WND Disingenuous Promo Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ah, another day, another disingenuous WorldNetDaily promo.
An Aug. 25 promo for the day's Joseph Farah radio show note that his guest is Andrew Breitbart, longtime assistant to gossip Matt Drudge. The article notes that Breitbart's new web site, Breitbart.com, "features Associated Press and Reuters stories, along with the slogan 'Just the news'" and describes Breitbart as "the Internet entrepreneur whose 1-week-old news website is the fastest-growing site in the world."
But nowhere is it explained why Breitbart's site is so popular -- wire articles cited on the Drudge Report now link to Breitbart.com.
Given WND's attacks on the Associated Press and Reuters, why would it promote a web site that has only AP and Reuters copy?
Clinton Equivocation Watch Topic: Newsmax
Does NewsMax employ someone whose full-time job it is to equivocate any bad thing with something a Clinton (or someone close to him) did?
That would explain an Aug. 24 article rather lamely attempting to draw heat away from Pat Robertson's desire to kill Venezuela's Hugo Chavez by dredging up a 1997 call by then-Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos to kill Saddam Hussein, complaining that "the press voiced no objection at all."
If NewsMax had been around in 1997, however, it undoubtedly would have opposed the idea because simply it came from someone in the Clinton administration.
The Evil Marketing of 'The Marketing of Evil' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Well, not really evil; just dishonest.
We've already detailed how the effusive praise WorldNetDaily has forwarded regarding WND managing editor David Kupelian's WND-published book "The Marketing of Evil" appears to be little more than WND founder Joseph Farah calling in favors from his conservative buddies.
Now, an Aug. 24 article pimping the book performs a similar act of dishonesty. The article claims that the book "being met with both rave reviews and occasional fierce condemnation from readers," and examples of both are provided. The "rave reviews" are as rave as billed, but the "occasional fierce condemnation" are extremist rants.
It's a common (but slimy) rhetorical trick to portray the most extreme examples of criticism of what you do as representative of all criticism. It's the same reason why WND's preferred choice to fill its token "Out of Left Field" slot on its commentary page tends to be hard leftists like Robert Scheer and gay-friendly columnists like Deb Price.
No More Conflict-of-Interest Disclosures? Topic: CNSNews.com
Is CNSNews.com backing away from the one journalistic thing it did consistently and well?
On the front of today's CNS front page is the headline "Media Watchdog Report Finds CNN Anchor Has 'Negative View' of Free Market, followed by the promo line: "A report by a watchdog group finds that CNN's Lou Dobbs has a 'negative view' of the free market."
But the following hyperlink, instead of normal text like "Full Story" or "Read News on the Web," reads, "Read the Report." Clicking on it takes you to the Free Market Project -- like CNS, run by the Media Research Center.
Heretofore, CNS has generally done a good job of disclosing conflicts of interest; when it has felt the need to report on the doings of the MRC, it has regularly noted that it too is an MRC division. Is CNS dispensing with that journalistic pretense?
(A side note: CNS describes the decidedly conservative Free Market Project as a "media watchdog" and a "watchdog group," while in two recent articles referencing Media Matters for America (full disclosure: my employer), it adds qualifiers, describing it as a "liberal media watchdog group." But CNS has always had that labeling bias.)
Jefferson Smeared? Topic: Accuracy in Media
In an Aug. 24 Accuracy in Media article, Roger Aronoff seems to be protesting a bit too much about the idea that Thomas Jefferson may have fathered a child with black slave Sally Hemings.
Aronoff correctly notes that other Jefferson relatives could have been involved with Hemings -- but then insists that any claim that Thomas Jefferson hooked up with Hemings is "fake" and a "myth" without offering definitive evidence that he didn't.
And then there the headline on Aronoff's article: "Another Smear of Thomas Jefferson." Why is the suggestion that Jefferson had sex with a black woman considered a "smear"?
Be A Border Patrol Wannabe Topic: Newsmax
"Join the U.S. Border Patrol!" reads the link on NewsMax's front page today. Huh? The Border Patrol is trolling for recruits on a conservative web site?
Well, no. Click the link, and it takes you to NewsMax's store, where you can buy a Border Patrol cap. "Now you can stand on the frontlines of America's battle with illegal immigrants by wearing the US Border Patrol cap," the ad copy states. "Wear the cap everywhere ... and if illegals start running when they see you ... you'll have the last laugh."
Then again, the (actual) Border Patrol may not want recruits who succumb to ad copy like this.
WND's Kerry Hatefest Lingers Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily just can't stop hating John Kerry.
It was a veritable Kerry-hating machine during the 2004 presidential campaign, spewing distortions and lies at every opportunity. The tradition continues with an Aug. 22 article on gonzo writer Hunter Thompson's funeral. The headline:
WND Hearts Convicted Felons Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore continues WND's policy of whitewashing the felonious past of Clinton-basher Peter Paul and includes a serious factual error in the process.
Moore follows the standard ConWeb blueprint of playing down Paul's crimes, as it does for his buddy and fellow felon, Aaron Tonken. The factual error comes as Moore plays down Paul's guilty plea for his role in a $25 million stock manipulation scheme involving a company he co-founded with comic-book legend Stan Lee. Moore wrote:
The Clinton Justice Department had him jailed while he was in Brazil and then extradicted to the United States.
In fact, the original indictment against Paul was not issued until June 2001, and he was arrested in Brazil in August 2001 -- months after the Clinton administration left office and, thus, no longer ran the Justice Department.
Moore also wrote that "Paul insists he was doing business in South America, not fleeing justice as some contended," but includes no explanation of why Paul fought extradition from Brazil for two years.
Moore's article is mostly based on an interview with Paul; near as we can tell, Moore made little or no attempt to fact-check Paul's statements.
Look for a full ConWebWatch article later this week on this subject.
NewsMax's Meaningless Poll Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 20 NewsMax article relies on a meaningless opt-in poll to claim that support for "Bush-bashing Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan" is "actually losing the public opinion battle by a landslide.
NewsMax describes the opt-in America Online poll as "technically unscientific." That technicality being that opt-in polls reflect only the opinions of those who vote in the poll, not a genuine cross-section of the public at large.
WND Lies About Itself Topic: WorldNetDaily
Just how mendacious is WorldNetDaily? It can't even tell the truth in its own self-promotion, even though ConWebWatch caught WND in the same exact lie last year.
An Aug. 20 WND article once again claims that "In its News and Media category, Alexa, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, shows WND at No. 1 again this year as it was in 2004." But, as ConWebWatch pointed out when WND made the same claim last year (twice), that ranking is in fact in the "Politics > Conservatism > News and Media" category. Alexa's all-encompassing "News" rankings -- the one WND falsely claims to be tops in -- feature the folks you'd expect: Yahoo, CNN, BBC, etc.
WND also claims that "The Internet market research company Ranking.com also lists WND as the No. 1 website in the category of "News, Web Directories, Headline Indices," but doesn't point out that Ranking.com's rankings are, like Alexa's, based on only a small subset of users that use a browser toolbar and a link exchange system with a counting mechanism built into it and is not necessarily reflective of traffic rankings as a whole.
If WorldNetDaily can't even tell the truth about itself, why trust it to report the news fairly and accurately?
Less Than Softball Topic: Media Research Center
An Aug. 16 Media Research Center CyberAlert item (and matching NewsBusters entry) implied that MSNBC's Chris Matthews' tossed only softball questions during an interview with Cindy Sheehan. Author Brent Baker cited only a portion "from the end of the two segments with Sheehan" in which Matthews asked Sheehan if she was interested in running for Congress.
In fact, Matthews asked about other family members who opposed Sheehan's protest, about her estranged husband, asked, "If your son had been killed in Afghanistan, would you have a different feeling?" and also presented President Bush's case for U.S. involvement in Iraq and asked Sheehan, "You disagree?"
Matthews also followed up the interview with Sheehan with an interview of two women, one an Iraqi national, who disagreed with Sheehan's protest.
Did the MRC's TiVo somehow fail to record these other less-than-softball questions, or is it programmed to retain only the "liberal" stuff?
Yet Another WND Double Standard Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has made a big deal of protester Cindy Sheehan's vow not to pay her income taxes as a protest over the Iraq war. An Aug. 20 article notes, "WND contacted the IRS after Sheehan yesterday reiterated previous statements about not paying her taxes."
But we thought WND loved people who refused to pay their taxes.
WND has been a big promoter of We the People, a group operated by Bob Schulz that believes that the federal government lacks any legal jurisdiction to enforce the income tax, that there is no law that requires Americans to pay the tax, and that the tax is enforced in a manner that violates the U.S. Constitution.
A search for "Bob Schulz" in WND's archive turns up 70 articles. Among them are a 2002 article by Jon Dougherty on a "Truth-in-Taxation" forum held by We the People at which, according to Schulz, "almost 500 detailed legal assertions and supporting evidence were put forth publicly challenging the legal foundations of the tax system"; and a Feb. 1 article touting a victory for Schulz in a lawsuit he filed against the IRS.
Instead of siccing the IRS on Cindy Sheehan, why isn't WND trying to hook her up with Bob Schulz?