NewsBusters: Positive Review of Play = Endorsement of Views Contained Therein Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 26 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham insinuates without evidence that The Washington Post gave a positive review of a play, Tony Kushner's "A Bright Room Called Day," solely for its subject matter -- its comparison of Reagan's America with Hitler's Germany.
The headline of Graham's post reads, "Reagan = Hitler? The Washington Post Likes That Play," and he starts out by writing, "Ronald Reagan may now be remembered as one of America's greatest presidents, but the Washington Post is still willing to consider him comparable to mass-murdering dictators." Of course, the Post isn't making that comparison; the play is. Graham offers no evidence that the Post's management endorses the views in the play or even that the reviewer's positive review constitutes an endorsement of the views contained therein.
To recall a counterexample: NewsBusters writers and posters have dehumanized journalists and whitewashed terrorist acts. By Graham's example, should we therefore assume that the Media Research Center as a whole endorses those views as well?
WND Uses Misleading Comparison to Plug Book Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 26 WorldNetDaily article claiming that David Kupelian's book "The Marketing of Evil" claims, using an anonymous Virginia Tech librarian as a basis, that the book is in relatively few college libraries because liberal librarians discriminate against "conservative, traditional-values-oriented books." To illustrate the alleged discrimination, the article notes that there are 3,542 copies of Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Nickel and Dimed" in libraries nationwide, while "The Marketing of Evil" appears in only 188.
But the article fails to inform readers that "Nickel and Dimed" was released in 2001 and has sold more than 1 million copies. "The Marketing of Evil," meanwhile, was released in the fall of 2005, and WND, the publisher, has not disclosed how many copies of the book have been sold. We suspect it's a lot less than 1 million. Additionally, Ehrenreich's book has appeared on the New York Times' best-seller list, a feat "The Marketing of Evil" has yet to achieve despite WND's repeated claims that the book is a "bestseller."
Note to WND: Unless you're willing to divulge how many copies Kupelian's book has sold, you might want to withdraw this misleading and unfair claim.
AIM Falsely Attacks Post Reporter Topic: Accuracy in Media
An April 25 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid and a related AIM press release claim that Washington Post reporter Dana Priest's article revealing the existence of secret CIA detention facilities overseas, for which Priest won a Pulitzer Prize, is "false" and that Priest should resign and give back her Pulitzer. But Kincaid's evidence for making that claim is far from definitive on the subject.
Kincaid's claimed evidence is a report by the Council of Europe, which, he wrote, "after a major investigation, declared that 'At this stage of the investigations, there is no formal, irrefutable evidence of the existence of secret CIA detention centers' in Europe." Gijs de Vries, the counterterrorism chief of the European Union, has said that he had not been able to prove that secret CIA prisons "does not appear to be proven beyond reasonable doubt." But as the International Herald Tribune reported, that conclusion has been criticized:
But Mr. de Vries came under criticism from some legislators who called the hearing a whitewash. "The circumstantial evidence is stunning," said Kathalijne Buitenweg, a Dutch member of Parliament from the Green Party, even if there is no smoking gun.
"I'm appalled that we keep calling to uphold human rights while pretending that these rendition centers don't exist and doing nothing about it," she said.
A number of legislators challenged Mr. de Vries for not taking seriously earlier testimony before the committee by a German and a Canadian who gave accounts of being kidnapped and kept imprisoned by foreign agents.
The committee also heard today from a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who said, "I can attest to the willingness of the U.S. and the U.K. to obtain intelligence that was got under torture in Uzbekistan.
"If they were not willing, then rendition prisons could not have existed," he added.
(Daily Kos notes some editing done by the New York Times, owner of the IHT, to this story.)
Kincaid also did not report another claim made in the report that director of central intelligence Porter Goss "did not deny the existence of CIA secret prisons in various parts of the world where people suspected of terrorism were held."
What we seem to have here is something that nobody is explicitly admitting to -- but nobody is denying either. All of the statements Kincaid quotes are qualified -- "no formal, irrefutable evidence," "not ... proven beyond reasonable doubt" -- which indicates that there is indeed evidence to support the claim of secret prisons.
In other words, despite what Kincaid says, Priest's article hasn't been proven false.
Lack of Disclosure Watch Topic: Horowitz
In an April 24 FrontPageMag column by the Alliance Defense Fund's David French on the Scott Savage book-recommendation case, French fails to disclose that the ADF is representing Savage in this case and that he himself is, in fact, the lead attorney for Savage.
In other words, French has a highly vested interest in publicizing this case and attacking the Ohio college that Savage works for. Isn't this lack of disclosure at least mildly unethical behavior for an attorney?
CNS Whacks Bush (Really!) Topic: CNSNews.com
We've previously noted that CNSNews.com generally assumes that Democratic politicians are motivated only by politics and personal ambition, a assumption it doesn't make about Republicans.
Two years ago, President Bush refused to "play politics" with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but he's apparently changed his mind.
In response to a public outcry over rising gasoline prices, President Bush on Tuesday said he has directed the Energy Department to suspend deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve through the summer -- to boost oil supply over the short term.
Wow. What MRC bigwig doesn't like this policy to the point of using an MRC website to dis their president like this?
WND Peddles Convicted Felon's Tales Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Art Moore once again does the bidding of Clinton-hater and convicted felon Peter Paul in an April 25 article that, as Moore has done before, repeats Paul's accusations without fact-checking them and whitewashes Paul's criminal record.
The only people Moore talked to for this article are Paul and his attorney from the United States Justice Foundation (failing to disclose that WND is a USJF client). Once again, Paul blames the Clintons for his legal problems; Moore writes that Paul "insists he would not be in the legal predicament he faces if not for Clinton reneging on the deal."
Paul sounds like a guy who refuses to take responsibility for his own behavior, even after he has pleaded guilty to defrauding investors. Yet, that's not how Moore describes Paul's felony record:
He has pleaded guilty to a 10(b)5 violation of the Securities and Exchange Commission for not publicly disclosing control of Merrill Lynch margin accounts that held Stan Lee Media stocks.
Moore's legal gobbledygook makes the crime sound less severe than it is. Here's how Paul's prosecutors described Paul's crime:
PAUL admitted orchestrating a scheme in which he and others manipulated Stan Lee Media stock, trading it through numerous nominee accounts that hid from the investing public PAUL's ownership and control of large volumes of stock that were being traded. PAUL also admitted that to further the scheme, he sought to inflate and stabilize the price of the stock by instructing market makers in Stan Lee Media stock to execute trades that created a false appearance of constant demand and that concealed from the investing public the fact that PAUL had arranged for large blocks of stock to be sold at substantial discounts in after-hours trading. Finally, PAUL admitted that he had secretly borrowed millions of dollars on margin using as collateral the stock that he had traded through the nominee accounts; in this way PAUL concealed from the investing public that he was effectively liquidating a substantial part of his stock holdings in Stan Lee Media.
Moore also claims that Paul "already has served 43 months in prison in Brazil." That's false for two reasons: 1) Paul was in jail in Brazil -- where he fled after Stan Lee Media started collapsing -- from March 2001 to September 2003, which is 31 months; and 2) he spent that long in a Brazilian jail because he was fighting extradition to the U.S.
Has Paul so bamboozled Moore that the WND reporter can't do his own fact-checking? Or are they both so in sync with their Clinton-hating that the facts simply don't matter?
To Put It Another Way... Topic: WorldNetDaily
Is there coordination occurring between WorldNetDaily and the Alliance Defense Fund to promote the Scott Savage story?
After all, we know that WND regularly runs ADF press releases as "news" nearly verbatim and without confirming their contents by getting information from the ADF's targets. Additionally, last year WND gave ADF's Alan Sears a column that coindicidentally promoted his new book (a column that stopped running around the time ADF's ad contract with WND promoting said book expired).
We've also not seen the other three books that Savage recommended in this case publicly discussed to the extent of David Kupelian's "The Marketing of Evil."
Given Kupelian's admitted numerous contacts with Savage and the ADF, it's certainly logical to believe that WND and ADF would try to promote the Savage case, and that they would do so in a way that's mutually beneficial for both.
Even More Non-Disclosure Topic: WorldNetDaily
In an interview with Human Events regarding the controversy over his book "The Marketing of Evil" and three other right-wing books on an Ohio college campus, David Kupelian "said he talked with Scott Savage [the reference librarian whose recommendation of the books started the controversy] and his attorney David French of the Alliance Defense Fund several times."
Given the fact that Kupelian also serves as managing editor of WND, doesn't this pose a serious conflict of interest with WND's coverage of this issue? Given the additional fact that WND's coverage has indeed been unbalanced to the point that it has relied almost exclusively on ADF-supplied materials for its coverage and made no apparent attempt to contact anyone at the university for its articles, the answer appears to be yes. These contacts were never disclosed to readers; additionally, WND's articles on the case have been unbylined, which raises the question of just who wrote them -- and whether Kupelian himself had a hand.
As we documented just today, WND has a long history of not disclosing its business and personal interests in the people and organizations it covers.
The Human Events article further quotes Kupelian responding to a claim that his book lacks "scholarly merit," saying that the term is "just code language for 'we can't find anything factually wrong in it, but we still don't like it.'" In fact, one criticism was made that Kupelian's description of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey as a "full-fledged sexual psychopath who encouraged pedophilia" is a "factually untrue characterization of Dr. Kinsey and his work." As we've noted, Kupelian's apparent source for that claim is Kinsey-basher Judith Reisman, whose research is suspect. Kupelian has yet to address this criticism.
The Marketing of Gay-Bashing Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily continues its attack on critics of David Kupelian's book "The Marketing of Evil" -- and that essentially is what's driving WND at this point despite its ostensible news hook of criticism of a reference librarian at Ohio State University-Mansfield criticized by faculty members for recommending Kupelian's book and three other right-wing tomes for a student reading list -- with an unbylined April 24 article bashing the school's "diversity seminar" as "homosexual indoctrination."
The only evidence WND supplies to support its claim is an anonymous "current freshman" at the school, "whose name is being withheld for privacy reasons," who claims that in the seminar, "the homosexual lifestyle is celebrated, and the students are put on a 'guilt trip' for having negative feelings and/or moral judgments about the behavior of these people." Nobody from the university was contacted for the article (more of WND's "highest editorial standards and practices" in action).
NewsBusters Falsely Bashes Pink Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 23 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard falsely attacks singer Pink over her protest song "Dear Mr. President," claiming that "Pink attacks, amongst other things, 'No Child Left Behind.'" In fact, Pink does not criticize the program; according to the lyrics Sheppard attached, Pink uses a reference to "No Child Left Behind" to criticize Bush's attitude toward the nation's youth:
How can you say No child is left behind We're not dumb and we're not blind They're all sitting in your cells While you pave the road to hell
Note to Sheppard: It's a protest song, not a white paper.
New Article: So Much to Disclose, Too Dishonest to Do It Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily violates journalistic ethics by regularly refusing to disclose its personal and business links to the people and organizations it covers. Read more.
A Record Obsession Topic: Media Research Center
With the current jump in oil and gas prices, the Media Research Center has renewed its insistence that the prices are not records:
-- An April 20 CyberAlert item by Brent Baker claimed that "the broadcast networks have been falsely trumpeting nominal oil prices as a 'record high.'"
-- An April 22 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker claimed that "Friday night the three broadcast network evening newscasts again hyperventilated over the 'record' high price for a barrel of oil, though adjusted for inflation, the only competent way to measure any price over time, current $75 per barrel oil is $12 short of the real record high set in January of 1981."
As we've previously noted, the MRC has not been similarly interested in correcting those conservatives who called a Democrat-sponsored 1993 increase the largest in history when, adjusted for inflation, a Reagan-era tax increase was the largest.
Joseph Farah, Victim Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his April 22 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah claims that "they're after me, again." In this case, "they" are People for the American Way, which Farah calls "the group that wins the award for having the most deceptive name" and "Norman Lear's brown shirts," and Media Matters, whom Farah calls "David Brock's leather-clad storm troopers." Both groups, Farah says, are "monitoring my dangerous writings."
In fact, both PFAW and Media Matters are merely accurately quoting what he said, so it's unclear exactly what the problem is.
(Full disclosure: I work for Media Matters and I co-wrote the article in question. Additionally, not only do I own no leather clothing, I believe I can safely say without violating work disclosure rules that possession of leather clothing is not a condition of employment at Media Matters.)
Godwin's Law notwithstanding, let's examine Farah's claim regarding Media Matters. Farah complains that "Media Matters goes on ad nauseum about my assertion, 'without any evidence,' that there are 20 million to 30 million illegal aliens in this country rather than the official number of 12 million."
1) In fact, only one paragraph of the item is devoted to rebutting this claim. More space is devoted to documenting Farah's claim that the "one-worlders" of the Council on Foreign Relations have a plan to merge the United States, Mexico, and Canada by 2010 and suggested that President Bush's proposed guest worker program is part of this plan.
2) Farah contradicts himself by first claiming that he has provided evidence of his claim "countless times in writing at WND" -- though he doesn't link to any of those claims -- then following it with the statement, "I'm guessing, too":
Heck, nobody asked me for any evidence, which I have provided countless times in writing at WND. Rep. Tom Tancredo, chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, agrees with my numbers. To my knowledge, it's the government that hasn't provided any evidence to support its official numbers. If someone can tell me how the government "counts" so-called "undocumented immigrants," I'd really like to know. Given the fact that these people are, by definition, "undocumented," I assume the government is guessing.
I'm guessing, too. But, while I have no vested interest in guessing high, the government most definitely has a vested interest in guessing low. So take your pick. Either way, it's far too many.
3) Actually, Farah does have a "vested interest in guessing high"; his outlier claim brings attention to him and WND. And in claiming that Tancredo "agrees with my numbers," Farah fails to disclose another vested interest: WND is publishing Tancredo's new book.
If Farah thinks that accurately quoting him is the same thing as being out to "get" him, well, whatever. But then, where would Farah be if he couldn't play the victim when it suits him?
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann highlighted a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll which shows President Bush's approval rating "plummeting even further" and, as the Countdown host observed, "for the first time in the Bush presidency," the President's approval rating among Republicans has fallen below 70 percent. This straight citing of Fox News contrasts with Olbermann's regular attacks on FNC with nearly every mention of the network on his show.
Meanwhile, we're wondering why the MRC hasn't torn apart this Fox News poll the way it did a CBS poll in March that showed a similar low rating for Bush? Does the MRC believe that since Fox News has come up with the same number, it must be true?
Wilmouth also repeats Brent Baker's silly claim that Olbermann "mocked" non-journalist Tony Snow's "journalistic integrity."
WND Still AWOL on Harris Implosion Topic: WorldNetDaily
Last month, we noted that WorldNetDaily had basically ignored news of Katherine Harris' swiftly imploding Senate campaign (though it did serve up an outside link to the story at one point). That record remains unchanged: Even with the exposure of the astronomical cost of a dinner Harris had with a scandal-plagued defense contractor (and the relatively miniscule donation to a fundamentalist Christian ministry Harris made to make up for it), WND has yet to do an original news article on Harris' problems.