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Sunday, August 13, 2006
NewsMax Discloses Its Bias, For Once
Topic: Newsmax

In an Aug. 9 column, NewsMax editor and CEO Christopher Ruddy declared that he is "making a donation" to the re-election campaign of Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is running as an independent after losing the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont. This foreshadows lots of pro-Lieberman, anti-Lamont coverage coming from NewsMax.

At least he declared his donation upfront this time. As we documented, NewsMax promoted the nacent candidacy of Mark Foley for a Senate seat in Florida but didn't disclose that Ruddy had donated to his campaign.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 PM EDT
New Conservative Global Warming Meme
Topic: NewsBusters

The anti-global warming folks -- apparently feeling a bit sensitive to charges that they are being funded by oil companies and other fossil-fuel purveyors -- have initiated a counterresponse: We don't get that much money from them, and anyway, it doesn't go toward countering the idea of global warming.

An Aug. 13 NewsBusters post by Amy Ridenour demonstrates this approach. Ridenour is CEO of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think-tank responsible for the conservative black group Project 21 and, thus, the hypocritical Mychal Massie (she is also one of the peripheral players in the Jack Abramoff scandal). In reproducing an exchange of letters between her and Long Beach News-Telegram columnist Tom Hennessy rebutting a column he wrote about the Al Gore movie "An Inconvenient Truth." In it, Hennessy had noted that one global warming skeptic, Tim Ball, "is promoted by the National Center for Public Policy Research, which has received funding from ExxonMobil." Ridenour's response:

This makes it appear as though Dr. Ball received cash from us, and by extension ExxonMobil, when in fact all we did was reprint a small amount of his writing on one of our websites.


As it happens, Dr. Ball has never received a penny from us, and our support from ExxonMobil amounts to less than one percent of our budget. This leaves Dr. Ball with zero percent of less than one percent. Not much! Yet, apparently, worthy of note in the press. 

This approach manages to be only slightly less head-in-the-sand that fellow NewsBuster Matthew Sheffield's skepticism that ExxonMobil funded the group that paid for an anti-Al Gore video posted to YouTube.

Ridenour also took issue with Hennessy's claim that Ball "is in high demand by the front groups sponsored by the fossil fuel industry":

A more factual description more likely is that, over a two-year period, a retired academic spoke once time each to two of Canada's most prestigious think-tanks, and co-wrote a paper for one of them. 

All of this, of course, is obfuscation. Ridenour hammers away at imprecise specific claims in an attempt to undermine larger assumptions that are essentially true. None of what Ridenour has said refutes the fact that fossil-fuel companies are funding conservative groups who promote global warming skepticism. And Ridenour's narrow definition of "in high demand" doesn't mean that Ball is not actively promoting his skeptical views with the help of conservative think tanks like Ridenour's.

Ridenour further attacked Hennessy for "intend[ing] to undermine Dr. Ball's credibility as an honest scientist," but there are some warning flags that Ridenour declines to mention. The DeSmog Blog notes that despite promoting himself as "the first Canadian PhD in Climatology," the record suggests a paucity of published scholarly research on the subject. Another entry makes the point clearer, claiming that "Dr. Ball has not published any research in a peer-reviewed science journal in the last 20 years."

The blog also notes that Ball "has been criss-crossing the country in a campaign to undermine public support for the scientific proof behind human-caused climate change," which suggests that he is in "high demand" by somebody.  

Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 AM EDT
Friday, August 11, 2006
NewsBusters' False Suggestion About Wiretapping
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Aug. 11 NewsBusters post noting how data intercepts played a role in the foiling of the British terror plot, Greg Sheffield falsely suggests that those critical of the Bush administration domestic spying program opposed all domestic surveillance.

In fact, as Media Matters pointed out when RNC chairman Ken Mehlman similarly claimed that Democrats oppose "NSA technology," such a claim is a straw man. Critics of the NSA eavesdropping program were never opposed to all eavesdropping (and we doubt Sheffield can provide us with a major politican who does believe that); the problem is that the NSA was apparently operating outside the bounds of established U.S. law.

Perhaps Sheffield should lay off the GOP talking points and try the novel approach of reporting facts.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:09 PM EDT
Some Conspiracy Theoires Are More Equal Than Others
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters takes Keith Olbermann to task for "pushing conspiracy theories questioning whether the Bush administration has politically timed terror alerts or the release of terrorism-related stories for political advantage" even as it promotes others, such as the idea that the "mainstream media" is collaborating with Hezbollah.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:02 PM EDT
Best. Disclosure. Ever.
Topic: has been, among the ConWeb, the most conscientious about disclosing potential conflicts of interests in its news article (though that is something of a low standard since WorldNetDaily and NewsMax basically don't do it at all). The disclosure at the end of an Aug. 11 article by Nathan Burchfiel promoting the results of a poll conducted by a "conservative grassroots organization" called may well be the most comprehensive we've ever seen on the ConWeb:

(Editor's Note: The Media Research Center, parent organization of Cybercast News Service, has previously utilized the marketing services of, a for-profit Internet Services Provider affiliated with Neither nor the Media Research Center were contacted about, or exercised any influence over the content or publication of this report.)

While Burchfiel's article doesn't address the fact that has a point of view to peddle on the issue of immigration and that its poll used biased language such as "illegal alien" to help skew it toward Grassfire's desired results, the disclaimer is a thing of beauty that WorldNetDaily and NewsMax could take lessons from.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 PM EDT
A Curious Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Aug. 10 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah makes a curious claim: that he was the one who came up with the name "Night Stalker" for serial killer Richard Ramirez while working for the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner:

In fact, I am the guy that dubbed Ramirez as the "Night Stalker." Naming serial killers in California was a big deal. There were lots of them, so editors had many opportunities. Believe it or not, before I came up with "Night Stalker," he was most frequently called the "Valley Intruder." There was no way somebody called the "Valley Intruder" could terrify Los Angeles like this guy did. I knew I could top that one.

So not only is Farah in charge of a website that stands for truth, justice and the American way, he comes up with catchy names for serial killers.

We're not sure how true this claim is; a Google search is turning lots of false positives, since actor Jamie Farr was born Jameel Joseph Farah and played a role in the 1970s TV show "Kolchak: The Night Stalker."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Rule (Indirectly) Responds
Topic: NewsBusters

Apparently, it's NewsBusters policy never to acknowledge the existence of critics (or, at the very least, us), so Michael Rule used a Free Republic post to respond to our noting of his smear of a dead woman. And even then, it's not much of a response: "Guess I should have praised the LA Times for heading her obit: 'Lifelong Communist Fought for Working People.'"

Rule does not know the deceased (or has given no indication that he does) and, thus, has no personal animus against her. If he has any examples of this woman personally exhibiting "monstrous tyranny," he has not enumerated them. What the LA Times ran is not a news story; it's an obituary. It's hardly an example of "liberal bias" to say nice things about a recently deceased woman. If Rule feels the need to besmirch her memory because all communists must be criticized all the time, whatever. Just don't confuse airing one's personal biases and opinions with "media research," even though that's what NewsBusters does on a regular basis.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Finkelstein vs. Finkelstein
Topic: NewsBusters

"There is a noteworthy MSM tendency to downplay the gravity of terrorist acts by suggesting that they are local, home-grown incidents rather than forming part of international conspiracies."

-- Mark Finkelstein, NewsBusters post, 7:58 a.m. Aug. 10

"Made-in-the-UK Islamic radicals are trying to murder people ..."

-- Mark Finkelstein, NewsBusters post, 3:45 p.m. Aug. 10

Posted by Terry K. at 4:46 PM EDT
Penis-Obsessed Blogger Joins NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

Jeff Goldstein has joined NewsBusters' stable of bloggers. His inaugural post (cross-posted at his Protein Wisdom blog) makes the following penetrating observation:

[Ned] Lamonts’ [sic] supporters are to moderates what Jeffrey Dahmer was to gourmands: just because they believe themselves to be the arbiters of political taste doesn’t make them anything more than simple partisan cannibals.

Like Cinnamon Stillwell -- who NewsBusters dropped after we exposed her pro-terrorist sympathies -- Goldstein has a history of controversial statements. Unlike Stillwell, a significant number of them involve his penis (as Sadly, No! documents):

Wonder if he’d like to feel my dick slapping him across his face.

It means what it means, you wannabe-tough baby pussy. Specifically, that if you want to call me a chickenhawk to my face, I’ve added you to my AIM (you haven’t reciprocated) so that I can get your personal info, or give you mine, and we can arrange a meet up.At which point, after I beat you like a bitch, I will hold you down and smack you across the face repeatedly with my cock.

Pancakes? Bisquick and water.Now about spanking Kevin’s across his face with my cock…

 ... and the penises of others:

Atrios awakens—simultaneously aroused and a bit ashamed—to find his stumpy Duncan jr. still semi-tumescent, his sheets puddled and tacky from a longing that, alas, millions of slackjawed Rethuglican voters refuse to let come to pass…

Steve Green is to blogging what John Holmes was to enormous penises.

howsabout you just glue on a bit of the foreskin you snip off the next transient you blow, then try to blend.

I think I just heard one of Dan Rather’s testicles climb up into his abdomen.

Riiiight. Like I’m going to answer that and let you finish getting yourself off.Sorry. You’re going to have to insert some other guy’s cockswallowing into your masturbatory fantasies.

Tell me, Bart? Do you masturbate to mental images of yourself standing astride the world, being noble?Tell me, Bart, were you whacking off to thoughts of yourself fightin’ the good fight as you typed out that comment?—slapping your half-hard joint against your thigh to the mental strains of Country Joe and the Fish? Did you squirt all over that pic of Joe Wilson looking all Bond-like in Vanity Fair right as you wrote “little bitch”?

What’s the matter—can’t use the shift key with you [sic] cock in your fist?Fuck off.

Goldstein has also described those who disagree with him as "dickless fucktards," "a world class cock" and "fucking turnip-headed dickslurpers."

Welcome to NewsBusters, Jeff. Just don't let Brent Bozell you're posting there; he has a thing about naughty words.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 PM EDT
Today's Love Letter from Kessler
Topic: Newsmax

Another day, another love letter to the Bush administration from NewsMax's Ronald Kessler. This time, it's a fawning profile of Office of Management and Budget deputy director Clay Johnson III. It features this hard-hitting insight:

Analyzing why Bush makes his trademark smirk or half smile, a gesture that many take as a sign of arrogance, Johnson says it's a manifestation of Bush's inability to act or pretend. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
A Tale of Two Stories

A pair Aug. 9 article nicely illustrate the news service's conservative slant.

The first article, by Susan Jones, reports on incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman's loss to the more liberal Ned Lamont. It's actually somewhat balanced, including response from Lamont but also some predictable Democrat-bashing from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The second article, also by Jones, features the same situation in reverse -- a Republican House primary in Michigan in which the incumbent, Joe Schwartz, lost to a more conservative challenger, Tim Walberg. But Jones quoted only Walberg supporters hailing the win and bashing Schwartz; nobody from Schwartz's camp, let alone anyone from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was apparently contacted for comment.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:28 PM EDT
Poe vs. Poe
Topic: Horowitz

Richard Poe -- last seen here telling lies and distortions about Hillary Clinton -- took on Media Matters' (my employer) deconstruction of the book he co-wrote with David Horowitz smearing George Soros, "The Shadow Party" -- and immediately contradicted himself.

In an entry on the blog (repeated at two other Poe blogs, though his eponymous site appears to be dormant), Poe insisted that when he and Horowitz refer to Soros a Nazi "collaborator," "[w]e do not judge or condemn Mr. Soros for youthful actions taken under duress, and in fear for his life." Of course, Poe then goes on to do precisely that:

Indeed, boys as young as Soros commonly served in those years in underground resistance movements and partisan bands from icy Norway to sunbaked Crete. That path was open to Soros, if he chose it.

He chose a different path instead, murky, sinuous, and fraught with moral peril. Once embarked upon that path, he would never leave it. He walks it to this day.

We're looking forward to their long-awaited response to the Media Matters item, which we suspect will be chock full of similar contradictory logic.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 9, 2006 1:00 PM EDT
NewsBusters Misleads on Controversial Statement
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Aug. 8 NewsBusters post suggesting that ESPN writer Jason Whitlock's comment on what he called the NFL's "officiating crisis" -- "It's ridiculous to have 50 year-old white guys chasing after 25-year old black guys" -- was racially insensitive, Mark Finkelstein claimed that Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry was "reprimanded by the Air Force Academy and forced to issue an apology" for saying that black football players "can run very, very well."

But Finkelstein misrepresents the nature of the controversy over what DeBerry had said. In fact, according to the article Finkelstein cited as evidence of his claim, DeBerry had implied that his team lost a game because the other team "had a lot more Afro-American players than we did, and they ran a lot faster than we did," further noting that "You don't see many minority athletes in our program." Indeed, DeBerry said in his apology that he was apologizing "for remarks I made recently about minority recruitment." His saying that black football players "can run very, very well" was never the issue in and of itself, as Finkelstein claimed.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:00 PM EDT
Horowitz Smears Dead Woman
Topic: Horowitz

Apparently, people with non-conservative ideologies aren't allowed to rest in peace, if David Horowitz has anything to say about it.

Repeating the kind of sensitivity he showed after the death of Peter Jennings, Horowitz joined NewsBusters in insisting that an Los Angeles Times obituary attack the deceased's political views. The entirety of Horowitz's blog post:

How the LA Times says goodbye to a Communist who dedicated her life to mass murderers and enemies of freedom

The obituary is here. I don't think it needs any comment.

We have one: Why do you feel the need to attack the dead, David?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 AM EDT
Stuff We Overlooked
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A few weeks back, the Washington Post did an article on the Alliance Defense Fund, the conservative legal group for which WorldNetDaily serves as a public-relations agent. Eye-opening stat: ADF's annual budget is $20 million. 

And gee, look, here's yet another WND article that largely regurgitates an ADF press release and makes no attempt to tell the other side of the story.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT

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