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Oy, Moy

Catherine Moy touts her credentials as an "award-winning journalist," but her recent work -- biased and relying on questionable sources and unsupported claims -- likely won't win much of anything.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 5/16/2007

Catherine Moy promotes herself as "an award-winning journalist with multiple honors from prestigious news organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists," as well as a "Pulitzer-prize nominee."

Her recent work, though, can hardly be described as something that would be "award-winning," let alone "journalism."

"Multiple honors from prestigious news organizations" aside, Moy is aligned these days with right-wing San Francisco radio host Melanie Morgan, with whom Moy co-wrote the WorldNetDaily-published book "American Mourning," largely an attack on anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. While Morgan has claimed that the book "isn't a hit piece on Cindy Sheehan" -- though it accuses Sheehan of being "addicted to online chat rooms of a pornographic nature" -- both she and Morgan clearly have an animus toward Sheehan. An Aug. 12, 2005, column by Moy complained about Sheehan's "incessant Bush-hating" and called her "a tool of America-haters"; Morgan, in addition to leading a "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour in 2005 in her role as chairwoman of the group Move America Forward, has engaged in similar Sheehan-bashing:

  • A December 2005 WND column listed "the likes of Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan" as among those who "hold a twisted hatred of this country."
  • A March 2006 column stated of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez: "Apparently he cringed at the notion that Cindy Sheehan might outdo him in shameless conduct." 
  • An April 2006 column called Sheehan part of a "a leftist jihad on our campuses that tolerate only one point of view." 
  • A June 2006 column tried to smear by association "the generation of Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan and anti-war activists protesting at the funerals of military personnel" despite the fact that neither Sheehan nor Moore protest at military funerals (that would be this guy).

While Sheehan is certainly not above criticism -- her dalliances with left-wing dictators have provided ample fuel for attacks -- she does deserve some modicum of fairness, and Morgan and Moy have shown little inclination to offer her any.

Speaking of unfairness, Moy is apparently even less inclined to offer it to Barack Obama. In a March 1 appearance on Morgan's radio show, Moy took the word of a man named Andy Martin, who claimed that the Indonesian school that Obama attended as a child -- which the Rev. Sun Myung Moon-controlled website falsely asserted was a madarassa, or or Muslim seminary -- "did teach the Quran, and they did teach that Jews are pigs."

But, according to Media Matters, Martin has a history that throws a shadow on his claims. News reports indicate that Martin's Selective Service file described him as having a "moderately-severe character defect manifested by well documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character" and that Martin once referred to a federal bankruptcy judge as a "crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race,"

Moy embraced more dubiously sourced information in a March article on the anti-anti-war protest by a group called the Gathering of Eagles. In it, Moy touted the attendance of "30,000-strong crowd of pro-troop supporters," a number she attributed to conservative blogger Michelle Malkin and based on "an unofficial count by the Park Service." But as the blog Sadly, No! has pointed out, the National Park Service is prohibited by Congress from giving out crowd estimates, official or otherwise, and the actual attendance appears to have been significantly less than that number.

Perhaps in a bid to outdo her buddy Morgan -- who used her WND column to liken Media Matters to the Virginia Tech gunman -- Moy went positively wild in repeating questionable information and making unsupported claims about Media Matters in a May 3 Human Events column (a version with some supporting links is posted on Morgan's website) that's full of hyperbolic claims and overblown leaps of logic. (Disclosure: I am a Media Matters employee.)

Moy featured the usual conservative attacks on Media Matters head David Brock, including the unsubstantiated claim that Brock "was hospitalized in a mental facility where he spent time in a 'quiet room' and 'had delusions, he thought people were trying to kill him,' according to the Drudge Report." The Drudge Report is hardly an authoritative (or even accurate) source. (Moy showed no similar interest in Martin's mental history.)

Moy also claimed: "MSNBC pundit Tucker Carlson called Brock out for lying about him in Brock's coming-out book, and for attacking right-wing pundit David Horowitz as anti-gay without any verification. And a writer from the leftist nailed Brock for fabrications." She offers no details about the Salon writer's claim (the related link goes to Salon's front page), but since the Horowitz incident first surfaced at Salon, where Horowitz was a columnist, it's likely that and the Horowitz incident are one and the same. And, of course, Moy doesn't tell the full story.

In his book "Blinded By the Right," Brock claimed that Horowitz "uttered a hateful anti-gay slur to an editor friend of mine whom Horowitz didn't know was gay." Horowitz vehemently denied it (as well as being a "neo-conservative" and a promoter of "conservative values and politics in the entertainment industry"). Unmentioned by Moy is the fact that the editor in question responded that, while he didn't believe that Horowitz is anti-gay, "there is absolutely no doubt that he stuck his foot in it that day, in that conversation, and that he might have said even more hurtful things ... if I hadn't outed myself."

Moy then went on to attack Media Matters senior fellow and blogger Eric Alterman, stating: "Perhaps Media Matters' most publicized assault, aside from the April attack on Imus, started when Alterman sniped Time journalist John Cloud, who wrote an April 17, 2005, article about conservative pundit and best-selling author Ann Coulter titled 'Ms. Right.' " Moy cited an entry by Alterman at the MSNBC version of his Altercation blog as evidence. She had to; Alterman did not become associated with Media Matters until more than a year later, in September 2006. In other words, Alterman's "assault" on Coulter cannot be Media Matters' "assault" since Alterman wasn't yet working for Media Matters.

In response to a Media Matters item claiming that "as far as we know, Alterman ... has never slurred Muslims," Moy responded by putting words in Alterman's mouth, asserting that he "may not slur radical Muslims, America's enemies in the War on Terror" (emphasis ours). But Alterman didn't mention "radical" Muslims.

Moy also made a bizarre claim about Cloud's profile of Coulter:

I read every word of Cloud’s piece several times. I have worked many years as a daily editor. I know the difference between a puff piece, a hit piece, news, opinion and good journalism. I rated each paragraph of the cover article and found that 82% of the graphs were neutral, 17% negative and one percent positive toward Coulter. Cloud’s work was well reported, fair and revealing.

Moy didn't share her methodology for reaching such a conclusion. Nor did she show any evidence of having read Media Matters' analysis of Cloud's article, which details how Cloud downplayed Coulter's history of outrageous comments and glorified her history of legal work. Apparently, when the subject is a conservative, "whitewash" and "fair" are the same thing as far as Moy is concerned.

Moy continued to play the guilt-by-association card by linking Media Matters to articles Alterman wrote before he joined Media Matters -- sometimes years before Media Matters even existed -- then making wild extrapolations from them. For instance:

Alterman’s slurs include this from a Nov. 8, 1999 piece in The Nation:

“Remember the MSNBC blondes? Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter and Jennifer Grossman? The three picture-perfect pundettes with one opinion among them are now oh so ten minutes ago,” Alterman wrote.

Alterman attacked the three blonde women because they are conservative. He used the blonde stereotype. Blonde equals dumb, right?

Again, Moy put words in Alterman's mouth. Alterman never wrote that the women were "dumb"; given that the "one opinion among them" was their mandate to bash Clinton, Alterman was likely pointing out that their only apparent function was to attack Clinton and look good while doing it.

Moy also falsely accused Media Matters researcher Ryan Chiachiere of anti-Semitism. (Chiachiere wrote the item detailing Don Imus' racist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball that ultimately got Imus fired from his radio show.) Moy couldn't decide on Chiachiere's status at Media Matters; she first listed him among the "Media Matters stars" along with Brock and Alterman but later called him a "cub reporter." Then she attacked:

How about anti-Semitism? The cub reporter who busted Imus, Chiachiere, cohosts a website that exploits the worst stereotypes of Jews and Italians: "Republicans . . . or the Mafia: Helping you make sense of today’s GOP."

On the left side of the site is a picture of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in a fedora. Opposite is a shot of the fictional Mafia Don Corleone with a similar hat.

The site's introduction stereotypes of Italians as mobsters and Jews as the “new mafia." "Casinos! Bribes! Hitmen! Is this Season 5 of The Sopranos? No, it's just another day in the life of today's Republican party," the site reports.

Moy is desperately trying to find something that isn't there. Where's the "anti-Semitism" Moy complains of? She doesn't say. The only possible connection is the fact that Abramoff is Jewish, which neither she nor Chiachiere's website notes -- indeed, the word "Jew" appears nowhere on the website. Is Moy saying that any criticism of a Jew, deserving or not, is "anti-Semitism"?

Moy also fails to explain why referencing "The Sopranos" is playing into "stereotypes of Italians as mobsters." Her problem appears to be with the producers of "The Sopranos," not Chiachiere, since it is Abramoff himself who first brought up the Mafia allusions. The website quotes from a Washington Post article stating that "Abramoff liked to slip into dialogue from 'The Godfather' as he led his lobbying colleagues in planning their next conquest on Capitol Hill" -- something Moy doesn't note in order to put Chiachiere's website in its proper context.

Moy summed up her article by stating: "But the money will pour in [to Media Matters] from the corrupt George Soroses of society because Brock and his nonprofit speak their language. Liberal is good, Israel is a disease, Christians are dangerous, and America's First Amendment was written for them and only them." But as Media Matters has pointed out, liberal philanthropist Soros has never donated to Media Matters, nor has he directed a donation of his to another organization to be funneled to Media Matters.

Finally, in a May 15 Human Events column, Moy rushed to embrace Martin once again upon his filing a lawsuit against Media Matters for defamation for calling him anti-Semitic -- ironic since Moy made the same claim against Media Matters researcher Chiachiere. (Disclosure: I have been named a defendant along with Media Matters in Martin’s lawsuit.) Moy wrote that the "snippets from others' reports" posted by Media Matters "suggesting Martin has suffered from mental illness. The insensitivity of Brock’s organization is striking considering his own bout with mental issues as he was writing his mea culpa, 'Blinded by the Right.' " One thing she doesn't explain: If Brock's purported mental history is a reason to not take him seriously, as Moy seems to suggest by bringing it up in the first place, why doesn't Martin’s background similarly count against him?

Moy also edited Martin's most controversial remarks, repeating only that he "called a judge a 'slimy Jew' " but lopping off the part where Martin also called him "crooked" and said the judge "has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race."

But Moy has shown no evidence that she has ever investigated or verified any of Martin's claims. She simply repeated his assertion of having "a long and storied past as a journalist, candidate for multiple elected offices, and civil rights advocate" without detailing what, if anything, he has actually done in any of those fields. It seems that Moy's standard for a trustworthy, unimpeachable source is an ability to spout things that agree with Moy's political agenda. As long as Martin continues to attack Obama and Media Matters (and me), that appears to be good enough for her.

Moy has said, "the truth is truth. It's not conservative; it's not liberal; it's the truth. Some people can't handle it." Moy might want to try a little more truth and a little less polemicizing if she still wants to be thought of as an "award-winning journalist." That is, if she can handle it.

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