Weyrich Whoppers Topic: Free Congress Foundation
A March 10 column by the Free Congress Foundation's Paul Weyrich (reprinted at Accuracy in Media), which waxes rhapsodic about the Republican Study Committee and its budget-slashing "alternative" federal budget proposal, makes a few dubious claims that Weyrich himself counters.
Weyrich claims that "this budget is not designed to mollify special interests." That's false; given that Weyrich's own description of what the budget does -- "[l]iberal favorites, such as Title X Family Planning and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, would be eliminated" as would "subsidies for certain Indian tribes to the Legal Services Corporation," while it would also "leave intact the Bush Administration pro-growth tax policy" -- it sounds like a lot of conservative special interests are being mollified here.
Weyrich also adds that "the Departments of Commerce, Energy and Education are so restructured that the case could be made that under this budget those agencies would be, for practical purposes, abolished." Another conservative special interest being served.
Another false claim is in Weyrich's headline, "A Realistic Budget From A Realistic Steering Committee." Well, read Weyrich's history of the RSC, with which he kicks off his column, hints at something different. As Weyrich, one of its creators, tells it, the RSC was created as a "counterpart" to the Democratic Study Group, which he called a "caucus of Democratic liberals which continually pulled their party to the left." So, by definition, the RSC is designed to pull Republicans to the right. This self-defined extremism is "responsible"?
Baby Steps Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily seems to be finally, grudgingly acknowledging that its beloved politician and business partner Katherine Harris might be in a spot of trouble.
Buried in the lower half of WND's front page today is a link to a non-WND article on the "major announcement" regarding her Senate campaign planned this week. The subhead reads: "Reports of illegal contributions dog Senate candidacy." This, in WND fashion, is paired with a headline reading "Katherine Harris exposed." This implies a link with Harris' current scandal, but in fact it's another plug for Harris' ghost-written, WND-published account of her role in the 2000 presidential election.
Not the hesitation toward scandal you'd expect to see a news organization that claims to be a watchdog of government fraud and corruption, eh? But in WND's case, this is all too typical.
NewsBusters Hides Facts in Teacher-Bashing Topic: NewsBusters
A March 11 NewsBusters article by Tom Blumer rants against the fact that Colorado high school teacher Jay Bennish was reinstated to his job after a suspension following a student recorded part of a class lecture in which Bennish compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler. Blumer wrote:
The message to indoctrinating teachers is, "Indoctrinate to your heart's content. When you get caught, you'll get a slap on the wrist (you might even become famous), and then you'll have to 'be good' for a few years. After a while, you can resume your regular habits of indoctrination. Rinse and repeat as necessary until retirement."
The message to taxpayers and parents who expect their kids to be taught the classroom subject matter instead of having them subjected to political rants: "Up yours. You can't touch us."
Blumer quotes an article (he doesn't say where it came from; it's from the Denver Post) that he attacks as "hopelessly slanted -- The lecture was objectively biased; plus, the primary issue here is teaching the subject matter, and secondarily the political indoctrination Jay Bennish engaged in while not doing his job."
In other words (following in the spirit of Blumer's purported interpolation of intent), Blumer doesn't want points of view that he doesn't like to be expressed anywhere, especially in a classroom, even for the purpose of provoking a discussion.
But Blumer selectively quotes from the article, failing to note that the article points out that even the student who recorded Bennish's lecture and then released it to a conservative radio show, Sean Allen, didn't want Bennish fired and later said that he was "confident that the decision ... has been investigated for all sides and is the right decision."
Blumer also fails to note that in the lecture, Bennish took questions from the class and said at the end of it: "And I'm not in any way implying that you should agree with me. ... And I'm glad you asked all your questions, because they're very good, legitimate questions. And hopefully that allows other people to begin to think about some of those things, too."
Permitting questions? Encouraging students to think? That's a pretty sucky way to indoctrinate.
WND Obscures Evidence Against Dobson Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 10 WorldNetDaily article by Alyssa Farah reported on how Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is "striking back hard" against allegations that he is linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But by citing only a New York Times ad by the Campaign to Defend the Constitution -- which she is quick to dismiss as "a left-wing special-interest group" with ties to "the national Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a former ACLU director and the former president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League" -- Farah ignores other evidence of Abramoff's links to Dobson.
As Media Matters has noted, articles in The Washington Post and World Magazine (a conservative Christian weekly) also raise questions about Dobson's connection with Abramoff, mainly through Ralph Reed, a conservative Christian activist who was working for Abramoff. Additionally, Media Matters links to e-mails that lay out a Focus on the Family connection to Reed and Abramoff.
Alyssa Farah, by the way, is Joseph Farah's daughter. Unfortunately, she seems to be following in her father's shoddy-reporting footsteps.
UPDATE: We've noted Alyssa's dubious reporting before. Like father, like daughter: Think about it, won't you?
'Respected Jurist' Topic: Newsmax
A March 9 NewsMax article repeated criticisms of the Supreme Court issued by Alabama Supreme Court justice Tom Parker. The article describes Parker as a "respected jurist."
That claim is immediately undercut when NewsMax further describes Parker as an "ally" of Roy Moore, who was thrown off the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to obey a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that barred the state from displaying the Ten Commandments in the state courthouse rotunda. That immediately tells you about Parker's views on following the rule of law.
But there's more that NewsMax hasn't told you. As the Southern Poverty Law Center informs us, Parker hangs out with some less-than-respected types, like officials with neo-Confederate groups the League of the South and the Council of Conservative Citizens. The SPLC also notes that Parker is also on record as hobnobbing with a couple obsessed with Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
NewsMax really ought to be interested in that little tidbit, given its longtime obsession with Robert Byrd's long-ago KKK association.
New Article: When the Spin Levee Breaks Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center wants you to believe that levee topping and levee breaches are separate, unrelated events. The MRC is wrong. Read more.
WND Makes Bogus Kaloogian Claim Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 6 WorldNetDaily article by James L. Lambert (last seen here making dubious claims about child pornography) claims that Howard Kaloogian is "the front-runner for the San Diego-area congressional seat held by Republican Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, who was sentenced last week to eight years in prison on corruption charges." We have found no evidence to support Lambert's claim.
We were not able to find any poll numbers on that race, unsuprising since the final candidate list was finalized only on Feb. 28. But MyDD reported in January that internal polling for Democrat Francine Busby reported that "In head-to-head match ups, Busby leads all six potential Republican candidates by up to 14%." That presumably includes Kaloogian, who had declared his candidacy months earlier.
Phil Brennan, Conservative Lackey Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax's Phil Brennan does a fine job of spouting conservative talking points in his March 8 column, repeating not only the bogus spin point that there's "a very big difference" between a topped levee and a breached levee -- ignoring the fact that topped levees tend to become breached ones -- but also the MRC's dishonest attack on the CBS poll showing record-low approval ratings for President Bush, which fails to disclose the fact that the Democrat-heavy methodology being attacked accurately reflects the composition of the pool of registered voters.
The irony, of course, is that as Brennan peddles these tropes, he spends the rest of the column whining that President Bush is the victim of "the media's big-lie operation."
AIM Hangs With Sam Francis Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a March 8 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid attacks David Frum for criticizing Robert Novak. In an aside, Kincaid added:
Another Frum target, columnist Sam Francis, who has since passed away, commented, "It would be nice if Mr. Frum, himself an immigrant from Canada, could decide which country is his own before he accuses others of hating theirs."
Francis has a documented history of expressing views that might best be described as white supremacism. And the site from which Kincaid links Francis' comment describes itself as "white nationalist."
Is Francis really the kind of person you want to be on record as sympathizing with, Cliff?
A Letter to WorldNetDaily Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've done it here before, but now we're taking it to the source: We've written WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah requesting full disclosure and transparency regarding the Clark Jones libel lawsuit. Read more.
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.