't believe it should have to offer scientific evidence of the efficacy of its products and that customer testimonials suffice. The FTC has repeatedly turned down the claim.
The new development prompting this story is that Daniel Chapter One is appealing the FTC's rulings to an appeals court by claiming a religious exemption to FTC regulations.
There -- we summed it up in four relatively brief sentences. Unruh, meanwhile, rambles on for paragraph after paragraph loaded with legal gobbeldygook and lots of pronouncements about religious freedom. At no point does Unruh explain why Daniel Chapter One wants to sell products whose efficacy hasn't been scientifically proven, or does he detail the product claims that are at issue, even though they are detailed in the FTC file. Also, at no point does Unruh make any apparent effort to allow the FTC to respond to the Daniel Chapter One's claims. Nor does Unruh explain how the nutritional products Daniel Chapter One sells are explicitly religious, which would presumably be a prerequisite for claiming a religious exemption.
Indeed, all we've seen here is a bad story written about a weak case. But that's what Unruh is all about, isn't he?
From a May 19 CNSNews.com article by Terry Jeffrey:
American Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres picked a love song written to be sung by a man to a woman for contestant Crystal Bowersox--a single mom with a boyfriend--to perform on the show’s semifinal program on Tuesday night.
Morris Botches Health Reform Attack on Specter, Lincoln Topic: Newsmax
In his Feb. 19 Newsmax column, Dick Morris claimed that Sens. Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln, by the unfavorable results of their races, "are now reaping the harvest of their votes for healthcare." Except that Specter's and Lincoln's Democratic primary opponents didn't make their votes on health reform an issue in their campaigns -- indeed, support for reform is one thing all those candidates had in common.