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Saturday, March 25, 2006
Sheppard's Criticism of AP Misfires
Topic: NewsBusters
A March 24 post by Noel Sheppard argues (not terribly persuasively) that an Associated Press article from the previous day that reported Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff (Sheppard erroneously calls him "Alan") saying that the deal giving control of operations at six U.S. ports to Dubai government-owned DP World "could have helped implement stronger security at many ports where the U.S. now has limited influence" is a "quite a flip-flop" from the AP's Feb. 11 article first noting the deal and Dubai's links to terrorism. Sheppard admonished the AP: "Maybe if you had interviewed Chertoff on February 11 rather than Chuck Schumer ... the deal would have gone through, and America would not only be potentially safer, but also would not have appeared xenophobic to its friends and enemies."

Sheppard fails to note the blindingly obvious fact that if Chertoff hadn't waited until now to make this point, long after the deal has been scuttled, perhaps it wouldn't have blown up like it did. Nor does Sheppard note that the AP's Feb. 11 article also noted the Bush administration's side of the story, that it "considers the UAE an important ally in the fight against terrorism since the suicide hijackings," adding that "shipping experts" have pointed out "DP World's strong economic interest in operating ports securely and efficiently" and that "even under foreign control, U.S. ports will continue to be run by unionized American employees." You wouldn't know from Sheppard's portrayal of it, but the AP article is actually well balanced.

Posters on the thread to Sheppard's item pointed out another flaw in his reasoning: that Chertoff wasn't a part of the process that led to the original federal decision to approve the deal, as noted in a Feb. 26 Washington Post article.

And there's yet another flaw: By only noting Schumer's opposition to the deal, Sheppard ignores the fact that the controversy was also fueled by Sheppard's conservative fellow travelers, such as Michael Savage and WorldNetDaily. As we've noted, Sheppard previously falsely claimed that only the "Antique Media and the Left" opposed the DP World deal.

Farther down in the thread, forced to defend his post, Sheppard shares his (and, apparently, MRC's) view of research:

I'm not sure our charge here is to always connect every dot. Many of my editors are frequently reminding me that it is sometimes better to allow the reader to reach his/her own conclusions. If not, aren't we similar to that which we find offensive?

Well, Noel, it might help if you had done enough research in the first place, so that those dots connect to the solid foundation of truth rather than the shifting sands of uninformed, biased opinion.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:18 PM EST

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