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Monday, June 19, 2006
Another Worthess NewsMax Poll
Topic: Newsmax
To absolutely nobody's surprise, a statistically meaningless opt-in NewsMax poll found that most people like Ann Coulter.

A June 19 NewsMax article claims that the poll reveals "that Americans overwhelmingly support Coulter and strongly disagree with her critics." The article claimed that the poll drew "more than 90,000 respondents from sites across the Web, such as Drudge Report and The New York Times" -- read: NewsMax bought ads on these sites and, presumably, other conservative leaning sites and blogs -- but it doesn't say that the poll is meaningless because opt-in polls have no scientific validity. The article also does not reveal the full list of websites on which NewsMax advertised the poll, but you can assume that they are mostly conservative websites (the New York Times being thrown in as a ringer), thus further skewing the poll's numbers.

Nor does it reveal that the poll is, in reality, just a marketing tool to gather e-mail addresses for its mailing list.

The article claims that "NewsMax will provide the results of this poll to major media and share them with radio talk-show hosts across the country," but we can bet that NewsMax will not tell those hosts that the numbers mean nothing.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:52 PM EDT
WND Gives Olmert the Clinton Treatment
Topic: WorldNetDaily
During the Clinton years, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah touted as fact the so-called "Clinton body count," the discredited notion that Bill Clinton is responsible for the deaths of dozens of people.

It looks like WND is using that same smear tactic against Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Here's the lead of a June 19 WND article by Aaron Klein:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other Israeli officials should be tried as accessories to murder for facilitating the transfer in recent days of a cache of American weapons to Force 17, the presidential guard units of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

That's it -- no "according to [insert party here]," which violates most known journalistic precepts. Not until the eighth paragraph does Klein finally attribute this statement, to "the leadership of Manhigut Yehudit, a faction of the opposition Likud party."

And nowhere does Klein does explain what the Manhigut Yehudit faction is -- a conservative faction inside the similarly conservative Likud Party (and we know how much Klein hates to admit that Likud is conservative). Violent (and assassinated) right-wing activist Meir Kahane's son, Binyamin (also assassinated), issued a 1997 commentary titled 'Manhigut Yehudit." The faction also favors the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, just like WND does -- Pollard's wife, Esther, spoke at the group's 2005 annual dinner, and it offers prayer cards for him. Similarly, Klein has written numerous WND articles promoting the idea of releasing Pollard.

WND has already tried to swift-boat Olmert. It's only logical that the Clinton-smear treatment would be next.

UPDATE: WND has quietly updated Klein's article; it now begins with "Some Israeli politicians charge..."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 19, 2006 6:17 PM EDT
WND Changing Its Mission?
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Is WorldNetDaily backing off its original claimed mission to be a "watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power"? Possibly (and not a bad idea, actually, considering that WND doesn't fulfill it).

A June 14 e-mail by managing editor David Kupelian seems to indicate a shift at WND from watchdogging to the Superman principle, proclaiming itself a defender of truth, justice and the American way. Seriously -- the e-mail is headlined, "Help restore truth, justice and the American way in 60 seconds." That's how long it takes for readers to encourage two friends to get on WND's news alert mailing list. Of course, they get plenty of ads for WND products along with those news alerts, something Kupelian fails to mention.

Kupelian portrays WND as a component of a "courageous, truthful and independent press – one that boldly exposed evil, rather than enabling it at every turn as today's elite media do":

This nation would be utterly transformed, almost like magic. Abortion would be outlawed if the press reported on that industry honestly. The radical gay-rights agenda would lose its mainstream support, and the "constitutional separation of church and state" would be universally seen for what it really is – pure fiction. You get the idea. If we had a truly dedicated, truth-oriented news media, America would quickly become a radically better and more unified nation.

That kind of news organization –- and I don't mean to brag –- is exactly how many Americans have come to regard

But is WND really as "truth-oriented" as Kupelian claims? No. As we've documented, WND has a history of making false claims, printing unsubstantiated (and false) rumors, engaging in plagiarism, running biased news accounts, regurgitating press releases, regularly refusing to divulge its business interests in the people and issues it covers, and even lying about itself.

If "truth-oriented" is how "many Americans have come to regard," as Kupelian claims, those people are sadly mistaken.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT
Sunday, June 18, 2006
NewsMax Gallops to Coulter's Defense
Topic: Newsmax
A June 17 NewsMax article insists that, despite Ann Coulter's statement that Rep. John Murtha was "[t]he reason soldiers invented 'fragging,'" it's "blatantly untrue" that she suggested fragging Murtha. Says NewsMax:

She did not suggest that Murtha, long out of the military service, should be killed by a grenade because his men considered him deserving of death -- which is what fragging means -- she was describing him as the kind of leader soldiers have good reason to distrust.

But not only does NewsMax offers no evidence that anyone claimed that Coulter said Murtha should be "killed by a grenade," thus confusing the issue by throwing in an extraneous, fictional element, it contradicts its own claim by defining "fragging" as "deserving of death," then contradictorily claiming that the issue was "distrust" -- which was not in the definition NewsMax provided.

NewsMax then follows it by repeating the hair-splitting defense of the remark -- "she didn't say that she wanted to kill Murtha, she'd didn't say that she thought he should be killed, and she didn't say that she thought Murtha should have been fragged" -- by the conservative blogger who first reported the remarks, who then wrote: "Is that hair splitting?"

We're so confused. Is NewsMax really that desperate to defend Coulter?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EDT
Saturday, June 17, 2006
About Those Double Standards...
Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters writers have expressed concern over alleged "double standards." But they mislead and show their own double standards by doing so.

In a June 16 post, Warner Todd Huston complained that it took "nearly a month" for the House of Representatives to oust Rep. William Jefferson from the House Ways and Means Committee, while Sen. Trent Lott was "taken out as majority leader in a mere 15 days" after making a "supposedly racist" comment regarding Strom Thurmond.

But the two situations are not analogous. The action against Jefferson was taken by his fellow congressmen and led by his fellow Democrats; Lott resigned voluntarily without official action being taken against him.

While Huston recounts Lott's comment, he downplays it as "supposedly racist" and a "silly little comment" without offering the context of why it was considered "supposedly racist." As most people know, when Lott said that "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" if Thurmond was elected president in 1948, Huston doesn't note that in 1948, Thurmond was running on a segregationist ticket.

Huston also oddly claims that an Associated Press article's noting that the House action against Jefferson was "unprecedented" was tantamount to defending him: "In fact the whole article is couched in the flavor of how badly kindly ‘ol Mr. Jefferson is being treated by all those mean folks in the House."

And, in contrast to Democrats leading the action to strip Jefferson of his committee seat, the ConWeb was defending Lott and downplaying and mitigating his statement (not to mention twisting the words of a Democratic senator as a distraction). Perhaps Huston ought to look into that double standard.

(And we also found it sadly amusing that a commenter who pointed some of this out in the thread on this item was immediately attacked as a "leftist Jew-hating shill.")

Another June 16 post, by Greg Sheffield, highlights a NewsMax item by Steve Malzberg complaining that Coulter's violence-inciting comments have received much more play in the "liberal press" than an obscure trade publication columnist's suggestion to Coulter: "Would it kill you to do us all a favor and kill yourself?" To which Sheffield adds: " think the double standard extends beyond just Coulter."

Ironically, Sheffield posted this about the time it was revealed that Coulter said that Rep. Jack Murtha is "[t]he reason soldiers invented fragging."

If you're going to denounce a columnist who urged that Coulter kill herself, shouldn't you also denounce Coulter herself for encouraging violence against a congressman (or encouraging the poisoning of a Supreme Court justice)? Given the fact that Coulter makes these statements without impunity, isn't it hypocritical to bash someone else who engages in the same level of rhetoric?

Unsurprisingly, no concern has been raised thus far at NewsBusters over Coulter's statement. Do that, Mr. Sheffield, and then perhaps you can credibly attack others doing the exact same thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:58 AM EDT
Friday, June 16, 2006
New Article: The Disconnect, Part 2: The End of the Affair
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center used to love Chris Matthews. Why is it attacking him now? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:43 AM EDT
WND Columnist Misleads on Ohio Gov. Race
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 16 WorldNetDaily column by Fred Taub touts the puported inevitiability of Ken Blackwell being electeed Ohio governor. "Blackwell will not only be the next governor of Ohio, but will be the first black governor outside the south," Taub confidently declared, adding that Democratic opponent Ted Strickland faces "the illusion of a victory" and that money spent on Strickland's campaign will be "diverting dollars away from actual contestable states."

Taub conveniently fails to note that according to the latest polling, Strickland leads Blackwell by 16 points.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:02 AM EDT
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Biased WND Reporter Launching Newsletter
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 15 WorldNetDaily article announced a new "intelligence e-mail newsletter" as a feature of WND's subscription-only G2 Bulletin, which will be written by WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein. The newsletter, to be called the Galil Report, will feature "exclusive, behind-the-scenes information regarding the latest news and events in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on Israel and the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon" and "the latest developments and behind the scenes news related to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's planned withdrawal from the West Bank," among other things.

While the article hurls around words like "comprehensive" to describe it, you won't see words like "accurate" or "fair." That's because Klein isn't known for that. As we've documented:

-- Klein's WND reporting has been highly biased in favor of right-wing elements in Israel, to the point that he won't identify them as right-wing.

-- He has described the right-wing perpetrator of a massacre as being "murdered" by those who witnessed his massacre, a term he did not apply to the massacre's victims.

-- WND was forced to retract a Klein article that falsely smeared an Islamic charity.

-- Klein's reporting on Olmert has largely consisted of repeatedly attacking him over his planned withdrawal of Israel from much of the West Bank, which Klein opposes.

Potential subscribers should be warned: Klein isn't fair, has problems with the truth, and likely won't be as "comprehensive" as WND claims, particularly about the things that Klein and WND oppose, like the Palestinians and West Bank withdrawal.

UPDATE: Did Klein name his newsletter after an area of Israel, or an Israeli assault rifle?

Posted by Terry K. at 7:24 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 16, 2006 1:16 AM EDT
Topic: Newsmax
Media Matters wonders why NewsMax is promoting the new book by "former Democratic Party operative" Tim Russert.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:42 PM EDT
Reagan: Democrats Like Iraqi Terrorists
Topic: Newsmax
Remember when, during the 2004 presidential campaign, Republicans took offense at John Kerry's comment that "we need a regime change in the United States" because it allegedly equated President Bush with Saddam Hussein?

In a June 14 NewsMax column, Michael Reagan forwards a more explicit argument, equating Democrats with Sunni insurgent terrorists in Iraq: "Both are operating under the same motivation – an unrequited lust for lost power. And both will do just about anything to retrieve it." While Reagan doesn't use the term "terrorists" in his column, the meaning is clear.

Reagan also dubiously claims that "when the GOP took over, Newt Gingrich refused to impose the kind of absolute, anti-minority rule his party suffered under the Democrats," and that "the Democrats have shown not one whit of gratitude."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
WND Readers Pan Embrace of Phelps
Topic: WorldNetDaily
If WorldNetDaily's June 11 article portraying the notoriously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church in a favorable light was a trial balloon for future coverage of Fred Phelps and his brood; it was shot down pretty quickly by WND readers, who think that the WBC's protests of the funerals of dead soldiers overshadow's its Kupelian-esque anti-gay views.

In a June 12 WND opt-in poll seeking views on the on-air altercation between Fox News host Julie Banderas and the WBC's Shirley Phelps-Roper that prompted the article, nearly 32 percent said that "Julie's comments were over the top, but the protests at funerals of dead U.S soldiers are even more disturbing," and 16 percent each responded, "Julie's right! Shirley Phelps-Roper is the devil and belongs in hell" and "While I do think God is punishing America for its sins, Julie is correct to condemn the protests at U.S. soldiers' funerals." Only 2.90 percent said, "Julie is completely in the wrong, and the Westboro Baptist Church is correct that God is punishing America for its sins."

Additionally, the three letters WND ran (which disappear after a week) about the story on June 12 were all critical of Phelps-Roper, calling her "a disgrace and a psychopath," a "cult leader" and a "self-righteous, hateful, name-calling woman."

We suspect (and hope) that WND won't be running to the WBC's defense anymore.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:14 PM EDT
Too Good To Ignore, Indeed
Topic: NewsBusters
A June 14 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield calls the Duke lacrosse rape story "too good for the mainstream media to ignore."

Not unlike the story that Iran was forcing non-Muslims to wear badges, which was too good for NewsBusters to ignore -- and, apparently, too definitively proven bogus for NewsBusters to make any meaningful effort to alert its readers to that fact.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:59 PM EDT
The Clinton Exception, Karl Rove Division
Topic: NewsBusters
A very long June 14 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard demands that the "drive-by media" (a term apparently coined by Rush Limbaugh) apologize to "innocent victim" Karl Rove, now that Patrick Fitzgerald has purportedly decided not to indict him.

But Sheppard ignores a few things. First, this statement comes not from Fitzgerald but, rather, from Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, who has a vested interest in making his client look good (or at least unindicted). Further, said attorney refuses to release any actual evidence to substantiate his claim.

Second, Luskin never said that Fitzgerald said Rove was "innocent." Innocence and "does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove" are not synonymous.

Third, if this scenario sounds vaguely familiar, that's because it is. Back in 2000, if you'll recall, independent counsel Robert Ray released the final report on the Whitewater case, in which he announced that the Clintons wouldn't be charged with anything related to it. Sheppard nor his superiors at the MRC weren't running around declaring the Clintons innocent and demanding that the media apologize for all that speculation about them. In fact:

-- Brent Bozell called the report "flaccid."

-- The MRC highlighted that the report concluded "not that there was no wrongdoing but that 'the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that either the President or Mrs. Clinton knowingly participated in criminal conduct.'"

-- The MRC disapprovingly cited Geraldo Rivera's demand that the New York Times apologize to the Clintons for their coverage of Whitewater, scoffing at the notion that the paper was part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy."

-- The MRC bashed ABC for noting "the taxpayer cost and human toll on Hillary of the Whitewater probe."

If Rove is "innocent," then the Clintons are too. If the Clintons were not cleared by the final Whitewater report despite no charges being filed, then Rove is similarly not cleared. We won't hold our breath waiting for Sheppard to concede this logical point.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT
A Coulter Dissenter on the ConWeb
Topic: Accuracy in Media
The thus-far-unified praise of Ann Coulter on the ConWeb is showing cracks. A June 13 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid takes Coulter to task for her comment that 9/11 widows critical of President Bush are "enjoying their husbands' deaths":

There is no evidence whatsoever that those women enjoyed their husbands' deaths, and Coulter offers none. The only "evidence" for this preposterous and hurtful claim is that the women became activists and sought the media spotlight and took a political position at odds with that of Coulter. But what does that prove?


Coulter appears to be saying that she knows something that is both shocking and disgusting about why these women were acting they way they did. But she has no way of knowing that.


It's possible to criticize the "Jersey girls," as this particular group of widows was called, without making a personal judgment about what they experienced in losing their husbands.

Kincaid concludes: "An apology would be consistent with the Christian cross that Coulter frequently wears around her neck."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:53 AM EDT
Fact-Free Commentary
Topic: WorldNetDaily
What is it about Mychal Massie? His job as a WorldNetDaily columnist, apparently, is to spout opinions and not bother to back them up.

Take Massie's June 13 WND column. He claims that "Liberal politicians and the liberal media ... attacked the FBI for doing its job in gathering evidence against corrupt Rep. William Jefferson, D-La." Not only does he offer no evidence of this (on the "liberal media" side, anyway), he ignores the fact that the leading critic of the FBI "doing its job" in searching Jefferson's congressional office is a Republican, House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Massie further claims that a "liberal Democrat site" stated that the death of Iraqi terrorist al-Zarqawi "[wasn't] such a big deal," but he doesn't offer a link or even the name of the site. He claims that "Richard Clarke, Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio, liberal politicians, et al., all tried to downplay the significance of Zarqawi's blessed fate as nothing that would shorten the war," but he doesn't offer any quotes to show how they purpotedly did that.

Massie attacks "Liberal, anti-war, anti-American politicians and their lycanthropic mainstream media allies" who "try parsing things, claiming to support the troops, but not the war. That is code-speak for not supporting the president." This ignores the fact that Republicans did the exact same thing to President Clinton during the conflict in Kosovo.

We'd complain about standards, but we know he has none. This is, after all, the guy who bashed a congressman for likening President Bush to Bull Connor even though less than a year earlier, Massie himself was likening Harry Reid and Democrats to both Bull Connor and Orval Faubus.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EDT

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