Blaming the Victim Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 3 WorldNetDaily column by Jill Stanek plays blame-the-victim in criticizing the National Organization for Women's highlighting of individual cases of women who died as the result of illegal abortions. In the case of one woman NOW cites, Becky Bell, Stanek writes:
It turned out Becky had been promiscuous since age 15 and was a known drug user. Her parents placed her in drug rehab earlier in 1988 for several weeks. The weekend before Becky died, she was, according to the coroner's report, "reportedly at a party where various drugs were being used [cocaine, 'speed,' and LSD] ... and later claimed that someone had put 'speed' in her drink."
Stanek adds: "And what about the faces of death due to legal abortions? There are four timely faces NOW could showcase – four who have died just since 2003 from legal RU-486 abortions." As ConWebWatch has noted, the number of deaths allegedly linked to RU-486 is much smaller than the number attributed to liver failure induced by taking Tylenol, as well as smaller than the number of men killed by taking Viagra. But we don't see Stanek rallying the troops to take Tylenol or Viagra off the market.
And somehow, we suspect Stanek won't be painting the purported victims of RU-486 as sluts and druggies like Becky Bell. (Not that we have any knowledge of that.)
What CNS Won't Tell You Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 2 CNSNews.com article by Melanie Hunter touts the results of a report by the American Center for Voting Rights Legislative Fund alleging that "paid Democrat operatives were far more involved in voter intimidation and suppression activities than were their Republican counterparts during the 2004 presidential election."
Hunter describes the American Center for Voting Rights merely as "a voting rights group"; in fact, the group is a conservative group (which explains the focus on alleged Democrat voter fraud). The group's leaders have a Republican background: The group's legislative counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, was a national election counsel for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, and the center's publicist, Jim Dyke, is a former communications director for the Republican National Committee. (BradBlog has more.)
CNS knows all this, by the way; it did a story back in March on criticism of the group's Republican ties. Interestingly, the article, by Kathleen Rhodes, doesn't actually detail what those ties are, merely paraphrasing Dyke acknowledging that "the group includes a number of people formerly involved in Republican politics" and noting the "apparently partisan edge" and the "pretty anti-Bush" posts found on BradBlog.
Say What? Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 2 NewsMax article makes the claim that Edward Klein's factually flawed attack on Hillary Clinton "will appear on the New York Times best-seller list to be published this coming Sunday, for a record-setting fifth week in a row."
Huh? Since when is five weeks on the Times list considered a record? The list itself notes that Jon Stewart's "America (The Book)" has been on the list for 43 weeks.
The next paragraph clears up things: "Klein's success with his Hillary bio outstrips his success with his previous record of a four-week stint on the Times list for his book 'All Too Human: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy.'"
NewsMax's "Analysis" Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 2 NewsMax "analysis" by Stewart Stogel of John Bolton's recess appointment to United Nations ambassador is long on cheerleading for Bolton and short on "analysis."
Stogel's "analysis" is full of unsubstantiated claims, such as "Madeleine K. Albright, who was approved by the Senate, was disliked by many a U.N. diplomat" and "On qualifications, Bolton is one of the most qualified of all U.S.-U.N. ambassadors in the last decade."
Stogel also contradicts himself, following up the claim that "While at the U.N. Bolton kept a low and distinctively professional profile" a couple paragraphs later by noting that Bolton engaged in "repeated clashes with then U.S.-U.N. ambassador Thomas Pickering."
Further, it is not stated anywhere what qualifications Stogel has, if any, to offer any sort of "analysis" of Bolton. Given that his piece isn't really an "analysis" at all, one can probably assume such qualifications are scant.
Cliff Kincaid's Lesbian Obsession Topic: Accuracy in Media
An Aug. 1 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid manages to squeeze in the word "lesbian" twice in describing Rachel Maddow, panelist on MSNBC's "The Situation with Tucker Carlson":
The problem with the Carlson show is the format, which places too much emphasis on his guests, including a regular named Rachel Maddow, a radio host on Air America who is described as the first out-of-the-closet lesbian to be named a Rhodes Scholar. She is a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man.
So, how does Kincaid want his lesbians to look? Or does he secretly want to, a la Hillary Clinton, rub Maddow's hair?
No Bolton-Bashing Here Topic: CNSNews.com
One thing was conspicuously missing from an Aug. 1 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall about President Bush's recess appointment of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
While Hall noted that "where Republicans saw a silver lining in the Bolton appointment, senators on the other side of the political aisle saw only clouds" and that "Senate Democrats have blocked the job change for the undersecretary for arms control and international security for four months," he does not explicitly state why Democrats opposed Bolton. Hall quotes Sen. Ted Kennedy as saying that "the administration stonewalled the Senate by refusing to disclose documents highly relevant to the Bolton nomination," he fails to explicitly state that this was the reason why Senate Democrats blocked his Senate confirmation vote. However, Hall makes sure to quote Bush accusing Democrats of "partisan delaying tactics."
Hall's "only clouds" comment is not the first time that CNS has negatively portrayed Bolton's opponents in a "news" article. A May 26 article by Susan Jones called Republican Sen. George Voinovich "weepy" for getting emotional during a speech opposing Bolton nomination.
NewsMax's Meta-Hypocrisy Topic: Newsmax
The July 30 edition of NewsMax's "Insider Report" details the rehabilitation of Armstrong Williams, who earlier this year was caught in a mini-scandal after it was revealed that he had refused to disclosed the fact that he had received $240,000 from the Bush administration to promote its educational policies. After quoting Williams as saying that ""None of the conservative [groups] came to my rescue. I was alone", NewsMax adds:
Hmmmm. I guess he forgot to mention NewsMax which published a number of items detailing the press' hypocrisy in attacking Armstrong.
At the time of the Williams' flap, NewsMax noted that there was no disclosure on any major networks that frequent interviews of movie and TV stars on major networks of paid advertising from the movie production firms.
We also noted that CBS's "60 Minutes" promoted several anti-Bush authors and books, including Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies" - without disclosing that the publisher was Simon Schuster, a division of Viacom which also owns CBS.
We're still waiting for NewsMax to add a disclaimer after every David Horowitz and Richard Poe article stating that Richard Mellon Scaife, who heavily funds the Horowitz-operated, Poe-employing Center for the Study of Popular Culture, is also an investor and shareholder in NewsMax. Then again, NewsMax refused to even admit Scaife's financial support on its website until just very recently.
NewsMax also notes that Williams was "acting as public relations agent, a fact he never hid." Um, yes, he did; he hid the fact that he was paid to flack the opinions he was spouting in the media, which was the whole reason for the controversy.
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.