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Wednesday, September 27, 2006
NewsMax's Misguided Defense of O'Reilly
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 25 NewsMax article launched a defense of Bill O'Reilly's new book "Culture Warrior" by attacking Media Matters' deconstruction of the book's errors and attacks -- but never actually getting around to disproving anything in the Media Matters review. (The article has a " Wires" byline, though we could not find -- nor could we imagine -- any self-respecting wire service serving up such an article.)

First on NewsMax's agenda, though, is attack mode. It makes sure to bash Media Matters as "lef-wing" and "developed with the help of the George Soros-backed advocacy organization, Center for American Progress" (gotta throw in that Soros bogeyman, doncha know).

Then it starts going off the tracks. The article asserts that Media Matters "led the way Monday" with its review -- but it was posted to the Media Matters site on Friday, three days earlier. NewsMax then states:

According to Media Matters, "Culture Warrior" is "replete with factual errors, rank hypocrisy, and ad hominem attacks directed at anyone who has crossed swords with O'Reilly."

In fact, the Fox News Channel anchor writes about what he sees as a fierce culture war between those who embrace traditional values and those who want to change America into a "secular-progressive" country.  And he warns that those who ignore the threat that the secular-progressive movement poses do so at their own peril.

But NewsMax's description of the book contradicts nothing that Media Matters wrote about it; nowhere in the article does NewsMax address any of the specific claims Media Matters made. The article adds that "a look at what he has to say in the book about some of those he targets shows that in the end, he is 'fair and balanced.'" But the excerpts NewsMax cites don't exactly bear that out; for instance, it quotes O'Reilly calling Al Franken "a man without scruples, a far-left fanatic whose brand of unbridled hatred is sound-bite ready and media friendly,"  Michael Moore "[t]he clown prince of the secular-progressive movement" and  Bill Moyers "Perhaps the farthest-left broadcaster in the history of television." That sounds a lot more like the "ad hominem attacks" Media Matters describes than the "fair and balanced" descriptions NewsMax seems to think they are.

But the whole point of this exercise is to sell books. NewsMax is unloading "Culture Warrior" for $4.99 plus a free trial subscription to its magazine that you must opt out of in order to avoid being charged $39 for a year's subscription.

(Full disclosure: I am a Media Matters employee.) 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 AM EDT

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