Bartholomew serves up the background of Ted Flynn, who wrote the New World Order conspiracy book that WorldNetDaily is currently promoting.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
WND Likens Homeschool Critics to Nazis
The headline and lead paragraph of a Sept. 29 WorldNetDaily article makes a point of noting that a German ban on homeschooling is a "Nazi-era ban."
Does somebody want readers to think that anyone who criticizes homeschooling is acting like a Nazi? It sure seems that way.
CNS Ratchets Up Murtha-Bashing
It looks like CNSNews.com's targeted candidate for attack is Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha. It started with a partisan attack on Murtha's war record that quoted disgruntled political opponents, the incapacitated and the dead, followed by playing up the Swift Boat-esque claims of his opponents for re-election -- which just happen to nicely coincide with CNS' earlier attack.
A pair of CNS articles continue the trend. A Sept. 29 article by Randy Hall -- co-author of the earlier attack pieces -- strangely goes after a Murtha supporter who has criticized the attack on Murtha's record, particularly his Purple Hearts, by saying that "it matters not whether it's a broken toenail or a slug to the brain" that earns a soldier a Purple Heart. Hall actually serves up a little honesty here, admitting that the attack on Murtha in his previous article was done by "several political opponents," though we suspect Hall refuses to count himself among them, even though he essentially is.
This was joined by a Sept. 29 commentary by CNS editor in chief David Thibault, who is much more explicit about his partisan agenda than Hall, calling him "Mad-Dog Murtha." It's clear from his commentary that Thibault is using CNS to bach Murtha for the simple act of daring to criticize President Bush and the Iraq war, calling him "crass" and "selfish" for doing so and insisting that "politics is behind every word Murtha utters."
Thibault writes: "If Murtha and his ilk lose another national election on Nov. 7, will they finally get a clue and stop politicizing the war in Iraq?" The question makes the assumption that Republicans are not similarly politicizing the war -- neither side of which Thibault offers any evidence to support. In fact, one can say that by attacking Murtha for speaking out, Thibault himself is politicizing the war.
Thibault and CNS have another month to shovel out this sort of bias, so fasten your seat belts.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Ruddy's Favorite Politician Resigns
Florida Rep. Mark Foley has resigned his seat amid allegations of inappropriate e-mails he wrote to a teenage male page.
Foley, a Republican, is a politician whom NewsMax has championed. As we documented, NewsMax editor and CEO Christopher Ruddy donated $1,000 to Foley's campaign in 2003 -- then, two days later, NewsMax published an article laudatory of Foley and his chances in a campaign to seek a U.S. Senate seat.
Initial coverage of Foley's resignation by NewsMax has thus far stuck to wire articles -- the first one of which, as near as we can tell, is the first time NewsMax has mentioned the page e-mail controversy.
Speaking of Suckling ...
Greg Sheffield takes a swipe at my employer in a Sept. 29 NewsBusters post:
In fact, Media Matters has not received funding directly from a Soros-controlled organization, though it has received funding from a group that has.
But what would Sheffield and the MRC do should the dark day come that it no longer has a, say, Richard Mellon Scaife to suckle on? Do tell, Greg.
Riehl's Double Standard
Smear-mongering blogger Dan Riehl blunders in on the George Allen n-word controversy with a Sept. 29 NewsBusters post that's a classic misdirection tactic: accusing Allen's opponent, James Webb, of doing the exact same thing. The post is a compliation of claims made by other right-wing bloggers, among them quotes from Webb's works of fiction -- which of course prove nothing about Webb the man, even though Riehl tried to portray it as "basically admitting the N word has flowed from his lips."
Riehl also does what his NewsBusters and MRC colleagues have bashed the "liberal media" for doing in regard to the accusations against Allen: exluded Webb's denial that he has ever "used it as a racial epithet aimed at anyone" or contradictory claims by Webb acquaintances.
Shouldn't NewsBusters practice what it preaches?
WND on O'Reilly: Alarmist, Misleading Claims
WorldNetDaily seems curiously unenthusiastic about promoting after the fact the appearance by news editor Joe Kovacs on the Sept. 27 edition of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" to discuss the (female) teacher-student sexpidemic! -- there's no summary, transcript of video clip. (Maybe they're still a little touchy about the falling-out between O'Reilly and WND, where O'Reilly's syndicated column got its start.) We don't have the bandwidth to host video, but we have the transcript (corrected against the video), and it shows the thinness of the accusations WND has hurled.
Kovacs began by making alarmist claims:
When O'Reilly asked Kovacs to "put it in perspective"-- something WND has never done -- Kovacs hedges, offering no data to back up his claims but instead insisting that in the "hundreds of newspapers" they monitor they "saw case after case of women having sex with their students." In other words, it's still solely anecdotal.
Finally, though, we get an inkling of what's behind WND's obsession with female teachers. Kovacs cited research by Kansas State University's Bob Shoop showing that adult females convicted of having sex with male students receive significantly less severe jail sentences (or merely probation) than adult males convicted of having sex with female students.
But Shoop also notes that there is a "proliferation of reporting" about such incidents, which doesn't necessarily correlate into an actual increase in incidents; "There were almost no reports of those events during the time that children actually were abused." The Shoop press release also notes that "no national studies exist to discuss how prevalent a problem it truly is." In other words, WND has no factual basis upon which to declare that female teacher-student sex is "rampant" because they have no baseline (and, as we've pointed out, they are also mixing incidents from 15 years ago with current ones).
Further, a Nov. 29, 2005, USA Today article cited Shoops as a source in claiming that "In the past 18 months, at least 25 cases nationwide involved female teachers molesting students." That's the first solid number we've seen -- WND has never offered one -- which doesn't exactly sound like an epidemic.
Both O'Reilly and Kovacs then appear to decide that the reason these women are getting less jail tme than their male counterparts was that the "glamour-model type" of teacher are somehow flummoxing the judges into doing so. And then O'Reilly gets even more bizarre:
Yep -- O'Reilly lived up to our billing as the perfect venue for Kovacs' misleading, alarmist claims.
UPDATE: Reworded final graf to make a little more sense.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Farah Wrong on Somalia Withdrawal
In his Sept. 28 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah claimed that Bill Clinton was "seething with nearly uncontrollable inner rage" during his interview with Chris Wallace, adding that "he was, as usual, dead wrong in nearly everything he said." As an example, Farah cited the following:
Glenn Greenwald has several names of Republicans who wanted an immediate withdrawal from Somalia. Anyone think Farah will acknowledge this?
Five Sources = 'Unsubstantiated'
From a Sept. 28 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham:
Um, Tim? Isn't "at least five" sources making the same claim sorta the opposite of "unsubstantiated"?
UPDATE: This somehow made the CyberAlert, too.
On Opposing Women in Combat
In a Sept. 26 NewsBusters post defending George Allen against a New York Times article detailing the N-word allegations against him by calling them "shaky," Tim Graham notes: "The Times never did more than two paragraphs on the Allen campaign's distribution of an article in which [Allen's Democratic opponent, James] Webb opposed women in combat." But if that's such a horrible thing, why does his employer, the Media Reserarch Center, promote a leading critic of women in combat?
A search of the CNSNews.com search engine for the name Elaine Donnelly returns 77 hits. Donnelly is the president of the Center for Military Readiness, whose signature issue is opposition to women in combat. While Donnelly is mostly quoted offering praise to the military and opposing gays in the military, CNS has devoted articles to the anti-women-in-the-military cause:
A May 2004 article quoted Connelly calling photos of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison "exactly what feminists have dreamed of for years ... That demeaning photo of a female soldier with an Iraqi man on a leash - a woman had to have taken that picture." The article, by David Thibault (then CNS managing editor, now editor), goes on to document a bizarre anti-feminist rant by Donnelly:
The MRC has had no apparent problem opposing women in combat before, and it's shown itself to be quite willing to use an extremist to make that case -- which, as Donnelly's rant shows, makes Webb's statements about women in combat 25 years ago (the ones Graham was hoping Webb would get in trouble for saying) seem tame by comparison.
NewsMax Gives Allen The Usual Defense
When in doubt, blame the liberal media.
A Sept. 27 unbylined NewsMax "analysis" examines the case of George Allen. Unsurprisingly, it peddles the usual NewsMax bias, portraying Allen as the victim of a "liberal media" conspiracy:
NewsMax claims the controversy over Allen is "what he did or did not say 30 years ago as a college student." That's a double standard, of course; NewsMax spent a lot of time being livid over what Hillary Clinton "did or did not say 30 years ago" using witnesses more partisan and less reliable than those accusing Allen of using the N-word, as we've documented.
NewsMax then goes on to quickly dispense of the infamous "macaca" incident by succinctly stating, "He quickly apologized for the gaffe." Well, not exactly; in fact, Allen has offered a series of occasionally contradictory explanations for his use of the word.
The article makes sure to point out that one of the persons accusing Allen of saying the N-word is a Democrat and the other "was a registered Democrat from 1988 until 2004." But as we reported when NewsMax played up allegations that Hillary Clinton called someone a "(expletive) Jew bastard" in 1974, NewsMax never saw fit to point out to its readers that two of the people making the accusation were Clinton's political enemies and the target of the alleged slur was a disbarred lawyer who had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that led to seizures, addiction to prescription pain killers, erratic behavior and memory loss who had written a letter to Clinton begging her forgiveness for saying things about her "without factual foundation."
Under the subhead "Changing, Baseless Allegations," NewsMax noted that political analyst Larry Sabato as restating his claim that he heard Allen say the N-word to merely concluding it "based on the very credible testimony I have heard for weeks, mainly from people I personally know and knew in the '70s." Changing, perhaps, but not exactly baseless.
And to counter a claim that Allen stuffed a severed deer's head into a mailbox at a black-owned house, NewsMax claimed that "two sheriff's deputies in Louisa County who were on the force in the early 1970s said they could not recall any complaints about severed animal heads." But the article does not quote anyone as having reported that incident to authorities at the time, so what the deputies say is irrelevant. So, again, the allegation is still not baseless.
Why is NewsMax investing such effort in defending Allen? Because it promoted him as a top 2008 presidential prospect, as it recounts:
Then again, as we've also noted, NewsMax defended Bernard Kerik until his corruption proved too much for even NewsMax to ignore.
UPDATE: Remember, too, that NewsMax also defended the heck out of Jeanine Pirro. That's all done now, too; NewsMax ran a Sept. 27 AP article detailing Pirro's attempts to work with -- that's right -- Bernard Kerik to figure out a way to wiretap her philandering husband.
Meanwhile, NewsMax has added a Sept. 28 column by Kathleen Antrim making the same point as the NewsMax analysis: The liberal media is out to get Allen, "the only true Reagan-conservative in a position to win the presidency in 2008."
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Perhaps She Should've Brought This Up With Her Therapist
A Sept. 25 NewsBusters post by Stacy L. Harp (whose day job involves being a publicist for Christian causes) starts off criticizing coverage of a Family Research Council-sponsored gathering of right-wingers in Washington, but for some reason, she turns it into an attack on her own family.
Harp stated that religious-right luminaries like Jerry Falwell and James Dobson " have put their faith into action and many have paid the price by being beaten and battered by the liberal media who have no clue what love for others is like because they are so beholden to their worldview of self-centeredness." She then latched onto that theme, claiming that if the so-called liberal media "could’ve gotten outside of their self-centeredness, then they would be able to see that this whole movement about values and how Christians and conservatives vote is about others and not the self centered “me-generation” that so many of them are a part of." Then it got personal:
Do Harp's parents know she's bad-mouthing them in public? And what do her personal issues have to do with "media research," anyway?
NewsBusters Misleads about Gergen
Two NewsBusters items -- a Sept. 25 post by Al Brown and a Sept. 26 Gaggle cartoon -- misleadingly portrayed David Gergen, in an appearance on NBC's Nightly News, as offering a blanket defense of President Clinton regarding his interview with Chris Wallace. Brown described him only as a "former Clinton staffer"; the Gaggle cartoon, by Greg Sheffield, portrays Nightly News anchor Brian Williams saying of Gergen, "He used to work for Bill Clinton. We both agree that what Clinton did was not that bad, especially since Gergen taught him that."
Neither post notes Gergen's history of working for Republicans, specifically his seven years in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan adminstrations. And Media Matters has documented instances of Gergen serving up conservative misinformation. This suggests he's not exactly a liberal shill.
Another Sept. 26 NewsBusters post, by Brent Baker (repeated as a CyberAlert item), doesn't label Gergen but highlights only Gergen's statements defending Clinton in his Nightly News appearance. In fact, Gergen also said that "the question, from Chris's point of view, I'm sure, was legitimate" and noted that "there are some Republicans salivating over that clip because you don't usually see a President that angry, even a former one."
Life Imitates 'The Daily Show'
-- "The Daily Show," Sept. 25
-- Rich Galen, CNSNews.com column, Sept. 27
NewsMax's Misguided Defense of O'Reilly
A Sept. 25 NewsMax article launched a defense of Bill O'Reilly's new book "Culture Warrior" by attacking Media Matters' deconstruction of the book's errors and attacks -- but never actually getting around to disproving anything in the Media Matters review. (The article has a "NewsMax.com Wires" byline, though we could not find -- nor could we imagine -- any self-respecting wire service serving up such an article.)
First on NewsMax's agenda, though, is attack mode. It makes sure to bash Media Matters as "lef-wing" and "developed with the help of the George Soros-backed advocacy organization, Center for American Progress" (gotta throw in that Soros bogeyman, doncha know).
Then it starts going off the tracks. The article asserts that Media Matters "led the way Monday" with its review -- but it was posted to the Media Matters site on Friday, three days earlier. NewsMax then states:
But NewsMax's description of the book contradicts nothing that Media Matters wrote about it; nowhere in the article does NewsMax address any of the specific claims Media Matters made. The article adds that "a look at what he has to say in the book about some of those he targets shows that in the end, he is 'fair and balanced.'" But the excerpts NewsMax cites don't exactly bear that out; for instance, it quotes O'Reilly calling Al Franken "a man without scruples, a far-left fanatic whose brand of unbridled hatred is sound-bite ready and media friendly," Michael Moore "[t]he clown prince of the secular-progressive movement" and Bill Moyers "Perhaps the farthest-left broadcaster in the history of television." That sounds a lot more like the "ad hominem attacks" Media Matters describes than the "fair and balanced" descriptions NewsMax seems to think they are.
But the whole point of this exercise is to sell books. NewsMax is unloading "Culture Warrior" for $4.99 plus a free trial subscription to its magazine that you must opt out of in order to avoid being charged $39 for a year's subscription.
(Full disclosure: I am a Media Matters employee.)
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