Fake News Topic: Newsmax
As its way of rebutting claims that the U.S. government paid millions of dollars to Iraqi media and journalists to place positive stories stories in the press, a Dec. 3 NewsMax article recounts a litany of "faked news reports" by the "mainstream media."
But something's missing from that list -- NewsMax's own ventures into fake news:
-- It falsely claimed that the Clintons were selling their Chappaqua, N.Y., house.
-- It falsely claimed that U2 was holding a fund-raiser for Sen. Rick Santorum, then denied making that claim.
Schiavo Demagogery Topic: WorldNetDaily
Diana Lynne descends into demagoguery on the Terri Schiavo case in a Dec. 3 WorldNetDaily commentary. She essentially attacks anyone who disagrees with her view of the Schiavo case (you know, the one that omits Michael Schiavo's side of the story) as "largely uninformed and misinformed," adding that this is something "which WND's continuing coverage seeks to correct." She also claims that "Those who favored Terri's death seek silence."
Yet Lynne has her own code of silence. She has never addressed (beyond our call for balanced and factual coverage at the height of the story) her own biased coverage of the Schiavo story, which conveniently omits anything exculpatory about Michael Schaivo and anything criticial about Terri Schiavo's parents and their supporters. And the article once again includes promotional copy that describes Lynne's book on the Schiavo case as "comprehensive," which, given the above-listed biases, it most definitely is not.
The Watchdog Whimpers Topic: WorldNetDaily
Several days late to the party, WorldNetDaily -- the self-proclaimed "watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power" -- has finally acknowledged the corruption scandal around disgraced Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.
After months of promoting Cunningham's work on behalf of saving a cross on public land, a Dec. 2 article brings the first original WND coverage of the defense-contracting scandal that brought Cunningham's resignation as a congressman. The article focuses on other members of Congress who have had financial connections with the defense contractor at the center of the Cunningham scandal.
Needless to say, WND doesn't mention its own links to two of the congresscritters on the dirty-money list, Richard Pombo and Katherine Harris. WND published Harris' (ghostwritten) book, and WND editor Joseph Farah co-wrote a book with Pombo.
Recently released crime statistics show the homicide rate in California is 265 percent higher than the death rate suffered by U.S. and British military personnel in Iraq.
According to the report "Crime in California 2004," compiled by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, there were 2,394 reported homicides in the Golden State last year. That compares with 905 deaths of coalition forces in Iraq, chiefly Americans and Brits, during the same time period.
WND, of course, neglects that the death rate among U.S. and British soldiers is much higher than the murder rate in California. 905 deaths among 160,000 soldiers is a much higher rate that 2,394 murders among 33.8 million Californians.
The article adds:
Such comparisons have been made by defenders of the action in Iraq, who say the number of casualties for a war of this length are extraordinarily low.
WND doesn't state that the comparison is statistically meaningless.
The article concludes by presenting an extreme view against the war as representative of all war opponents:
Opponents of the war claim the lives of the 2,000 Americans who have died since the initial invasion have been lost in vain.
Opined Toula Foscolos in the French Le Magazine: "More than 2,000 Americans have left their lives [in Iraq], thanks to the conniving and self-serving ways of their dim-witted president."
This is what passes for "journalism" at WorldNetDaily.
Brad DeLong takes on a similar claim by Donald Luskin here.
No Conservative Plagiarizers? Topic: The ConWeb
A Dec. 1 column by Rachel Alexander at GOPUSA, headlined "Why only liberals plagiarize," states the following:
Ever wonder why it’s always liberal writers that get caught plagiarizing? The reason is not what you might expect. It is because most information is written with a liberal bias, so liberal writers doing research are not forced to rewrite it. Conservatives surfing through news articles could not copy and paste parts of most articles they find into their writing without sounding ridiculous.
Hal Lindsey Pulls a Pat Robertson Topic: WorldNetDaily
Is Hal Lindsey getting all Pat Robertson on us?
A Dec. 1 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore quotes Lindsey as claiming that his weekly TV program has been dropped by the Trinity Broadcasting Network for at least the month of December because its message is considered by some officials at the Christian network to be "too pro-Israel and too anti-Muslim." At the end of the article, Moore quotes Lindsey hoping for a little divine retribution a la Robertson:
He asked supporters to pray for himself and for the "decision makers at TBN."
"This could be a disastrous turn in their ministry," Lindsey said.
Lindsey offers no other evidence that his show is the linchpin of TBN, so asking God to do his handiwork would seem to be the only explanation. It would seem that without a major national outlet, Lindsey's own ministry is the one in danger of a "disastrous turn."
NewsMax Endorses Torture, Part 2 Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax's bizarre pro-torture campaign continues: A Dec. 1 article quotes a congressman claiming that troops don't want restrictions on interrogations of prisoners of war as proposed by Sen. John McCain.
NewsMax previously claimed that torture is a good thing because it worked on McCain.
The Right to Lie Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Dec. 1 column, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid describes a visit of "a local gun show" where he noted "one booth full of photos from Iraq that were described as being censored by the U.S. news media." These were photos of "American soldiers assisting the Iraqi people, especially children" that are purportedly not being shown in the media. He added:
I purchased a bumper sticker at the booth. It said, "Freedom of the press does not mean the right to lie." Perhaps the public can help stop the lies.
But lying and misleading is something Kincaid does with alarming frequency:
-- He has advanced many distortions or outright lies about Joseph Wilson, as ConWebWatch has detailed.
-- He has never disclosed to his readers that Joseph DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, whom he relies upon to attack Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, are Republican operatives.
-- Kincaid gets his facts wrong (and was not terribly condemning) in recounting Fox News' airing of an interview in which the wrong address was given for a purported terrorist, resulting in harassment of an innocent family.
-- Kincaid has repeatedly advanced the dubious claim (and does so again in the Dec. 1 article) that Newsweek's since-retracted article on allegations that U.S. interrogators flushed a Koran down the toilet directly results in rioting that killed several people. Additionally, Kincaid has failed to disclose a conflict of interest; his promotion of this claim on AIM benefits his own personal organization, America's Survival, which is agitating to extradite the writer of the Newsweek article, Michael Isikoff, to Afghanistan to face trial for the alleged deaths.
Perhaps Kincaid should paste that bumper sticker on his computer as a reminder that "Freedom of the press does not mean the right to lie" applies to him, too.
Update Topic: CNSNews.com
In our July article on CNSNews.com's deliberate misquoting of Paul Begala, we noted that the author of that article, Jered Ede, had previously worked for the Carrollton Record, a conservative magazine at Johns Hopkins University. We recently checked the Record's website hoping that perhaps Ede would be regaling his would-be proteges of his journalistic adventures, but we were surprised to find that the website has apparently disappeared completely. Which would mean that one sample of the type of journalism practiced by the record -- a picture of a chihuahua relieving itself on a picture of Bill Clinton -- is gone forever.
But wait -- we had the foresight to grab a copy of that photo before the Record site went all Judge Crater on us. Not only have we added it to our original article, we'll share it here as well to ensure that it lives in perpetuity, as pretty much anything put on the 'Net does:
CNS Misleads on Abortion Case Topic: CNSNews.com
A Nov. 30 CNSNews.com article by Jeff Johnson on abortion-related cases currently before the Supreme Court started off well but then descended into its typical anti-abortion bias.
Johnson started off by offering a balanced account of a debate over a New Hampshire "parental notification" law. However, he then served up statements from two anti-abortion groups that are unbalanced by any comment from pro-choice (or "pro-abortion" in CNS parlance) representatives.
In the final two paragraphs of the article, Johnson wrote:
The Supreme Court will also hear oral arguments Wednesday in the consolidated cases of Scheidler v. National Organization for Women and Operation Rescue v. National Organization for Women.
NOW is seeking to have peaceful protests on public sidewalks near abortion clinics declared acts of "extortion" subject to federal prosecution under the racketeering statutes enacted by Congress to fight organized interstate criminal activity.
That is a misleading description of the case. As the Associated Press reported, the main thrust of the issue is whether the fact that the anti-abortion protesters in question made threats of violence against clinics -- belying the "peaceful" description forwarded by Johnson -- makes the protesters liable under the racketeering statutes. From the AP article:
A federal judge issued a nationwide injunction against the anti-abortion protesters after a Chicago jury found in 1998 that demonstrators had engaged in a pattern of racketeering by interfering with clinic operations, menacing doctors, assaulting patients and damaging clinic property.
The Supreme Court ruled that because the protesters had not extorted money or valuables from the clinics, there was no basis for a racketeering violation or the injunction. But the appeals court found that the high court had not considered fully four counts of making a threat of violence that might be enough to support the ban.
Again, Johnson's description of the anti-abortion protesters as "peaceful" is far from accurate.
Another WND Ad Disguised As News? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 30 WorldNetDaily article describes a case of a deformed child who received free surgery from a group called Mercy Ships. There is no indication that Mercy Ships is a WND advertiser -- its ads have appeared on WND previously, and the article contains a WND-specific donor link.
As we've detailed, WND is a notorious violator of journalistic standards that separate news and advertising. WND should have disclosed in the article that Mercy Ships is an advertiser; it did not, and rarely does, which creates the impression that WND's news pages have been co-opted for advertising purposes.
Making A List Topic: The ConWeb
So we made some blogger's list of "liberal loser" websites. We're unclear as to why, since we're not very good liberals -- ConWebWatch does no liberal advocacy. And we don't criticize conservative news for being conservative, we criticize it for being bad journalism. We even asked why in the comments on this post, but have not received an answer.
Oreogate, Part 2 Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax used a Nov. 28 article to repeat the dubious claim that Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele was "pelted ... with Oreo cookies during a 2002 campaign debate."
As we've noted, there is no evidence to indicate that Steele was "pelted" with Oreos during the debate. Steele himself is on record as saying only that a single Oreo rolled to his feet during the debate.
The Enforcer Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is apparently going to be the enforcer of conservative correctness, at least as far as demanding usage of the term "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays" is concerned. A Nov. 29 WND article blasts Fox News, a longtime promoter of such holiday correctness, for using the word "holidays" when it allegedly should have used Christmas.
WND was in the forefront of this battle last year when it recycled press releases from conservative legal groups promoting a so-called "war on Christmas."
NewsMax Endorses Torture Topic: Newsmax
A Nov. 29 NewsMax article wants to make Sen. John McCain into the poster boy for torture, claiming that he is being hypocritical in calling for the U.S. to stop using torture techniques. Why? When McCain was held prisoner in North Vietnam, "some of the same techniques were used on him. And -- as McCain has publicly admitted at least twice -- the torture worked!"
NewsMax adds: "That McCain broke under torture doesn't make him any less of an American hero. But it does prove he's wrong to claim that harsh interrogation techniques simply don't work."
Does NewsMax really want to go on record as endorsing torture? Apparently it does.