ConWeb Job-Hopping Topic: The ConWeb
The latest addition (near as we can tell) to the list of recent ConWeb job-hoppers is Sherrie Gossett.
A longtime correspondent for WorldNetDaily, she spent the past several months as an associate editor at Accuracy in Media's "AIM Report." As a byline this week reveals, Gossett is now a staff writer for CNSNews.com. A July 7 AIM article still lists her as an employee, however, so she may have just dumped the WND gig. (WND, NewsMax and CNS have historically not shared reporters.)
As one might surmise by her ConWeb history, Gossett can be counted on to reflect that bias. ConWebWatch has noted her twice -- in 2004, when she launched a biased attack on an error by the Boston Globe, and earlier this year, when she helped advance WorldNetDaily's baseless speculation about who killed a Coptic Christian family.
Poe, Part 3 Topic: WorldNetDaily Today's WorldNetDaily installment of Richard Poe's attempt to cash in on trendy Hillary-bashing hard-hitting expose of Hillary Clinton benignly describes Richard Mellon Scaife as a "Pittsburgh philanthropist and newspaper publisher." Last October, however, Poe described George Soros -- who, like Scaife, has donated millions of dollars to organizations in order to advance a political philosophy -- a little more harshly as a "Wall Street billionaire and leftwinger."
The main difference (other than Poe's eagerness to smear Soros)? Poe's employer, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, has received more than $1.4 million from Scaife-contorlled foundations since 2000, and millions more in the decade before that. Even though the CSPC has distanced itself from Poe's work (the CPSC disclaimer at the end remains), Poe clearly has no interest in trashing a major source of his income. Poe also fails to disclose Scaife's financial connection to his employer.
Mad Hot Slander Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 6 WorldNetDaily article by Ron Strom baselessly bashes filmmaker Michael Moore for hosting a film festival in Traverse City, Mich.
Strom focuses on a rival film festival that will show "conservative and pro-America movies," presumably unlike Moore's festival. Strom also quotes a local woman who asserts without evidence that Moore "had a political agenda" in staging the festival, adding: "The movies he is showing represent the minority, extreme, radical left view."
While Strom writes that "Though none of Moore's films are in the line-up, some of the movies address political issues such as unemployment, globalization and corporate corruption," he doesn't list the films to be shown, though he does for the rival festival.
And what are these "minority, extreme, radical left" movies to be shown at the festival that Strom won't tell us about, even though they're listed on the festival web site that Strom links to? Here are a few:
-- "Mad Hot Ballroom," a documentary about New York City fifth-graders learning how to ballroom dance.
-- "Italian for Beginners," a slice-of-life movie about a group of Danes and the Italian language class they're taking.
Poe, Part 2 Topic: WorldNetDaily
Apparently, Richard Poe's attempt to piggyback on Ed Klein's Hillary-bashing book is going to be a series. WorldNetDaily has served up the second installment of Poe's conspiracy-mongering book, "Hillary's Secret War."
Today's segment shows us how much he is willing to bend facts to fit his anti-Clinton animus. He uses unnamed sources, he denigrates Arkansas as "a kind of Third-World country within the United States," and he certainly has no intention of including any exculpatory evidence about the Clintons. Poe also heavily implies that Bill Clinton, while he was Arkansas governor, was linked to purported CIA- and Iran-Contra-linked drug-running out of a small Arkanses airport, but he offers absolutely no evidence that Clinton was even aware of it.
And the disclaimer from the David Horowitz-led group that employs Poe is still at the end.
ConWeb Unity Topic: The ConWeb
One sidebar aspect of today's attacks that the ConWeb is in lockstep with: WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com were quick to report Israel's denial of reports that it had advance knowledge of the attacks; NewsMax repeated CNS' item.
WND's Sudden Disinterest in Jumping to Conclusions Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 7 WorldNetDaily article appears to be offended that anyone would jump to the conclusion that a fire at a Florida abortion clinic would be blamed on anti-abortion activists.
The article's secondary headline reads "Police investigating but pro-lifers immediately suspected." The leader of "a local pro-life group" laments how "abortion protesters undoubtedly will be blamed." Another anti-abortion activist is quoted as insisting that he and his fellow activists are not protesters: "We don't endorse any kind of violence. ... There has never been any type of brouhaha or melee."
Of course, WND had no problems jumping to conclusions when a Coptic Christian family was murdered earlier this year. WND promoted questionable speculation that the family was murdered by Islamic terrorists. WND then abandoned the story when it was revealed that the family was murdered in a robbery, despite the fact that there was plenty more of the story to report; the false accusations inflamed tensions between Christians and Muslims in the neighborhood where the killings took place.
Can we now expect Jack Cashill to pound out a seven-part series for WND on how anti-abortionists are being framed for the blaze?
New Article: State of the (Sacramento) Union Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily tells a biased, incomplete story of the troubles at the revived version of the newspaper its editor used to work for. Read more.
WND and Richard Poe: Together Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily serves up self-serving disingenuousness in the service of trying to make a buck with a July 6 article by Richard Poe.
The article is billed as "an eye-opening sneak preview of New York Times best-selling author Richard Poe's revealing book, 'Hillary's Secret War.'" But nowhere is it mentioned that Poe's book was published more than a year ago; it's hard to "preview" something that's been publicly available for quite some time. ConWebWatch noted the book upon its release; read the correspondence between Poe and I regarding it here.
The rest of the article is Poe's self-promotion and conspiracy theorizing about Hillary Clinton, designed to capitalize on Edward Klein's discredited "The Truth About Hillary." So wacky are his assertions that his employer has backed away from them, as the tagline at the end of the article attests:
Richard Poe is the investigative editor of David Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture, as well as managing editor of Horowitz's group blog Moonbat Central. The views expressed in Poe's book, "Hillary's Secret War," are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.
How extreme does your anti-Clinton rhetoric have to be that even David Horowitz doesn't want to associate his organization with it?
ConWeb Balance Topic: CNSNews.com
A July 5 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones claiming that "Democrats are ready to fight" President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court "even before they know who they'll be fighting against" makes no mention of the conservative groups who are ready to support Bush's nominee even before they know who they'll be fighting for. (CNS does link to a Washington Post article with the details on conservatives' planned efforts, but that information will not make its way to the CNS archive.)
And a July 6 article by Jones once again plays up the assumption that liberals are motivated only by crass political power. Jones assumes President Bush was referring to MoveOn.org when he said "money-raising groups" should not be allowed to dictate the tone and the rhetoric of the upcoming debate over the nominee by prefacing Bush's statement with the phrase "Without mentioning MoveOn.org or any other group by name." Again, no mention is made of the money conservatives have announced they plan to spend boosting Bush's nominee.
WND's Double Standard on Erroneous Speculation Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 5 WorldNetDaily article states: "Flagged by Islamic groups as a probable hate crime, a burned Quran found at the doorstep of a Virginia mosque turned out to be a case of a Muslim who wasn't sure how to properly dispose of his religion's sacred book."
We're still waiting for WorldNetDaily to give similar treatment to another erroneous-suspicion case. The death of a Coptic Christian family in New Jersey was heavily promoted by WND as the work of Islamic terrorists, but WND abandoned the story when it became clear that the killings were in fact motivated by robbery by two apparent non-Muslims.
WND also printed a July 5 column by Michelle Malkin on the subject; she called the burned-Quran case "a symbol of the knee-jerk penchant among some civil-rights groups and their enablers to cry racism, claim discrimination, and criticize U.S. law enforcement authorities for not doing enough to stop 'hate crimes.'"
But like WND, Malkin also promoted speculation that the Coptic family's death was an anti-Christian hate crime perpetrated by Muslims (here and here). Malkin did eventually apologize for her erroneous speculation. Will WorldNetDaily apologize for doing the exact same thing?
One Less Brick in the Wall Topic: WorldNetDaily
Journalistic integrity at WorldNetDaily continues its last throes (as Dick Cheney might say).
A July 5 WND article tells us that "Swiss America Trading Corp. is launching today its "Operation Divest Terror." Nowhere in the article is it noted that Swiss America is a "chief sponsor" of WND chief Joseph Farah's radio show.
On a related note, Craig Smith, head of Swiss America, writes a weekly column for WND. His tagline describes him as an "author, commentator and popular media guest" without noting his connection to Swiss America, let alone Swiss America's business relationship with WND.
New Article: Off the Hook Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax follows the ConWeb script and abandons a subject when it stops being of use to its agenda -- but not before breathlessly promoting wild, and possibly false, allegations. Read more.
Press-Release Journalism Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax overplayed the value of comments by an evangelical minister who took offense that Rev. Billy Graham said something nice about the Clintons.
The June 27 article played up comments by National Clergy Council president Rev. Rob Schenck, who "walked out on Rev. Billy Graham during the second night of his Queens, New York crusade" after Graham "yielded the stage to Bill Clinton and suggested his wife Hillary should be president." NewsMax noted that Schenck "told the Christian Wire Service" his comments.
But the Christian Wire Service is not a "news" service like the Associated Press; it is a distributor of press releases for conservative groups, as its client list attests. Its front page notes: "$65 is what we charge to transmit your 400-words-or-less press release." Schenck's comments originated here in a press release.
It is part of the Christian Communication Service, founded by Gary McCullough, who has worked with Operation Rescue and was a spokesman for the Schindler family and a media adviser to another Schindler family spokesman, fellow Operation Rescue operative Randall Terry, during the Terri Schiavo crisis. A statement on the website describes its mission:
Since 1989, Gary McCullough has worked full-time to see that pro-life and pro-family organizations and individuals are afforded the opportunity for their messages to reach more people through mass media.
NewsMax didn't report comments told to a news organization; it rewrote a press release.
WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, ran an op-ed by Schenck on Graham on July 1, claiming it was an "Exclusive WorldNetDaily Commentary," without noting that it too originated as a press release.
O'Connor Roundup Topic: The ConWeb
How did the ConWeb initially cover Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement?
WorldNetDaily: Its initial story puts ConWeb balance into play; its look at "activists gearing up for a fierce confirmation battle" quoted four conservatives and one ACLU representative who focused on "individual liberties," not exactly a liberal position.
CNSNews.com: Pounded out eight stories. The stories that focused on liberals' views tended to promote more alarmist statements (featuring "ominous vacancy" in a headline, another headline misleadingly claiming that Sen. Ted Kennedy "Threatens to Oppose Supreme Court Nominee" when that statement is qualified in the story's lead) than those that focused on conservatives' views.
Another story engages in some subtle bias by portraying conservatives as concerned about "sanctity of life, the family and the Ten Commandments" and "the rule of law and the Constitution." Writer Susan Jones then adds "Likewise, liberal groups want a nominee who will protect their interests" and lists comments regarding abortion, gay rights and the environment. A man-on-the-street piece, surprisingly, was not only not conservatively slanted but actually leaned liberal; five people expressing support for a liberal nominee were quoted, compared to three expressing support for a conservative nominee.
NewsMax: Almost all Associated Press wire copy, except for a press release from the Republican National Committee. And, of course, renewed sales plugs for the issue of its magazine on the Supreme Court (one topic: "Why a top constitutional scholar is arguing that Bush should “pack” the Supreme Court").