CNS Press Release Journalism Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
A Jan. 5 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones regurgitates a press release from STOPP International -- which claims as its mission: "We intend to cause such discontent with Planned Parenthood programs that it will have no choice but to close its doors and get out of town!" -- claiming that "the abortion chain works hard to prevent and limit the births of minority children."
Jones' idea of "balance" was to copy a couple sentences from Planned Parenthood's website. No apparent attempt was made by Jones to contact Planned Parenthood for a specific response to STOPP's allegations.
NewsBusters Stenography Topic: Media Research Center
A Jan. 4 NewsBusters post by Lisa Fabrizio does a fine job of regurgitating a National Republican Senatorial Committee list of "Senate Democrats who’ve accepted cash from [Jack] Abramoff and/or his clients." But that's not quite true; as the Hotline blog points out, Abramoff himself donated only to Republicans, not any of the Democrats on the list. Additionally, some of the money claimed to have been donated by Abramoff's "clients" was actually donated by the political action committee of the company Abramoff worked for, Greenberg Traurig -- described by Hotline as "a huge bipartisan legal/lobby firm" -- and neither the NRSC nor Fabrizio offer any evidence that Abramoff had a hand in those donations.
UPDATE: NewsBusters' MRC stablemates at CNSNews.com also regurgitate the NRSC release in a Jan. 5 article by Melanie Hunter, who also fails to note that none of that money came from Abramoff himself.
Didn't WND Get the Press Release? Topic: WorldNetDaily
While WorldNetDaily has more than 400 articles in its archive mentioning Terri Schiavo and the battle over her life, it has yet to do an original article on the case of Tirhas Habtegiris, a 27-year-old cancer patient at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano, Texas, who was removed from her ventilator last month because she couldn't pay her medical bills. She died 15 minutes later.
AIM vs. Soros Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Jan. 2 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid rants against George Soros, claiming that, among other things. "Soros has put some of his massive fortune into press groups like Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and Center for Investigative Reporting." Conspicuously absent from Kincaid's column is any mention of Richard Mellon Scaife, the conservative moneybags who put some of his massive fortune into organizations such as the American Spectator and, um, Accuracy in Media.
UPDATE: AIM issued a press release condensing Kincaid's column -- and again failing to mention the millions AIM has received from Scaife.
NewsMax's New Anti-Hillary Topic: Newsmax
Eight minutes after posting a Jan. 3 article claiming that Nixon son-in-law Ed Cox would not run against Hillary Clinton for her New York Senate seat, NewsMax used another article to anoint former Yonkers mayor James Spencer as "Republican frontrunner in the race to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate." This comes a couple weeks after Jeanine Pirro's NewsMax-fluffed campaign against Hillary imploded.
In Spencer, NewsMax has something it really didn't have with Pirro -- a veritable font of anti-Clinton comments:
And unlike Mrs. Pirro - who, during her four month campaign, seldom criticized Mrs. Clinton for anything beyond her presidential ambitions - Spencer made it clear he doesn't intend to pull any punches, especially when it comes to the former first couple's failures in the war on terror.
Look for NewsMax to repeat every Hillary-bashing word Spencer spouts, no matter how inaccurate. For instance, in this article NewsMax quotes Spencer as criticizing Clinton deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick, "who erected the notorious 'wall of separation' that prevented intelligence agencies from sharing information with law enforcement"; Spencer adds the alleged wall "shows they were trying to apply that silly, appeasing, liberal mentality that also made our intelligence agents abroad check back with the pinheads in Washington before they could take any action." Of course, as we've notedeverytime NewsMax makes this claim, Gorelick didn't erect that "wall."
Stuff We Missed Topic: Media Research Center
A couple things that we overlooked while away from home base for the holidays:
-- A Jan. 3 MRC CyberAlert by Brent Baker (repeating a Dec. 21 NewsBusters post) praised CBS for quoting Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman as taking the Bush administration's position on the Bush administration's domestic spying without a warrant -- that is, that "the program is essential to U.S. national security" and that the disclosure of the possibly illegal spying "has damaged critical intelligence capabilities." But Media Matters notes that Harman also said something that CBS (and Baker) didn't report: "Like many Americans, I am deeply concerned by reports that this program in fact goes far beyond the measures to target Al Qaeda about which I was briefed."
-- Mithridate Ombud responded to our post about his/her post touting the UCLA study purportedly conclusively proving liberal media bias. He/she asks: "So you're saying that someone who was or is a conservative can't possibly conduct a study on anything that examines bias in the media? ... And by that logic, wouldn't it be fair to say that liberals can't report news fairly?" Well, Mr/Ms. Ombud, you and other conservatives already assume that "liberals can't report news fairly," so you also have to presume that conservatives can't be fair journalists either (which I demonstrate here on a regular basis). As long as you push the idea of your ideological opposites being biased, you open the door to the idea of your side being biased as well. Admit that conservative journalists are as biased as the liberal journalists you love to condemn, Mr/Ms. Ombud, and we'll have gotten somewhere.
Misleading Poll Touted Topic: Media Research Center
A Jan. 3 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard touts a Rasmussen Reports poll that found that “Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States" as an example of how "the nation doesn’t feel the Bush administration is doing anything wrong." A Dec. 28 NewsBusters post by John Armor touted the poll as well, as did a Dec. 28 WorldNetDaily article.
But the poll question apparently (based on this article; you have to pay to see the actual poll data) failed to point out one important aspect of this program: The intercepts are conducted without warrants or any apparent court oversight. Putting that in the question would likely produce a different result.
Non-Disclosure Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Thus far, WorldNetDaily has run a Jan. 2 article and a Jan. 3 column by Jack Cashill promoting Joel Miller's new book, "Size Matters: How Big Government Puts the Squeeze on America's Families, Finances, and Freedom." Nowhere is it disclosed that Miller is a former WorldNetDaily editor and that his publisher, Thomas Nelson, is a former business partner with WND in its WND Books imprint. (After the partnership ended, Thomas Nelson continued the division under the Nelson Current imprint -- of which Miller is senior editor -- while WND found a new co-publisher for the WND Books imprint, Cumberland House.)
Downplaying Domestic Terrorism Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a Jan. 2 WorldNetDaily column, WND editor Joseph Farah accuses the media of downplaying reports of alleged domestic terrorism. He lists examples of what he calls "law enforcement officials and the press establishment going out of their way to downplay even the possibility of terrorism."
Conspicuously missing from Farah's list is the case of William Krar of Tyler, Texas, who Ain 2003 was found in possession of nearly two pounds of a cyanide compound and other chemicals that could create enough poisonous gas to kill everyone inside a space as large as a big-chain bookstore or a small-town civic center. Authorities also discovered nearly half a million rounds of ammunition, more than 60 pipe bombs, machine guns, silencers and remote-controlled bombs disguised as briefcases, plus pamphlets on how to make chemical weapons, and anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-government books.
Yet WND has run only one original article on Krar, a December 2003 article following Krar's arrest -- but nothing since. Why hasn't WND focused on this case?
Perhaps because it couldn't find a Muslim connection. WND apparently believes that only Muslims are terrorists and that any Muslim who commits an act of violence is therefore, by definition, a terrorist. In his column, Farah states:
I recall how any possibility that the Beltway sniper attacks were connected with terrorism was dismissed. It turned out they were carried out by two Muslims.
Farah implies that the sniper attacks were terrorism simply because John Allan Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were Muslims, an accusation he has made before (as ConWebWatch has noted). But Muhammad and Malvo weren't Islamic terrorists; their motivation was apparently money and revenge.
But as we've noted, if WND can't demonize Muslims, it will lose interest in a story.
WND also sympathizes with at least some of Krar's views. The WND article on Krar notes that he "has not paid taxes since 1988." WND regularlyreports the stories of people who believe that paying income tax is voluntary and not mandatory or who consider the refusal to pay taxes a legitimate form of protest.
Kincaid's Gay Obsession Watch Topic: Accuracy in Media
As we somehow knew he would, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid weighs in on "Brokeback Mountain" in a Jan. 2 column. Kincaid establishes the column's tone in the first sentence: "The media are showing their pro-homosexual bias with their excessive coverage of the 'Cowboy Sweethearts' movie, Brokeback Mountain." He adds that the movie is "another breakthrough for the homosexual lobby, which still manages to transform their deadly and dangerous lifestyle into something considered mainstream and even attractive."
Then and Now Topic: Newsmax
In a series of bizarre comments that show the depth of the failed thinking at the nation's premier intelligence service, the former head of the CIA unit charged with capturing or killing Osama bin Laden said on Sunday that the terror mastermind was a "remarkable," "great" and "admirable" man.
"He's really a remarkable man," former CIA agent Michael Scheuer told NBC's "Meet the Press."
The man who ran the Central Intelligence Agency's Bin Laden desk during the 1990s is accusing President Clinton of giving the CIA carte blanche to circumvent U.S. law and interrogate terrorist suspects in any way the agency saw fit - a directive that led to the establishment of secret CIA prisons on foreign soil.
"We asked the president what we should do with the people we capture," recalled Michael Scheuer, who headed up the agency's Bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, in an interview Wednesday with the German newsmagazine Die Zeit.
Larry Klayman Returns Topic: WorldNetDaily
Wonder what Clinton-harrassing lawyer Larry Klayman has been up to lately? After leaving Judicial Watch (where his conservative buddies ignored him after he started filing lawsuits against Republicans) and getting stomped in an election for a Senate seat in Florida, Klayman has now signed on with another law firm and making more dubious claims.
A Dec. 30 WorldNetDaily article reports that Klayman is representing a Florida family who blames the death of their 9-year-old son on the state's Department of Children and Families because the agency tried to force the family to seek treatment for the boy's bone cancer over the family's objections. The family claims that the boy's cancer was too advanced at the time it was discovered and that chemotherapy and radiation would not help their son.
The strange thing about this article is that it's the most balanced original piece WND has published in months. While writer Ron Strom devotes most of the article to statements by the boy's parents and Klayman (typical Klayman statemen: "DCF thought they knew better. ... They caused the death of a young child and caused a tremendous amount of emotional distress") and includes only token comments from DCF officials, Strom's telling of the circumstances surrounding the boy's death casts doubt over whether Klayman has a case. He writes that the boy died en route to a hospital after the DCF allegedly demanded that the boy be evaluated following complaints that the parents were denying the boy pain medication based on their religious beliefs, but offers no evidence that the boy would have survived had he not been moved.
The question is obvious: How did WND let an article that tells both sides of the story slip through a system that typically permits only the most biased pieces to see the light of day?
Kincaid noted that after his call for a stop-gay-sex public-service campaign, he "was contacted for an interview by someone with Q Television World News on the Q Television Network. I declined after discovering that this is yet another homosexual channel." He continued: "This programming poisons our culture. But most commentators are reluctant to say this."
Kincaid concludes with a fine example of whining:
My count shows that the homosexuals now have two networks devoted exclusively to their cause. And what about conservatives? We used to have Fox News Channel. Now it runs global warming specials featuring Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and its news coverage is being manipulated by a Saudi Prince and investor in the Fox parent company to benefit global Islam.
A Biased WND Editor Topic: WorldNetDaily
The next time you hear conservatives complaining about media bias, keep in mind a Dec. 28 column by Joe Kovacs, executive news editor for WorldNetDaily. Here, he displays plenty of bias that has undoubtedly spilled over into its news coverage.
Kovacs refers to anti-war protesters as "crazy Froot Loops from the leftward land of silliness." He claims that " Sandy 'Burglar' Berger had found a novel way to preserve classified documents by pickling them in his pants and socks" despite the fact that there's no evidence of Berger smuggling documents via his socks. He throws in an unflattering photo of Hillary Clinton with the caption, "Did Hillary suddenly realize she's still married to Bill?" He repeats a dubious claim (promoted by WND, by the way, as a bigger story than a corrupt congressman) that a book signing by anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan's was a failure; after noting Sheehan's claim that she sold all the books at that signing and that she "got writer's cramp signing them," Kovacs adds: "The loneliest, most publicized book-signing in history, and Cindy gets cramps. I think there's a cure for that. It's called deportation."
Remember, Kovacs is an executive news editor, which means he presumably has some input into WND's news coverage -- what is covered and how. Even though Kovacs takes a jab at USA Today "suggesting it has 'editorial standards,'" we already know all about WND's journalistic standards, which Kovacs also presumably plays a part in promoting.
Remember this column the next time Joseph Farah insists that WND isn't conservative.