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Thursday, February 2, 2006
When Automated Content Goes Bad
Topic: The ConWeb
From the MSNBC TV front page at around 12:30 p.m. ET today:

The box is promoting an entry on Scarborough's blog with that as a headline.

A larger screen shot of the page is here.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 PM EST
CNS Fulfills Low Expectations
In her Feb. 2 article on Georges Sada's claims regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Sherrie Gossett does exactly what we predicted she would -- presents his claims without challenge (beyond previous reports on the issue that Sada was contradicting), doesn't bring up Sada's affiliation with conservatives or his Christian-oriented publisher.

As good as it feels to be proven right, CNS had a very low bar to clear. It's still just stenography, not journalism.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:42 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2006 5:43 PM EST
Topic: Newsmax
This NewsMax missive clogged up our inbox, too.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EST
Then and Now
Topic: Media Research Center
"How much did Baldwin believe in the 'legal process' during the impeachment effort? Recall how on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien on December 11, 1998 he jumped up from his chair and shouted: 'I'm going to stone Henry Hyde to death!'"

-- Brent Baker, MRC CyberAlert, Nov. 11, 2000

"Tasteless, perhaps, but clearly not to be taken literally."

-- MRC's Tim Graham, in a Feb. 2 NewsBusters post on a New York Times report that noted a blogger writing about the producers of the Christian-oriented film "End of the Spear" who cast a gay actor in a lead role that "it would probably be an overreaction to firebomb these men’s houses."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2006 2:48 PM EST
NewsBusters Schadenfreude
Topic: NewsBusters
Wow -- Mithridate Ombud (aka Bruce Rheinstein) really wants to see the video ABC's Bob Woodruff was shooting before the bomb went off. Or does he just want to take a little sadistic pleasure in watching a journalist get blown up?

We've added this to our new article on NewsBusters' extreme rhetoric.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 AM EST
New Article: Going to Extremes
Topic: NewsBusters
Writers and commenters at the MRC's NewsBusters blog dehumanize journalists and whitewash terrorist acts. Is this any way for a division of a multimillion-dollar organization to behave? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EST
Wednesday, February 1, 2006
WND Rented House for Klein in Gaza
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Well, this is interesting. In an interview with Jewish Press on the implication of wearing (or not wearing) yarmulkes in Israel, WND Jerusalem reporter Aaron Klein drops this little factoid in reference to his coverage of the Gaza disengagement:

Several months before the Gaza evacuation, WorldNetDaily rented part of a house in Gush Katif and I went there regularly.

So WND can afford to rent houses in Gaza -- presumably from the same settlers Klein got to be so buddy-buddy with to the point that he whitewashed their violent extreme-right backgrounds in his articles on the Gaza disengagement. Such a relationship indicates further that he has no intention of reporting a straight story; as we've noted, he's doing the same thing in his coverage of conflicts in the West Bank.

Jewish Press calls itself "the largest independent Jewish newspaper in the United States," though it appears to be a right-leaning publication. It considers Meir Kahane, he of the right-wing, violence-linked Kach/Kahane Chai movement, as merely one of its "colorful and thought-provoking writers." Klein writes a column called "Quick Takes" for Jewish Press, which, judging by his Feb. 1 column, are summaries of his WND work.

Klein also adds: "I have been privileged with the opportunity to report news accurately to millions of people every day. I'd rather get to the areas so that I can report and people can read what is really going on and not what CNN is reporting." Of course, as we've documented, "reporting news accurately" is not what Klein is doing.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:32 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2006 6:35 PM EST
Kerry Hostility
Topic: NewsBusters
In a Feb. 1 NewsBusters post, Rich Noyes used the following words to describe John Kerry's appearance on NBC's "Today":

sarcastically shot back
plowed on
finally paused for air

But where's the reference to Kerry being haughty and French-looking? In a companion post by Mark Finkelstein.

So, this is "media research," huh, guys?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:49 PM EST
NewsMax, Malzberg Lie About Ginsburg
Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 1 NewsMax article accepts at face value a claim made by New York radio host (and NewsMax columnist) Steve Malzberg that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg "favored lowering the age of consent for women to 12."

This is false. As we've previously pointed out, Ginsburg has never "argued the age of sexual consent should be lowered to 12"; rather, she merely discussed a child-rape law in which she approved the fact that the law's language was gender-neutral and never spoke to the age aspect.

The same goes for Malzberg's false claim that Ginsburg is in favor of "legalized prostitution"; Ginsburg merely said that an argument for legalized prostitution could be made but has never made one herself.

Malzberg forwarded yet another falsehood: denying that Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch recommended Ginsburg's nomination. Wrong again.

NewsMax was more concerned with pointing out that National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy said "That is such bullshit" on the air when Malzberg made the false claim about Ginsburg wanting to lower the age of consent. The article also falsely attributes the source of Gandy's anger, claiming it was because Samuel Alito was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice even though the transcript of the Malzberg-Gandy exchange included in the article makes it clear that it's over his false statements about Ginsburg, not about Alito.

This puts NewsMax and Malzberg in the company of Mychal "Bull Connor" Massie in making this false claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2006 1:35 PM EST
Negativity = Bias?
Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters (and, presumably, the rest of the MRC) is employing a new standard in "liberal bias" detection: If you say or write negative things about the Bush administration, no matter how truthful they are, you're biased. A few State of the Union-related posts on NewsBusters illustrate the concept:

-- In a item headlined "ABC the Most Negative Before SOTU Address: State of the Union 'Sour,'" Brent Baker criticized ABC for offering "downbeat take on the public attitude facing President Bush."

-- Michael Rule criticized the "negative tone" purportedly used in a CBS interview with Bush White House attorney Dan Bartlett.

-- Baker took another whack at news outlets for using the word "sour."

Such criticism is all situational, of course -- we suspect the MRC thought the press wasn't negative enough during the Clinton years.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 PM EST
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Continuing with its policy of stroking Ohio's Ken Blackwell, today's WorldNetDaily commentary page features outside links to a pair of pro-Blackwell articles, promoted thusly:

-- Ronald Reagan's unlikely heir: Steven Malanga: Ken Blackwell is a fiscal and cultural conservative

-- Republicans and blacks: Thomas Sowell says Ken Blackwell is a promising new political star

So, WND: How much is Blackwell paying you to serve as his PR agent?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:17 AM EST
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
NewsBusters' Ginsburg Distortion
Topic: NewsBusters
In a Jan. 31 NewsBusters post, Clay Waters peddles a favorite conservative distortion: that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was considered an unrepentant liberal at the time she was nominated for the Supreme Court.

Complaining that a New York Times article on newly confirmed Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito "emphasizes Alito’s conservatism again and again" (Waters seems to have a problem acknowledging the simple and uncontested fact that Alito is, in fact, conservative), Waters wrote that "the Times covered the Senate vote that made liberal former ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg a Supreme Court Justice." Waters does not explain how being a "former ACLU lawyer" automatically makes one a "liberal."

In hurling the "liberal" tar brush and dangling the ACLU bogeyman, Waters ignores Ginsburg's record as a moderate on the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, where she served for 12 years after her ACLU stint, often voting with respected conservative judges as Kenneth Starr, Robert Bork and Laurence Silberman. Waters also ignores the fact that she was recommended to President Clinton by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch as a candidate whom Republicans would approve.

In perpetuating the distortion, Waters joins the likes of the Cato Institute's David Boaz (whom Waters previously cited) and WorldNetDaily's Les Kinsolving and Joseph Farah.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:06 PM EST
NewsBusters Nonsense, 1/31
Topic: NewsBusters
-- Tim Graham takes a whack at a Time magazine reporter for "flacking" for a convicted murderer who proclaimed his innocence (later DNA testing showed him to be guilty). Graham's employer has not been bothered by that before. has run five articles (here, here, here, here, and here) that cite Gary McCullough, mostly in his role as "media coordinator" and spokesman for Terri Schiavo's relatives, and none of them mention McCullough's murderer-flacking history: He was a media consultant to Paul Hill, who was convicted and executed for the murder of a doctor who performed abortions (and is quoted as saying, "Paul Hill is my friend. No, I won't denounce his actions").

-- Mark Finkelstein unearths another insidious example of "liberal media bias" in the woodwork: a sports columnist who was exhibiting "blatant blue state/red state bias" claiming that Detroit is "a real city" because "[y]ou can get the New York Times here", while calling Jacksonville, Fla., a "yahoo town."

-- Lyford Beverage complains that the Washington Post offered an "apparent attempt at humor" on the State of the Union address that is "a mocking, snarky piece, that is ... not close enough to reality to actually be funny." And that differs from NewsBusters' "Gaggle" comic how?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:48 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:50 PM EST
Gays vs. Taxes
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 31 WorldNetDaily article features a same-sex couple who refuse to pay their taxes, claiming discrimination because he is legally prohibited to marry his same-sex partner and therefore unable to claim the tax benefits married couples receive.

Now, WND loves tax protesters. It regularly promotes groups like We the People, group that believes that the federal government lacks any legal jurisdiction to enforce the income tax, that there is no law that requires Americans to pay the tax, and that the tax is enforced in a manner that violates the U.S. Constitution.

But rather than offer links to any of its tax-protest articles at the end of the Jan. 31 article, WND instead offered links only to articles on same-sex marriage, such as a 2004 article purporting to explain how "homosexual activists" are trying to "force same-sex marriage on an unwilling nation."

WND did something similar last year, again ignoring its longtime support of tax protesters by trying to sic the IRS on Cindy Sheehan after she vowed not to pay her income taxes as a protest over the Iraq war.

Apparently, only conservatives are allowed to protest paying taxes -- another WND double standard.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:51 AM EST
NewsMax Democrats
Topic: Newsmax
Beware when NewsMax touts someone's Democratic credentials.

It does just that in a Jan. 30 article by Jerry Zeifman attacking Ted Kennedy. Not only does "Former Democratic Chief Counsel" appear in the headline, the tagline describes him as a "lifelong Democrat," and Zeifman himself isn't even five words into his commentary before he is pointing out that he is "a Democrat and former chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee."

So, who is this purported "lifelong Democrat"? The kind of Democrat the Republicans at NewsMax like -- you know, the kind who's actually a Republican. Zeifman is the author of a book called "Without Honor: Crimes of Camelot and the Impeachment of President Nixon," in which he claims, according to a 1996 Washington Post review, that "Kennedy loyalists" such as Hillary Rodham obstructed the Nixon impeachment to protect the reputation of John Kennedy. The Post called the book "an unconvincing, if imaginative, tale of intrigue." Zeifman's conspiracy theories have also popped in such dens of Democratic thought as the New York Post and Judicial Watch. He wrote a 1996 Clinton-bashing commentary for the Wall Street Journal that begins in familiar fashion: "Sadly, as a life-long Democrat and chief counsel of the House Judiciary Committee..."

In other words, like other NewsMax faves like Tammy Bruce and Zell Miller, a Democrat only NewsMax could love.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EST

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