NewsBusters' Greg Sheffield is still hammering away on the Qana conspiracy theory. In an Aug. 4 post, Sheffield lists the evidence he claims supports the theory. His first -- and, therefore, presumably most important -- claim:
The death count at Kana was wildly inflated and reported as fact without any ability of the media to confirm its figures.
As we've previously noted, the death toll after 9/11 was similarly inflated immediately after the event, so this proves nothing.
If that's the best Sheffield's got, we can imagine the veracity of the rest of this claims.
An Aug. 3 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard portrayed a discussion between Alan Colmes and conservative radio host Mark Levin (Sheppard parrots Sean Hannity's description of Levin as "The Great One," then riduculed Colmes for saying, "You know, when I heard 'The Great One,' I thought Jackie Gleason was coming back") as if it were a prize fight:
Colmes tried to recover with his typical left-wing blather about the Mideast conflict:
But this administration has had nothing but disengagement. That's been their policy for the last six years. Clinton was engaged. Carter were engaged. Bush 41 was engaged, with Lawrence Eagleburger. This administration, their policy has been disengagement. Isn't this partly the result of that?
Levin clearly watched videos of his opponent, and was in no way surprised by this strategy. The Great One quickly responded with a series of rights and lefts that Colmes was clearly unprepared for:
LEVIN: Excuse me. Excuse me. Why are you excusing the enemy? Why are you excusing the terrorists?
COLMES: What did I say about the enemy? I'm not talking about the enemy.
LEVIN: Excuse me! Let me finish my...
COLMES: That's not what I said.
LEVIN: Let me finish -- you're blaming George Bush for Hezbollah killing Israelis and...
COLMES: I didn't say that.
Clearly seeing that his opponent was against the ropes, The Great One moved in for the kill:
Excuse me. What do you -- we have 140,000 American troops in Iraq. I would call that engagement! We've got 20,000 American troops in Afghanistan. I would call that engagement!
Eight, nine, ten…The Great One in a first-round knockout.
Let's see -- Levin accused Colmes of saying something he never said (that he was "excusing the enemy"), then used a dishonest misdirection ploy in bringing up Iraq and Afghanistan when Colmes was talking about Israel. How, exactly, is that a "first-round knockout"?
Rather than being an honest fight referee, Sheppard in fact appears to be a pro wrestling referee, the kind who gets so distracted by whatever diversion the heel's cronies are pulling outside of the ring that he's oblivious to the illegal holds the heel is putting on his opponent inside the ring. The WWE could use a guy like Sheppard.
An Aug. 4 NewsMax article by Kenneth Timmerman (posted Aug. 3) buys into the purported Qana conspiracy, repeating claims that photos taken after the bombing were staged.
Timmerman first makes a big deal out of Human Rights Watch revising down its estimate of the death toll in Qana: "It made no apology to Israel for its earlier inflated claims." But inflated death tolls in a mass-death situation like this are not unheard of; a 2003 USA Today article points out that the death toll of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center was listed as more than 6,000 at one point before ultimately arriving at the final toll of less than 3,000. Timmerman further asserts without evidence that Human Rights Watch "appears to have played along with the Hezbollah media manipulation."
Timmerman then cites instances of Associated Press and Reuters photos from Qana that a "British blogger" claimed were "staged." Timmerman makes no apparent attempt to contact AP or Reuters for their response -- or even to bother to excerpt their Aug. 1 response to the "staging" claims, in which they claim that such staging is unlilkely, if not impossible. In fact, that AP article detailing their response to the conspiracy charge appears nowhere on NewsMax, which is an AP client.
Apparently, NewsMax is having a flashback to the Clinton years, when conspiracy theories were rampant and the truth was secondary.
-- Noel Sheppard might want to direct some of his rage at the Washington Post for not sufficiently playing up a Marine's lawsuit against John Murtha in-house: Fellow MRC affiliate CNSNews.com gave the story even worse play, burying it in another Murtha article.
-- Tim Graham bashes Ned Lamont as "ultraliberal" and "far left." He then goes on to describe Lamont as being in favor of things like "racial quotas" (linking to Lamont's position paper supporting affirmative action -- apparently, Graham has never heard of the Bakke case, which outlawed quotas as a condition of affirmative action). And we missed the memo that describes "universal pre-school" as part of the evil "ultraliberal" agenda. Graham then lapses into official Bush-speak in describing Bush's domestic spying program as "terrorist surveillance."
Aaron Klein's latest WorldNetDaily attack on Ehud Olmert comes in the form of an Aug. 3 article that quotes a terrorist as claiming that Olmert's plan to continue "unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria in spite of violence in Lebanon and Gaza" amounts to a "victory" for "Palestinian resistance."
Klein and WND's Joseph Farah should ask himself if their relentlessattacksonOlmert are similarly emboldening terrorists against Israel. They should also explain to their readers why they are trying to undermine the head of Israel at a time of war.
CNS Downplays Own Swift-Boating Role Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 3 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall reports that Sen. Max Cleland will attend a rally for Rep. John Murtha "condemning what they call 'Swift Boat' attacks against Murtha." But Hall minimzed his own role in issuing politically motivated attacks against Murtha.
In January, Hall co-wrote with Marc Morano a pair of stories -- which, as we reported, relied on claims made by political opponents and others who are incapacitated or dead -- attacking Murtha's war record and reviving 25-year-old corruption allegations. As we further noted, CNS editor in chief David Thibault essentially admitted that its attack on Murtha was politically motivated: "He has been placed by the Democratic Party and antiwar activists as a spokesman against the war above reproach."
In fact, Hall's attacks on Murtha are featured on the website of the group Vets for the Truth, whose president, Larry Bailey, he quotes in his article as further attacking Murtha.
But Hall mentions none of this in his article, though his Murtha attacks are linked at the end.
It looks like we can expect numerous future articles by Hall channeling Vets for the Truth's attacks on Murtha as the election season continues.
NewsBusters keeps up the drumbeat of smears against war photographers by accusing them of staging photos. The latest is Bob Owens, who in an Aug. 3 post claimed: "Most people viewing this photo, noticing the shattered toy perched precariously on shattered slabs, are even more convinced it was placed there by human hands, most logically the photographer's."
Evidence to back up this claim? Owens has none.
Makes you wonder, as we have previously, whether NewsBusters is less anti-bias and more anti-journalist.
UPDATE: Owens also blogs at Confederate Yankee, where this post was cross-posted. He's one of the main promulgators of the Qana conspiracy theory. We see that he has called John Murtha "America's most disgusting ex-Marine" -- then jumps further into conspiracy territory by suggesting that an AP report on the Haditha massacre was designed to "distract attention from the lawsuits against Murtha."
All of which suggests Owens' point of view is just a tad biased. Something NewsBusters might want to keep in mind before giving him its megaphone again.
Well, that and the fact that his little conspiracy theory keeps getting shot down.
New Article: Out There: The Hard Right Bank of the Mainstream Topic: CNSNews.com
Lurking among the more respectable columnists at CNSNews.com are hard-right conservatives making extreme statements. Read more.
An Aug. 2 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield suggests that the Associated Press photographers took photos of "dead children in Qana" solely in order to win a $500 weekly prize the AP gives in-house to reporters for exceptional work. Sheffield adds: "Is this what it takes? If we paid them $500 dollars [sic], maybe photographers in the region would take pictures of terrorists hiding behind human shields."
Sheffield might try going to an actual war zone sometime before smearing those who work there as reporters and photographers.
Further, the AP gave a similar $500 award to reporter John Solomon for a misleading article about Harry Reid. Does Sheffield think Solomon misled about Reid for the prize money, too?
UPDATE: What brought this smear on is a dubious claim by conservatives (like Sheffield) that photographers collaborated with Hezbollah in staging pictures of the victims of the Israeli bombing of Qana. Both AP and Reuters point out that such staging is unlikely, if not impossible.
WorldNetDaily -- already on record as trying to undermine Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert -- has moved on to trying to undermine Israel itself with an Aug. 2 article by Alex Traiman that promotes the views of an Israeli politician who claims that Hezbollah is "winning" the conflict with Israel. Isn't this the kind of negative, defeatist coverage that conservatives have bashed the American media for providing on the Iraq war? Yup -- just ask WND columnists Pat Boone, Doug Powers and Craig Smith, for starters.
While Traiman claims that "some politicians" are making this claim, he names and quotes only one, Moshe Feiglin of the Likud party and a group called Jewish Leadership (better known as Manhigut Yehudit). Missing from Traiman's article is any indication of the ideology of Likud or Feiglin. Likud, of course, is a conservative party, which means Feiglin is a conservative as well -- WND, of course has a history of not identifying conservative politicians and parties as such. Feiglin's Wikipedia profile tells us a few things Traiman won't -- that Feiglin holds right-wing positions such as opposing the Oslo accords and favoring the explusion of Palestinians from Israel.
NewsBusters joins today's abortion-bias bandwagon: An Aug. 1 post by Craig Bannister regurgitates a CNSNews.com article that decried Ms. magazine's "I Had An Abortion" petition, which Bannister calls "pro-abortion" (just like CNS) and claiming that the petition "celebrates 33 years of abortions." And, just like CNS, Bannister makes a big deal out of Ms. asking readers "to donate money to the publisher’s pro-abortion advocacy campaign," adding, "If that’s not media bias, what is?" Bannister further claims that anyone who signs the petition is "a pawn of this publication’s political agenda."
What, magazines aren't supposed to have agendas or ask for donations? Somebody get National Review on the phone!
CNS Labeling Bias Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
Wow, the abortion issue is bringing all sorts of bias today. CNSNews.com makes its contribution:
-- An Aug. 1 article by Alison Espach describes Ms. magazine's call for women to sign and online petition stating that "I have had an abortion" the magazine's "latest pro-abortion message" (though Espach lists no previous "pro-abortion messages"), adding that at the end of the petition, "the magazine asks for money." But Espach offers no descriptor at all to the anti-abortion American Life League and fails to note that it too solicits donations.
-- A July 31 article by Melanie Hunter, meanwhile, calls the American Life League a "pro-life group" while devoting all but three paragraphs of her 16-paragraph article on the issue of making a "morning-after" pill available over the counter to opponents of the plan, such as the American Life League.