Cliff's Notes Topic: Accuracy in Media
We've haven't checked in lately with "Cliff's Notes," the report by Cliff Kincaid that's attached to each "AIM Report" issued by Accuracy in Media. Let's see what he's doing, shall we?
-- Kincaid is advocating censorship in the Oct. 11 "Cliff's Notes." He wants to prevent the English-language version of al-Jazeera from ever airing in the United States:
If you think coverage of the war is bad now, wait until Al-Jazeera gets access to the U.S. market. ... We must alert top administration officials to the need to do everything possible to keep its propaganda out of the U.S. It's time to draw the line.
-- The Sept. 11 "Cliff's Notes" makes a false attack on the Clintons after Hillary Clinton suggested that FEMA was a better agency in the Clinton administration. Kincaid invokes the name of Raymond "Buddy" Young, a FEMA regional director under Clinton:
Young, former director of security for then-governor Clinton, led the effort to suppress the stories told by Arkansas State troopers who exposed evidence of Clinton using state resources to arrange sexual liaisons with numerous women.
As ConWebBlog has noted (and Kincaid doesn't), the troopers' stories have been discredited, not least of all by themselves; they backpedaled from many of their accusations while under oath.
Kincaid also takes a swipe at my employer, Media Matters, because it helped force Sinclair Broadcast Group to back down from airing the anti-Kerry film "Stolen Honor." "The left" viewed the film "as scurrilous and full of lies about John Kerry," Kincaid writes; he claims that it instead "simply recounted the truthful testimony of former U.S. POWs during the Vietnam War who said that Kerry's Senate testimony accusing American soldiers of war crimes was used to torture them." In fact, "Stolen Honor" contains a number of factual errors, not the least of which was conflating Kerry's Senate testimony, which merely recounted what soldiers said during the Winter Soldier hearings, with a blanket indictment of all American soldiers in Vietnam.
The Ronnie Earle Exception Topic: CNSNews.com
Apparently, it's CNSNews.com policy not to tell the full truth about Ronnie Earle, the prosecutor who has gone after Tom DeLay.
Even though CNS' mission statement claims that it will "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story," its reporters have frequently allowed Republican attacks against Earle as a partisan prosecutor to stand unchallenged, without reporting that Earle has a record of Oct. 20 column by editor in chief David Thibault is any indication. Thibault describes DeLay's take on Earle as fact:
As DeLay described in a post-arraignment news conference, the Democrats were unable to beat him at the ballot box or in the House of Representatives, so they turned to Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle to find a grand jury gullible enough (that took quite a while, didn't it?) to indict DeLay on charges that have as much chance of producing a conviction as national Democrats have of moderating their loony agenda.
Never mind, of course, that Thibault has no basis to make such a statement regarding Earle's charges since the evidence to support them has not been publicly released.
This does explain CNS' pro-DeLay slant, which surfaced yet again in a companion Oct. 20 article by Susan Jones on a motion to remove judgge Bob Perkins from presiding over DeLay's proceedings. Jones wrote that DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin "objected to Perkins' support for MoveOn.org - a group that is circulating a "Fire Tom DeLay" petition and - according to DeGuerin -- also is selling T-shirts with DeLay's mug shot on them" but failed to correct DeGuerin by noting that MoveOn denies selling such T-shirts. And of course, Jones faithfully regurgitates DeGuerin's and DeLay's partisan attacks on Earle without noting the truth.
Perhaps CNS needs to amend its mission statement to add that it will "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story -- except the one that makes Democrats look good."
Dubious Assertion Day Topic: CNSNews.com
It truly is the day for dubious assertions on the ConWeb. CNSNews.com columnist Frank Salvato, in his Oct. 21 column, apparently believes that Hillary Clinton wants to kill all conservatives:
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." If conservatives don't hang together now we will all hang separately, and President Hillary Clinton will be the hangman.
Farah Endorses Torture Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah comes out in favor of U.S. troops torturing alleged Muslim terrorists in his Oct. 21 column, adding that Christians who oppose it are "wimps":
Let me introduce myself: I, Joseph Farah, hereby deny that these practices are cruel and inhuman.
For a man of God to suggest these practices are "inhuman" is surprising. Humans have been doing this and much worse to each other since the beginning of time. The Bible would suggest that such behavior is just what we should expect from fallen human beings.
Cruelty? Which is more cruel – a few hours of degradation for a terrorist or the annihilation of a million Americans because we did not coerce information from him about a nuclear weapon planted in an American city?
Well-meaning Christians have to understand that fighting this kind of plague often requires getting one's hands dirty. It's messy business. It's not pretty. War is ugly. It's not a church picnic.
Christians need to check their wimp factor at the door.
New Article: A Letter to NewsMax Topic: Newsmax
This letter to NewsMax's Carl Limbacher requests a correction and apology for not only falsely reporting that the U2 concert in Philadelphia was a fund-raiser for Rick Santorum but for also falsely claiming that it had never reported that. Read it.
The Daily Les, 10/19 Topic: The Daily Les
Even Les Kinsolving asks a useful question once in a while, though in this case the answer was more interesting:
KINSOLVING: Is the president concerned that he is alienating his conservative base by nominating Ms. Miers, by allowing so much illegal immigration for five years, increasing the federal budget deficit, and not vetoing a single piece of legislation?
McCLELLAN: Well, a couple of things. One, this President has significantly reduced the growth in nonsecurity discretionary spending. If you look at where we were when we came into office, the budget the year before we came into office had increased that funding some 15 percent.
Kinsolving correctly notes that McClellan is trying to pin budget deficits on the Clinton administration, though Kinsolving fails to add in his WND article that the last three budgets under Clinton ran surpluses.
Kinsolving also pulls off another moderately sensible question, suggesting that Harriet Miers is too conservative even for him:
KINSOLVING: Scott, both the AP and the top of page one of this morning's New York Times report that in 1989, Harriet Miers pledged her support for a constitutional amendment outlawing all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother. And my first part of the question ... Does the President share in this belief that all impregnated victims of gang rape and incest, no matter what their age, should be denied the mercy of an abortion?
Gay-Bashing Week Topic: The ConWeb
It's apparently gay-bashing week on the ConWeb, where it's forbidden to say anything nice about homosexuals:
-- An Oct. 19 CNSNews.com article accused conservative leader Grover Norquist of "an act of utter betrayal" and being "traitorous." Was it because of his close ties to Muslims? Nope; he was the featured speaker at a fund-raiser for the Dallas chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans.
-- WorldNetDaily pushes the depiction-equals-endorsement logical fallacy in an Oct. 18 article claiming that Time magazine's recent cover story on gay teens "is being denounced by critics as blatant homosexual propaganda."
This was accompanied by the chapter from David Kupelian's (yes the Matrix guy) "The Marketing of Evil" that purports to describe "how 'gay rights' is being sold to America." Some highlights:
-- "Deep down, people of conscience know homosexuality is neither an innocent, inborn 'minority' characteristic like skin color, nor a conscious choice to become evil and to corrupt others."
-- "Today, thanks to America's politically correct 'gay-friendly' culture, millions of human beings in the grip of this same unnatural sexual compulsion find it much easier to accept – even to wear as a badge of honor."
-- "So merely by using the term gay rights, and persuading politicians and the media to adopt this terminology, activists seeking to transform America have framed the terms of the debate in their favor almost before the contest begins."
-- "Okay, you might be wondering, even granting the movement's cutting-edge marketing savvy, how do you sell middle America on those five hundred sex partners and weird sexual practices?"
-- "You might wonder: Where and when will this 'gay rights' public relations steamroller stop? The end game is not only to bring about the complete acceptance of homosexuality, including same-sex marriage, but also to prohibit and even criminalize public criticism of homosexuality, including the quotation of biblical passages disapproving of homosexuality."
-- "Their campaign will not end until Christians and other traditionalists opposing homosexuality are shut up, discredited, and utterly silenced – and all because of a little factor we've forgotten about in our cleverness, namely this: In truth, there is something wrong with homosexuality. Simply put, it is unnatural and self-destructive – just as Western civilization has long understood it."
-- "To the homosexual living in denial, then, even a loving offer of help from, say, a Christian ex-gay ministry or 'reparative therapy' counselor (to help overcome homosexual addiction) feels like the most vile, abusive hatred. In fact, it's real love – which we misinterpret as hatred and "bigotry" simply because it causes us to confront a truth that is not welcome in us."
-- "In the end, we have to ask ourselves which is worse – the previous era in America, when homosexuals were reviled and driven underground? Or today's America, when the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that those in the grip of powerful self-destructive compulsions are fawned over and lionized as heroes?"
The Daily Les, 10/18 Topic: The Daily Les
When Les Kinsolving doesn't quote verbatim his question in the White House press briefing in his WorldNetDaily article on it, there's usually a reason. This time, it's because he was sucking up to Scott McClellan:
KINSOLVING: I was grateful for your gracious recognition yesterday. You have your job to do, and we have ours, which is to ask questions, like this question: Can you rule out any possibility that the President is considering possible replacement nominees, should the Senate reject Harriet Miers?
CNS' Press Release Journalism Topic: CNSNews.com
An Oct. 17 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones does a fine job of following a Free Enterprise Fund press release about its anti-Ronnie Earle ads -- so much so that the article is almost entirely anti-Earle. Jones makes no mention of Earle's record of prosecuting more Democrats than Republicans, and she also doesn't mention how the FEF's ad buy in the Austin area, which in its own words "saturated the market," could be seen as a attempt to taint the jury pool in order to form a basis for moving Tom DeLay's jury trial out of liberal-leaning Travis County and to somewhere presumably more DeLay-friendly.
The Schiavo Slant, Part 6 Topic: WorldNetDaily
Diana Lynne's bias is much more explicit today in her article on advance-directive laws. Lynne describes any law that allows "refusing or withdrawing medical care and treatment" as "pro-death," while laws that give the "opportunity to request life-sustaining procedures be utilized, not avoided" are described as "pro-life." No one on the "pro-death" side is quoted, while Lynne quotes three people on the "pro-life" side, including Terri Schiavo's brother.
If you quoting only one side, how can your book be "comprehensive," as WND claims Lynne's book to be?
More on NewsMax's Lie Topic: Newsmax
I have an item up at Media Matters expanding on my ConWebBlog post on NewsMax's lie that it never claimed that U2's Philadelphia concert was a benefit for Rick Santorum. Read it.
The Schiavo Slant, Part 5 Topic: WorldNetDaily
In today's installment, Diana Lynne asks the question, "Will there be another Terri Schiavo?" The article seems to be mostly straightforward balanced, but there is some subtle bias in quoting a dig at Michael Schiavo attorney George Felos from a so-called "hospice watchdog."
The Daily Les, 10/17 Topic: The Daily Les
For the first time in a while, Les Kinsolving serves up a full version of his questions to Scott McClellan in his WorldNetDaily article as he continues to do WND's bidding by asking about supposed scandals involving Harriet Miers that WND has been hyping:
"On Wednesday, you encouraged me to look at news reports about scandals surrounding the Texas lottery when Harriet Miers was chairwoman of that commission. And it turns out there are hundreds of news reports from the late '90s covering problems with contracts and kickbacks involving the company GTECH and [former Lt. Gov. and GTECH lobbyist] Ben Barnes," stated WND.
"You and the president are aware of these hundreds of news reports, aren't you?"
Responded McClellan: "We're well aware of her time at the Texas Lottery Commission. There were problems that did occur there, and she helped clean up the Texas Lottery Commission. She was praised for her work as chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission."
WND then asked about allegations involving Barnes:
"What is the president's response to those allegations that he put Ms. Miers in charge of that lottery commission to be sure GTECH kept its lucrative contract, and its lobbyist, Ben Barnes, would not talk about his alleged influence concerning young George Bush and the National Guard?"
Said McClellan: "Our responses to those questions have already been addressed and disputed. And I think we don't need to rehash those issues."
NewsMax STILL Won't Admit Error Topic: Newsmax
Even with the New York Times calling it out, NewsMax continues to lie and obfuscate regarding its erroneous story claiming that U2 was holding a fund-raiser for Sen. Rick Santorum.
An Oct. 17 article notes that the New York Times called NewsMax out for its erroneous report linking U2 to Santorum. NewsMax's response: "NewsMax had never claimed that U2 or Bono were holding their concert for Santorum – though several liberal blogs claimed as much. Apparently, the New York Times has bought into the NewsMax-Santorum-Bono conspiracy theory."
That's a word-parsing defense. NewsMax's original article -- which it later changed without telling readers -- stated the following:
Teaming up with the legendary rock group U2 for a one-night only appearance will be Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.).
The thousand-dollar-a-seat concert has been put together by Sean and Ana Wolfington and will take place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia in support of Santorum’s re-election, reports NewsMax's James Hirsen.
By clearly (and falsely) stating that the "concert has been put together" by a fund-raiser, it's reasonable to conclude what NewsMax now denies it said: that U2 was indeed "holding their concert for Santorum."
NewsMax again does not state that it later changed its original article to remove that statement and more accurately state that Santorum fund-raisers merely rented a luxury box, not booked the concert. NewsMax also does not repeat the claim, pointed out in the Times article, that U2 was "teaming up" with Santorum.
C'mon, NewsMax, just admit it: You wrote something false and got caught. Admit your error.