Slanties 2006: Brokeslant Mountain
Who in the ConWeb will haul home the hardware for producing the year's most biased news coverage and outrageous commentary?
By Terry Krepel
Has another year passed already? They go by so quickly.
It's the only award devoted exclusively to the conservative 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.
Let's hand out some hardware, shall we?
Our first award is for the most egregious example of bias in a "news" story. Unlike last year, when WorldNetDaily's relentless, slanted, inaccurate attacks on John Kerry were so beyond the pale that we didn't bother considering anyone else for the award, we have a full slate of nominees:
-- WorldNetDaily, for its coverage of the Terri Schiavo case. WND's reporting on Schiavo had two main components -- a reverence for anything said by Terri's parents, the Schindlers, and their supporters as the undisputed truth (not to mention the extremist backgrounds of said supporters); and a desire to paint Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, and his supporters as everything up to and including murderers (not that WND bothered in most cases to permit them to respond to these charges). WND hates Michael Schiavo so much, in fact, that it ran a bogus article insinuating that he had sold the movie rights to the story. A book by WND news editor Diana Lynne on the Schiavo case turned out to be as biased as its news coverage.
-- NewsMax, for refusing to fess up after getting caught in a lie. It reported that U2 was holding a fund-raiser for Republican Sen. Rick Santorum; in fact, Santorum had merely rented a luxury box at a U2 concert for well-heeled donors. When it became evident that the article was wrong, NewsMax quietly changed its story without telling anyone -- then denied that it had made the original claim, despite clear evidence showing otherwise.
-- WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein, for whitewashing the violent extremist background of the right-wing Israelis he writes about. In addition to failing to tell his readers of the extremist Kach/Kahane Chai links of his subjects -- or much of anything at all about Kach/Kahane Chai's violent history -- he asserted that an AWOL Israeli soldier who killed four innocent civilians was "murdered" by bystanders who witnessed the killings, a description Klein didn't apply to the soldier's victims. (Klein must really want this award, because he started the new year doing it again.) Klein earned bonus points after WND was forced to retract an article of his that smeared an Islamic charity as a terrorist-linked organization making fraudulent appeals for donations.
-- CNSNews.com, for clinging to a lie for the sole purpose of making a Democrat look bad. First, corespondent Jered Ede (an intern working through a group that trains conservative journalists) misquoted Democratic strategist Paul Begala allegedly claiming that Republicans want to kill him. Despite the fact that the full context of Begala's statements and common sense show that Begala was referring to terrorists, not Republicans. CNS waited a week to permit Begala to rebut the allegation, followed by CNS editor David Thibault calling him a liar and insisting that Ede quoted Begala accurately. Thibault later suggested that Begala "go back to school and learn about political civility and personal responsibility" -- as if refusing to admit that you made a mistake wasn't a prime example of incivility and irresponsibility (and as if Thibault didn't work for the egregiously uncivil Brent Bozell).
-- WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, for committing two grievous journalistic sins in a single article. Not only is most of this Farah-"written" article plagiarized from a wire report, the part that isn't plagiarized not only has nothing to do with the article he plagiarized, it's a plug for a WND advertiser.
And the winner is ... well, this was a toughie. Klein clearly fits the criteria for the award, and he has a long history of pro-Israel, anti-Muslim bias. But in a very close decision, the award goes to WND's Joseph Farah. It's not bias in the classic sense, but the utter disregard for journalistic principles shown by the head of a news organization, thus setting the tone for his employees, allows his article to stand as a succinct encapsulation of what WND is all about -- the junk journalism of bias, theft and favoritism. WND's claim to be "an exponent of truth and justice, an uncompromising disseminator of news" is a sad joke.
Given that WND has swept this award since its inception, perhaps we need to rename it the Joseph Farah Award.
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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). Our nominees:
-- "I've also heard 'gays' assert that homosexuality should be considered "normal" because it occurs in various animal populations. This mindless rationalization falls flat on two counts. First, some animals also eat their young does this mean humans should emulate that behavior, too?" -- Tom Ambrose, WorldNetDaily, April 12 (headline: "Homosexual Nazis are savaging the church").
-- "Fortunately, the day care centers themselves do their part to help ease the pain [of parents' guilt]. Consider: When's the last time you saw a day care center named 'Infant Warehouse'? It doesn't happen. 'Hepatitis Haven' is not a popular choice, either. Ditto for 'The Romanian Orphanage.'" -- Brandon Dutcher, CNSNews.com, March 18.
-- "'Brokeback Mountain,' the controversial "gay cowboy" film that has garnered seven Golden Globe nominations and breathless media reviews and has now emerged as a front-runner for the Oscars is a brilliant propaganda film, reportedly causing viewers to change the way they feel about homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage. And how do the movie-makers pull off such a dazzling feat? Simple. They do it by raping the 'Marlboro Man,' that revered American symbol of rugged individualism and masculinity." -- David Kupelian, WorldNetDaily, Dec. 27.
-- "Yet the incremental attainment of power on the part of the Nazis in Germany, their duplicity and their denials during their early days parallels the actions of the Left in recent years to a chilling degree, particularly concerning their vociferous denials with respect to attacks on Christianity." -- Erik Rush, WorldNetDaily, Dec. 19
-- "Was [NBC "Today" host] Matt Lauer wearing a Palestinian support scarf this morning? ... Lauer was out on a snowy Rockefeller Plaza this morning, reporting on the winter storm sweeping the East Coast. He was bundled up in an overcoat and hat, and very visible around his neck was a boldly-checked, black-and-white scarf with a design similar to the little number Arafat liked to sport, as here. So, was this a subtle statement by Matt, or just pure coincidence?" -- Matt Finkelstein, NewsBusters, Dec. 9.
-- "Have you noticed that many news organizations, in honor of former ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings, have embarked on a quit smoking campaign? So why don't our media launch a campaign advising people to quit engaging in the dangerous and addictive homosexual lifestyle?" -- Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media, Dec. 14.
-- "Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, 'We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.' If conservatives don't hang together now we will all hang separately, and President Hillary Clinton will be the hangman." Frank Salvato, CNSNews.com, Oct. 21.
-- "Evil people love Bill Clinton because he is one of them. Those who oppose President Bush hate him because he's good." -- Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, WorldNetDaily, Oct. 7.
-- "The women of America would do well to consider whether their much-cherished gains of the right to vote, work, murder and freely fornicate are worth destroying marriage, children, civilized Western society and little girls." -- Vox Day, WorldNetDaily, Aug. 8.
In another tough category filled with many worthy nominees, the winner is ... Cliff Kincaid. He has had a queer (pun intended) obsession with homosexuality for a while now; he can't get over the fact that Rachel Maddow, "a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man," appears on TV more than he does, and he thinks that "Brokeback Mountain" is a "pro-homosexual propaganda film." As an added bonus, Kincaid is also obsessed with Bill Clinton's sex life. And in his spare time, Kincaid is trying to get Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff extradited to Afghanistan because an later-retracted article he wrote about Quran abuse by U.S. military personnel allegedly set off deadly riots there -- a charge denied by both U.S. and Afghan officials.
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Our final presentation of the evening is a new award, the Conservative Chutzpah Award, in which worthy honorees have demonstrated an exceptional ability to bold assertions in the face of facts or previous assertions to the contrary. The person who has earned this award, our winner, is WorldNetDaily columnist Mychal Massie.
Massie, you will recall, received last year's LoBaido Award (not to mention an award for Career Achievement in Conservative Bias) for likening Democratic Sen. Harry Reid to notorious segregationist Bull Connor. So imagine our surprise when Massie, in his role as a spokesman for the black-conservative group Project 21, denounced Rep. Charles Rangel for likening President Bush to ... Bull Connor. "Charles Rangel's comments are morally vacant and beneath the pale," Massie said. "Rangel's comments may play well with those who embrace ignorance, but it will not resonate with Americans who eschew racial demagoguery. We demand that the CBC [Congressional Black Caucus] and Senator [Hillary Rodham] Clinton join with this overwhelming majority of their fellow citizens in banishing hate speech such as this to the trash heap of history."
It takes cojones the size of PT Cruisers to denounce behavior you have previously engaged in with impunity mere months before. We stand in awe.
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Congratulations to all of our winners. We'll get those coveted trophies out just as soon as we figure out how to build them.