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Thursday, September 8, 2005
WND Finally Gets It Right
Topic: WorldNetDaily
It took a good year, but WorldNetDaily finally wrote an article about Sandy Berger and the classified documents that got almost all of the facts right.

For once, WND notes that Berger took copies of classified documents, not originals (though the headline still claims that he was "stealing classified documents"), and there's no mention of the unproven claim that Berger stuffed documents in his socks.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:37 PM EDT
WND's Man in Jerusalem
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Jerusalem bureau chief, Aaron Klein, has served a helping of articles in recent days that showcase his own strangely biased viewpoint:

-- Two articles on claims that Hurricane Katrina was a punishment from God for President Bush's support of the evacuation of Jews from Gaza.

-- Two articles on speculation that Yasser Arafat died of AIDS.

UPDATE: The idea that Arafat died of AIDS has been a minor obssesion of Klein's; he was reporting on it last November, as ConWebWatch noted. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the medical report on Arafat's death "dispels a rumor that he may have died of AIDS."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:50 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2005 4:47 PM EDT
The Daily Les, 9/7
Topic: The Daily Les
Shocker: Les Kinsolving asks a somewhat normal question, about two Navy helicopter pilots who rescued 110 people, including two who are blind, were reprimanded by a Navy commander because they were supposed to devote themselves entirely to supply.

But Kinsolving leads his WorldNetDaily article with the question he apparently wished he had asked, about "the homosexual parade held on New Orleans' Bourbon Street last week" and "plans to hold the annual Southern Decadence festival in New Orleans despite the city's trauma."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Factually Deficient Clinton-Bashing at NewsMax
Topic: Newsmax
As much as NewsMax has written about the Clintons, you'd think it would be able to get basic facts correct. But no -- a Sept. 6 article contains several factual errors and unsupported assertions.

NewsMax's troubles begin with the first five words of the article: "2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton." While Hillary is certinly a possible, if not likely, candidate, she is not a declared candidate, which makes NewsMax's assertion factually incorrect.

NewsMax then botches the name of the FEMA director in the Clinton administration; it's James Lee Witt, not James D. Witt. To be fair, it was wrong in the Village Voice article NewsMax is basing its item on, but 30 seconds on Google would have provided a quick fact-check. (NewsMax did get the name right in a Sept. 7 piece bashing Witt.)

Having screwed up basic facts, NewsMax moves right along to baseless assertions:

Though Sen. Clinton touted former FEMA director Witt's experience, she made no mention of Raymond 'Buddy' Young, whom her husband appointed to the post of Southwest Regional FEMA Director in 1993.

Mr. Young, a former Arkansas state trooper, won the promotion after heading up efforts to discredit other state troopers whose allegations fueled the Troopergate scandal.

NewsMax offers no evidence to back up this assertion; in fact, this is the first time NewsMax has made this accusation. Young's name appears in only one previous story in NewsMax's archive, a passing mention in a September 1999 article attempting to prove the existence of Bill Clinton's purported black love child.

Additionally, the Arkansas state troopers pushing "Troopergate" were discredited not only by Young -- according to Conason and Lyons' "The Hunting of the President," the lead "Troopergate" troopers, L.D. Brown and Larry Patterson, were mad that Young got a federal job and they didn't -- but by the troopers themselves. As ConWebWatch (and the Conason-Lyons book) noted, the troopers backpedaled from many of their salacious allegations about Clinton when placed under oath.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:03 PM EDT
Meaningless Poll Alert
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax is begging people to take part in yet another meaningless, biased opt-in poll.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 PM EDT
'Terri's Story'
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is publishing a book on the Terri Schiavo case, written by WND news editor Diana Lynne. A Sept. 7 promo piece quotes WND's Joseph Farah calling the book "the powerful, insightful and definitive story" about the case. Somehow we doubt that, especially the "definitive" part.

Reason #1 to doubt it: The promo piece calls her "Terri Schindler-Schiavo," the name Terri's parents insisted on using and which WND used in much of its coverage.

Reason #2 to doubt it: Lynne and WND have a documented history of heavily biased reporting on the Schiavo case, playing up the allegations of Terri's parents and demonizing Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, while not giving him a chance to respond to those charges. And WND was so eager to smear Michael Schiavo that it eagerly promoted a bogus story that made him look bad.

Reason #3 to doubt it: Lynne's "whole Terri Schiavo story" was a lot less whole before ConWebWatch insisted on a little fairness.

Lynne might surprise us by offering a balanced account in her book; she did make an attempt at fairness in her WND "whole story" after ConWebWatch's letter. But somehow, sadly, we suspect it will be as distorted and slanted as the rest of WND's Schiavo coverage.

UPDATE: The detailed blurb at the WND Books website seems to confirm those suspicions; it appears that anyone who didn't support Terri's parents in keeping Terri alive will be targeted. Lynne also purports to answer the question, "What would Terri have told us if she could speak?"

Posted by Terry K. at 11:57 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2005 12:37 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
More Junk Journalism At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In yet another example of gross journalistic imbalance at WorldNetDaily, Ron Strom has penned a fourth article on the man who is accusing Allstate Insurance of firing him for writing an anti-gay column. Strom's Sept. 6 article touts a letter written on behalf of the man by several congressmen.

The article, like the three preceding ones also written by Strom, follow the Terri Schiavo template, playing up the man's accusations through cozy connections with his attorney -- who also served as a attorney for Schaivo's parents -- while downplaying or ignoring completely anything Allstate has to say.

To continue the count we began with Strom's first story: Of the 91 paragraphs Strom has written over four articles about this case, only six are devoted to Allstate's response, and all of them are buried at the end of their respective articles. The rest all advance the man's case.

If you wonder why ConWebWatch exists, this is why: to expose junk journalism like this.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:33 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2005 10:35 PM EDT
The Daily Les, 9/6
Topic: The Daily Les
Today's White House briefing question from Les Kinsolving regards a suggestion by Sen. Mary Landrieu that she might punch President Bush if he criticized local response efforts to Hurricane Katrina:

KINSOLVING: Since both punching and threatening to punch the president is a felony, might Landrieu's qualifying words likely saved her from arrest and prosecution? And what was the president's reaction?

No word on whether Kinsolving supports prosecuting Ann Coulter on the same charge for writing in 1998 that the debate over the Monica Lewinsky scandal should have focused on "whether to impeach or assassinate" President Clinton. After all, assassination trumps punching, doesn't it?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:22 PM EDT
The Blame, Cont'd.
Topic: Newsmax
In a Sept. 6 NewsMax column, Mike Gallagher writes:

Like many, my family and I experienced 9/11 in an up close and personal way. And yet, we never heard the kind of whiny, belly-aching, finger-pointing blame game we're hearing in the hours and days after Hurricane Katrina's fury was felt in the Gulf Coast.

He must not have been listening.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:56 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2005 5:57 PM EDT
More CNS Labeling Bias
A Sept. 6 article by Susan Jones reliably regurgitates a press release from the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary about John Roberts' nomination as chief justice. But even while Jones recounts the press release's rhetoric of a "din from the Left" and "endless carping" by liberals, Jones never once uses the word "conservative" to describe the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, though that's clearly what the group is. Instead, Jones reprinted lofty blather from the group's "About Us" page.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 PM EDT
New Article: Anyone But Bush
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb gets the memo, starts looking for ways to deflect blame away from the Bush administration for the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Will likely be updated later today with the latest defenses of Bush. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EDT
Monday, September 5, 2005
Touting Martinez
Topic: Newsmax
"Mel Martinez Touted as Bush’s Next Supreme Court Pick," reads the headline on a Sept. 5 NewsMax article. But the only entity touting Florida senator Martinez is NewsMax, anonymously citing "a good source."

NewsMax has a long record of touting Martinez. It endorsed him for the Senate seat after NewsMax editor Christopher Ruddy's personal favorite, Mark Foley -- to whom he donated money, followed shortly thereafter by positive NewsMax articles -- dropped out of the race.

NewsMax was a very self-congratulatory mood today. In addition to the Martinez piece, it confused anonymous speculation for actual news in claiming that it had the "scoop" back in July that John Roberts would be named chief justice.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:56 PM EDT
'The Facts As They Exist'
Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 4 post by Vinny Fiore at NewsBusters follows the Bush party line in bashing Reuters for daring to suggest Bush has any responsibility for the Katrina aftermath. He concludes: "It is why sites like NewsBusters, and the site that led me to this story, Little Green Footballs, are so integral to getting the facts as they exist."

An ironic statement consider Fiore's tentative relationship to "the facts as they exist." Doesn't anyone at the MRC vet his stuff before it's posted?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 PM EDT
Ruddy Fixes Misquote, Doesn't Tell Anyone
Topic: Newsmax
Christopher Ruddy's slanderous misquote in his Sept. 4 column -- alleging that Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard said, "For God's sake, just shut up and send us the money!" -- has been changed to what Broussard actually said, "send us somebody!" But there's no apology from Ruddy for misquoting him; there isn't even an acknowledgement that a serious error was made.

But that's what screen captures are for.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:59 AM EDT
Sunday, September 4, 2005
Ruddy Misquotes, Slanders La. Official
Topic: Newsmax
At NewsMax, finding ways to blame Clinton for the Hurricane Katrina aftermath will have to wait. First, it has to deflect blame from President Bush.

NewsMax editor Christopher Ruddy weighed in with a Sept. 4 column blaming it all on New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. And he falsely quotes another Louisiana official in the process, portraying him as a money-hungry incompetent.

Ruddy falsely claimed that Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," "ended his performance as he collapsed in tears with a demand: 'For God's sake, just shut up and send us the money!'"

But that's not what Broussard said; he said "send us somebody," not "send us the money."

Ruddy also failed to offer the full context of Broussard's statement, which came after recounting an emotional anecdote in which his parish's head of emergency management continually promised his trapped mother that help would arrive, and she died before she could be rescued. Yet Ruddy claimed that Broussard's "tears didn't wash with me," than blamed him for the aftermath:

My sympathies lay with the tens of thousands of people who have suffered or died because local officials like Broussard, Mayor Nagin, and Governor Kathleen Blanco, also a Democrat, failed at their jobs in a monumental way.

This demonstrates what NewsMax's priority will be in the near future -- damage control for Bush.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:43 PM EDT

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