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Friday, October 20, 2006
Record-High Hypocrisy Continues
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 20 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd complained that CBS' Katie Couric "the Dow's record close above 12,000."

As we've noted the last time Shepherd did this, the Dow's "record close" is not a record when adjusted for inflation. That's important because Shepherd's MRC cohorts were apoplectic earlier this year when news outlets reported on record high oil prices because they weren't when adjusted for inflation.

UPDATE: Shepherd's article on the same subject at the MRC's Business & Media Institute similarly trumpets that "[t]he Dow Jones Industrial Average set an all time record" without adjusting for inflation.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:34 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2006 4:30 PM EDT
Morgan's Dishonest Rhetorical Tactics
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In her Oct. 20 WorldNetDaily column, Melanie Morgan follows WND's lead by citing only extreme examples of criticism of her new anti-Cindy Sheehan book, "American Mourning," and portraying it as representative of all criticism. Linking to an Oct. 19 WND article claiming that "Cindy Sheehan fans" are "calling one of the authors 'fat.' They are calling another one a 'whore.' They are using the 'b-word' about both of them. And those are the calmer reactions" -- taken from a single comment thread on a liberal website -- Morgan claims that "Cindy Sheehan's supporters are furious that this book has been published, and they are doing everything they can to stop this message from being heard by the American public."

This is a cheap, dishonest rhetorical tactic that WND likes to use; as we've noted, it did so in its promotion of WND managing editor David Kupelian's book "The Marketing of Evil."

Morgan further claims that her book "tells the truth (both the good and the bad) about Cindy Sheehan," but not only does Morgan have a history of harsh criticism of Sheehan, she offers no example of anything good she has written about Sheehan. Further, that Oct. 19 WND article specifically states that Morgan's book is "highly critical of the anti-war figure."

Morgan's use of such dishonest tactics to promote her book belie her claims that her book tells "the truth" and reinforce the perception that it's all about performing a smear job on Sheehan.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EDT
AIM's Game of Semantics, Cont'd
Topic: Accuracy in Media

An Oct. 19 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid lashed CBS' Bob Schiffer for failing to "get his facts straight." What was Schieffer's sin? Running afoul of Kincaid's game of semantics over the CIA's secret prisons.

Continuing the war of parsed words he has been waging for months, Kincaid claimed that Schieffer "accused President Bush of operating CIA 'secret prisons' when no evidence of them has been produced by anyone. What President Bush has acknowledged is that the CIA held them in its 'custody.' " He continued:

A more accurate description of where they were held would be secret "sites." That's the term Matt Lauer used when he interviewed Bush. Perhaps they could be termed "detention" facilities of some kind. Clearly, the terrorists were held somewhere. But "prisons" is a loaded term that implies something like an Alcatraz or Sing-Sing, with guards and towers and hundreds of inmates. There's no evidence of that. In fact, only a few terrorists were ever held at any one point by the CIA.

As we've noted, Kincaid and his AIM buddies didn't demand such precision when its target was President Clinton, freely tossing around the term "perjury" when he was never charged, let alone convicted, of it -- which makes Kincaid's claim that "For us, it's a matter of factual journalism" a tad hollow. And insisting that a euphemistic term like "sites" is "more accurate" betrays his documented history of railing against euphemisms.

But ultimately, Kincaid lets the truth slip out: "How can we win the battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world when we are saddled with a media that exaggerate the nature of a secret program in order to make the U.S. look bad?"

And that's really his problem: It's not accuracy, it's image. He doesn't want Bush to "look bad." He doesn't seem to understand that a prison doesn't have to look like Alcatraz to be a prison.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EDT
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Sheppard Misleads -- Again -- on Poll Breakdown
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 19 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard once again misleadingly attacks a poll for the sin of having a political breakdown of respondents that reflects reality.

Sheppard wrote the following about a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll:

For example, as is typical these days, news organizations don’t like to share the political affiliations of those questioned. Certainly, you can’t blame them, for this might give the public some pause to trust the veracity of the data. This instance was no exception, for those that were either “strong Democrat,” “Not very strong Democrat,” or “Independent/lean Democrat” totaled 43 percent of the respondents. The tally for “Strong Republican,” “Not very strong Republican,” and “Independent/lean Republican” was only 37 percent. As such, 16 percent more Democrats or those who leaned Democrat were polled versus Republicans and those who leaned Republican. Color me not surprised.

But as we pointed out the last time Sheppard complained about this, he shouldn't be surprised because that breakdown is an accurate reflection of the American public. Even Republican strategist (and columnist for the MRC's Rich Galen admits that "[i]n the general population, those who claim to be Democrats outweigh those who claim to be Republicans by 7 to 9 percentage points." It skews the poll to have an even number of Democrats and Republicans, as Sheppard demands.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:03 PM EDT
Curt Weldon, Jack Cashill, and Grumpy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Oct. 19 WorldNetDaily column, Jack Cashill dances mostly avoids discussing the FBI investigation involving Rep. Curt Weldon by once again tossing up the Clinton Shadow Government smokescreen, as he has in two previous columns. But when Cashill does finally get around to mentioning it, he paints it as -- surprise! -- a conspiracy:

The FBI investigation, by the way, was inspired by a story in the Los Angeles Times two years ago. If there were ever a textbook case of how a liberal media can drive a political agenda, this is it.

The complicity goes deeper still. In its reporting, the Associated Press, like other mainstream media, insinuates that if these last-minute revelations about Weldon's daughter were politically motivated – puhleeze! – it is likely that the Bush administration is behind them.

Weldon "has clashed with the Bush administration," reports the AP, a contention that it repeats in its article on Oct. 16. This is pure red herring. The shadow government, which has been undercutting the Bush White House since Jan. 20, 2001, has left its fingerprints all over this story.

Of course, Cashill offers no evidence that the CSG is driving the investigation; the FBI, after all, is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, headed by Bush appointee Alberto Gonzales. Nor does Cashill contradict any of the allegations against Weldon beyond painting them as a conspiracy.

Cashill also claims that "When I met with Weldon in late July, he expressed interest in going deeper still, but he conceded too that the Clinton shadow government (CSG) was working hard to bring him down." But what about Grumpy?

According to TPM Muckraker, a retired FBI agent and Weldon supporter, Gregory Auld, said that "a man at a local gym, whom he calls 'Grumpy,' because he doesn't know his name, told him that three weeks ago, a guy in a Sestak T-shirt (Auld doesn't know this guy's name, either) said 'something big' would happen to Weldon in three weeks."

We have to wonder: Is Cashill hanging out with Grumpy, too?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:53 PM EDT
AIM's Cinnamon Girl
Topic: Accuracy in Media

For the second time in six weeks, Accuracy in Media has printed an opinion column by Cinnamon Stillwell -- on Sept. 5 and again on Oct. 18.

As we've documented, Stillwell has defended the extremist Jewish Defense League, a group with a history of violence, as well as Earl Krugel, a JDL member who plotted to bomb a California mosque and a field office of Republican congressman Darrell Issa.

In her Sept. 5 column, Stillwell wrote that "online journalists and bloggers have now ascended to the throne of legitimacy." Should AIM really be in the business of conferring legitimacy on a terrorist supporter like Stillwell? 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
Corsi: Disclosure At Last
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It took nearly a week and four anti-Ted Strickland columns, but the bio at the end of Jerome Corsi's latest WorldNetDaily hit piece on Strickland finally acknowledges that Corsi co-wrote a book with Strickland's opponent for Ohio governor, Ken Blackwell. This disclosure now retroactively applies to all of Corsi's previous Strickland-bashing columns.

Why did it take so long for Corsi and WND to submit to universally accepted journalistic ethics? We have to wonder if there isn't some other ties to Blackwell's campaign beyond the book -- or coordination in serving as Blackwell's media errand boy -- that Corsi is hiding. 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
NewsBusters Nonsense
Topic: NewsBusters

-- Scott Whitlock complains that CNN’s "American Morning" "featured over 18 minutes of coverage" of the Mark Foley scandal, but "there were no reports on the unfolding controversy of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his questionable land deal." In related news, Whitlock -- nor any other NewsBusters blogger -- still has not mentioned Republican Dennis Hastert's even more questionable land deal.

-- Dave Pierre suggests that David Kuo's accusations that the Bush administrations secretly derided evangelical Christians behind their backs and formed an office of faith-based initiatives for purely political purposes can't be trusted because was once a campaign volunteer for former representative Joseph Kennedy and an intern for Sen. Edward Kennedy.

-- Mark Finkelstein takes exception to Chris Matthews' statement that the Democratic Party is "not my party anymore," countering that "night after night -- Matthews goes after Republicans hammer 'n tongs ablazin'." Yep, favorably comparing President Bush to Winston Churchill and calling him reminiscient of Atticus Finch is real hammer-and-tongs anti-Republican rhetoric from Matthews.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:29 PM EDT
Jerome Corsi Non-Disclosure Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Another WorldNetDaily column by Jerome Corsi attacking Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland, another refusal by Corsi to disclose the fact that he wrote a book earlier this year with Strickland's opponent, Ken Blackwell.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EDT
New Article: Associated Hypocrisy
Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center writers and bloggers go crazy over Harry Reid's misreported land deal -- and ignore Dennis Hastert's shadier land deal. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EDT
WND Misleads About Book Promotion
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Continuing its history of misleading self-promotion, an Oct. 17 WorldNetDaily article proclaims that Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy's new WND-published hit job on Cindy Sheehan, "American Mourning," "has risen to No. 84 on's best-seller list, just a day after its official launch."

The article fails to point out one reason for that: WND has placed an ad with rival NewsMax (ad image below) plugging the book that links to ... the page for it.

Also, strangely, even though the article promotes the book's Amazon ranking, it doesn't link to Amazon at all -- just the WND store's edition of the book.

As we've noted, readers should beware when NewsMax or WND -- who have their own retail operations -- tout the Amazon rankings of books in which they have a financial stake. It's not that difficult to juice the Amazon ranking system to get a "bestseller" designation they can use to promote sales in their own retail operation, from which they can make more money per book sold.

Here's the ad for the Morgan-Moy book, linked to Amazon, as it appears at NewsMax:

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
NewsBusters Recycles Misleading Teresa Heinz Kerry Smear
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 17 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein claims to expose the "leftist" agenda behind a group called Women's Voices, Women Vote. "The clincher? WVWV is a project of The Tides Foundation," Finkelstein writes, "the organization founded to promote a variety of leftist causes whose driving financial force is . . . Teresa Heinz Kerry."

As evidence, Finkelstein links to a February 2004 FrontPageMag article by Ben Johnson noting that Heinz Kerry-controlled foundations gave the Tides Foundation more than $4.3 million between 1995 and 2001. But Johnson also notes that Tides has "distributed more than $300 million for the Left," which contradicts Finkelstein's claim that Heinz Kerry is the "driving financial force" for Tides.

Further, in their rush to tie Heinz Kerry to every left-wing cause Tides supports, neither Johnson nor Finkelstein note that the Heinz Kerry-linked donations to Tides were dedicated to specific projects in Pennsylvania, not to the "leftist" projects they describe.

As we've (writing at Media Matters) noted, Johnson has played fast and loose with the facts regarding Heinz Kerry's connection to Tides. And, if you'll recall, WorldNetDaily has as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:23 PM EDT
CNS' Mismatched Scandals

An Oct. 17 article by Nathan Burchfiel tries to conflate Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's incomplete declaration of a land sale with the Rep. Mark Foley congressional page scandal, complaining that the Reid story "isn't 'sexy' enough for front-page news" and quoting political analyst Larry Sabato as saying that financial scandals are boring when compared with sex scandals, though "financial scandals ought to attract more attention because they're more common."

So, wouldn't it make more sense for Burchfiel to compare the Reid story to a similar financial misdeed on the Republican side? Like, say, one involving a major Republican official? Like -- oh, I don't know -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert? As it happens, Hastert earned a $2 million profit -- much more than Reid's $700,000 -- on the sale of land near a planned highway for which Hastert helped obtain $207 million federal funding through an earmark.

But CNS has never mentioned Hastert's earmark-driven windfall in a news story, let alone make it the subject of one, as it did with the Reid story. The only mention of it on its website has been in two columns by Robert Novak.

Further, Burchfiel never noted the questions that have been raised about the AP's coverage of the story -- something we suspect he would not have overlooked had the target been a Republican. After all, CNS has tried to downplay the Foley story -- again, something it would likely not be doing had Foley been a Democrat.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:44 PM EDT
Curt Weldon Channels Jack Cashill
Topic: WorldNetDaily

If Rep. Curt Weldon's claim that he's the victim of a conspiracy led by Bill Clinton, Mary McCarthy  and Sandy Berger sounds familiar, that's because it is: WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill has been making the exact same conspiracy claim.

As we've noted, in two recent WND columns, Cashill -- best known for his bogus defense of an admitted killer -- declared that the "Clinton shadow government" is conspiring to keep Pennsylvania Republican congressman Curt Weldon from winning re-election, purportedly "to prevent Weldon from digging any deeper into the Clinton track record" and that Weldon is dedicated to the "search for the truth behind Sandy Berger's shredding of stolen files, the Rosetta Stone of the Clinton saga."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:47 PM EDT
Corsi Again Does Co-Author's Bidding, Doesn't Disclose It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 17 WorldNetDaily column by Jerome Corsi again plays up purported rumors of a "Foley problem" with Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland. And again, Corsi fails to disclose his relationship with Strickland's election opponent, Ken Blackwell -- the two wrote a book together.

Corsi not only needs to disclose this, he needs to fully disclose his current role with the Blackwell campaign -- after all, the book they wrote is, for all practical purposes, a campaign document. Is he on Blackwell's payroll? Are Blackwell operatives feeding him information to use in his columns to smear Strickland?

UPDATE: The Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that Blackwell distributed copies of Corsi's article at a press conference today. It certainly looks like Corsi is playing the role of a campaign operative.

Also, the subjects Corsi wrote about in his columns on Strickland -- Strickland's vote on a House resolution denouncing a study on adult-child sex and a former Strickland aide who was once arrested for indecent exposure -- are things that Blackwell just happened to bring up in his Oct. 16 debate with Strickland. Coincidence?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 7:29 PM EDT

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