It Depends On What the Meaning of 'Fixed' Is Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com makes an effort to discredit the Downing Street memo in a June 16 article by Randy Hall. He uses James Robbins, senior fellow in national security affairs for the American Foreign Policy Council (a conservative group, though Hall doesn't tell us that), to try to build a case that "people who think the Downing Street Minutes are part of a pro-war conspiracy 'need to ramp down their enthusiasm'":
When asked about the use of the phrase "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," Robbins noted that the document provided meeting minutes, not a precise meeting transcript.
"People who are placing their entire case on the word 'fixed,' a word that may not even have been spoken but was just the shorthand of the person who was documenting the meeting, need to clarify whether that word was actually used, what that word means and where the people who may have said this got that impression," he said.
Michael Smith, the reporter for the British Sunday Times who broke the Downing Street memo story, clarifies things for Robbins and Hall in a June 16 Washington Post online chat:
There are number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is a real joke. I do not know anyone in the UK who took it to mean anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want it. The intelligence was fixed and as for the reports that said this was one British official. Pleeeaaassee! This was the head of MI6. How much authority do you want the man to have? He has just been to Washington, he has just talked to George Tenet. He said the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. That translates in clearer terms as the intelligence was being cooked to match what the administration wanted it to say to justify invading Iraq. Fixed means the same here as it does there.
Survey Says... Topic: WorldNetDaily
The results of a June 15 WorldNetDaily opt-in reader poll asking the question, "Who among the following do you think most resembles a journalist?":
Rush Limbaugh 40.83% (1414) Bill O'Reilly 23.16% (802) George Will 20.94% (725) Bob Woodward 5.17% (179) Brian Williams 4.01% (139) Mike Wallace 2.48% (86) Peter Jennings 1.50% (52) Chris Matthews 0.81% (28) Katie Couric 0.58% (20) Larry King 0.52% (18)
Schiavo Scorecard Topic: The ConWeb
The early summary of ConWeb coverage of Terri Schiavo's autopsy report:
WorldNetDaily -- In keeping with its longstanding biases, its initial article fails to report medical examiner's conclusion that Schiavo was indeed in a persistent vegetative state or significance of finding that her brain was half the weight of a normal brain.
NewsMax -- Article claims that "Although millions of Americans watched Terri Schiavo follow people and objects with her eyes as they moved about her hospital room, the doctor who conducted the autopsy reported that she was blind." Also promoting Michael Schiavo-bashing book by Mark Fuhrman.
Bozell Hearts Bloggers At Last Topic: Media Research Center
It was just about a year ago -- in a July 2, 2004, commentary, to be exact -- that Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell was denouncing a plethora of bloggers and other web-based sources (including ConWebWatch) cited in David Brock's book "The Republican Noise Machine" as "fringe radical left-wing activists" promulgating "a fuming, ranting, bizarre compendium of half-truths and no-truths."
Times change. In his June 15 column defending Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto's hard-hitting questions during an interview with President Bush, Bozell cites "Fox-defending blogger 'Johnny Dollar'" as an authority in attacking Washington Post writer Dan Froomkin, who had attacked Cavuto as a "Bush campaign contributor" (falsely, Dollar claims; Cavuto merely donated to the Republican Party).
BTW, Bozell has never said what information from ConWebWatch fell under the "half-truths and no-truths" categories.
(Full disclosure: I work for David Brock's Media Matters, but ConWebWatch is independent of Media Matters.)
New Article: Double Secret Hypocrisy Topic: The ConWeb
From the Out There file: The ConWeb was quite put out when Senate minority leader Harry Reid mentioned "a problem" in the FBI file of a Bush judicial nominee. No such reservations were voiced a few years back when "secret" information purportedly incriminating Bill Clinton appeared ... on the ConWeb. Read more.
A Little Less Restrained Topic: Newsmax
A June 14 article makes it clear that, even though it thus far has refrained from reprinting the most lurid allegation, NewsMax will pump up Edward Klein's Hillary-bashing book.
-- It deletes the paragraph stating that "The liberal-leaning mediamatters.org says the book contains 'factual errors, misleading claims, and gay-baiting sexual innuendo.'"
-- It adds a completely new paragraph: "In fact, Klein is far from a conservative hatchet man. He's the former editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine, and author of the best sellers 'The Kennedy Curse' and 'Farewell, Jackie.'"
Additionally, NewsMax fails to note that while Klein may not be an obvious "conservative hatchet man," his collaborator on the book, NewsMax columnist John LeBoutillier, is.
CNS Press Release Source Acknowledged Topic: CNSNews.com
Perhaps chastened by ConWebWatch's documentation of its reliance on press releases by conservative legal groups, a June 14 CNSNews.com article by Jared Ede helpfully provides a link to the actual Liberty Counsel press release from which he lifted quotes by LC president Mathew Staver.
NewsMax Restrains Itself Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax has been unusually selective about the excerpts it promotes from the new book "The Truth About Hillary."
After an intial flurry of revelations -- and the subsequent debunking of them, showing author Edward Klein to be a shoddy, scandal-mongering researcher -- NewsMax got real quiet, going several days without a story plug, a rather tame one regarding "bred-in-the-bone leftist" Susan Thomases.
Sure, we could expect that NewsMax would not report the book's documented errors -- even though it proclaimed Kitty Kelley's book on the Bush family "prematurely imploded" after a single source recanted her participation in it. After all, it doesn't want to annoy columnist John LeBoutillier, who had a hand in Klein's book.
But NewsMax has also declined to reprint the most lurid allegation from the book to date, a claim (anonymous, of course) reported by Matt Drudge that Bill Clinton raped Hillary, resulting in the conception of daughter Chelsea Clinton.
Very surprising for a "news" organization that has shown little restraint in smearing the Clintons in the past.
Abortion Causing GM Layoffs? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why is General Motors planning to eliminate 25,000 jobs? Abortion, according to a WorldNetDaily columnist.
In a June 13 BizNetDaily column, Noah Knox writes that GM chairman Rick Wagoner "clearly identified union-demanded benefits as a big cause of General Motors' problems," adding: "At the core of those demands were requirements, inserted by the normal anti-God forces that dominate union leadership, that auto makers pay for the murder of unborn babies."
Knox closes with an attack on the United Auto Workers:
One has to question whether union leadership serves its members interests or whether it serves the false liberal god spouting anti-biblical doctrines such as "women's rights", "an impregnated woman's right to choose to murder", and "the right of gay, lesbian, and transgendered employees to have the company pay for treatment of the sin-induced medical problems of so-called partners."
Knox does not mention any of GM's other problems, such as mediocre products and a bureaucratic corporate structure.
New Article: Another WND Retraction Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily once again gets caught in the act of letting its biases trump the facts, which gives WND a worse retraction record than Newsweek. Read more.
WorldNetDaily hereby retracts its Dec. 3, 2004, article titled "College concert for terror-supporting charity," about a California-based charity organization, Islamic Relief. WorldNetDaily regrets any adverse consequences caused by this publication to Islamic Relief and its worldwide founder, Dr. Hanny Al Banna.
Why did WND retract that article? The retraction doesn't say; instead it offers details about the humanitarian activites of Islamic Relief. But the story was written by Aaron Klein and began this way:
Nova Southeastern University is hosting a fundraising concert Saturday for an Islamic charity that has reportedly been under investigation for accepting a contribution from a front group for Al-Qaida and is connected to several organizations that support terrorism. Pending performers include a vocal supporter of the terrorist group Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
This is the second story WND has retracted in the past two months. More on this next week on ConWebWatch.
Getting It Wrong: Kerry's Form 180 Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a June 9 WorldNetDaily article, longtime Kerry-basher and bigot Jerome Corsi (whom WND once again failed to note was also a WND columnist and a WND-published author) falsely claimed that John Kerry didn't sign a Standard Form 180 releasing his military records.
The SF 180, Corsi claimed, is "a blanket release of documents to the American public," Corsi said. "This is not a Standard Form 180 procedure. I think he just called up the Navy and told them to send documents to the Boston Globe. I want to see the form posted on his website."
In fact, as Media Matters notes, a veteran can designate limits on access to his military records through SF 180, as Kerry apparently did by limiting access to the Boston Globe. Blanket access can also be granted.
The WND article also quotes John O'Neill of the discredited Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claiming that Kerry's release of records to the Globe "is not the full disclosure sought by critics of his Vietnam war record" and that "Kerry allowed Globe reporter Michael Kranish to obtain documents only from the Navy Department" and not from the the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
In fact, a Navy spokesman told the New York Sun that the released records do indeed come from the St. Louis center and are "the whole record."
Getting It Wrong: Clinton's 'Values' Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com senior staff writer Marc Morano misleadingly described an award given to former President Bill Clinton in a June 9 article.
From the article's first paragraph:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reached out to MTV's Rock the Vote Wednesday night, accepting the group's "Rock the Nation" award while former President Bill Clinton was honored for his "values."
The article's headline also claimed, "Clinton Honored for 'Values'," and Morano turned self-referential later in the article by describing what happened "[w]hen Cybercast News Service asked [former congressman Jack] Kemp how he felt about co-chairing an event honoring Clinton's 'values'."
But Clinton was not honored for his "values." As Morano himself wrote elsewhere in the article, he was given a "Lifetime Achievement" award, meant to "honor an individual who has always made reaching out to people and appealing to their values a primary part of his efforts to make the world a better place." The award refers to the values of voters, not of Clinton.
Morano also made note of what he called "Rock the Vote's overwhelmingly liberal agenda," which seemed to be belied by the presence of Republicans such as Kemp, McCain and Sen. Norm Coleman, and an honor given to "[t]he anti-war band, Black Eyed Peas."
Update: When You Assume... Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com continues to play up the assumption that Democrats act only out of crass political motives. From a June 9 article by Susan Jones:
A Democrat strategist says there's no reason for Democrats to compromise on President Bush's Social Security plan, not only because Democrats believe the plan is bad for the nation -- but because it could be the issue that inspires voters to return control of Congress to the Democrats.
By contrast, elsewhere in the article, Jones depicts President Bush as showing leadership for pointing out that "the current Social Security system is a looming problem for younger Americans."
New Article: Just Like Old Times Topic: The ConWeb
A pair of new books allow the ConWeb to engage in a couple of its favorite activities: bashing the Clintons and failing to tell the full truth about the bashers. Read more.