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Sunday, March 5, 2006
'Just a Little Nuts'
Topic: Media Research Center
In a March 5 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham claims that to write about threats of violence against abortion doctors "is just a little nuts, considering that Dr. Barnett Slepian was the last abortion doctor to be killed in America, and that was eight years ago." Let's look back at how the MRC reacted to Slepian's murder:

-- It complained about a news report noting that "critics charge rhetoric from the anti-abortion movement is helping to incite this kind of murderous violence."

-- It further complained that "liberal environmentalists" weren't being similarly blamed for a radical group that burned down buildings in Colorado at the same time as Slepian's murder, adding that "while the networks have devoted more than 500 news stories since 1993 to violence and threats against abortion clinics, only a handful of stories have touched on hundreds of cases of organized eco-terrorism in the West."

-- In 2003, Graham complained that when news organizations focus on extremists who support Slepian's murder, "the pro-life movement is being demonized on television by its most unrepresentative elements."

-- MRC news division countered coverage of Slepian's death with a January 2002 article about a "pro-life activist" who claimed to have "collected eight thousand examples over the last decade of abortionists participating in criminal activity, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, even murder."

-- The only mention of Slepian's killer, James Kopp, on CNS is a reproduction of a January 2003 statement by an anti-abortion group distancing itself from Kopp.

So, which is more "nuts"? Noting that abortion doctors have ample reason to live in fear of their lives, or dismissing that fear as silly?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 PM EST
They Like Us!
Topic: The ConWeb
Mercury Rising really likes us.

Thanks -- we appreciate it. We don't get this very often, so we'll take it where we can.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EST
Saturday, March 4, 2006
WND: GOP Corruption Isn't Real News
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) received the longest prison term ever given to a congressman for corruption and bribery "on a scale unparalleled in the history of Congress." So how does WorldNetDaily, self-proclaimed "watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power," play this story?

With an outside link. On page two.

That's right -- massive corruption involving a Republican doesn't even rate WND's front page. But we already knew that.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:38 AM EST
Friday, March 3, 2006
NewsMax Joins Spin Parade
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax buys into today's White House (and MRC) spin on the Katrina levee warnings with a March 3 article that not only makes the spin-laden distinction between "topped" and "breached," it clings to the idea that "a videotape of a key meeting between Bush and hurricane officials supports the president’s contention that the breaching of the levees was unanticipated."

But as Media Matters has noted:

First, Bush himself reportedly raised the question of levee breaches as the hurricane hit on August 29, 2005. ... Second, in the early morning of August 29, just before Katrina hit land, the Department of Homeland Security warned the White House that, based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's July 2004 "Hurricane Pam" planning exercise, Katrina could cause levee breaching as well as overtopping.

The NewsMax article fails to address these claims.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 PM EST
WND Downplays GOP Scandal Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In its continuing effort to downplay Republican-linked scandals, WorldNetDaily serves up the connections of Republican Rep. Katherine Harris -- whose book WND published -- to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff only as a outside link ... then joins that link with a plug for Harris' book.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:23 PM EST
Today's MRC Spin Point
Topic: Media Research Center
A levee being overtopped and a levee being breached are two distinct and unrelated events:

-- "[NBC's] Lisa Myers, however, recognized the meaning of words and how water flowing over a levee, topping it, is not the same thing as a breaching, the collapse of a levee, which is what occurred." -- Brent Baker, NewsBusters, March 3, repeated in an MRC CyberAlert

-- "[Fox News anchor Brit] Hume set up the discussion by referring to the difference between “breaching,” when a levee fails and what Bush said in an interview was not anticipated, and 'topping,' when some water goes over a levee which remains intact, of which the National Hurricane Center's Max Mayfield had raised as a possibility." -- Brent Baker, NewsBusters, March 2, repeated in a March 3 CyberAlert

-- "On the Thursday March 2 Countdown show, Olbermann ran a story by NBC's Lisa Myers, which had already run earlier on the NBC Nightly News, in which Myers played a clip of meteorologist Maxfield warning administration officials that flood waters from Katrina posed a risk of the levees being 'topped,' which Myers accurately distinguished from a 'breach' through further discussion with Mayfield." Brad Wilmouth, NewsBusters, March 2, repeated in a March 3 CyberAlert

-- "There’s no getting around it. Chris Matthews hears what he wants to hear even when the facts are right in front of him. After showing the video of President Bush being briefed by Max Mayfield saying: "I don’t think anybody can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but that’s obviously a very, very grave concern," Matthews took that as evidence that Bush lied when he said no one anticipated the breach of the levees." Geoffrey Dickens, NewsBusters, March 2, repeated in March 3 CyberAlert

-- "Critics of the Bush administration have promoted video of an Aug. 28, 2005, teleconference between emergency management officials and the president as proof that the White House was warned that levees around New Orleans would likely fail against Hurricane Katrina. But a closer examination of the recording and transcript shows no mention that the Crescent City's levees would be breached. ... Further comparison of the video to the transcript by Cybercast News Service indicates that Mayfield's quote, which was not transcribed accurately, came from a discussion of the possibility that water from Katrina's storm surge might flow over the tops of the levees, not that the levees might fail." -- Jeff Johnson,, March 3

In fact, a topped levee is generally a precursor to that levee being breached:

-- "The likely locations and impact of levee overtopping must be addressed. This is a particularly difficult task, because the hydraulics problem created by levee overtopping is a multi-dimensional, unsteady flow problem. Further, when a levee is overtopped, it may breach, so complete analysis also includes the components of a dam-failure analysis." -- Army Corps of Engineers

-- "Moving forward, the storm surge may overtop and undermine the levees built to contain the water in the outlet canals." -- Suburban Emergency Management Project

-- "According to preliminary information from NSF, ASCE, and LSU, most of the levees and floodwall breaches on the east side of New Orleans were caused by overtopping, as the storm surge rose over the tops of the levees and/or their floodwalls and produced erosion that subsequently led to breaches." -- House Select Committee on Katrina

P.S.: Media Matters has more on why this spin is bogus.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EST
New Article: The Clinton Equivocation
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax has mastered the art of deflecting bad news about the Bush administration and conservatives by claiming that the Clintons did it first and worse. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:57 AM EST
Cashill Joins WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily
So Jack Cashill will be writing a weekly column for WorldNetDaily. He might want to use one of those columns to explain why he wrote a seven-part series for WND portraying admitted abortion-doctor killer James Kopp as an innocent man.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:55 AM EST
Thursday, March 2, 2006
Lust-Filled Women!
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In case you thought we were making up WND's sex-obsessed promo:

Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 PM EST
Press Release Journalism
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 2 WorldNetDaily article demonstrates once again WND's Achilles' heel: depending on press releases for news and lacking initiative to flesh out what the press release doesn't say (as WND has amply demonstrated with its "war on Christmas" coverage).

The WND article describes the arrest of an American, Peter Waldron, in Uganda. The article states that "family and friends" of Waldron call the charges against Waldron "trumped-up," but 1) nobody in the article is quoted as actually saying that, and 2) the only person quoted in the article is Waldron friend Dave Racer, whom WND admits "issued a press release on the arrest." That release, excerpted on Racer's website, is apparently where the "trumped-up" quote comes from. Thus, it appears that the article tells only what Racer wants told about Waldron.

For the rest of the story, we must go to blogger Robert Bartholomew, who points out that Waldron's theology "draws explicitly on Rousas Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism." Rushdoony's brand of conservatism mirrors the views of WND editor Joseph Farah, as we've noted.

We have no knowledge of or opinion about the validity of the charges against Waldron. We do know that while WND's reporting on the issue (if you call rewriting a press release "reporting") has been outclassed by a blogger with fewer resources.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 2, 2006 4:25 PM EST
Indignant Editing
Topic: Newsmax
In his March 2 review of David Horowitz's professor-bashing book, NewsMax's Phil Brennan selectively quotes a Time magazine article that called Horowitz "a clear and ruthless thinker. What he says has an indignant sanity about it."

Brennan leaves out the first part of the quote, which reads: "Horowitz is angry and polemical."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 PM EST
Sex Rampage!
Topic: WorldNetDaily
On today's WorldNetDaily front page, the headline teaser for its Whistleblower magazine edition on teacher-student sex:

"Lust-filled women on sex rampage with your kids."

UPDATE: Screen shot is right here.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 2, 2006 9:52 PM EST
NewsBusters Dishonestly Attacks Poll
Topic: NewsBusters
Two Feb. 28 NewsBusters posts referencing a CBS News poll showing record-low approval ratings for President Bush, by Brent Baker and Rich Noyes (Baker's post was repeated as a CyberAlert item), both make a big deal of how the poll, in Noyes' words, "sampled a much higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans" and implied that this was yet another example of liberal bias. Did it ever occur to Baker and Noyes why CBS would have a reason for doing a poll with that particular sampling other than its purported political bias?

Apparently not. The answer to why CBS did the poll the way they did comes to us from another MRC division,, which published a March 1 column by Republican strategist Rich Galen that noted the following:

CBS had a sample of 1,018 respondents which they weighted to reflect 28 percent Republicans; 37% Democrats; and 34% Independents. Not likely voters, but adults in the American population.

In the general population, those who claim to be Democrats outweigh those who claim to be Republicans by 7 to 9 percentage points.

In other words, a poll that sampled an equal number of Republicans and Democrats would not be an accurate reflection of the general population. Any chance Baker and Noyes will impart that information to its readers? Don't count on it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EST
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
The New Meme
Topic: NewsBusters
A March 1 NewsBusters post by Rich Noyes (which we somehow suspect will end up in tomorrow's CyberAlert) firms up the current dishonest MRC meme -- that the "liberal media" is responsible for speculation about civil war in Iraq.

Somehow, Noyes neglects to mention the fact that Fox News has done its share of civil war speculation -- even suggesting that it would be "a good thing" -- and MRC division ran a Feb. 28 commentary by Daniel Pipes appearing to root for one.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:29 PM EST
NewsMax Headline Bias Alert
Topic: Newsmax
An Associated Press article posted March 1 at NewsMax (but curiously carrying a March 2 date) boasts the headline "Senate Weakens USA Patriot Act." But the word "weaken" does not appear anywhere in the article. In fact, the article states that the law's revisions add "new protections for people targeted by government investigations." Additionally, the article notes that critics of the revised law "insisted the new protections were cosmetic."

How is NewsMax pulling "weaken" out of that?

Posted by Terry K. at 7:40 PM EST

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