Karla Faye Tucker, Meet Bernie Ebbers Topic: The ConWeb
Is WorldCom's Bernie Ebbers too good of a Christian to be in prison?
That's what Matt Friedeman seems to hint at. An a July 15 AgapePress column, Friedeman argues that one reason Ebbers shouldn't be serving a 25-year prison sentence for orchestrating an $11 billion accounting fraud, the largest in U.S. history, is that he is "a man who could still contribute much, given the opportunity."
What Friedeman doesn't explicitly say is that Ebbers is an evangelical Christian. As CBC notes, he was regarded as the ultimate Christian businessman, helping raise $1 million for his church Easthaven Baptist, along with tens of millions for the building fund of his alma mater, the Southern Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College.
Friedeman writes that "If America's judicial system understood punishment, restoration and restitution (Christian principles, all)," it would acknowledge that "Mr. Ebbers is of no danger to society." One might argue that swindling thousands of people out of billions of dollars constitutes some danger to society. Heck, even evangelical, WorldNetDaily-linked Business Reform magazine backed off its claim that Ebbers was the top Christian entrepeneur (though not before deleting the article making that claim from its database).
It's a bit reminiscent of the Karla Faye Tucker case, in which Pat Robertson and other evangelicals argued against the execution of the woman who killed two people with a pick ax because she became a Christian while in prison.
The point is that typically law-and-order evangelicals seem to think that evangelical Christians who commit crimes should receive lighter sentences merely by dint of being evangelical Christians. But if these criminals were truly Christian, would they be committing crimes in the first place?
One-Source Wonders Topic: The ConWeb
Is the mainstream media picking up bad things from the ConWeb?
WorldNetDaily and NewsMax, with reporters such as Jon Dougherty, have been specialists in running articles that feature only a single source advancing a particular (usually conservative) point of view. But as Atrios notes, both the Washington Post and Roll Call agreed to publish articles about Republican policies or decisions that didn't contain reaction to those decisions as a condition of publication established by Republicans.
When the ConWeb runs one-sided articles (usually copied from press releases issued by conservatives), rarely do they follow up the article to report the other side. Heck, it took CNSNews.com a week to allow Paul Begala to deny CNS' claim that Begala said that Republicans were trying to kill him.
Dubious Source of the Day Topic: CNSNews.com
Today's "Fact-O-Rama" at CNSNews.com reads as follows:
Despite the overwhelming support that Democratic politicians currently enjoy from African American voters, the opposition in the Senate to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was disproportionately Democratic. Twenty-one of the 27 "no" votes came from Democrats.
CNS' claimed source for this information: GOPUSA. That's right -- the sister site of Talon News, the former employer of Jeff Gannon. With the demise of Talon News, GOPUSA is currently reprinting articles from CNS for its "news" content.
Actually, CNS' claim comes from a column by Michael Zak posted on GOPUSA in 2003. Zak doesn't note, however, how many of those Democrats who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 later became Republicans, or that one Republican who voted against the act was Barry Goldwater.
New Article: Prolonging the Lie Topic: CNSNews.com
An compiled, expanded version of our ConWebBlog posts: In the face of logic and common sense, CNSNews.com won't apologize for falsely claiming that Paul Begala said that Republicans want to kill him. Read more.
A gun control group on Thursday announced it is filing two new lawsuits against gun makers and gun dealers on behalf of crime victims.
The timing of the lawsuits is politically motivated...
Jones does not, however, describe a bill "that would protect the gun industry from lawsuits arising from the criminal misuse of their products" as "politically motivated."
Additionally, Jones engages in one of CNS' favorite pastimes, biased labeling: Opponents of the bill are described by Jones as "anti-gun," while backers of the bill are described as "Second Amendment supporters."
The Daily Les, 7/27 Topic: The Daily Les
No question, apparently, but Scott McClellan tossed a comment Les Kinsolving's way. WorldNetDaily's take:
The White House implictly welcomed WorldNetDaily's observation that while many pundits and news organizations are focused on U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' links to the Federalist Society, no such concern was expressed in 1993 about Clinton-choice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's overt activism on behalf of the ACLU.
Asked if he sees a double standard, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said he didn't follow Ginsburg's confirmation process.
But he replied wryly to reporter Les Kinsolving, "You're welcome to point out those things if you so choose."
The WND article cites a July 27 column by Joseph Farah that attacks Ginsburg as having a "record of extremist political advocacy" for a "subversive, anti-American, anti-Christian organization" (that would be the ACLU).
But Farah isn't telling the whole story about Ginsburg. She was considered a moderate at the time of her nomination to the Supreme Court, having been recommended to President Clinton by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch as a candidate whom Republicans would approve. Additionally, while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Ginsburg often voted with conservatives such as Robert Bork, Kenneth Starr and Laurence Silberman; one study showed that in one year of cases that produced a division on the court, Ginsburg voted with Bork 85 percent of the time.
Is that the "record of extremist political advocacy" Farah is talking about?
WND Stays Quiet About the Duke Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has printed yet another article about a memorial cross in San Diego that mentions the work of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in trying to preserve it. But WND still has yet to run an original article on Cunningham's ethical misdeeds -- even though they have apparently resulted in his decision not to seek re-election.
WND is not quite the "watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power" it claims to be.
CNS' Bias-O-Rama Topic: CNSNews.com
A raftful of bias and questionable facts at CNSNews.com today:
-- An article by Susan Jones on an anti-gay-marriage initiative in California features only attacks on California Attorney General Bill Lockyer by "defenders of traditional marriage" who claim Lockyer is, in Jones' words, "deliberately trying to undermine a proposed marriage amendment by issuing a negative and prejudicial paragraph describing it to voters." Jones makes no apparent attempt to contact Lockyer for his response.
Before news events overtook them, Democrats were on a roll about Karl Rove, the Bush adviser they've targeted for job termination -- even before a federal grand jury concludes its investigation into who leaked the name of a covert CIA agent to the press.
On Tuesday, various Democrats returned to the subject.
-- An article by Melanie Hunter on a fight over documents sought by Democrats regarding Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts notes that the Bush White House "refused to turn over documents relating to cases Roberts argued on behalf of the Bush administration during the president's first term." That would be the first President Bush, but Hunter does not make that clear.
Hunter also puts words, Paul Begala-like, into the mouth of Sen. Ted Kennedy, responding to White House press secretary Scott McClellan's claim that Roberts documents the White House won't release are bound by attorney-client privilege:
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) dismissed McClellan's comments on the attorney-client privilege, adding that there is no such thing.
No such thing as attorney-client privilege? Will Jered Ede be trumpeting this revelation in a CNS article tomorrow?
New Article: Richard Poe's Not-So-Secret War Topic: WorldNetDaily
The compiled, expanded version of ConWebBlog's series on Richard Poe: He sums up his Hillary-bashing book in a series of WorldNetDaily articles that ignores evidence that conflicts with his conspiratorial thesis -- and fails to disclose his own conflict of interest. Read more.
Plame Strain Topic: Newsmax
How hard is NewsMax straining to defend the outing of Valerie Plame? A July 26 article claims that President Clinton pardoned "the only case in U.S. history of a person successfully prosecuted for leaking classified information to the press," suggesting that this is the reason that Hillary Clinton has been "silent as a churchmouse about Karl Rove."
The facts of the case detailed by NewsMax, however, undercut the seriousness of its claim, noting that "In 1984, Morison had been convicted of providing classified satellite photos of an under-construction Soviet nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Britain's Jane's Defence Weekly."
Unlike Rove, who took part in leaking the name of an undercover CIA operative for the purposes of political revenge, Morison leaked information not about the U.S. but about the other side.
Ironically, in 1997 the Washington Times did the very same thing that Morison did -- obtain classified satellite photos of a Russian military installation -- without apparent reprisals from the government, conservatives or anyone else.
The Daily Les, 7/25 Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving once again does the bidding of conservatives:
KINSOLVING: Scott, a two-part. Sean Hannity has just rebroadcast Senator Orrin Hatch's statement that Senator Charles Schumer's questioning of nominee John Roberts was so hostile in 2003 that they were, in Senator Hatch's expressed and twice repeated definition, "dumb-ass questions," which characterization Senator Hatch repeated twice and refused to retract –
McCLELLAN: I'm sorry, was this the confirmation hearings or – no, never mind. [Laughter.]
KINSOLVING: This was in 2003. Does the White House expect that Senator Schumer will be any less hostile next month or in early September, and stop asking such questions?
WND decided the sensibilities of its readers might be offended if it spelled out what its White House correspondent actually said, so the article reads "dumb-a--."
Kinsolving's other question was less egregious but still played to conservatives:
KINSOLVING: Scott, Senator Majority Leader [Bill] Frist has issued a strong defense of the Boy Scouts of America and has deplored the ACLU's suing them. And my question: When he addresses the Boy Scout National Jamboree on Wednesday, will the president agree with, or ignore Senator Frist's support of the Boy Scouts?
Just Like CNS Did Topic: CNSNews.com
Can you misquote someone the way CNSNews.com did? Campus Progress (at whose conference Paul Begala was speaking when CNS insisted that he said something he didn't) has holding a contest on the issue.
Rhetorical Question of the Day Topic: Newsmax
A July 25 NewsMax article on Sen. Hillary Clinton's efforts to keep the Pentagon from obtaining detailed information about high school students for recruiting purposes quotes Clinton as saying, "It is critical that we do everything we can to make sure that our most sensitive personal information stays out of the wrong hands."
To which NewsMax adds: "The Pentagon - 'the wrong hands'"?
Much of the article, by the way, is a retelling of a June 29 NewsMax article, which contains the exact same rhetorical question.
Lessons in Civility from CNS Topic: CNSNews.com
In a July 25 commentary, CNSNews.com editor in chief David Thibault seems to be backing down from his insistence that Paul Begala said Republicans want to kill him. Instead, Thibault bashes Begala for using inflammatory rhetoric, insisting that he "should go back to school and learn about political civility and personal responsibility":
Begala's unmistakable and outrageous coupling of terrorists and Republicans in his remarks to the impressionable college liberals on July 13 is the latest in a long line of Democratic invective aimed at the GOP and by extension, those Americans who vote Republican.
Thibault is perhaps not the best person to be giving lectures on civility; he works for Brent Bozell, among the most uncivil of conservatives, and his CNS has, among other things, advanced the comments of a man (Jesse Lee Peterson) who called Democrats "elite, white, racist" and printed a column (by Frank Salvato) that begins, "There is an anti-American attitude prevalent among the liberal left."
Another possible reason for Thibault's backing off of his original claim: Today's letters column, which includes comments from readers who agree that Begala was referring to terrorists, not Republicans, when he said that "they want to kill us."