The Wall Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax gets it wrong once again in a Dec. 6 article on 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick noting that there is still a lack of information sharing between law enforcement and intelligence. "Gorelick made no mention of the fact that it was she herself who constructed the wall of separation - in a 1995 Justice Department directive that emphasized protecting the civil rights of terrorist suspects," NewsMax wrote.
As ConWebWatch has repeatedly detailed, Gorelick did not construct that "wall"; it was started in the late 1970s. And it was reaffirmed by the Bush administration in 2001 prior to 9/11. Somehow, NewsMax never reports that.
Going Out of Their Way Topic: CNSNews.com
In a Dec. 6 letter to the editor to CNSNews.com, a representative of the clothing company Mecca USA objected to a Nov. 21 CNS article by Marc Morano quoting "some U.S. military veterans" attacking the hip-hop clothing line for being sold on U.S. military bases because of its name. In an editor's note following the letter, CNS declared that "We respect her opinion, even if she did misspell Marc’s last name," then added: "CNSNews.com pursues news articles of interest to our audience and does not go out of its way to produce 'favorable' or 'unfavorable' stories about anyone or anything. We ask tough questions and cover issues that go unreported or under-reported by the establishment media."
Paul Begala might beg to differ with that assessment. But Morano sure seemed to be going out of his way to paint an unfavorable picture of Mecca USA. The article descends into a treatise of hip-hop culture and slang (odd since CNS is, near as we can tell, mostly a group of white Republican males working out of an office in trendy Old Town Alexandria), describing what he calls the "heavy Islamic influence dating back to at least the 1960s," playing up links between obscure rappers and radical Islam and sinisterly noting that "Cybercast News Service discovered that the hip-hop slang term for Brooklyn is Medina, the other holy city of Islam."
Critical Ex-Presidents Topic: CNSNews.com
A Dec. 5 CNSNews.com column by Alan Caruba bashes former presidents Clinton and Carter because they "refuse to get off the world stage, and ... do not restrain themselves from criticizing the current president." Caruba adds: "I have lived long enough to see a dozen presidents in office and I cannot recall any but these two behaving in this fashion."
More at NewsBusters Topic: Media Research Center
Aside from the missing John Armor post -- which has been removed from the front page -- a couple other things of note at NewsBusters:
-- A Dec. 4 post by Noel Sheppard on the panel on "The Chris Matthews Show" calls it a "panel of left-leaning guests" despite the fact that it includes Andrew Sullivan.
-- A Dec. 3 post by Mark Finkelstein on a discussion on "Fox News Watch" noted "tiny" Neal Gabler's tweaking of Fox News for its so-called "war on Christmas" hype. Gabler said, "let's talk about the elephant in the room: Fox News. O'Reilly, Hannity and Gibson are demagogues and they know that they can rouse the masses around Christmas time." Finkelstein didn't take too kindly to that:
The "masses"? Gabler stopped just short of calling Fox's audience dumb and malleable, but his elitist implication was inescapable.
At first, we thought that Finkelstein thought Gabler was painting Fox News as elitists, which contradicts the conservative line on journalism, which holds that only liberals are "elitists." But we think it may be the more logical, conservatively correct approach, that Finkelstein thinks Gabler is an elitist for claiming that Fox News viewers are easily led and unable to think for themselves. This from a guy who likes to reference Gabler's height as a reason to disagree with him.
Nobel Nominees Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah and other WND writers are looking askance at the Nobel Peace Prize nominations made on behalf of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the founder of the Crips street gang who faces execution for a triple murder more than 20 years ago.
Farah, in a Dec. 5 column, wrote that Williams was "inexplicably nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize" for "writing two books about kids and gangs that no one read!" Doug Powers wrote in a Nov. 28 column: "Suffice to say the nomination didn't come from the families of the people Williams is convicted of murdering or those who have had the crap beat out of them by Crips." And a Nov. 28 column by Michael Ackley uses the nomination to satirically attack the meanlessness of the nomination by nominating a nobody named Howard Bashford: "Henceforth, we expect any media mention of Howard will refer to him as 'Nobel Peace Prize nominee Howard Bashford.'"
But nobody at WND was bothered enough by the relative meaninglessness of a Nobel nomination to stop referring to Dr. William Hammesfahr, a Florida doctor who claimed he could rehabilitate Terri Schiavo, as a "Nobel Prize nominee. That descriptor accompanies WND news articles from March 8 and May 15, as well as appearing in columns by Mychal Massie and Kevin McCullough. It was also in WND writer Diana Lynne's "whole Terri Schiavo story" until it was removed after ConWebWatch called her on it.
NewsHounds notes that Fox News' Sean Hannity has done the same thing.
Forgetting the Present Topic: Media Research Center
We were going to take this Dec. 4 NewsBusters post by John Armor (aka Free Republic's Congressman Billybob) to task for falsely claiming that Jamie Gorelick, as a Clinton-era deputy attorney general, created the "wall" that kept intelligence and law enforcement authorities from sharing information. As we've detailed, the wall was created long before Gorelick wrote the memo purportedly "creating" it, and John Ashcroft's Justice Department renewed it in 2001. But between our original reading and our returning to it to formulate a response, the post has disappeared, though the comments to it have not. Strange.
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.