TimesWatch Doesn't Hesitate to Make Dubious Claim Topic: Media Research Center
A May 1 TimesWatch post by Clay Waters, in once again attacking the New York Times for failing to apply the term "liberal" to Hillary Clinton, states: "After all, the paper never hesitates to call conservative senators like Rick Santorum or Sam Brownback or John Cornyn 'conservative.'" But Waters' own statistics in his recent "study" of the Times' coverage of Clinton (you know, the dubious and flawed one) show that to be false.
According to Waters in his Times-Hillary study, the "conservative" label was applied to Santorum in just seven of 95 articles; for Brownback, it was six of 82 articles. Waters does not provide statistics for Cornyn.
In other words, the Times hesitates a lot -- unlike Waters in making this dubious claim.
The Evil of Marketing, Outsourced Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily finally produces its first bylined article on the Ohio university controversy over WND managing editor David Kupelian's book "The Marketing of Evil" -- but it's not by a WND employee.
The May 2 article, which also looks at a previous allegation made against the university librarian at the center of the controversy, is written by Walter Skold, described as "a librarian and independent journalist living in Freeport, Maine." He has written other articles for WND (for instance, here and here), all with a library angle.
Despite being an outsider, Skold does adhere some of WND's "highest editorial standards and practices" by not interviewing anyone from the Ohio school for his article -- a lack of initiative consistent with the rest of WND's coverage of this story.
CNS Doesn't Give A Hoot Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 1 CNSNews.com article by Marc Morano attacks the upcoming movie "Hoot" as, in the words of one person he quoted, "soft core eco-terrorism" for kids. Among the offending scenes, according to Morano, include "environmentally conscious teenage characters vandalizing heavy machinery by stealing parts off of them and flattening tires in order to hinder a development project." Morano makes sure to identify the parties responsible for this travesty: the director (Wil Shriner), author (Carl Hiaasen) and co-producer (Jimmy Buffett, misspelled throughout as "Buffet").
But strangely, despite all the other details he provides on Shriner and Hiaasen, Morano doesn't go into detail on one guilty party, co-producer Walden Media. And this was one party Morano could have really nailed. After all, Walden Media was created to produce family-friendly entertainment, which it most recently did in spades with the conservative-friendly film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe." It's bankrolled by conservative-leaning billionaire Philip Anschutz, who has his fingers in many things, including newspapers. Where's that Anschutz-bashing for straying from the conservative orthodoxy?
It's not as if the folks at the MRC aren't aware of the connection. After all, Tim Graham wrote about it in a NewsBusters post last October.
UPDATE: NewsBusters' Geoffrey Dickens, in a May 1 post, pounds on "Hoot" as an "Eco-Terrorism Movie For Kids," but he fails to mention the Anschutz connection.
WND Resumes Leftist Attack on Olmert Topic: WorldNetDaily
Two May 1 WorldNetDaily articles by Aaron Klein resume his attack from the left on Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and his disengagement plan. The first article digs up a "former Gaza commander and left-wing activist" to bash Olmert and disengagement. The second article resumes Klein's claim that Olmert and his Kadima party are controlled by a cabal of businessmen that run Israel's economy.
That second article includes an anonymous person saying about the billionaire businessmen: "There is so much money being moved and business going on I suppose you do have to question whether it's just their politics or are they gaining financially from what happens in Israel?" Just remember what Klein's boss, Joseph Farah, said about anonymous sources: They're "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."
Pro-Limbaugh Spin Update Topic: Newsmax
-- Somebody buy NewsMax a thesaurus! The headline of a May 1 article blares, "Newsweek: Rush Limbaugh 'Arrest' Reports Were Bogus." But as the article itself states, Newsweek actually claimed that "the word 'arrest' was misleading." Uh, NewsMax: "Bogus" and "misleading" aren't synonymous.
Of course, the claim that "the word 'arrest' was misleading" is itself a bit misleading because Limbaugh was, in fact, under arrest during his booking and plea.
-- Clay Waters, in a May 1 TimesWatch item, is eager to defend Limbaugh against charges that he's a "hypocrite" for previously suggesting that drug abusers should be jailed. Waters' exculpatory evidence: Limbaugh said it in 1995, which "suggests that perhaps Limbaugh didn't 'regularly' say much about drug users," and that "Limbaugh is talking not about addiction to legal painkillers, but illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin."
-- In a May 1 NewsBusters post, Brian Boyd complained that ABC's "Good Morning America" reported on it "even though there's nothing new to say."
AIM Rehabilitates Scheuer Topic: Accuracy in Media
A May 1 Accuracy in Media article by Cliff Kincaid takes another stab at dubiously asserting that Dana Priest's Washington Post articles about the CIA's secret prisons are "essentially false." This time, Kincaid serves up criticism of the Post articles by former CIA officer Michael Scheuer, who wrote a December 2005 Washington Times column on the issue, as evidence that the stories "damaged our anti-terrorism efforts."
But Scheuer has previously been attacked as not being credible -- by Kincaid himself. In a Dec. 3, 2004, column, Kincaid wrote that Scheuer "made claims that were ludicrous on their face" and "turn[ed]in a rather unimpressive performance" in a "60 Minutes" appearance, though he added that some of Scheuer's claims "echoed our criticism of the agency."
Further, a Dec. 14, 2004, list of AIM's top "underreported/buried stories for 2004" included "[t]he questionable background and qualifications of Michael Scheuer, the former CIA analyst who gave interviews as "anonymous" and criticized the war in Iraq and the war on Islamic terrorism."
And a August 2005 "AIM Report" approvingly quotes Rep. Curt Weldon claiming as a purported example of the CIA's "arrogance" that "[l]ast year, during the presidential election, one of the agents got the approval to write a book to embarrass George Bush during the middle of a campaign" -- a reference to Scheuer's book "Imperial Hubris," originally published anonymously.
Interesting how AIM has transformed yesterday's arrogant, questionable Scheuer to a suddenly authoritative source.
CNS' Resident Xenophobe Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 28 CNSNews.com column by Ralph Hostetter serves up the more xenophobic side of the immigrant debate. He called illegal immigration a "cancer" and a "tumor," and things pretty much went from there:
-- Hostetter referred to phrases like "Immigration is good for America," "America was built by immigrants" as "pabulum phrases."
-- He claimed that the "nation" of illegal immigrants "has an 'army' (the real tumor), complete with flag and provocative posters that proclaim: 'This is our country; we're taking it back.'" This is presumably a reference to the alleged "reconquista" movement hyped by conservatives (not to mention white supemacists and neo-Nazis).
-- He claimed that the planned May 1 immigration rallies will be "more massive than anything this country has ever witnessed." And not only that, they're all a bunch of commies: "May 1, not so coincidentally, since 1889 happens to be Communism's Labor Day. Celebrations in Communist countries around the world will no doubt be played up as support for illegal immigrant demonstrators in the United States."
-- Hostetter lectured unnamed people who state, "Only Communists build walls," claiming that it "reveals nothing more than the ignorance of the person who makes the statement" because "[t]he Berlin Wall was built to keep people in" while "[a] wall on the Mexican border would keep unwanted illegal immigrants out." Despite that, he engaged in his own bad metaphor, claiming that the rallies may "erupt into violence. No one is checking backpacks. Does anyone recall the backpack explosion at the Olympics in Atlanta? Crowds are al Qaeda's favorite target." Of course, al Qaeda did not set off the Atlanta bomb; that crime was committed by anti-abortion extremist Eric Rudolph.
(Hostetter has a habit of linking al Qaeda to immigration.)
-- Hostetter claimed that "[t]he decent image of America may be tarnished for all time" by the rallies. More so than torturing prisoners or spying on Americans without court warrants?
And the Spin Continues Topic: Newsmax
A May 1 NewsMax column by James Hirsen called the prosecutor who pursued Rush Limbaugh on doctor-shopping charges "a Ronnie Earle wannabe prosecutor" and claimed that he engaged in "a politically motivated investigation" without offering evidence to support it. Hirsen also called Limbaugh's $30,000 fine "a small fine." For Limbaugh and Hirsen, perhaps...
Pro-Limbaugh Spin Update Topic: Newsmax
-- An April 29 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker claimed that ABC didn't back up its claim that Rush Limbaugh was "a hypocrite for previously condemning drug users" because it "didn't offer any evidence Limbaugh has ever denounced those hooked on prescription pain medication." While ABC did play a clip of Limbaugh saying, ""The people who are caught doing this stuff ought to be sent away. They ought to be punished," Baker parsed it away:
What, however, was the “stuff” to which Limbaugh referred? Kofman did not specify in delivering his broadside, but if Limbaugh was condemning users of illegal hallucinogenic substances, such as cocaine or heroin, that's quite a bit different than obtaining an excessive level of legal drugs to control pain.
Baker similarly whacked The New York Times for "an uncorroborated broadside which didn't differentiate between illegal mind-altering drugs and legal, prescription-controlled pain relievers."
-- An April 29 NewsMax article promotes Limbaugh's $250,000 donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while mentioning nothing about his plea deal.
The Pro-Limbaugh Echo Chamber Topic: Newsmax
This is rich: NewsMax -- whose first and, for much of the 24 hours following its announcement, only coverage of the Rush Limbaugh doctor-shopping plea consisted of reprinting the press release from Limbaugh's lawyer -- is complaining about media bias in coverage of the plea deal.
This is even richer: NewsMax's evidence of this, as told in an April 30 article, is a rehash of Tim Graham's NewsBusters post -- which, as we've noted, is peddling its own pro-Limbaugh spin.
NewsMax has also added an Associated Press article on the plea to its site. It stands out by virtue of telling both sides of the story -- something no original NewsMax article on the case has yet to achieve.
NewsBusters Pushes Limbaugh Spin, Part 2 Topic: NewsBusters
An April 29 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham continues the MRC's pro-Limbaugh spin by bashing the Washington Post for saying in teaser copy that Rush Limbaugh was "arrested" -- which, as we've noted, is an accurate description of what happened. Graham emphasizes that Limbaugh's plea deal contains "no admission of guilt" while not noting that Limbaugh is paying a $30,000 fine, which is certainly an admission of something.
NewsBusters Pushes Limbaugh Spin Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 28 NewsBusters post, Brent Baker falsely implied that it was wrong to report that Rush Limbaugh was "arrested" as part of his plea bargain on doctor-shopping charges because it "was really more of a booking session that did not put Limbaugh into handcuffs or any jail." In fact, Baker's version of events is what Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, wants you to believe. As CNN reported:
Although Black urged reporters not to call it an arrest -- because Limbaugh turned himself in and was never handcuffed -- a sheriff's spokesman said technically he was under arrest during his booking.
NewsMax Spins for Limbaugh Topic: Newsmax
None of that "reporting the news" stuff for NewsMax on the Rush Limbaugh doctor-shopping case. Its first "report" on today's events is a press release by Limbaugh’s attorney, Roy Black, the headline of which proclaimed, "Rush Limbaugh Prescription Drug Case Settled."
In addition to Morgan's canards, an April 22 WND article claims that the documents Berger took from the National Archives were "possibly with handwritten notes." In fact, even the Wall Street Journal has pointed out that Noel Hillman, a Justice Department prosecutor in the Berger case, said that the copies of documents that Berger took (that they were copies, not originals, is a detail WND is finally starting to get correct) "don't have notations on them." Hillman further called claims to that effect an "urban myth."
That puts WND in the company of NewsMax in peddling urban myths.
Book-Bashing Goes Bust Topic: NewsBusters
An April 26 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield regurgitates a Drudge Report item claiming that "Crashing the Gate," co-written by Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, isn't selling. While Sheffield excerpts Moulitsas' response, he has thus far failed to update with sales figures for recently released books by conservative bloggers Glenn Reynolds and Hugh Hewitt, which are apparently doing even worse than "Crashing the Gate" (according to the same flawed Bookscan figures Drudge used).