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Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Kincaid Bashes Clinton (Yawn) Again
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Nov. 1 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid takes a whack at the New York Post for endorsing Hillary Clinton's re-election to the Senate, claiming that it "can only be explained by direct orders from [owner Rupert] Murdoch to his editor that he wanted Hillary endorsed no matter how bad a record she had on the issues. Kincaid added that "[t]he paper said Clinton had been a 'pretty good Senator' but offered no reasons to believe that's the case."

Kincaid adds:

In the letters column the next day, one reader wrote, "The Post was the only New York paper I could turn to without a liberal left-wing slant; then I woke up and discovered your endorsement. Clinton is a leftist tax-'em-to-death liar who is against monitoring terrorist communication, the Patriot Act, tax cuts and school choice."

But, as he accused the Post of doing, Kincaid offers no evidence (nor, apparently, does the letter writer) to back that up. After all, if you're going to attack others for lack of evidence, shouldn't you be backing up your own claims?

It's just as well -- otherwise, we'd have to spend a lot more time debunking his false and slanted claims. As it is, Kincaid makes one misleading claim about Clinton, that she "indicated she would approve of state action to legalize homosexual marriage." In fact, Clinton said she would not oppose New York approving a gay marriage law because she supports states making the decision on the issue. Kincaid fell for a version of the depiction-equals-approval fallacy: Supporting a state's decision to approve gay marriage is not the same as supporting gay marriage.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:07 PM EST
Olbermann Watch Falsely Flails At Media Matters
Topic: The ConWeb

An Oct. 30 post by Robert Cox at Olbermann Watch (a Keith Olbermann-bashing site referenced on occasion by NewsBusters) purports to respond to a Media Matters item:

Ultra-left, Soros-funded, Media Matters for America is attacking Olbermann Watch for pointing out Keith Olbermann's disturbing habit of referring to the President of the United States as "mister" and monitoring Olbermann's behavior with the nightly "mister meter". Citing a profile of Keith Olbermann by media writer Stephen Spruiell of National Review, MMFA contrasts Olbermann with a few lines taken out of context from a column by National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. In neither case does MMFA provide working links to support its claims.

Where to begin?

-- Media Matters did not "attack" Olbermann Watch; the focus of the item was on Spruiell, who cited Olbermann Watch.

-- If by "a few lines" you mean more than 150 instances, then, yeah.

-- If a lack of "working links" means that you have to be a subscriber to National Review in order to access them, then, yeah. We're surprised that Cox doesn't doesn't already subscribe.

-- Cox does not explain how a reference to "Mr. Bush" in a Buckley column could be "out of context."

-- Cox never actually refutes anything in the Media Matters article.

(Full disclosure: I work for Media Matters. Cox runs the Media Bloggers Association, of which I am a member and whose logo is on the left side of this page.)

Posted by Terry K. at 4:10 PM EST
Sheppard's Double Standard on Double Standards
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 1 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard purports to complain about media coverage of John Kerry's remark on education and Iraq compared with Trent Lott's 2002 comment that if the country had voted for segregationist Strom Thurmond in 1948, "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years."

While Sheppard claims each remark was a "botched joke," that's not how he depicts them; he called Kerry's comments "insensitive remarks," while Lott is described as making an "innocent comment." Why is Lott's remark depicted as "innocent" when he should have known that Thurmond ran as a segregationist in 1948? Why is Kerry depicted as "insensitive" when he is on record saying that (unlike Lott) he meant to say something other than what he actually said?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 PM EST
NewsMax Ignores Kerry Apology
Topic: Newsmax

A Nov. 1 NewsMax article claimed that John Kerry "dug a hole even deeper" regarding his remarks on education and Iraq in an appearance on the Don Imus radio show. But the article never notes that Kerry issued an apology for the statement.

UPDATE: A Reuters article posted at NewsMax leads with the fact that Kerry apologized, but instead of putting in the headline, NewsMax's headline reads, "Kerry's 'Botched Joke' Missed Punch Line." Why is NewsMax working so hard to bury Kerry's apology?

UPDATE 2: A new Nov. 1 NewsMax article claims Kerry "flip-flopped" and offered a "low-key" apology on his website -- again ignoring his apology on Imus.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 5:06 PM EST
Corsi Backs Off of His Biggest Anti-Strickland Attack
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Has Jerome Corsi given grown weary of the spreading distorted claims about alleged Ted Strickland sex scandals?

Corsi's Nov. 1 anti-Strickland column, surprisingly, doesn't mention his obsession for the past several days -- the claim that Strickland had hired a man who had once been convicted on indecency charges. Perhaps because he realized he would have to address similar actions by his co-author and Strickland's opponent for Ohio governor, Ken Blackwell.  In fact, sex is hardly mentioned at all; Corsi does ominously, "Do Ted and Frances Strickland live together as a married couple?" -- an oblique reference to discredited accusations that Strickland is gay.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EST
Kessler Misleads on Dems, Patriot Act
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler carries water for his Republicans once again: An Oct. 31 NewsMax article makes several false or misleading claims about Democrats and the USA Patriot Act.

-- Kessler writes that "This year alone, the Democrats overwhelmingly voted five times to kill the Patriot Act." In fact, in the final vote on the reauthorization of the act in March, only nine Senate Democrats voted against it.  

-- Kessler repeatedly portrays Democrats as opposing the entire Patriot Act when, in fact, most opposed only specific provisions. As Rep. Jane Harman, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said: “We must extend it, mend it, but not end it.”

-- Kessler suggests that one Patriot Act provision that Democrats opposed was removal of the "wall" between law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but he offers no examples of Democrats who specifically opposed that provision -- perhaps because there are none. No Democratic opposition that we've seen centered on the "wall."

-- Kessler writes the following:

Under the Patriot Act, each roving wiretap, as they are called, has to be approved by a judge, so there is no question about infringing on civil liberties any more than when a judge approves a search of the house of a suspected child molester. Yet Democrats have portrayed the act as a monstrous invasion of rights. 

This, again, conflates questions about a specific provision to opposition to the entire Patriot Act. What Democrats actually opposed was a Bush administration proposal to make roving wiretaps permanent; the renewal puts a four-year sunset provision on them.

-- Kessler also offers a strangely backhanded defense of the idea that we should unequivocally trust the FBI:

Since the days when J. Edgar Hoover ordered illegal wiretaps and improper surveillance, the FBI as an organization has not engaged in illegal conduct. If the FBI cannot be trusted to wiretap within the framework of the law, why trust agents to make arrests or carry weapons?

Doesn't the fact that the FBI did, in fact, engage in "illegal wiretaps and improper surveillance" make it imperative that certain safeguards be in place instead of Kessler's "go and sin no more" benediction?

-- Kessler writes that "Democrats have also claimed that under another provision of the act, the FBI can use 'sneak and peek' tactics in libraries to probe people's reading habits without informing the targets until after a search."  Then, he claims that "the FBI has no interest in anyone's reading habits." Then why is he complaining about it? He should, therefore, have no problem with a provision in the renewal that offer more protections for library records.

Further, the main issue regarding library searches had nothing to do with the "sneak and peek" tactics Kessler cites; they involve the fact that the original Patriot Act let libraries be served with National Security Letters, a type of subpoena that forces the party being subpoenaed into a non-disclosure agreement severely limiting their legal rights. The renewal eliminates libraries as a recipient of NSLs.

UPDATE: Further contradicts Kessler's suggestion that Democrats oppose the Patriot Act's dismantling of the "wall" between intelligence and law enforcement, even Sen. Russ Feingold -- the only senator who voted against the original Patriot Act law in 2001 -- has said, "Nobody wants to put the wall back up."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:34 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 2:59 PM EST
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
NewsBusters Doesn't Need No Stinkin' Context
Topic: NewsBusters

Does Mark Finkelstein understand the idea of context? We suspect not.

An Oct. 31 NewsBusters post by Finkelstein dismissed Chris Matthews' claim that John Kerry "meant to go after the president," not U.S. troops, with his comment with without adequate education one will get "stuck in Iraq," retorting, "To quote that keen observer of human nature, John McEnroe: 'you cannot be serious!' ' But Finkelstein fails to offer the context in which Matthews made his claim.

As Media Matters pointed out -- but Finkelstein doesn't -- Matthews made note of an Associated Press article that placed the comment in its proper context -- as part of "several one-liners," such as stating that "Bush had lived in Texas but now 'lives in a state of denial.' "

In fact, no NewsBusters post to on the issue has reported on the context in which Kerry made his remark, which supports Kerry's claim that it was targeted at Bush, not the troops.

So, NewsBusters guys: How, exactly, does one fight "liberal media bias" by refusing to tell the full truth?

UPDATE: A post by Noel Sheppard appears to excoriate CNN for allowing Kerry to respond to the charge that he insulted U.S. troops, calling it "unbelievable" that correspondent Andrea Koppel would "amazingly" let Kerry defend himself. Huh?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:13 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 12:07 AM EST
WND Distorts Kerry Remarks (Duh!)
Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 31 WorldNetDaily article continues WND's longstanding policy of spreading distortions and lies about John Kerry. It played up criticism of his remark and conservatives' interpretation of it as an attack on U.S. troops, waiting until the 13th paragraph to note that Kerry has said that it was directed at President Bush, not the troops. The article then goes on to "debunk" Kerry's purported claim that U.S. troops are poorly educated -- something Kerry has made clear he never said.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:19 PM EST
NewsMax Promotes Weldon Conspiracy Claim
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 31 NewsMax article by John Mercurio -- is this the guy who's a senior editor at National Journal's Hotline On Call blog? -- buys into Rep. Curt Weldon's conspiracy theory about the federal investigation into him.

Mercurio stated that an early report about the investigation into Weldon came out on "quite fittingly, Friday the 13th," called FBI raids related to the investigation "suspiciously timed" and asserted without evidence that the Justice Department broke "its own rules in taking provocative steps against a public official shortly before Election Day." In fact, Mercurio himself contradicts that last claim by quoting a DOJ official as saying that "the Department of Justice and all of its investigative agencies do not take political considerations into play when it comes to discharging their duty."

Channeling conspiracy theorist extrordinaire Jack Cashill, Mercurio also repeated without challenge Weldon's claims that he is "painting the leak as a pre-election dirty trick orchestrated by allies of Sestak, who built connections with national Democrats during the Clinton administration as a Navy admiral and a member of Clinton's National Security Council."

Posted by Terry K. at 7:01 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 7:03 PM EST
Kinsolving Sucks Up to Tony Snow
Topic: The Daily Les

An Oct. 31 WorldNetDaily column by Les Kinsolving reports that he scored a brief sit-down interview with White House press secretary Tony Snow. None of Kinsolving's notorious badgering questions here -- he's in softball mode. Some of Kinsolving's queries:

  • "Am I correct in my assumption that you are aware that daily newspapers – almost all of which are editorially Democrat-inclined – are almost all suffering serious losses, in both circulation and ad revenue?"
  • "Am I correct in my assumption that you are aware that the Old Big Media TV networks, ABC, CBS and NBC – which once had more than 90 percent of all TV viewers in the nation – are now reduced to around 30 percent – which led NBC to those massive job cuts?"
  • "Am I correct in my assumption that it is not only your basic fairness as a person that keeps you from ever refusing to let me ask two questions – but because I represent the New Big Media – on both the Internet newssite and its 6 million visitors, as well as on talk radio?"
  • "Would I be wrong in my impression that the president, despite your past criticism of him, wanted you in this office enough to provide you the understanding and full support so essential to your being able to function with integrity?"

That's why Kinsolving gets the big bucks -- and a sit-down with Tony Snow.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EST
New Article: Rude, Prude, and (Definitely Not) Tattooed
Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Out There article: Are people who get tattoos or body piercings in league with the devil and Charles Manson? At least one WorldNetDaily writer thinks so. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EST
CNS Silliness

-- An Oct. 30 article by Susan Jones uses the conservative term "Democrat Party" even though there is no such thing.

-- An Oct. 30 column by Chuck Muth attacks Bush from the far right regarding the Bush administration's failures in the war on terror: Muth believes it's "pussy-footing around and waging a politically correct 'sensitive' war." What should Bush have done instead? Rescind the executive order that bans assassinations of foreign leaders, not federalize baggage screeners, "and The Air Force and the Navy's rockets red glare should have lit up Baghdad in October, not March."

-- An Oct. 30 article by Nathan Burchfiel is the fifth CNS "news" article referencing Jim Webb's fiction. As before, no attempt is made to put Webb's offending passages in the context of the story from which CNS (and the George Allen campaign) plucked them. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EST
Monday, October 30, 2006
Graham Repeats Misleading Stem Cell Talking Point
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 30 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham repeats a misleading conservative talking point about embryonic stem cell research that he had posted in a comment thread on another blog:

You liberals are so boastful about having All The Answers that you're avoiding the main, scientific point: embryonic stem cells have NOT helped one, not one patient.

It cannot be said, if one is paying close attention to science, which is based on proving hypotheses, that favoring more embryo-destroying research is the same thing as favoring a KNOWN cure. There is no known cure in embryo-destroying research.

As we've noted, embryonic stem cell was isolated only in 1998, and relative little research has been done on them compared to adult stem cells; the first adult stem cell was isolated in 1960.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:58 PM EST
WND (Lack of) Journalistic Ethics Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 30 WorldNetDaily article by David Bradshaw features a person with something called the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, who accuses the government of having a "keep-gold-weak policy." That person is also quoted as saying "Gold prices could double to $1,200 per ounce in the short term to then run up as high as $3,000 per ounce over the next five years"; Bradshaw adds that he says that "in an exclusive interview this week" with WND's Joseph Farah.

It's not disclosed anywhere in the article -- only in the URL of the link to it -- but that interview is available from Swiss America -- a gold-trading company that is one of WND's major advertisers and sponsor of WND's BizNetDaily site. Further, as we've previously noted, Bradshaw is not a WND employee or even a journalist; he works for Swiss America, where he edits the Real Money Perspectives newsletter.

In other words, this is not a "news" article -- it's an ad. 

"Highest editorial standards and practices," anyone? 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EST
Corsi's Double Standard
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jerome Corsi continues hammering away at Ted Strickland. An Oct. 28 WorldNetDaily column yet again recycles the claim that Strickland hired a campaign manager for his 1998 re-election campaign who, four years earlier, had been convicted on a charge of public indecency. Again, Corsi overstates his claim, calling the man a "convicted criminal sex offender" while not noting that the charge on which he was convicted was, in fact, a fourth-degree misdeameanor -- in other words, it's not as serious as Corsi and his co-author-slash-Strickland opponent Ken Blackwell have made it out to be.

Corsi, meanwhile, has been silent on a similar situation facing his buddy Blackwell: While Blackwell served as Ohio state treasurer, his office hired a man who had a history of arrests -- one for robbery, two for cocaine possession; he was sentenced to probation and drug treatment on one of the possession charges -- and was kept on after Blackwell was alerted to the man's criminal record. Further, three months after the man left his job there, he was sentenced to four years in prison for sexually abusing a girl.

It appears that the Blackwell-linked employee had a much more severe criminal record than the Strickland-linked employee. If it was OK for Blackwell to hire a convicted criminal -- as Corsi's silence about it indicates it is -- why wasn't it OK for Strickland?

We also noted that Corsi has ceased using the name of the offending Strickland employee, even though he used it in a earlier column. Why? Perhaps because the misdeameanor Corsi keeps writing about was officially expunged from the man's criminal record and it may not be, you know, legal to be publicly distributing expunged records. Which may be also why Corsi is protecting the identity of the "Ohio Concerned Citizen" who is his main source for these accusations. While Corsi insists that "[t]he information given me by Ohio Concerned Citizen in the past has been true and verifiable," such use of an anonymous violates WorldNetDaily's policy against using anonymous sources (as articulated by Joseph Farah in a January 1999 WND column: "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better"). Of course, as we've noted with WND's Aaron Klein, stated policy and practice are two very different things; anonymous sources appear to be quite permissible when needed to achieve WND's agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 AM EST

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