An Oct. 20 CNSNews.com article by Kevin Mooney plays up a claim in a new book that in the early 1980s, Sen. Edward Kennedy "offered to assist Soviet leaders in formulating a public relations strategy to counter President Reagan's foreign policy and to complicate his re-election efforts." But not only does Mooney make any apparent attempt to contact Kennedy (or anyone else) for a response to the claim, he fails to disclose the background of the book's author.
Mooney describes Paul Kengor, author of "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism," only as "a political science professor at Grove City College." But he's much more than that: as the title of the book suggests, he's a Reagan hagiographer. Kengor authored the 2004 book "God and Ronald Reagan," which purports to describe "the role Reagan's personal spirituality played in his political career, shaping his ideas, bolstering his resolve, and ultimately compelling him to confront the brutal -- and, not coincidentally, atheistic -- Soviet empire." Kengor also wrote the similarly themed "God and George W. Bush."
Kengor is also executive director of Grove City College's Center for Vision & Values, a think tank and policy center that claims as a goal "advancing freedom with Christian scholarship" and "presupposes that God is sovereign, that man is made in the image of God and is therefore of inestimable and eternal value, and that the God of the Bible is the indispensable starting point for understanding truth."
Kengor has written numerous pro-Bush, pro-Republican and anti-Democrat op-eds, such as a Dec 19, 2005, article that calls Bush "a proven visionary, one that history will not be able to deny," the New York Times "the Grand Central Station for liberal enmity toward the president," and claims that the Times' reporting on the Bush adminstration's warrantless domestic spying program was evidence of "a vast left-wing movement to get George W. Bush." An Oct. 20, 2005, aricle complained that conservatives who opposed failed Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers "are likely losing a wonderful opportunity to undercut Roe v. Wade."
As a conservative loyalist, Kengor certainly has the motivation to promote claims that make Democrats look bad.
Further, Mooney's article offers no evidence that the letter claiming Kennedy's offer to the KGB has been authenticated by Kengor or anyone else (the KGB did have a history of fabricating evidence). As CNS writers often do for conservatives, Mooney apparently accepted Kengor's claims at face value.
CNS, Your Republican Talking Points Repetition Service Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's Susan Jones once again serves as a willing conduit for anti-Democrat talking points by copying-and-pasting a Republican Study Committee press release -- Jones even admits it's "straight from the Republicans' press release" -- as an Oct. 20 article of a list of bills allegedly introduced by Democrats in Congress. Jones did the same thing on Oct. 12 with an American Family Association press release, as we've noted.
As she did with the AFA, Jones accepts the RSC's claims at face value, making no attempt to fact-check them or to contact any Democrat for a response -- something that runs contrary to professional journalism.
WorldNetDaily's Ron Strom also did the RSC's bidding by repeating it in an Oct. 21 column falsely claiming that the list was the Democrats' "agenda."
An Oct. 20 "news" article by Joseph Farah ostensibly about employers being sued for discrimination against employees with tattoos and piercing -- of which Farah cites only one example -- quickly devolves into a screed against body modification.
Farah declares, "Children – both boys and girls – are staining their bodies with the permanent ink for no better reason than 'everybody is doing it' or 'I thought the picture was cool.' It's not just an urban thing any more, either," and laments that "[t]he tattoo taboo is definitely breaking down." And in case Farah's rant was somehow too subtle, his article is accompanied by pictures of extreme examples of modification, such as a woman whose face is tattooed and a man who has had demonic horn-like indentations implanted in his forehead.
Farah also makes an inflammatory guilt-by-association claim for which he offers no evidence for: After noting the existence of "children's books like 'Mommy Has a Tattoo' and the 'Tattoo Coloring Book,' " Farah claims:
Just as "Heather Has Two Mommies" is now required reading for kindergartners in some school districts, how long will it be before the tolerance police mandate Phil Padwe's new books. He's the author and illustrator of the two new children's books on tattoos.
So, getting tattoos is the same thing as being homosexual? And, of course, Farah never names the "some" school districts in which "Heather Has Two Mommies" is "required reading." (And how many kindergarteners read, anyway?)
This is a theme with WND: A January 2004 article by David Kupelian -- which also appears in his book "The Marketingof Evil" attacks today's "insane" youth culture by lumping tattoos and "earrings for males" with "[r]itual scarification and 3D-art implants ... genital beading, stretching and cutting, transdermal implants, scrotal implants, tooth art and facial sculpture," not to mention branding, tongue-splitting, non-medical amputations and "bug-chasing," people who purportedly deliberately try to get infected with the HIV virus (citing a Rolling Stone article on the subject that has been mostlydebunked).
Of course, no Kupelian rant is complete without blaming the ills he writes about on the Clintons, and here he drops in a reference to "a traumatized, amoral sociopath of a baby-boomer named Bill Clinton," adding: "If you don't think Bill Clinton's escapades with Monica – covered by the media like the Super Bowl – had everything to do with the explosion of middle-school sexual adventures across America, then open your eyes."
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.
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.
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.
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 CNSNews.com) 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.
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?
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?
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.
-- 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.
Jerome Corsi Non-Disclosure Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Another WorldNetDaily column by Jerome Corsi attacking Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland, anotherrefusal by Corsi to disclose the fact that he wrote a book earlier this year with Strickland's opponent, Ken Blackwell.
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.
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 Amazon.com'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 Amazon.com 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'venoted, 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:
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'llrecall, WorldNetDaily has as well.