The Daily Les, 10/25 Topic: The Daily Les
Not that exciting, really. A question about reports that the Army was assisting the Border Patrol in New Mexico (ask the Northern Command about it, McClellan says) and another question about whether President Bush favors birth control that McClellan again refused to answer (which didn't make it into his WorldNetDaily article).
Sending a Message Topic: The ConWeb
An Oct. 24 WorldNetDaily article makes a big deal out of a "homosexual debauchery party" being canceled because of Hurricane Wilma and how some have attributed this year's destructive hurricanes on "the hand of God punishing the U.S. for its national breaking of biblical laws."
Due to Hurricane Wilma, the Restoration Weekend for Oct 27-30, 2005 has been cancelled. There is no power in the area, and the Breakers Hotel is closed. We will try to reschedule the event within the next two months. We are very sorry, but these circumstances are beyond our control. -- David Horowitz and Mike Finch
AP Really Wrote This? Topic: Newsmax
We're not surprised that NewsMax, in an Oct. 25 article, called Al Franken's new book a "hate-fest Bush-bashing book." We're not surprised that the article paints anything Franken says as "fringe." We're not surprised that a statement that Franken is moving to Minnesota to consider a Senate bid in 2008 and will do his radio show there is punctuated by the caveat, "assuming the struggling network remains on the air." We're not even surprised at the gratuitous mention of Sen. Robert Byrd for the sole reason of noting for the umpteen-thousandth time that he is "a former member of the KKK."
We are surprised, however, that NewsMax stuck an Associated Press copyright at the end of the article. AP would never send out such a catty, biased article, which is actually a summary of a USA Today article (which reads nothing like NewsMax's slanted interpretation).
Pre-emptive Smearing Topic: Newsmax
In two Oct. 25 articles, NewsMax is getting in a little pre-emptive smearing of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald prior to indictments expected to be handed down later this week in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
The first article calls Fitzgerald a "longtime crony" of James Comey, the then-deputy attorney general who appointed Fitzgerald to the special prosecutor post in 2003, suggesting that an article calling Fitzgerald and Comey "best friends" somehow damning.
The second article gets a little desperative, playing guilt by association in reporting Fitzgerald's defense of Comey's prosecution of Martha Stewart, suggesting that "any indictments he brings in the Leakgate case will mirror tactics used against Stewart -- where the prosecution pursues "process" crimes after determining that the original allegations were unprovable."
This appears to be the conservative strategy for countering any indictment of people like Karl Rove or Lewis Libby -- that it would be just as frivolous as Stewart's prosecution. An Oct. 21 NewsMax article said reports that Fitzgerald's charges would focus on "perjury, obstruction of justice and false statement" raise "speculation that the Leakgate case may devolve into a Martha Stewart-like prosecution, which drew howls of derision from legal critics."
Um, wasn't President Clinton impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice? We don't recall any "howls of derision" emanating from NewsMax about that.
The Daily Les, 10/24 Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving is at his best (good or bad) when he's asking about his odd little obsessions. He managed to merge two of them in today's first question (the second question was about immigration, which offers nothing new) -- his recent fear that Harriet Miers favors banning abortions in the case of rape and incest, and his occasional attempts to get an answer as to whether President Bush opposes the legalization of birth control -- and made a good question out of it:
KINSOLVING: The Washington Post reports that after Senator Specter told reporters that nominee Harriet Miers had endorsed Griswold [v. Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court case that legalized contraception], she telephoned him to say that she had not endorsed Griswold," said WND. "And my question: Since the case of Griswold versus Connecticut resulted in the court overturning Connecticut's law against selling or even counseling about contraceptives, isn't her opposition to this as serious in the president's mind as her expressed disagreement with what is his support of abortion in cases of rape and incest?
Least Bloody War Ever! Topic: Media Research Center
Over at NewsBusters, John Armor floats a new and exciting way to downplay the impact of the Iraq war:
I wrote on 24 April, 2004, that the War on Terror is the LEAST bloody war in the history of the United States, measured by deaths per month. This is true going back to the Revolutionary War, even though the nation’s population then was only 1 percent of what it is today.
Cliff (Doesn't) Note Topic: Accuracy in Media
An Oct. 24 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid repeats accusations by lawyer Joseph diGenova that the sending of former ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger investigate purported sales of uranium yellowcake to Iraq was actually a "covert operation" against President Bush to undermine the administration's Iraq war policy. Kincaid calls diGenova "a former Independent Counsel who prosecuted several high-profile cases and has extensive experience on Capitol Hill" and, later in the article, an "administration defender," but Kincaid doesn't describe just how much more than an "administration defender" diGenova is.
DiGenova is married to Victoria Toensing, who is making the media rounds as a fellow "adminstration defender" as an author of the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, claiming that the outing of Valerie Plame doesn't rise to the level of offense described under that law (though there are other laws that Plame's outing could be charged under).
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?