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Friday, July 21, 2006
CNS Labeling Bias Watch

The headline for a July 21 article by Nathan Burchfiel states: "Impeachment Teach-Ins Seek to Oust Bush, Sell Books."

Has CNS accused any conservative author -- like, say, Ann Coulter, who wrote a book encouraging the impeachment of President Clinton -- of merely trying to "sell books"? We suspect not.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:01 PM EDT
Misleading NewsMax Headline Watch
Topic: Newsmax

The headline on a July 20 Associated Press article posted at NewsMax reads, "Howard Dean Targets 'Flyover Country.' " This implies that Dean used the somewhat derogatory term "flyover country" to describe what is broadly described as the Midwest -- which is false. The term appears nowhere in the article, let alone quoting Dean as saying it. Further, the original AP headline reads, "Dean Says Midwest Crucial for Democrats."

In other words, it's NewsMax that is slamming the Midwest as "flyover country," not Dean.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 21, 2006 1:08 AM EDT
Thursday, July 20, 2006
ConWeb Praises ... Oliver Stone?
Topic: The ConWeb

Rhapsodic reviews of Oliver Stone's new movie, "World Trade Center," are coming from two unlikely sources: Brent Bozell and NewsMax's James Hirsen.

In a July 17 Media Research Center press release, Bozell is quoted thusly:

"World Trade Center is a masterpiece and must be seen by as many people as possible. Oliver Stone has created something spectacular and it deserves our nation’s gratitude. Conservatives and liberals will praise this movie."

Hirsen was similarly effusive in a July 17 NewsMax article. Starting out by stating, "Oliver Stone has made a movie that is sure to please cops, fire fighters, red-staters, the military, and even the GOP. Yes, you read the name correctly. It's that Oliver Stone," Hirsen wrote that "what came through on the screen was a tender rendering of a story that is rich with timeless themes":

From the opening sequence to the end of the film, one can discern that Stone used painstaking care to tell the WTC story without embellishing it with a political agenda.


More than a mere chronicle of the nation's attack, the film is a homage to the courage and selflessness that were displayed amidst tragedy.


"World Trade Center" is about real-life superheroes. And Stone may have just performed the super-cinematic feat of his career.

We haven't seen this sort of ideological confusion since the Harriet Myers debacle.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 20, 2006 3:29 PM EDT
blah blah blah REPUBLICAN CRITICISM blah blah blah
Topic: NewsBusters

Like the dog in that Far Side cartoon, Noel Sheppard apparently hears what Chris Matthews is saying only when Matthews is being allegedly critical of Republicans.

A July 20 NewsBusters post by Sheppard claims that in a "Tonight Show" appearnce, Matthews "did more Republican bashing than even he usually does" and went into "Bush-bashing high gear." But Sheppard seems never to have heard of Matthews' long history of praising Republicans (cited here) or his attacks on President Clinton (which his MRC compadres praised him for until it was decided that Matthews makes a better enemy).

Further, Sheppard seems to have missed the segment in Matthews' appearance in which he predicted that "the next president of the United States will be Rudy Giuliani." Last time we checked, Giuliani was a Republican.

Sheppard also misrepresents Matthews by selectively editing his comments. He quotes Matthews as saying, "But I think we want a president, like we grew up in a big city, you know, you grew up near Boston," then stops the quote there to quip: "Hmmm. We need a president that grew up in a big city like Boston. Any questions?" In fact, Matthews continued: "-- four-alarm fire, the police commissioner's there, the police, the fire commissioner's there, the mayor's there. They're standing on the street corner telling us what's going on as they look up at the fire. ... I want a president who's there on the spot." Which is not only a repeat of Matthews' earlier praise of Bush for being "dynamite when he hit the rubble" of the World Trade Center after 9/11 -- though Sheppard saw only "Bush-bashing" when Matthews noted that Bush didn't do that after Hurricane Katrina -- but also an implicit endorsement of the Republican Giuliani.

A tip for Mr. Sheppard: When you issue media criticism, try watching the whole show you're criticizing so that you can put things in their proper, accurate context.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 PM EDT
CNS Adds Ads

Over the past week, has added advertising space to its site. Not a big deal, other than meshing outside advertising with the Media Research Center's 510(c)3 nonprofit tax status, which tends to frown on such things. The MRC seems to have found a way to make it work. If it's OK with the IRS, it's OK with us.

However, in explaining the decision in a letter to readers, CNS editor David Thibault gets a bit too self-aggrandizing. Thibault states that the ads will be screened in order to alleiviate concerns that "our journalistic integrity and independence are being sacrificed." He adds that the revenue will help "expand the already excellent team of reporters and editors at Cybercast News Service who bring you the hard hitting investigative reports and news of the day without the liberal bias that infects so much of the establishment media."

 Of course, given the fact that CNS is a division of a conservative political organization, "integrity" and "independence" are not words normally associated with CNS. And Thibault's blather about "hard hitting investigative reports ... without the liberal bias that infects so much of the establishment media" is merely a code phrase for conservative bias, as we've repeatedly demonstrated.

So, accept all the ads you want, CNS (as long as Brent Bozell and the IRS approve, of course). Just don't pretend you're anything other than what you are.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:57 AM EDT
Breaking: NewsBusters Gives Up On Labeling Chris Matthews As Liberal!
Topic: NewsBusters

Apparently giving up on the idea that Chris Matthews i, in the words of fellow NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, a "San Francisco liberal" with an "ultra-left, San Francisco Chronicle columnist side," Mark Finkelstein has come up with a new appellation for Matthews: "anti-neo-con." Finkelstein even goes so far as to liken Matthews to Pat Buchanan. However, Finkelstein never explains why being "anti-neo-con" is a bad thing.

Does this mean that NewsBusters is admitting the truth that Matthews is not as liberal as it and the rest of the MRC has portrayed him to be?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Meaningless NewsMax Poll Watch
Topic: Newsmax

The surprise isn't that, according to NewsMax's latest meaningless opt-in online poll, "more than nine out of 10 Americans believe the New York Times should be prosecuted for disclosing a secret U.S. program that tracked financial transactions of terror suspects."

The surprise is that  84 percent of poll respondents "would allow civil liberties to be curtailed to help the government fight terrorism" -- a result even NewsMax found "disturbing."

As well it should. These are NewsMax's readers, after all.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:34 PM EDT
NewsBusters' Funhouse Mirror
Topic: NewsBusters

Michael Savage claims that "the American left" is "cheer[ing] that Jews are dying" and that they are "the Nazis of our time." And Ann Coulter responded to the news that someone mailed an envelope of suspicious powder to the New York Times by saying, "So glad to hear that the New York Times got my letter." Keith Olbermann takes note of it, makes some snarky comments.

Run that through Noel Sheppard's conservative filter machine, and this is what pops out in a July 19 NewsBusters post: "On Tuesday’s “Countdown,” host Keith Olbermann chose to virulently attack two of America’s most prominent conservatives in his Worst Person in the World segment: radio host Michael Savage, and author Ann Coulter."

Can we assume that Sheppard endorses Savage's and Coulter's views? On the Coulter statement, yes; a July 18 post, Sheppard declared that it was hilarious.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 PM EDT
Times Issues Correction; Will NewsMax?
Topic: Newsmax

The New York Times has corrected its false portrayal of Hillary Clinton's speech: 

The opening sentence of the article and the headline were based on a misinterpretation of a passage in her speech in which she first referred to the Democrats’ agenda in the Senate and then went on to criticize the actions of the Republican majority in Congress.

She was referring to the Republican-led Congress — not Democrats — when she said: “So we do other things, we do things that are controversial, we do things that try to inflame their base so that they can turn people out and vote for their candidates. I think we are wasting time, we are wasting lives, we need to get back to making America work again, in a bipartisan, nonpartisan way.” 

NewsMax repeated the claims the Times made in its article. Will it now relay the Times' correction to its readers? We'll be watching. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:58 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Aaron Klein, Hard-Hitting War Correspondent
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Glad to see WorldNetDaily Jerusalem reporter Aaron Klein is spending his resources in the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict writing about the hard-hitting stuff: like people who have had "close encounters" with Hezbollah rockets and "escaped unharmed."

Well, if nothing else, it temporarily keeps Klein from using anonymous sources to undermine Ehud Olmert.

UPDATE: Edited to clarify wording.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:40 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 6:39 PM EDT
What the Hell Is Mychal Massie Talking About?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Mychal Massie's July 18 WorldNetDaily column sees him taking a break from hypocritically attacking politicians for using segregationist metaphors that he himself has used. This time, he's smearing a senator and a writer -- but he won't tell us exactly why.

Among the many insults Massie hurls toward Sen. Barbara Boxer and writer Terry J. Allen are "carrion," "the worst kind of human beings," "disgusting pissoirs," and Allen himself gets the appelation "the hanky that catches the spittle from Boxer's lips." Their alleged offense? According to Massie, they hurled "personal, ad-hominem attacks" at American troops, "label[ing] our military as being in a drugged stupor."

But this paraphrase is all Massie tells us about what he's attacking. He doesn't tell us where or when this accusation was made. He doesn't even tell us who Allen is. Such scarcity of supporting information means only one thing: that Massie is hiding facts in order to proceed with his harangue.

What Massie appears to be referring to is a May 17 letter by Boxer to defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld reacting to a Hartford Courant article "detailing stories of American soldiers who are being redeployed to Iraq despite being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other acute mental health conditions." Boxer said: "You cannot simply have doctors prescribe psychiatric drugs such as Zoloft and send these men and women back to a combat zone, where they pose a risk to themselves and to their fellow soldiers." Allen, meanwhile, appears to be targeted by Massie's because he wrote a May 31 article for In These Times on the same subject, noting that such medications given to soliders being redeployed "must be monitored for effectiveness and safety, which is beyond the Army’s capability in Iraq." Oddly, the Hartford Courant escaped Massie's wrath.

So it appears that, despite Massie's claim, Boxer and Allen never said American troops were in a "drugged stupor" but, in fact, expressed an entirely legitimate concern about troops sent back into action before they may be ready. And besides, antidepressants of the Zoloft class (Prozac is similar) do not generally result in "stupors"; insomnia, nausea and sexual dysfunction are much more common side effects. 

Now we know why Massie was so vague about his allegations: if he told the full truth, he wouldn't have had a column this week.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 6:45 PM EDT
Will Klein Apologize?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 17 WorldNetDaily article (unbylined) reports that Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert vowed that "he will fight until the terrorist threats of Hamas and Hezbollah are eliminated."

This appears to contradict what WND reporter Aaron Klein has been telling us all along during this conflict -- that Olmert is too weak to defend Israel and what little he was doing was mostly for show. As part of his strategy to undermine support for Olmert, Klein regularly claimed that Olmert was lying or suppressing information about terror groups, claiming that "Security analysts maintain publicity about terror groups' current missile capabilities in the territories could generate criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria," never naming those analysts or offering any on-the-record evidence to support his claim.

This looks like a good time for Klein to address his readers about his biases, and whether he has changed his mind about Olmert or is just trying to suppress his animus toward him while the Israeli conflict is raging. An apology for his attacks on Olmert would seem to be in order, but apologizing isn't exactly WND's style.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Monday, July 17, 2006
NewsMax Repeats False Times Story
Topic: Newsmax

A July 16 NewsMax article repeats the false claim made in a New York Times article (we thought good conservatives like NewsMax didn't trust the Times) that she warned a gathering of Democrats in Arkansas "to avoid doing things that inflame the state's conservative base."

In fact, as Media Matters reports, Clinton was actually referring to the Republican-led Congress. As a recording of the speech indicates, Clinton said that Republicans in charge of Congress are "wasting time" by focusing on "controversial ... things that try to inflame their base so they can turn people out and vote for their candidates." 

The Times has yet to issue a correction. Here's NewsMax's big chance to stand up for honest, accurate journalism and show up the Times at the same time by pointing out the Times' error and correcting it for its readers.

On second thought, who are we kidding

Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 PM EDT
The Enemy
Topic: NewsBusters
A July 16 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield repeats a Little Green Footballs item attacking a New York Times photo of a Shiite sniper "fir[ing] towards U.S. positions" in Iraq. Sheffield's headline on his post: "Fraternizing with the Enemy."

Is even mere depiction of Iraqi militants -- and this is mere depiction, not glamorization -- an act of treason? In Sheffield's eyes, apparently so. Telling the whole story of the war -- or at least a version that diverges from what conservatives want the public to know -- is apparently frowned upon at the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:37 PM EDT
A Few Questions
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 16 NewsBusters post by Gary Hall is one long, partisan harangue of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. Hall starts off poorly by making a misleading claim about Wilson's New York Times op-ed that eventually resulted in the exposure of his wife, Plame, as a CIA operative. Hall claims that Wilson's op-ed is "so weak that even Dana Milbank, over at the Washington Post is forced to acknowledge in an Oct, 25, 2005 article that: 'Wilson had to admit he had misspoken.' " In fact, Milbank wrote that the inaccuracy for which Wilson apologized was "was not central to Wilson's claims about Niger."

Hall then created a list of questions that "we will not see Tim Russert ask of the principal player in this personal conspiracy to damage the President and the honor of the U. S." Here, he misleads again: the first question starts off by saying, "It seems obvious to many that the decision, by your wife, to send you on this trip, had political overtones from the beginning." In fact, there is no evidence that Plame "sent" Wilson on the trip to Niger; even the Senate Intelligence Committee never asserted more than that Plame "suggested" Wilson for the trip.

 Hall then goes on to ask such less-than-balanced questions as:

-- "Did you and your wife dream up this scheme to attempt to find information to discredit the Administration, in the privacy of your home?"

 -- "Were other Democratic operatives involved from the beginning in hatching this plan?"

 -- "Do you feel shame? Do you feel any remorse? Is there anything in heart that you wish to express to the American public today? An apology, perhaps?"

-- "Your efforts damaged the US effort abroad. It led a few of our allies to abandon us on the ground in Iraq. It caused the administration to spend much vital time being sidetracked on pathetic political sideshow. Are you sorry for the damage which you and your wife have caused?"

In that same spirit, we ask a question of Hall: Did you ever demand that similar questions about schemes to discredit a president, coordination with political operatives, shame and pathetic political sideshows be asked of Paula Jones?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 PM EDT

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