We (Heart) Slanties
The 2005 Slantie Awards honor achievements in conservative media bias. Who are this year's winners?
By Terry Krepel
It's that time of year again -- time to look back the year gone by and reflect upon all that has passed.
It's the only award dedicated exclusively to the conservative Internet media, something you'd think it would be more excited about. (OK, well, maybe not.) But until the ConWeb devises its own way to herald its achievements, the Slantie Awards are all they have.
So, without further ado ... the 2005 Slantie Awards!
Our first award is for the most egregious example of bias in a "news" story. The nominees are -- oh, forget the nominees. The winner was so far ahead of the pack that nobody else had a chance.
The winner is ... WorldNetDaily, for its vehemently biased coverage of John Kerry's presidential campaign. WND editor Joseph Farah declared back in May 2003 that he would be "ripping to shreds every single Democratic candidate for president," calling them "evil," "miscreants not even deserving citizenship in our great country" and "moral reprobates." Farah lived up to his word, using his web site to attack Democrats while refusing to apply the same standards to George W. Bush. So much for Farah's oft-repeated declaration that WND is "fiercely independent."
But the most potent venom was reserved for Kerry. WND started the year spreading false, never-verified rumors about an alleged Kerry affair, and its journalistic standards only deteriorated from there. From telling lies about Teresa Heinz Kerry to holding Kerry to a hyper-accruate standard not applied to Bush (one WND story was devoted to berating Kerry for getting a baseball statistic wrong) to commissioning the discredited (by WND itself) David Bossie to pen a Kerry-bashing hit job, WND kept up the tradition of its anti-Clinton roots and merely swapped out Clinton's name for Kerry's. Farah himself penned 47 anti-Kerry columns before the election.
WND also heavily promoted the discredited accusations of the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, uncritically referencing the group and its charges in 72 "news" stories between August and the November 2 election. Not once in any of those 72 stories did WND subject the group's claims to any sort of fact-checking, but merely presented along the group's claims as uncontested truth despite the fact that many of the group's claims have been challenged (as ConWebWatch has detailed).
You'd have to go back to the days of the Soviet Union when a dissident was declared to be an "enemy of the state" to read a similar avalanche of negative, distorted, unfair stories being presented as "news."
Our next award is the LoBaido Award for the silliest statement made by a writer for a conservative news Web site (named after Anthony LoBaido, who wrote a post-9/11 column for WorldNetDaily that was so unhinged -- he blamed the attacks on America's immorality since "all that is evil in the world can be found in New York" and, for good measure, called Hillary Clinton "openly Marxist, treasonous and abortion-mongering, occultic" -- WND eventually pulled it from its site). The nominees:
-- "In a word, Sean Hannity is ... adorable. There, I said it. Might as well get right out there in the open for all the world to read. Sean is intelligent, genuinely kind, correct on the issues ... and drop-dead gorgeous." -- Rebecca Hagelin, WorldNetDaily, March 23
-- "Governments that kind-heartedly bestow other people's children on homosexual couples also have both the power and the motivation to confiscate those children from their original parents, even when the parents have done nothing to warrant losing them." -- Steven Baskerville, WorldNetDaily, July 1, arguing that judges want to take kids away from their birth parents to give to homosexual couples
-- "Sen. Harry Reid's, D-Nev., arrogantly racist condemnation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is but the latest racial tinged hate speech directed at conservative blacks by liberal Democrats. His Uncle Bull Connors [sic] and his Uncle Orval Faubus must be proud of him. ... He is simply being true to his inbred familial heritage [as a Mormon]." -- Mychal Massie, WorldNetDaily, Dec. 14
-- "Was what happened at the Iraqi prison a bad thing? Yes, but mainly because it was rotten public relations. ... The fact of the matter is that far worse things happen to far nicer people in American prisons every day of the week, and none of these outraged hypocrites say boo about it." -- Bert Prelutsky, WorldNetDaily, May 12
-- "Think, also, what license the dyslexic rent-a-crowd poster-scribblers will have with Barack Obama's moniker. Seemingly endless permutations off the letters spelling Obama are good for many a quality-time family-values game of 'Anagrams.' Already you can hear rappers ranting out best-seller CDs without once repeating themselves:
Obama, Boama, Amabo, Maboa.
Captures the very heart and soul of America, doesn't it?" -- John L. Perry, NewsMax, Aug. 9
And the winner is ... Mychal Massie. How do you top raising the specter of notorious segregationists and attacking an entire religion in the name of partisan politics -- and then spelling the name of one of said segregationists incorrectly?
Our final award of the evening is the Slantie Award for Career Achievement in Conservative Bias. This goes to a reporter or commentator with a consistent record of biased and slanted reports that fly in the face of time-honored journalistic practice, the truth and/or common sense.
And the winner is ... Mychal Massie again. His race-baiting attack on Harry Reid was only the most egregious of the statements he made in his WorldNetDaily column this year. Among others:
Massie is a spokesperson for a group of black conservatives called Project 21 (whose only paid employee is white). Perhaps Project 21 should find someone who isn't prone to embarrassing the group by his association and who has more to offer in the marketplace of ideas than vicious, stereotypical attacks.
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Congratulations to WorldNetDaily for a clean sweep of this year's Slanties. Keep it up, guys -- otherwise ConWebWatch would be out of a job.