The Book Service Topic: WorldNetDaily
While looking over the ConWebWatch article on ConWeb reaction to the post-mortem on Terri Schiavo, we checked some links and noted that the copy for the WND Book Service listing for Mark Fuhrman's book on Schiavo -- originally the promotional text from Fuhrman's publisher -- has changed. It still reads like was written by a PR flack instead of an "editor" as WND originally promised, so we looked into it. While doing a Google search, we made an amazing discovery.
The WND Book Service, it turns out, appears to be the same thing as the National Review Book Service. For Fuhrman's book is for sale there, on a page with the same basic layout as WND's, with the exact same "review" as WND's.
But who's behind it? We're still looking; NR editor Rich Lowry notes that "The book service is a joint project with a publisher who has been responsible for what books to feature in this service and how best to publicize them."
Whoever this mysterious publisher is, it has pretty close ties to conservatives. One of them is Robert Spencer, last seen here trying to whip up anti-Islamic sentiment in the death of a family that turned out not to be Islamic-related at all. In March, he revealed that he was the author of an ad the National Review version of the book service sent out promoting a book that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) took offense to.
Just a reminder that WND, for all of Joseph Farah's insincere protestations that it's not conservative, is still very much a part of the conservative club.
Poll-Pimping Topic: Media Research Center
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard has been pimping Rasmussen Reports polls lately.
In a Sept. 17 post citing a Rasmussen poll putting President Bush's approval rating several points higher than the record-low ratings cited by other pollsters, Sheppard claimed that "few media outlets pay attention to the poll conducted on a daily basis by Rasmussen Reports. Could it be that Rasmussen's numbers don't mirror the negativity of the other polling groups?"
Sheppard claims in a Sept. 18 post that "regardless of how accurately Rasmussen Reports predicted the 2004 election results, America's media continue to ignore their polling data."
As ConWebWatch has detailed, the reason Rasmussen doesn't get much mainstream play is that it produces conservative-friendly results, having been promoted by the likes of WorldNetDaily. That conservative-friendly 'tude is, presumably, the real reason Sheppard is so infatuated with Rasmussen.
As far as accuracy goes, remember how Zogby, the conservatives' previous polling belle of the ball, did in the 2004 election.
Letting Fox Off Easy Topic: Accuracy in Media
In the middle of attacking Bill O'Reilly for, among other things, refusing to promote Ed Klein's dubious anti-Hillary book, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid used a Sept. 16 column to tweak Fox News for airing erroneous comments. But the incident is a lot worse than Kincaid described.
In another embarrassment, the Fox News Channel has apologized for airing an interview with John Loftus, a commentator for Fox News, who described a grocery store owner in California named Iyad K. Hilal as a terrorist and gave his home address on the air. The Los Angeles Times reported that his family, including a wife and three children, were "plunged into an unsettling routine of drivers shouting profanities, stopping to photograph their house and—most recently—spray-painting a slogan on their property."
A Fox spokesman said, "John Loftus has been reprimanded for his careless error, and we sincerely apologize to the family."
Loftus said, "I'm terribly sorry about that. I had no idea. That was the best information we had at the time."
Kincaid gets his facts wrong here. Hilal's family is not the one being harrassed; rather, the address Loftus gave out on Fox News as Hilal's address is the home of a different family, and they are the ones who are being harrassed. That's in addition to the fact that, as the Los Angeles Times notes, there is no "law enforcement agency or official that has identified Hilal as a terrorist."
Kincaid seems to think a mere apology and an unspecified "reprimand" is sufficient in this case. But Kincaid was a lot harsher on CBS for doing something similar.
It's Not A Fact, Part 2 Topic: Accuracy in Media
The Free Congress Foundation's E. Ralph Hostetter joins Ron Marr in botching facts about Hurricane Katrina in a Sept. 16 commentary published at Accuracy in Media.
Hostetter serves up his own version of the school-bus canard by claiming that "more than 1,000 unused school buses were abandoned to the flood waters after the levee broke." The actual number of school buses owned by the Orleans Parish school district is 324.
Hostetter also claimed: "By dawn Tuesday [Aug. 30] Katrina had passed. City newspapers noted that the levees had held." Wrong: the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported "a breach of the levee along the 17th Street Canal" on the afternoon of Aug. 29.
It's a fact, according to the transcripts of a press conference featuring Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, that George Bush pleaded with this incompetent duo to evacuate the city on August 28th. It's a fact that the mayor failed to utilize nearly 2,000 buses to evacuate the inner cities.
CNS Falsely Impugns Reuters Topic: CNSNews.com
A Sept. 15 CNSNews.com article by Marc Morano makes a mountain out of a molehill -- or, in this case, a bathroom break.
Morano strongly hints that a Reuters photographer violated his employer's policy against "doctoring" photos because a photo of President Bush writing a note during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council was "enhanced" to make the text of the note more readable. The note read: "I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?" Of course, if CNS didn't consider this photo "embarrassing," as the article's headline indicates, Morano wouldn't be doing this article.
Morano adds that "The incident has reminded some people of the CBS '60 Minutes' story in September of 2004 that alleged President Bush shirked his duty while with the Texas Air National Guard in the 1970s." That incident involved documents that were later determined to be unauthenticated. But Morano offers no evidence that the photo is a fake -- that anything was added or removed -- beyond citing "Internet blog speculation that the Reuters photo might have been doctored in the computer program Photoshop."
Nor does Morano explain why, as his headline claims, there is a "contradiction" between enhancing photos to make them look better -- something every publication does -- and Reuters' policy against "doctoring" photos.
It appears that Morano knows very little about Photoshop or digital photography (or regular photography, for that matter, where similar enhancing techniques are used), and it shows in this article.
UPDATE: Where was this "Internet blog speculation that the Reuters photo might have been doctored" that Morano cited coming from? From Matthew Sheffield at NewsBusters -- like CNS, operated by the Media Research Center. A little undisclosed self-dealing here?
Lies About Gorelick Continue Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily, in a Sept. 15 article, continues to spread the lie that ex-Clinton administration official Jamie Gorelick "erected" the "wall" that prevented information sharing between intelligence agencies and law enforcement.
-- Gorelick did not "erect" the wall; it was created in the late 1970s.
-- The Bush administration, under attorney general John Ashcroft, reaffirmed Gorelick's guidelines regarding the "wall" shortly before 9/11.
-- The "wall" has nothing to do with the "Able Danger" allegations that a defense intelligence agency had identified lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta a year before 9/11. Gorelick's guidelines applied only within the Justice Department, not to the Defense Department.
New Article: Responsibility Apologists Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb makes it abundantly clear what President Bush was -- and wasn't -- taking responsibility for regarding Hurricane Katrina. Plus: NewsBusters gets busted trying to pass on a faulty report blaming Democrats for Michael Brown being FEMA director, and other Katrina distortions on the ConWeb. Read more.
The premise: "Nine of the top ten natural disasters in U.S. history ranked by FEMA relief costs" and "The two largest terrorism events in U.S. history," among other similar events, have this in common:
All of these major catastrophes transpired on the very same day or within 24-hours of U.S. presidents Bush, Clinton and Bush applying pressure on Israel to trade her land for promises of "peace and security," sponsoring major "land for peace" meetings, making major public statements pertaining to Israel's covenant land and/or calling for a Palestinian state.
Telling the Truth Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor David Thibault writes a Sept. 14 column about what the John Roberts hearings "would be like if everybody told the truth -- I mean really told the truth." Predictibly, it trades on conservative stereotypes of non-conservatives (since he includes the non-conservative Arlen Specter as a target).
It would be more interesting to hear Thibault's interpretation of the true thoughts of conservatives as they ask sillysoftballquestions of Roberts. We suspect the "humor" would not be quite as biting.
'Democrat Party'? Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com serves up another loaded word choice in the headline of a Sept. 14 article by Susan Jones: "Democrat Party Keeping Its Focus on Karl Rove."
There, of course, is no such entity as the "Democrat Party"; the proper name is the Democratic Party. Jones doesn't use it in the article itself, sticking with the proper name "Democratic National Committee."
"Democrat Party" is a deliberately inaccurate construct used by many conservatives. More about it here.
Negative Descriptions Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com serves up more negative descriptions of liberals in two Sept. 13 articles on the confirmation hearings for John Roberts.
One article, by Melanie Hunter, claimed that Sen. Ted Kennedy "lectured Roberts on civil rights" and that "Kennedy was admonished - on several occasions - to let Roberts finish answering Kennedy's questions." Hunter added:
Much of Kennedy's questioning was specific and technical, relating to the application of certain civil rights laws, but his tone was stern and disapproving. He often looked down or took notes as Roberts attempted to reply to - or correct - Kennedy's statements.
And while Hunter described conservative groups who support Roberts as "pro-family groups," another Hunter article described NARAL Pro-Choice America as a "pro-abortion group."
Annals of Liberal Bias Topic: Media Research Center
How absurdly wide is the Media Research Center's view of "liberal bias"? Apparently, saying anything nice about Bill Clinton is ipso facto evidence of it.
NewsMax Xenophobes Topic: Newsmax
Is NewsMax taking a xenophobic turn?
A Sept. 13 article by Phil Brennan and Jim Meyers attacks Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for using "foreign laws and constitutions to interpret U.S. laws and our Constitution."
But Brennan and Meyers go beyond that to attack Kennedy for traveling outside of the U.S.:
Kennedy in particular has a passion for foreign cultures and ideas. In the late 1970s he was appointed supervisor of the territorial courts in the South Pacific, and traveled often to Guam, Palau, Saipan, American Samoa, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Every summer for the past 15 years, Kennedy and his wife Mary have rented an apartment in Salzburg, Austria, where he has taught a summer program at the local university.
Brennan and Meyers don't want that sort of thing in a Supreme Court justice, apparently. Do they want any American to travel outside of the U.S.? You never know what ideas diseases they'll pick up.