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Friday, June 30, 2006
Those Classy NewsBusters Commenters
Topic: NewsBusters
In response to a June 30 NewsBusters post by Tom Johnson noting a columnist who stated that "The First Amendment needs a Terri Schiavo moment" in order to bring awareness to the issue of freedom of the press, the very first commenter, "bigtimer," states: "I'd be all for that suggestion if we could put Helen Thomas in place of Terri Schiavo."

Gee, maybe we should change our Free Republic quote of the week to NewsBusters...

Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 PM EDT
WND's Lack of Context on Israel Criticism
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 29 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein makes a big deal out of how "countries around the world have been urging restraint" in Israel's current incursion in Gaza, even though prime minister Ehud Olmert had assured that "the international community would understand and would support any Israeli action."

Klein's article is misleading. In fact, Israel's military actions against Palestinians have regularly drawn criticism from other countries, as WND itself has reported. For instance, a Nov. 23, 2000, WND article noted that "officials in the U.S. issued their harshest criticism yet of Israel's use of force" following a "helicopter gunship attack against Palestinian security offices in Gaza."

Klein article conflicts with his own assessment, posted at WND later on June 29, that the current Gaza incursion is "just a show" designed to boost Olmert's popularity.

Klein offers no evidence that the current criticism of Israel is any different than previous criticism, let alone acknowledge that history of criticism. Then again, as we've detailed, Klein is making use of every tool at his disposal to attack Olmert.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:50 PM EDT
NewsBusters Hits Matthews With Anti-Semitism Smear
Topic: NewsBusters
Reads the headline on a June 29 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein: "Chris Accusing WH of Anti-Semitism in Criticism of NY Times?"

Nope. As Finkelstein himself demonstrates, in asking why the Bush administration and conservative critics (like Finkelstein) are bashing only the New York Times over its reporting on a financial surveillance program when the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal reported the story at the same time, Chris Matthews never once says the word "Jew."

The flimsy basis for Finkelstein's smear is that Matthews mentioned "big ethnic New York way up there in the Northeast that never votes Republican" and did an impression of a Noo Yawk accent, coupled with an entirely unrelated San Francisco Chronicle column by Jon Carroll which did suggest an anti-Semetic motive in criticism of the Times.

Finkelstein ominously states: "Bear in mind that Matthews just happens to be a former San Francisco Chronicle columnist himself. Was it just pure coincidence that on the day the Carroll column appeared, Matthews seemed to be suggesting a similar theory?"

Switch to decaf, Mark. Carroll's and Matthews' theories aren't similar. There are many ethnicities in New York other than Jewish, and the Noo Yawk accent isn't a Jewish accent.

And Finkelstein himself never offers an answer to Matthews' question. That seems like something he might want to answer rather than carelessly tossing around anti-Semitism allegations.

UPDATE: Finkelstein adds in the comments:

If Matthews had been speaking of Bush administration animosity to 'ethnic' New York in general terms, I would agree with you. But here he was doing so in specific reference to the New York Times, historically identified as a 'Jewish' paper. Don't know if you saw the segment, but particularly when Matthews went into his wink and nod with 'New Yawk', I don't think there was any mistaking the point he intended to make.

Ah, those sinister winks and nods. And we thought the Forward was the New York paper "historically identified as Jewish."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:57 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 30, 2006 3:12 PM EDT
WND's Klein: Olmert Wagging the Dog in Gaza
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 29 WorldNetDaily "news analysis" by Aaron Klein appears to exist for only one reason: to smear Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. That's no surprise, since Klein's been smearing Olmert for months. But the extent Klein goes to here is surprising, even for WND; it's as if Olmert is the new version of Bill Clinton, who must be taken down at any cost.

In a nutshell, Klein claims that the current Israeli incursion into Gaza is "mostly a show," suggesting that Olmert is pulling a "Wag the Dog" by staging the incursion to improve his low poll numbers. Klein offers no solid evidence for any of this; all sources he cites are anonymous. Even the links to previous articles of his are mostly devoid of on-the-record sources. He even links to his June 24 article on a poll as evidence of Olmert's unpopularity -- we've already described the dubious, biased sourcing behind that poll.

Given Klein's clear animus (if not outright hatred) toward Olmert, he is less than trustworthy on this subject. This is the guy, mind you, whom WND thinks can support a subscription-only newsletter. If all Klein is going to do is attack Olmert, bash Palestinians and promote right-wing Israelis while not labeling them as such or hiding or whitewashing their extremist, violent backgrounds -- in short, Klein's history of Middle East coverage for WND -- it's hard to see what's worth paying for under his pen.

In case you wondered how WND would have covered the Iraq war if Al Gore was president, this provides a clue.

UPDATE: Bartholomew points out even more Klein bias, this time by not explaining what Klein didn't about just how orthodox the Orthodox rabbis Klein featured bashing Olmert are.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 30, 2006 1:13 AM EDT
Thursday, June 29, 2006
MRC Oddly Reluctant to Claim Morano
Topic: NewsBusters
A June 29 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham touts how "the Senate Environment and Public Works committee (GOP side) did quite a job" in attacking an AP article on scientists' response to Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth." But he's oddly reluctant to do a little horn-tooting for his employer: He fails to note that a co-author of that Senate committee release is his former MRC colleague Marc Morano, who was a longtime reporter for the MRC's before jumping to the Senate job last month.

You'd think that, being a loyal company man, Graham would want to promote something like that. Guess not.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:56 PM EDT
CNS Labeling Bias Watch
A June 29 article by Melanie Hunter featuring comments on the Supreme Court's decision on military tribunals for alleged "enemy combatants" labeled two groups that supported the court's decision against the tribunals, Amnesty International and the Council for American-Islamic Relations, as "a human rights group" and a "U.S. Islamic advocacy group," respectively.

But Hunter provided no descriptor for the Southeastern Legal Foundation -- a conservative legal group -- and described executive director Shannon Goessling, who opposed the ruling, as "a former criminal prosecutor." Hunter offered no similar credential-burnishing for the Amnesty International official she quoted (CAIR's statement was taken from a press release).

Posted by Terry K. at 7:12 PM EDT
Spin, Bias, and the WND Way
Topic: WorldNetDaily
David Kupelian's plea for e-mail list subscribers has now been posted on the WorldNetDaily website in all its silly "truth, justice and the American way" glory.

Of course, as we've already pointed out, Kupelian's claim that WND is "truth-oriented" is especially dubious.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EDT
The MIA List
In discovering that Marc Morano had moved on to disseminating misinformation for Republicans than for (but really, isn't that the same thing?), we noted another name missing from the CNS masthead: reporter Sherrie Gossett, who wrote her last CNS story in March. A Google search turned up nothing on her current whereabouts, though her blog is relatively up-to-date.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:43 PM EDT
Comparing Hillary to N. Korean Dictator = Media Research
Topic: NewsBusters
This is how Mark Finkelstein started out a June 29 NewsBusters post:

If she was watching 'Today' this morning, you can imagine Hillary Clinton using her best North-Korean-parliament rhythmical clapping in response to what she saw. It might be 'ronery' in her Georgetown or Chappaqua spreads, but it's always heart-warming to know you've got friends at the highest-rated morning show.

It's hard to understand how likening Hillary to Kim Jong Il serves the MRC's mission of "media research," but then again, the MRC thought Clinton sex jokes did too.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:14 AM EDT
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 28 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs repeated Bill O'Reilly's contention that claiming authorities in Palm Beach County, Fla., are "out to get Rush Limbaugh -- or, in the words of WND's headline, Limbaugh is being "targeted for destruction."

But Kovacs fails to note one thing that one of O'Reilly's guests did: The search of Limbaugh's belongings that turned up the bottle of Viagra that wasn't prescribed to him was done by U.S. Customs, not Palm Beach County authorities. Given that O'Reilly offered no evidence that the Customs search was anything but routine, that seems to undercut O'Reilly's (and Kovacs') argument.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Just Askin'
Topic: NewsBusters
Why was it a bad thing, as the MRC's Tim Graham and Brent Baker appear to believe, for Al Franken to unilaterally declare Karl Rove and Scooter Libby guilty of treason and point out that the penalty for treason is death, while NewsBusters' "Mithridate Ombud" unilaterally declares the New York Times guilty of treason and points out that the penalty for treason is death to no apparent outcry from Graham or Baker?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:20 PM EDT
Quote of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily
"Not all expression or speech contributes to the political debate. That is why the First Amendment does not protect flag burning, just as it does not protect lap dances, sodomy, public nudity or child pornography."

-- Ben Shapiro, June 28 syndicated column, via WorldNetDaily

Posted by Terry K. at 3:32 PM EDT
Check, Check and Check
Let's run down the checklist to see what Ralph "Asians Are Destroying America" Hostetter gets wrong or doesn't factually support in his June 28 column, shall we?

No evidence for his claim that the New York Times' "motive for these disclosures is the expressed seminal hatred the dominant media and, in particular, the New York Times has for President George W. Bush" -- check.

No evidence for his claim that by "giving aid and comfort to the enemy," the Times "has placed the American public at risk of terrorist attacks and the American soldier in combat at risk of his life" -- check.

Citing of an apparently bogus poll -- check. Hostetter writes: "The failed argument that the public needs to know is refuted in a Fox News poll on Friday, June 24, showing 88 percent of Americans are satisfied with President Bush's use of his intelligence sources to protect America." But the Fox News website's poll page lists no such poll; it is more than likely that the poll Hostetter is citing is, in fact, an unreliable opt-in online poll promoted on programs such as "Your World with Neil Cavuto." Those polls have the disclaimer "This is not a scientific poll," which Hostetter should have taken notice of.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 PM EDT
Who Says Republicans Don't Act Out of Political Motives?
Topic: NewsBusters
Does Mark Finkelstein really think there's no political motive in conservative and Bush administration attacks on the New York Times over its story on a secret financial surveillance program? Apparently so, based on his June 28 NewsBusters post.

Citing NBC's Tim Russert calling the attacks "an orchestrated campaign to try to frame this issue of national security versus the media," Finkelstein adds: "Alright, fair enough if Russert wants to suggest that politics might have played some part in the White House reaction." Finkelstein then took offense at Russert's suggestion that the administration was "going after the messenger":

But what was 'the message' here? That the Bush administration had implemented an important program to fight terrorism and protect American lives and property. A program that even the Times itself didn't claim to be illegal. There was no embarrassment factor here. To the contrary, but for the harm to the national security, the Bush administration would no doubt be pleased for Americans to know that it's working aggressively to protect them.

This is an example of the MSM being unable or unwilling to recognize that Republicans can act other than out of nefarious motives.

Similarly, in a June 27 NewsBusters post (and June 28 CyberAlert), Brent Baker singles out news coverage that "has questioned the administration's motives."

But, as we've noted, the MRC regularly assumes that Democrats act only out of political or personal motives. Why is it suddenly unfair to make that assumption about Republicans, especially when their attacks play into their longtime MSM-is-liberal talking point?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:53 AM EDT
Those Darn Inconvenient Facts!
Topic: Media Research Center
-- Brent Bozell claims in his June 27 column that the alleged "weapons of mass destruction" found in Iraq "should be a crucial, corrective turning point to the stuck-in-2003, pre-war obsessives." But he, like the rest of his MRC bretheren, fails to note that the munitions are degraded and mostly useless as WMD.

Since this deliberate ignorance of inconvenient facts is coming from the top, we should assume that this deception is official MRC policy.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 AM EDT

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