Getting It Wrong: Hal Lindsey Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his May 26 WorldNetDaily column, Hal Lindsey makes several misleading claims. Up first:
The fact that Bill Clinton was the president did not exempt him from his obligation to tell the truth under oath. And the fact that he was the president didn't stop the Arkansas Bar Association from disbarring him after the presiding judge ruled he had perjured himself in her court.
Clinton was not "disbarred"; while a disbarment proceeding had been initiated, he in fact agreed under a voluntary settlement to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license and his paying of a $25,000 fine to the Arkansas Bar Association. That is arguably not the same thing as disbarment. Additionally, the "presiding judge" did not rule that Clinton "had perjured himself in her court"; in fact, Judge Susan Webber Wright found President Bill Clinton in civil contempt of court for his "willful failure" to obey her repeated orders to testify truthfully in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. That is not the same thing as perjury, which has a specific legal definition.
Lindsey also falsely conflates the opposition raised by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to an FBI search of the offices of Rep. William Jefferson with opposition to any investigation or prosecution of Jefferson:
But none of that outrage, anger and angst was reserved for the congressman who sold out his Louisiana constituency for a hundred grand. The lawmakers reserved their fury for the law-enforcement officers that made the case.
While we could find no explicit reference by Hastert to the corruption case against Jefferson, Pelosi has asked Jefferson to step down from the House Ways and Means Committee "in the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the House Democratic Caucus."
Further, while Lindsey claims that "The rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure," he makes no mention of the fact that President Bush has claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, which presumbably is a violation of Lindsey's definition of the rule of law.
Oh, the Irony (WND Division) Topic: WorldNetDaily
For all the complaining that WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah does about WND reporting being plagiarized by others -- which he does in a May 27 column, complete with Farah's "threat of a copyright infringement lawsuit" -- you'd think that Farah and WND didn't have its own history of plagiarizing the work of others.
WND Scrubs Vox's Nazi Reference Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember when WorldNetDaily columnist Vox Day cited the Nazis approvingly as a prior example for removing millions of people from a country? It's gone.
That reference has been deleted from his May 15 column, apparently by orders of WND editor Joseph Farah. Mr. Day writes on his blog:
I actually turned this one in early, so this was clearly on Mr. Farah's orders. I happen to know that he really, really, really didn't like it.
But, to his credit, he didn't get on my case or even shake his finger at me, he merely exercised his prerogative to edit a piece that appears on his web site. His house, his rules, I have no problem with that.
The column contains no indication that it was altered after its posting, nor has WND alerted its readers to that fact. WND has never acknowledged the controversy surrounding Day's column, even as it has played up controversial comments by others.
Oh, The Irony Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard -- the NewsBusters writer who scolded the media for not immediately picking up the Iran badges story but failed to tell his readers that the story turned out to be bogus -- has joined the MRC attack bandwagon, compiling reports claiming that the ABC News story stating that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is "in the mix" in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation.
We're glad Sheppard is showing an interest in this sort of thing. We just wish he would show a similar interest when his own writing turns out to be flawed.
Finally! (Sorta.) Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters is all over denials of an ABC News story that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is "in the mix" in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation, but where is its notification to readers that the story that Iran will require non-Muslims to wear badges -- over which, way back on May 19, it scolded the media for not immediately picking up -- is apparently bogus?
NewsBusters has finally addressed the issue -- not in an new post where its readers would readily see it, but in an addendum to the original May 19 post by Noel Sheppard:
UPDATE 05-24 by Matthew Sheffield: The Post has retracted the report. "It is now clear the story is not true," Douglas Kelly, the National Post's editor in chief says.
About time. Why did it take so long? After all, this is still a few days after the allegations were first raised -- the ABC/Hastert story is barely two days old, and the NewsBusters boys are already promoting those doubts as loudly as it can.
And why isn't NewsBusters eager to highlight this retraction for its readers, preferring instead to bury in in a days-old post that nobody will go back and read? Because that would unduly interfere with its mission of painting the "liberal media" as the main purveyor of false allegations. It's too busy slapping around ABC News to be bothered with a more clearly fake story by a conservative paper, even though it promoted that story.
Your NewsBusters At Work Topic: NewsBusters
What is NewsBusters doing instead of reporting to its readers that the Iran-badges story is bogus? Among today's articles: Defending Matt Drudge and taking issue with the claim that Anderson Cooper is "popular."
BadgeGate: You Know the Drill Topic: NewsBusters
Another day of mounting evidence that the Iraq-badge story is fake, another day that NewsBusters fails to acknowledge this after scolding the media for not reporting the original (and apparently false) story.
UPDATE: NewsMax has published an May 25 article noting that the National Post has apologized for publishing the story.
Misleading Claim on Judicial Nominations Topic: Free Congress Foundation
A May 15 commentary by the Free Congress Foundation's Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq. (repeated at Accuracy in Media) claims that the federal judiciary "is approaching - some would say, is in the midst of - a crisis," in part because "[t]here are 30 vacancies, 10 appellate and 20 trial."
But as ConWebWatch has pointed out, when the number of federal judicial vacancies was more than 60 in the final years of the Clinton administration, the FCF saw no emergency; one FCF commentary dismissed the number of vacancies as "only 63."
BadgeGate Update Topic: Horowitz
-- A lengthy May 24 FrontPageMag article by Andrew G. Bostom is predicated on the Iran badges story being true. The only hint Bostom provides that it likely is not is a parenthetical insertion that the story is "now disputed."
-- The sound of crickets still emanates from NewsBusters on the subject of the story's apparent lack of veracity.
Kupelian, WND Launch More Ad Hominem Attacks Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 23 WorldNetDaily article resumes WND's ad hominem attacks on critics of David Kupelian's book "The Marketing of Evil" from the Ohio university where librarian Scott Savage was criticized for recommending the book. The article describes one critic as "openly socialist," and another is described three times as "openly homosexual."
When the article finally gets around to addressing the actual claims of critics -- specifically, that Kupelian's description of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey and his work is a "factually untrue characterization of Dr. Kinsey and his work" -- it resorts to repeating (without labeling them as such) the dubiously supported claims of anti-Kinsey researcher Judith Reisman. And the article resorts to ad hominem attacks here too: it calls Kinsey "notoriously fraudulent," and Kupelian himself is quoted as calling him "a profoundly troubled human being sexually" who "encouraged serial pedophiles for obtaining his so-called 'research' on child sexuality."
Heads up: We'll be addressing the issue of Kupelian and Reisman in depth on the ConWebWatch side later this week.
BadgeGate: It's Not Just NewsBusters Topic: Horowitz
The Horowitz empire has also reported the increasingly dubious claim about Iran requiring non-Muslims to wear badges (copying NewsMax's article) without following up on the questions about its veracity that we've been able to find on either FrontPageMag or Discover the Network(s).
Fact-Checking, Or the Lack Thereof Topic: NewsBusters
Eric Boehlert relates the difference between conservative bloggers and liberal bloggers on the issue of fact-checking.
And, in a related story, NewsBusters has still yet to acknowledge the fact that Iran-badges story it scolded the media for not reporting is looking more and more to be false (despite the original promulgator of the the story still clinging to it).
AIM Contradicts Itself Topic: Accuracy in Media
A May 22 AIM Report by Wes Vernon takes contradictory stands on the idea of anonymous sources. As part of AIM's factually dubious war on Washington Post reporter Dana Priest and her article on secret CIA detention facilities in Europe, Vernon first dismissed Priest's story because it was "based completely on anonymous sources," adding that the story "has not been confirmed."
But later, in coming to the defense of Rep. Curt Weldon over his claims regarding the "Able Danger" intelligence program, takes a different tone on anonymous sources and lack of smoking-gun evidence. Vernon dismissed a Philadelphia Inquirer article questioning Weldon's claim that the Soviets buried dozens of suitcase-size nuclear devices in the U.S. during the Cold War: "So the Inquirer essentially casts doubts on the 'suitcase nukes' charge based on the failure to find a needle in a haystack." Vernon also notes that "Among those who came to the congressman's defense was Lowell L. Wood, Jr., who has outstanding credentials in science"; Vernon wrote that "Wood added that 'a fundamental adage' in the 'always imperfect' intelligence business is that 'the absence of evidence isn't the evidence of absence.'"
Vernon also defends Weldon's use of an anonymous source to back up his claims:
The Philadelphia Inquirer's March 15 hit pieces include the name of someone they claim was "Ali." Weldon says, "I have not and will not identify [my source]." Curiously, the media seem oblivious to the possibility they may have put the man's life in danger.
AIM needs to make up its mind about a few things and not judge them by how well they support conservative talking points.