WND AWOL On Harris Implosion Topic: WorldNetDaily
As it has in most things related to the Duke Cunningham scandal and other Republican scandals -- and in defiance of its claim to be a watchdog of government fraud and corruption -- WorldNetDaily is nowhere to be found as Katherine Harris' Senate campaign implodes.
There's another likely reason for this lack of coverage, too: the first book WND published was written (well, sort of) by Harris.
Back when WND released Harris' book, WND editor Joseph Farah claimed, "This book is certain to be a collector's item for many reasons." Well, not really; it looks like Harris is yet another in the long line of felons and liars whose books WND has published.
More Poll Misrepresentation Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Media Research Center isn't the only ConWeb component misrepresenting polls these days.
A March 7 WorldNetDaily article on a Zogby International poll claiming that "69 percent of Americans believe public school teachers should present both the evidence for and against Darwinian evolution" fails to note that the poll was commissioned by the anti-evolution, pro-"intelligent design" Discovery Institute. This means that Zogby crafted the questions in such a manner as to promote the views of the institute, since it wouldn't be paying Zogby to do a poll that didn't reflect its views.
The WND article also noted a previous WND article claiming that "more than 500 scientists with doctoral degrees have signed a statement expressing skepticism about Darwin's theory of evolution." But neither that article nor the one citing it noted (as we have) that many of those signers have doctorates in disciplines that have nothing to do with supporting or disproving evolution.
NewsBuster vs. NewsBuster Topic: NewsBusters
With a March 6 NewsBusters post highlighting Chris Matthews' comment that Hillary Clinton is Dukakis in a dress," Mark Finkelstein somehow forgets to rehash the NewsBusters mantra that, despite significant evidence to the contrary, Matthews is liberal, liberal, liberal -- a view best summed up by fellow NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, who claimed that Matthews is a "San Francisco liberal" with an "ultra-left, San Francisco Chronicle columnist side."
I'm rooting for a street rumble between Finkelstein and Sheppard outside MRC's offices to settle this one.
KINSOLVING: Did the president watch any of the Academy Awards for prostitution and sodomy last night?
Scott McClellan actually issued an appropriate answer to Kinsolving's line of questioning: "I'm not going to dignify any more with a response."
Which prompted Kinsolving to grumble in his column: "With that, I was cut off from any more questions about what so many millions of Americans had seen the previous evening – whose pro-prostitution and pro-sodomy awards simply must have been known to Scott."
Actually, we're not sure "so many millions of Americans" care about Kinsolving's obsession with gay sex.
New Article: Leading By (Bad) Example, Part 2 Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah's own reporting for WorldNetDaily is sadly emblematic of the dubious journalism standards across the entire site. Read more.
More Dishonest Poll-Bashing Topic: Media Research Center
A March 2 MRC "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham lives up to our prediction that the MRC would continue to dishonestly attack a CBS News poll showing record low job-approval ratings to President Bush.
As the blogosphere quickly discovered from CBS's online report, CBS "weighted" its sample to reflect an ideal cross-section of American adults. They adjusted the number of self-described Republicans up to 28 percent and Democrats down to 37 percent, and independents with the rest. That's hardly the exit-poll breakdown the networks found on Election Day 2004 (37 percent GOP, 37 percent Democrat, 26 percent independent).
Graham fails to tell his readers that the Democrat-Republican ratio of the CBS poll closely mirrors the general population of registered voters, as Republican strategist Rich Galen pointed out in a March 1 column at MRC sister site CNSNews.com. Graham also does not explain why a poll methodology based on registered voters is less valid or accurate than one based on likely voters or one based on the voter ratio of the last major election.
Instead, Graham dishonestly attacks the CBS methodology as "biased" despite the fact that there is a solid, logical methodology behind it.
NewsBusters Busts NewsBusters Topic: NewsBusters
A March 6 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard notes that the new issue of Popular Mechanics "took on virtually all of the media myths and misnomers that were so drilled into the citizenry by press representatives that many have become part of the public psyche." And -- though Sheppard doesn't note it -- NewsBusters itself.
Sheppard quotes the Popular Mechanics article debunking claims made by NewsBusters and other MRC affiliates that topping of a levee is a separate and unrelated event to a levee breach: "Most of the New Orleans floodwall failures occurred when water up to 25 ft. high overtopped the barriers, washing out their foundations."
Waddaya think, guys -- time to give up on this spin point?
'Lying or Ignorant' Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor in chief David Thibault claims in a March 6 commentary that "the president's political and media enemies" are either "lying or ignorant" when they don't follow the official Republican line -- which, as repeated by Thibault, is that overtopping of a levee is a separate and unrelated event from a levee breach.
But given the fact that, as we've noted, overtopping of a levee is often a precursor to a levee breach and the fact that many of the levee breaches in New Orleans were caused by overtopping, it appears to be Thibault who is either "lying or ignorant."
'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 CNSNews.com 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?
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."
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.
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.
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, CNSNews.com, 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
-- "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