The Smear Spreads Topic: Newsmax
In a July 18 NewsMax column, Geoff Metcalf writes: "Partisan disagreements on policy or legislation are anticipated and even healthy. However for an alleged grown-up to tell the young faithful that Republicans want to kill him and his children to maintain tax cuts for the rich is way over the line."
One Smear Is Not Enough Topic: CNSNews.com
We've already noted how a July 15 CNSNews.com article smears the Kennedys. Turns out it falsely smears Paul Begala too.
The lead of the article, written by Jered Ede, claims that Begala said at a gathering of progressive students that Republicans "want to kill me and my children" to preserve tax cuts for the rich. As quoted by Ede:
"They want to kill me and my children if they can. But if they just kill me and not my children, they want my children to be comforted -- that while they didn't protect me because they cut my taxes, my children won't have to pay any money on the money they inherit," Begala said. "That is bulls*** national defense, and we should say that."
But as the Princeton Progressive Review points out, the audio of the speech shows that it's clear that Begala never said that. He uses a string of "theys" that start out referring to the terrorists and end up referring to Republicans, not uncommon in spoken English. Ede and his CNS editors were either unable or unwilling to sort out which was which, then decided to go with the most inflammatory interpretation.
Will CNS run a correction? Let's watch Monday and see.
Michael Savage, Snooty Liberal Know-It-All? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A link headlined "Encyclopedia of snooty, destructive leftists" takes readers from WorldNetDaily's commentary page to the WND Book Service page for Bernard Goldberg's new book, "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken Is #37)." A blurb there describes the book as "a rogue's gallery of 100 snooty liberal know-it-alls who are running this country into the ground."
While liberals and celebrities unsurprisingly dominate Goldberg's list, he also throws in a couple of WND's favorite conservatives -- Former judge Roy Moore and radio ranter Michael Savage. Are they now "snooty, destructive leftists" too? (Though Savage makes the list mainly for the offense of making conservatives look bad.)
Poe, Part 7 Topic: WorldNetDaily
Today's Clinton-bashing WorldNetDaily article by Richard Poe (which returns to WND's front page) is dedicated to bashing Kenneth Starr as a crappy prosecutor because he didn't frog-march the Clintons to the pokey and because he didn't declare that Vince Foster had been murdered (despite Poe's own admission that "no one can prove that Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster met his death through foul play. It is quite possible that he committed suicide").
It also attacks the Snopes debunking of the" Clinton body count" (which we previously linked to) because it doesn't include a guy named Miquel Rodriguez, a former associate independent counsel under Starr who quit because, he claimed, Starr was covering up evidence that Foster was murdered (again, despite Poe's admission that "no one can prove that Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster met his death through foul play. It is quite possible that he committed suicide").
Poe again plays the Scaife non-disclosure game; he noted that Starr attemped to quit as independent counsel to accept a deanship at Pepperdine University, but failed to note that Richard Mellon Scaife -- a major donor to Poe's employer, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture -- donated more than $1 million to the Pepperdine school Starr was to become dean of.
Digging Up a Kennedy to Bash Topic: CNSNews.com
When in doubt, bash a Kennedy -- that seems to be CNSNews' motto.
In a effort to counter a claim by author Thomas Frank at a liberal gathering that "Republicans didn't see Hitler as a threat to America until Pearl Harbor," correspondent Jered Ede, in a July 15 CNS article, drags Kennedy patriarch Joseph Kennedy into the fray:
Frank did not mention one of the most vocal opponents of U.S. intervention in World War II: Democrat Joseph P. Kennedy, who was one of Roosevelt's top fundraisers, the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain and father of John F. Kennedy, who would later become America's 35th president.
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the eldest of the ambassador's sons, wrote his father with his own observations of the global conflict. Hitler's "dislike of the Jews ... was well-founded," the younger Kennedy explained in his letter.
"In every revolution, you have to expect some bloodshed. Hitler is building a spirit in his men that could be envied in this country," wrote Kennedy, Jr., expressing an opinion his father shared.
"I was very pleased and gratified at your observations of the German situation, and I think your conclusions are very sound," the elder Kennedy replied to his son.
Perhaps someone should remind Ede that the grandfather of our current president raised money for the Nazis and were convicted of trading with the enemy (you know, the Nazis) in 1942.
Then again, CNS can't leave the Kennedys alone; last year, it was celebrating the 35th anniversary of Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick incident.
Cleaning Up After Tancredo Topic: WorldNetDaily
More evidence that WorldNetDaily is totally in the tank for anti-immigration congressman Tom Tancredo -- it's softening his out-there remarks.
A July 15 WND article by Art Moore takes pains to explain that Tancredo really doesn't want to nuke Mecca in response to the nuclear attack by al-Qaida that WND has been insisting will happen any day now.
Poe, Part 6 Topic: WorldNetDaily Today's WorldNetDaily article by Richard Poe is chock full o' non-disclosure. Poe's main task here is to fluff NewsMax leader Christopher Ruddy and his 1990s reporting on the death of Vincent Foster. Poe describes Richard Mellon Scaife only as the publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which hired Ruddy as a reporter focusing mainly on the Foster death. Poe fails to inform his readers about Scaife's copious funding of conservative causes -- including Poe's employer, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (the disclaimer remains at the end).
Poe also claims that "Ruddy exercised remarkable restraint in his reporting on Foster's death" in his 1997 book "The Strange Death of Vincent Foster," but fails to point out that even fellow conservative Ann Coulter (who whose defense Poe rushed after a newspaper dumped her column) dismissed Ruddy's book as a "conservative hoax book." Poe also fails to note that Scaife cut off funding to longtime beneficiary The American Spectator after it ran a negative review of Ruddy's book.
(And since Poe goes after Media Matters in his article, I will do what Poe won't and disclose that I am a Media Matters employee, but Media Matters does not fund or have any editorial control over ConWebWatch.)
Also interesting to note: This is the first of Poe's series of commentaries that did not appear on the WND front page, only on the commentary page.
Another WND Ad Disguised As News Topic: WorldNetDaily
For reasons undisclosed to its readers, WorldNetDaily has run yet another ad-disguised-as-a-news-story about evangelist Greg Laurie. WND's July 13 article all but anoints Laurie as the heir to Billy Graham and promotes an upcoming Laurie event.
The article calls Laurie an "exclusive WND columnist," though his archive shows only three columns in 2005. WND also sells Laurie's books.
How much is Laurie paying for these "news" stories without news value? And shouldn't other evangelists be clamoring to get the same deal?
Jesse Lee Peterson's Southern Strategy Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com reported on July 13 comments by conservative tool Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson that it was a "mistake" for Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman to address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) national convention. But as the Washington Post reported, Mehlman is using his NAACP appearance to apologize for the Republicans' "Southern Strategy" of using race as a wedge issue to appeal to white voters.
Does this mean that Peterson supports the GOP Southern Strategy?
Toensing Non-Disclosure (Again) Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 14 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore repeats the claims of attorney Victoria Toensing that Karl Rove didn't violate a statute forbidding the exposure of covert agents when he helped out covert CIA operative Valerie Plame to a reporter. Moore fails to point out, as NewsMax did previously, that Toensing is hardly neutral on this issue; she's a close friend of Robert Novak, who wrote a column outing Plame.
The Daily Les, 7/13 Topic: The Daily Les Today, Les Kinsolving serves as safe harbor, asking questions about WorldNetDaily's favorite subject of late, a nuclear attack on the U.S., and Kinsolving's favorite subject, sodomy, apparently thinking that Scott McClellan would be more eager to answer that than yet another question about Karl Rove:
KINSOLVING: Scott, I have a non-Rove question. One non-Rove question. Washington's Weekly Standard reports that when they asked the president to identify the Supreme Court justice who is his model for what a justice should be, he said Antonin Scalia. And he told the same thing to Tim Russert. And my question: Does the president disagree with Justice Scalia's strong dissent with the 5-4 majority on the Lawrence v. Texas case?
McCLELLAN: Les, you want to refresh me on that case?
KINSOLVING: That's the sodomy case.
And then there's Kinsolving's attempt to be really safe harbor:
KINSOLVING: The Washington Times editorial page this morning published a cartoon comparing White House correspondents to sharks. My question, do you think that they were wrong to make this comparison? (Laughter.)
Poe, Parts 4 and 5 Topic: WorldNetDaily
Richard Poe slides into full-on conspiracy mode for his next two WorldNetDaily segments to boost sales of his book, "Hillary's Secret War."
The July 12 segment plays the guilt-by-association game to link the Clintons to "money launderers, drug runners, and S&L pillagers." By the same standard Poe uses, Bush adviser Karl Rove is also linked to money-laundering and drug-running, but somehow we doubt Poe would ever describe Rove that way.
Poe's July 13 article purports to offer "The real story behind the Clinton body count." In it, Poe focuses on the deaths of two people on the so-called "Clinton body count" list, Vincent Foster and Jerry Parks. While Poe avers that "no one can prove that Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster met his death through foul play. It is quite possible that he committed suicide," he fails to note that at least four investigations that concluded that Foster did indeed commit suicide. And while the death of Parks remains unsolved, Poe does not tell us, as Snopes does, that a disgruntled former business partner with whom Parks had quarreled is a more likely suspect, and that Parks' son, Gary Parks, who has long promoted the idea that Clinton offed his father, has had his theories dismissed by police as "unsubstantiated, nothing to grasp."
In other words, the "Clinton body count" is dubious and falls apart when one examines all of the facts (as ConWebWatch has detailed in another case). But Poe won't tell you that.
In her article on the disclosed link between Bush adviser Karl Rove and the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, Jones frames the issue as one of Democrats seeking revenge. The headline states, "Democrats Smell Scandal, Want Rove Removed"; the article begins: "Democrats think they've found a way to get rid of President Bush's political adviser Karl Rove, who has long been a favorite target of liberal wrath."
We don't recall ever seeing a CNS article headlined, "Republicans Smell Scandal, Want Clinton Impeached."
The Daily Les, 7/12 Topic: The Daily Les
We're trying out a new ConWebBlog feature -- reporting the questions asked by Les Kinsolving, WorldNetDaily White House reporter and all-around conservative tool.
Today's questions by Kinsolving in the White House press briefing once again had nothing to do with the possible criminal actions of a senior White House adviser, but at least he didn't suck up like yesterday.
KINSOLVING: The news that the G8 nations offered the Palestinian Authority $9 billion inevitably recalls the 2003 International Monetary Fund report that Yasser Arafat diverted $900 million to a special bank account he controlled. And my question: Considering Mammoud Abbas' long association with Arafat, plus his refusal to dismantle any terrorist groups like Hamas, in accordance with the road map, how on earth did the president allow these billions to Abbas without U.S. protest?
Question 2, the full exchange:
KINSOLVING: Does the president believe that it is outrageous for a Los Angeles advertising man to be conducting a campaign to persuade the town selectmen of Weare, New Hampshire, to approve the building of a hotel on the land where Justice Souter's house is located? Or does he regard this as an historic irony resulting from Souter's vote in the case of Kelo versus the City of New London?
McCLELLAN: I haven't seen anything on it. Jim, go ahead.
KINSOLVING: You didn't see anything on it? You'd like to evade this one, wouldn't you?
McCLELLAN: No, I haven't seen anything on it, Les. I like to see reports before I comment on it.
ANOTHER REPORTER: No, it's the other ones he's trying to evade.
(Update: Edited to properly identify Kinsolving as questioner, change topic to the newly created "Daily Les.")