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Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Intra-ConWeb War Over TSA Scaremongering
Topic: The ConWeb

WorldNetDaily has been perhaps the leader of any news outlet, ConWeb or otherwise, in spewing hatred over the TSA's stepped-up passenger screening procedures. From rehashing alleged "horrors" to shrieking about perversion and "gate rape" and radiation and germs and prison camps to the expected anti-gay freak-out, no attack has been out of bounds for WND. (Andthen there's WND's attempt to cash in on said screeching.)

Even Newsmax got into the scaremongering act, enlisting Dr. Russell Blaylock -- if you'll recall, he has also fearmongered over flu vaccine -- to suggest that the scanners "increase your risk of cancer or other diseases."

Now comes the arrival of a voice of reason on overblown coverage of the airport security issue, and that voice is from an unexpected place: Accuracy in Media.

In a Nov. 25 blog post, Don Irvine writes about how "The media has become obsessed with the number of TSA pat-down stories and in at least one case are now asking that travelers send them their screening experiences in hopes of getting that next big horror story":

We have already been subjected to numerous stories and video of passengers who have been subjected to the new TSA pat-down procedure for reasons that are often baffling to say the least. And the outrage has also spawned a new round of somewhat voyeuristic videos from people who seem to be more interested in stripping down to their skivvies and creating a scene rather than out of any concern about the new procedures.

But do we really need videos of women wearing lingerie or bikini’s or men in speedo’s (spare me please) at security checkpoints?  No, but the media is playing along and PBS’ Newshour isn’t helping the public gain an unbiased view by asking for screening experiences.  They don’t want to hear from you if you sailed through without a hitch, they want another story of a TSA agent patting down a small screaming child or a veteran with artificial joints being subjected to an embarrassing and invasive search.

Once again the notion of fair and accurate reporting has gone out the window in the name of pursuing the sensationalistic headline grabbing stories no matter what the facts may be. There is so much me-too journalism on this story that it is like a television show that has jumped the shark which portends it’s eventual demise.  That’s what’s happened here with the coverage going so far over the top that it is now impossible to return to the story’s salient points and separate fact from fiction.

The TSA certainly isn’t blameless but like most government agencies they are terrible when it comes to public relations.  As a result of not having an effective p.r. strategy they have let the media get away with focusing on a few horror stories and whip up more anger and anxiety from the flying public whose nerves are already frayed by high air fares , crowded planes and a laundry list of rules unevenly enforced about what is and isn’t permissible on a flight.

After having flown over a million miles in the last 20 years I have seen the changes in security first hand and while I’m no fan of the current procedures I consider it part of the price I have to pay for the convenience of flying.

I even went through the full body scanner this summer and frankly it was just another blip on my radar.

Who would've thought that a website that employs a writer who really wants to see gays dead would generate an actual cogent, reasonable analysis? You probably won't see WND or Newsmax touching this at all.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EST
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
AFA's News Operation A Hellish Place to Work
Topic: The ConWeb

We generally don't monitor OneNewsNow, the American Family Association's "news" operation, because it makes no pretense to be a fair news website, as the ConWeb components like Newsmax, CNS, WorldNetDaily, et al., do. Plus, there isn't enough time in the day to take down all the bias and falsehoods there.

It turns out things there are worse than even we imagined. Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches has an article detailing the hellish work envionment at the AFA that also confirms everything we presumed about OneNewsNow:

The AFA's radio and news division, in particular, said Martin, had become a place where authority could not be questioned, and where the "news" was nothing more than a mouthpiece for conservative "sources" whose views were portrayed as fact. (The Values Voter Summit award citation to Wildmon described One News Now as a "respected online news service.")

And those views were extreme, even by Martin’s standards of conservative evangelicalism. He said that the director of the news service, Fred Jackson, had a "hateful, hateful attitude" that "carried over" into stories. Martin described editorial meetings in which "liberals were accused of hating their kids," while Chad Groening, who covers immigration, described gay people as "degenerates" and "reprobates."

In the newsroom, said [former AFA news reporter Allie] Martin, "I saw the tone of stories develop in a way I thought was disturbing."

"They get people as news sources to say what they want to say but can't say," he added.

After Obama got elected, said Martin, "this went up to a whole new level, we have to vilify this man."

Questioning Authority="Attitude Problems"

In 2008, Jackson sent Martin an email with the subject line "attitude problems," citing scripture he said governed "a worker's attitude toward their [sic] superiors." The verses he cited included Ephesians 6:5-8 ("Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, singleness of your heart, as unto Christ") and Colossians 3:22-25 ("Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.") He closed the email with a "final warning" that "any further breaches in this area will be turned over to Brother Don."

Among the topics about which Martin had raised concerns was the news room's approach to immigration. Martin said that Groening has, for example, called undocumented immigrants "stupid," "scumbag lawbreakers" and "freeloaders." Groening believed that illegal immigration would "destroy" the country, and that "we have the best way of life, and if our borders aren't secured, this country would be destroyed."

Martin also noted that Groening had referred to Muslims as "raghead scumbag terrorists" and referred to Allah as "Satan."

According to him, Groening received a subscription to American Renaissance magazine at the office. American Renaissance is published by white nationalist Jared Taylor, and, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the magazine and website "regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists." Taylor's New Century Foundation, which runs the magazine, "also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist 'intellectuals' rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists."

(h/t Right Wing Watch)


Posted by Terry K. at 8:41 PM EDT
Friday, September 10, 2010
ConWeb All Over the Map on Quran-Burning Pastor
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb just can't seem to figure out a consistent stand on Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones. It seems that every attempt to criticize it is countered with an instance of condoning it.

CNSNews.com: A Sept. 7 article by Nicholas Ballasy that was heavy on condemnation of Jones was followed by a Sept. 9 article by Patrick Goodenough detailing how the Quran had been burned throughout history, starting with an early caliph who ordered all rival versions burned -- thus seeming to offer tacit approval for Jones' burning, despite concluding with a pair of Christian ministers who oppose book-burning.

WorldNetDaily: As we noted, WND began the week with Aaron Klein's softball interview of Jones. It gre more conflicted from there:

  • An audio interview with anti-Islam activist Brigitte Gabriel opposing the burning.
  • A column by Ann Coulter calling the burning "a nasty thing to do," like building a mosque near Ground Zero. (Will this be the straw that finally causes WND to drop her column?)
  • A column by Craige McMillan condoning it, stating that "America's self-imagined elites should chill out about the Quran burning" and "let the god of Islam contend for himself."

NewsBusters: It also started by defending Jones, feeling sympathy for him under pointed CNN questioning. Then it moved toward being more consistently critical, mostly that it was being likened to the upcoming Glenn Beck-Sarah Palin shindig in Alaska and to "Ground Zero mosque" opponents. Brent Baker dismissed Jones as a "widely condemned Florida pastor with barely a few dozen followers." Then, Noel Sheppard blundered in to ask, "did the media negligently create this controversy?" sneering that Jones is "some unknown Pastor - with a following smaller than what's normally in line at an In-n-Out restaurant drive-thru!" Sheppard went on to pontificate:

For weeks now, the press as a result of America's opposition to the Ground Zero mosque have been trying to convince the citizenry that we are an Islamophobic nation that hates Muslims. Despite the lack of any supporting evidence, this has been the media narrative for approaching a month.

With this in mind, an attention-seeking, unknown Pastor advertising a Koran bonfire was exactly what the press needed to prove once and for all just how much antipathy there is for Muslims here.

Sadly, they gave this guy his fifteen minutes of fame without any regard for the harm that could be done to Americans living abroad, in particular those fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. More hypocritically, so-called journalists are now blaming Jones for endangering the lives of others.

Wouldn't this not be the case if they ignored him? Isn't it all the press attention he's gotten that has actually caused this controversy? If media really are worried that his actions might result in an international incident, given how few people there are in his own area that care what he's got to say, couldn't they just similarly pay him no mind?

[...]

Consider that the press are largely in favor of the Ground Zero mosque despite being in the minority concerning this matter. They base their view on the Islamic center backers having the Constitutional right to build at that location regardless of how anyone feels about it. Yet, these same people are now in an uproar over Jones without a care for his Constitutional right to burn Korans.

But couldn't the same argument be made that the "Ground Zero mosque" was ginned up by conservative media in order to push their anti-Mulsim agenda? Sheppard seems uninterested in answering that question.

Newsmax: It has largely stuck to wire stories on the controversy, and what little supplemental material it has run has been critical -- a column by Susan Estrich and an interview with its own Ronald Kessler.

UPDATE: Accuracy in Media condones Quran-burning, too.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 10, 2010 8:16 PM EDT
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Meanwhile ...
Topic: The ConWeb
We have a fun little blog post up at Media Matters noting, given Fox News' rejection of an ad from a progressive group because it was "too confusing," the kinds of ads Fox News apparently doesn't find confusing.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 PM EDT
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Meanwhile ...
Topic: The ConWeb
We wrote this week's Media Matters weekly roundup, with a focus on how Fox News have their noise-machine amps cranked to 11 in fighting health care reform. Yes, Spinal Tap references abound.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:25 PM EDT
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Meanwhile ...
Topic: The ConWeb
We wrote this week's Media Matters weekly summary, where we pay special attention to Dana Perino's role as the factually challenged press secretary in exile at Fox News. Read it.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 AM EST
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
New Article -- Out There, Exhibit 51: Avatar Derangement Syndrome
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb -- led by professional right-wing movie prude Ted Baehr -- goes nuts criticizing James Cameron's blockbuster movie. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EST
Monday, January 25, 2010
Global Warming Deniers Go Conspiratorial
Topic: The ConWeb

It's never a good sign for the credibility of a movement when its supporters start crying conspiracy. But that's exactly what's happening with global warming deniers.

In December, Jesse Ventura’s “Conspiracy Theory” show on TruTV aired an episode on the idea that global warming is a conspiracy promoted by the United Nations and bankers. Ventura gets gets help in promulgating the conspiracy from prominent deniers Richard Lindzen, Lord Monckton and even serial global warming bamboozler Noel Sheppard, who repeated his previous assertion that the only reason Al Gore is a global warming activist is so he can make money off it. The conspiracy nuts with the Alex Jones empire loved it.

Curiously, Sheppard has never promoted his starring role on Ventura's show at his NewsBusters blog. Perhaps that's because his fellow NewsBuster P.J. Gladnick denounced Ventura for giving a platform to 9/11 truthers.

Nevertheless, this conspiracy theory is making its way up the right-wing media food chain.

In a Jan. 21 NewsReal post, F. Swemson endorsed the Ventura show, asserting that "the conclusions of this show seem solid" and that Lindzen and Monckton "also lends substantial credibility." Swemson adds: "Its premise, that the entire Global Warming scam is the product of a conspiracy in pursuit of money and power, is not at all outrageous when you stop to consider the fact that world leaders, in cahoots with the UN, have indeed been working hard to sell the public on a totally phony theory, based on a political rather than a scientific agenda."

Meanwhile, over at Newsmax, another prominent denier joined the conspiracy bandwagon. A Jan. 22 article by Jim Meyers reports that "Renowned meteorologist Dr. William Gray tells Newsmax that a possible new conspiracy regarding global warming has been uncovered in the U.S.," adding that "environmentalists, socialists, governments and businessmen are trying to take advantage of climate change concerns for their own benefit, and declared that cap-and-trade legislation would do 'very little' to improve the climate."

How does the denier movement remain credible when its most prominent members are making conspiratorial accusations? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:15 PM EST
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
ConWeb Practically Orgasmic Over GOP Win in Mass.
Topic: The ConWeb

Think the ConWeb was excited to see Scott Brown win the special election in Massachusetts for the Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy? They're so giddy, they're practically orgasmic with venom toward President Obama.

Here's the lead of a Nov. 19 Newsmax article by David Patten:

In one of the most shocking turnabouts in modern political history, GOP underdog Scott Brown has single-handedly captured the so-called "Kennedy seat" in Massachusetts, wiped out the Democratic supermajority in Congress, and pushed the president's Obamacare agenda to the very brink of a stunning defeat.

Patten goes on to quote Dick Morris, who's just as slap-happy:

In an exclusive Newsmax interview, Fox News commentator and best-selling author Dick Morris discussed the astounding result: "It certainly is the revisiting of the shot heard 'round the world, which was originally made in Lexington and Concorde, Mass. … that absolutely was what happened tonight.

"A shot was fired that will be heard around the world. The most liberal seat in the most liberal state went Republican. And it didn't go for a squishy Olympia Snowe Republican. It went for a real Republican."

Morris added: "It marks the last bill Obama is ever going to pass of any consequence, except for bipartisan stuff. This is the end of the Obama ascendancy, because he has so systematically alienated the 40 Republicans, that now that there are 41, none of them is going to give him the right time of day.

And this really marks the end of Obama's attempts to reshape the United States," Morris said. "He'll try, but he won't succeed. 

Patten followed up by drooling over Brown's victory speech, delcaring it "rousing," and even more reaction to the win, including a recycling of Morris' anti-Obamagasm.

Over at WorldNetDaily, Michael Carl asserted that the election result is "Obama's worst nightmare ever." Somehow, we suspect that's not true. Joseph Farah gloated that "The Democratic Party has self-destructed" (which we're also pretty sure is not true).


Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 AM EST
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Check Out Our New ConWeb Twitter Feed
Topic: The ConWeb

Look over in the right-hand bar of our blog, and you'll see the all-new ConWebWatch Twitter feed, which collects the tweets of ConWeb organizations and figures. We'll be adding more as we find them.

One we won't be adding, unfortunately, is that of WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein -- he's blocked us from following him or adding him to our tweet feed. Why is he so afraid of us? Because we tell the truth about him?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:22 PM EST
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
New Article -- 2010 Slanties: Call It The Slant-E
Topic: The ConWeb
Who's at the top of the ConWeb heap of biased reporting and outrageous statements? We've picked the winners. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:57 PM EST
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Column on Continetti Book
Topic: The ConWeb
For a little non-ConWeb-related reading, we have a column up at Media Matters reviewing Matthew Continetti's book "The Persecution of Sarah Palin."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 PM EST
Friday, November 20, 2009
Vote For Us!
Topic: The ConWeb

The 2009 Weblog Awards

We would like to beg you, our readers, to nominate ConWebBlog in the 2009 Weblog Awards. Since there isn't a media category per se and we're not quite political, we're going to aim for the Best Large Blog, defined as having a Technorati authority rating of between 301 and 500 (we're at 440).

ConWebWatch is listed in the comments as a nominee, so what you need to do is click on the "+" icon in that particular comment to indicate your preference.

The nomination phase has been extended to Sunday, so act quickly! We appreciate your support.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 PM EST
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Vote For Us!
Topic: The ConWeb

The 2009 Weblog Awards

We would like to beg you, our readers, to nominate ConWebBlog in the 2009 Weblog Awards. Since there isn't a media category per se and we're not quite poltical, we're going to aim for the Best Large Blog, defined as having a Technorati authority rating of between 301 and 500 (we're at 440).

ConWebWatch is listed in the comments as a nominee (which is where the shameless self-promotion comes in), so what you need to do is click on the "+" icon in that particular comment to indicate your preference.

The nomination phase ends Nov. 20, so act quickly! We appreciate your support.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:10 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 8:12 PM EST
Monday, November 9, 2009
Shameless Self-Promotion Watch
Topic: The ConWeb

The 2009 Weblog Awards

We would like to beg you, our readers, to nominate ConWebBlog in the 2009 Weblog Awards. Since there isn't a media category per se and we're not quite poltical, we're going to aim for the Best Large Blog, defined as having a Technorati authority rating of between 301 and 500 (we're at 440).

ConWebWatch is listed in the comments as a nominee (which is where the shameless self-promotion comes in), so what you need to do is click on the "+" icon in that particular comment to indicate your preference.

The nomination phase ends Nov. 20, so act quickly! We appreciate your support.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 9, 2009 9:18 PM EST

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