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Sunday, January 28, 2007
Sheppard Embraces Convicted Felon
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 27 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard took up the cause of Peter Paul, the corrupt businessman who's suing Hillary Clinton over alleged "campaign finance fraud." But oops! Sheppard makes no mention of the fact that Paul is a convicted felon awaiting sentencing for stock fraud.

Or maybe not so oops! Sheppard used WorldNetDaily as a source for his post; as we've documented, WND has repeatedly whitewashed Paul's long criminal record.

Sheppard went on to add: "Those looking for some background regarding this issue should read a comprehensive analysis of the subject published by the New Media Journal last March." But that seven-part March 2006 series, like WND's reporting, whitewashes Paul's history of criminality. In part two, author and NewsMax columnist Joan Swirsky enables the whitewashing, claiming that it's unfair for Paul to be "solely distinguished by his ethical and legal lapses, specifically two convictions and confession of securities violations."

Swirsky quickly disposes of Paul's conviction on charges of cocaine posession this way: "Throughout the 1970s to the mid-‘80s, Mr. Paul was involved in various ventures, both legitimate and illegitimate – from working with undercover government operatives on an anti-Castro sting to getting indicted and serving prison time." And that allusion to "confession of securities violations" is the only mention of Paul's current troubles -- his guilty plea to $25 million stock fraud scheme (and related fleeing to Brazil to avoid charges, followed by a two-year extradition fight).

Yet, somehow, to Sheppard this is "comprehensive analysis."

An article in that series by Sheppard takes a similar whitewashing approach, then attacks the media for not mentioning Paul's criminality at the time of the 2000 fundraising event hosted by Paul that led to all of this: "[W]hy did its [New York Times] editors think that it wasn’t important to inform the public that it was hosted by a felon, or that the numbers being reported by the Clinton campaign to the FEC concerning its cost were suspect?" Wouldn't a better question be why Sheppard, Swirsky and WND are embracing a convicted felon for the sole purpose of slinging mud at the Clintons?

Another Sheppard-penned article in the series laments the "smears and attacks" on Paul and goes on to compare Paul to Jack Abramoff: "[C]onsider the fact that no member of Congress is believed to have received from Abramoff anywhere near the dollars Hillary took from Paul, and the disparity in press coverage becomes all the more preposterous."

In his NewsBusters post, Sheppard makes an even more preposterous comparison, this time to George Allen and Scooter Libby: 

To put this in some perspective, last year, a sitting senator from Virginia, who was considered to be a serious presidential candidate in the future, uttered the word “macaca” at a campaign stop. As a result, the media pounced, the videotape of the event and its transcript was splattered incessantly all over the print and airwaves, and the senator not only lost his re-election bid, but probably also saw his political career come to an end. Furthermore, the media in recent weeks have been giving almost non-stop coverage to the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the Vice President's former chief of staff.

By contrast, the media have totally ignored a serious lawsuit against a former president and his senator wife that was originally filed on February 25, 2004.


Think the media would be so mum if McCain, Guiliani, or any major Republican was involved in this action regardless of the merits of the case or this brief

Of course, the target of Allen's "macaca" slur, S.R. Sidarth, is not a convicted felon (though Dan Riehl tried to falsely make him into something akin to one). And given that Libby's trial did not start until this past week, the media could not have given "almost non-stop coverage" to it in "recent weeks."

Sheppard's emphasis in the final paragraph is curious. Is he tacitly admitting that Paul's allegations against the Clintons are without merit? Is he saying that it doesn't matter if Paul is telling the truth as long at it hurts the Clintons? It seems to show a certain lack of faith in his favorite convicted felon.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 PM EST

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