Reality-Checking the 'Reality Check' Topic: Media Research Center
A Nov. 15 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Rich Noyes lapses into Republican talking points -- not necessarily reflective of reality -- by describing Rep. John Murtha's proposal for withdrawal from Iraq as a "cut-and-run prescription" and "defeatism." Nowhere does Noyes actually state what exactly Murtha's proposal was -- to withdraw troops at the "earliest practicable date," nor does Noyes explain how withdrawal at the "earliest practicable date" equals "cut and run."
Noyes also claims that "ABC’s John Donvan, who fawned over Murtha in a January 2 Nightline interview, contended that by disagreeing with Murtha, 'the White House and its supporters set out to immediately smear Murtha’s standing as an American.' " But Noyes doesn't repeat what the White House said about Murtha's proposal, which lends credence to that description. Then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Murtha was "endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party" and "surrender[ing] to the terrorists."
Noyes also noted that "Karl Rove criticized Murtha and John Kerry’s defeatism" treating defeatism as an uncontested fact (as did another reference to "Murtha's defeatist rhetoric") rather than as merely Rove's opinion. Noyes also failed to repeat Rove's specific claim -- perhaps because it was false. As Time's Joe Klein noted, Rove was accusing Murtha and Kerry of wanting to "cut and run" -- the playbook from which Noyes cribbed -- adding that terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi wouldn't have been nailed if we had pulled out of Iraq. Klein adds:
Rove's assertion was scurrilous and inaccurate. Al-Zarqawi had been eliminated through terrific intelligence work and air power, neither of which required a substantial U.S. ground presence in Iraq.
Noyes' article is a "reality check" only if you consider Republican talking points to be reality.
Cashill Still Peddling Weldon Conspiracy Theory Topic: WorldNetDaily
Conspiracy maven and Curt Weldon promoter (but we repeat ourselves) Jack Cashill spends his Nov. 16 WorldNetDaily column flogging once more his latest conspiracy theory (which we've previously detailed) that former Clinton administration officials conspired to cause Weldon to lose his congressional seat to Democrat Joe Sestak.
Nothing really new here -- the usual false attacks on Sandy Berger, denigration of Sestak as a tool of the conspiracy. And once again, Cashill downplays the federal investigation into Weldon's influence-peddling calling it "dirty" that it was exposed a few weeks before the election and suggesting it was part of the larger anti-Weldon conspiracy plot. (Cashill never actually offers any evidence to contradict the influence-peddling claims.) This time, though, Cashill dragged his longtime TWA Flight 800 conspiracy-mongering into the picture, recounting the time Cashill showed Weldon his film on that conspiracy, "Silenced" (though Cashill fails to note in his column that he was the one who made "Silenced").
Cashill also writes of his attempts to get other media interested in his efforts to tie the Weldon investigation into his larger conspiracy theory:
I attempted to contact both [Greg] Gordon of the McClatchy papers and the local Pennsylvania newspaper, the Delco Times. I left messages telling them there was more to this plot than met the media's blinkered eye. I got no response from either.
Gee, why could that be? Perhaps because Cashill has a history of dubious conspiracy theories, such as his claiming that anti-abortion extremist James Kopp was framed in the shooting death of an abortion doctor shortly before Kopp pleaded guilty to shooting the doctor.
NewsBusters: Murtha Is An 'Extremist' Topic: NewsBusters
A Nov. 16 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston repeatedly insists that Rep. John Murtha is "extremist," but he doesn't say exactly what makes him so beyond his urging of a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq -- hardly an "extreme" position.
Huston complains that the media, unlike himself, aren't calling Murtha "extremist" (despite his own lack of support for the term), at one point comparing Murtha to Trent Lott by attacking a newspaper for "resurrecting Trent Lott's troubles from 2002." But Huston never states what exactly Lott's "troubles from 2002" are either. That, of course, would be Lott's praise of Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist Dixiecrat presidential run -- a much more "extreme" position to take than withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
New Article: Scare Tactics and Fluff Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax's Ronald Kessler did what he could to help Republicans win the election -- sycophantically portraying his friends in the Bush administration, and demonizing Democrats and congressional pages. Read more.
WND's Disingeuous Defense of Fox Hostage Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is trying to dance around the implications of Aaron Klein's article claiming that $2 million in ransom was paid for the release of Fox News employees Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, who were kidnapped in Gaza last summer.
In a response to Fox News CEO Roger Ailes' denial that Fox News paid a ransom for the release of Centanni and Wiig, WND editor Joseph Farah responded:
"We stand 100 percent behind Aaron Klein's story today about the release of kidnap victims Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig.
"The statement by Roger Ailes completely distorts what our story carefully reported. Nowhere in our story did we ever allege, as Ailes' statement said, that Fox News paid $2 million for release of the terrorist hostages."
Ailes was quoted as saying: "I just saw an article on the internet from WorldNetDaily.com by Aaron Klein which claims we paid $2 million in hostage money during the Centanni & Wiig kidnapping crisis. The story is absolutely 100% false. Not a cent of hostage money was paid, and it was never considered ..."
"In fact," said Farah, "what we reported is 100 percent accurate – that some of those believed to be involved with the kidnappings say they received money. Period. No one in the story even suggested the money originated with Fox.
"Roger Ailes says the story is 100 percent false. But he is alleging it says something it clearly does not say.
"Further, Fox News executives and spokesmen had two weeks to provide a response to WND before the story was published. They understood in advance what would be published and repeatedly refused to make a statement on the record. Off the record, they did not deny it was possible money was paid by another party."
Farah is being disingenuous. While Klein's article doesn't explicitly state that the money allegedly received by the terrorists came from Fox News -- as we noted, a claim based on a single anonymous "senior leader of one of the groups suspected of the abductions" who refused to confirm that his group was involved -- Klein never explicitly states that the money did not come from Fox and never states where it actually did come from, despite Farah's claim that "No one in the story even suggested the money originated with Fox."
The article clearly suggests that the money did, in fact, come from Fox -- an implication Farah fails to acknowledge. This implication is further fed by Klein's statement that a Fox spokesperson "could not provide an official statement about whether Fox was aware of money paid to free its two employees" and that the spokesperson said that "it was possible money was paid."
WND is putting a lot of trust in the words of terrorists; it should hope that it won't come back to bite them. It might a good time for another solicitation for WND's legal defense fund.
NewsBusters Rags on Poll Result It Doesn't Like Topic: NewsBusters
A Nov. 14 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock rags on CNN's Bill Schneider for stating that the country has "no confidence" in the Bush administration based on a USA Today/Gallup poll that showed President Bush's job approval rating at 33 percent with a disapproval rating of 62 percent. Added Whitlock: "Of course, Schneider didn’t mention that the poll he was referring to sampled only "1004 national adults," as opposed to registered or likely voters. Both of which, would have resulted in more conservative findings."
But Whitlock doesn't explain why the opinions of non-voting citizens are less valid than those of "registered or likely voters," beyond apparently being more liberal. A cross-section of "national adults" does, after all, cover the entire nation -- why is that a bad thing? Nor does he explain why "only" 1,004 respondents is an insufficient or invalid sample for a poll -- in fact, the sample size of many polls is 1,000 or less.
NewsBusters frequently complains that poll results aren't conservative enough, despite the fact that pollsters are using standard sample sizes (as above) and political breakdowns that accurately reflect the American population (see Noel Sheppard).
-- The latest issue of NewsMax magazine, which touts Rudy Giuliani's possible presidential bid and suggests that it "may become the playbook for the Giuliani presidential campaign."
"Giuliani 'Unacceptable' for President, Conservatives Say"
-- A Nov. 15 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall, which features a claim by Colleen Parro, executive director of the Republican National Coalition for Life, that Giuliani is "absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances" as a presidential candidate because of his support for abortion rights and "the issues of the homosexual movement."
Fox News Channels WorldNetDaily; WND Whacks Fox News Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Huffington Post has published a copy of a Nov. 8 internal memo at Fox News in which correspondents were told: "And let's be on the lookout for any statements from the Iraqi insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospect of a Dem-controlled Congress."
Sounds like someone may have been a bit enamored of Aaron Klein's WorldNetDaily article dubiously claiming that terrorists (well, three of 'em) endorsed a Democratic victory in the midterm elections.
That's a bit ironic, because Klein has a new WND article up claiming that Fox paid terrorists $2 million for the release of Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, Fox News employees who were abducted in Gaza last summer. Now, this is a Klein article, after all, so the claim is factually shaky -- his only source is an anonymous "senior leader of one of the groups suspected of the abductions" who won't even confirm that his group was involved. That's hardly solid-gold evidence. Further, Klein quotes the State Department as denying that Centanni and Wiig were ransomed, though a Fox News spokesperson is noncommittal.
As we've noted, Klein seems to have quite a cozy relationship with his enemies, and Klein seems to have never considered the possibility that they're playing him for a fool.
Posted by Terry K.
at 1:41 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 11:19 AM EST
Liberals will do what they do best: bankrupt the moral climate, raise taxes, attempt to institute Erebusic social programs, and emasculate our military.
"Erebusic" is not a word (the dictionary tells us so). Massie is presumably referring to Erebus, a mythological creature who is the "embodiment of primordial darkness" and is "used metaphorically for Hades itself." What Massie appears to be saying is that Democratic social programs (he doesn't name which ones) will create hell on earth.
This is what passes for thoughtful conservative commentary at WorldNetDaily.
CNS Pushes Criticism of Plan Nobody Has Advanced, Day 2 Topic: CNSNews.com
For the second day in a row, Mark Finkelstein leads a CNSNews.com article by quoting an Iraqi official criticizing something that no prominent U.S. politician has forwarded -- immediate removal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
A quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq "would be a great gift to terrorist groups," a spokesman for Iraq's Shi'ite-led government said here.
As we noted when Finkelstein wrote yesterday of an Iraqi official who opposed an "abrupt withdrawal of American troops from Iraq," the closest thing Finkelstein as cited to support such a claim is one Democratic politician's desire for "phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq over a four to six month period" -- hardly "abrupt" or "quick."
And again, as he did in his previous article, Finkelstein quotes his subject as saying something that contradicts the claim he leads with. This time, the quote is that "We have received messages from some of the [party] leaders that they are not going to have such a [precipitous] pull-out."
Again: If it's not that big of an issue -- as the people Finkelstein is talking to clearly indicate -- why is Finkelstein leading with it for the second day in a row?
We missed this earlier, but here's the reaction of Richard Poe to last week's elections, taken from his personal blog:
Election 2006: Words Fail Me
“I scarcely knew my own name; and for a long while I was silent, knowing that it was a time for tears.” St. Jerome penned those words following the sack of Rome by Alaric the Visigoth, who ravished the Eternal City on August 24, Anno Domini 410.(1)
In a repeat of the phenomenon (read: hypocrisy) we saw at WorldNetDaily, NewsMax is sing the praises of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington now that it is going after a Democrat.
Earlier this year, NewsMax was attacking CREW for its links to liberal financier George Soros, as in this July article by James H. Walsh. Just a month or so ago, NewsMax's James Hirsen was trying to discredit the page-chasing accusations against Mark Foley by bashing CREW as "a group financed in part by George Soros" (though, as we've noted, CREW has received only a fraction of the money that NewsMax benefactor Richard Mellon Scaife has given to Judicial Watch).
But now, in a Nov. 13 article, NewsMax is promoting CREW's criticism of corruption allegations related to Democratic Rep. John Murtha. And, as with WND's similar article, there's no mention of the the Soros link to CREW that they used to try yand discredit the group just a month ago.
I was honored to join Sen. Lieberman and his wife Hadassah for their election night celebration in Hartford, Connecticut.
Joe Lieberman is an exemplary individual and public servant. The Democratic Party and the country are going to be well served by this newborn "independent" fighting in the U.S. Senate for the values that make America a better, safer place.
As we've noted, Ruddy announced his intention to donate to Lieberman's campaign. The Center for Responsive Politics doesn't show that donation -- but it shows him donating $800 to Florida Rep. Clay Shaw's campaign earlier this year.
And, like Mark Foley in 2003, Shaw got a little positive NewsMax coverage along with his donation from Ruddy. An Oct. 23 article details Shaw's unusual touting of his connections to Bill Clinton -- normally anathema to a conservative like Ruddy, who spent much of the 1990s attacking Clinton any way he could. NewsMax also ran numerous wire articles that mention Shaw, such as a May 8 Associated Press article noting that Shaw "is on the cusp of realizing a political dream, transforming his 25 years of service and clout into one of the most powerful jobs in Washington" but fighting against a torrent of bad news that "amounts to a nightmare for GOP lawmakers."
Ruddy's support of Shaw despite Shaw's embrace of Clinton could be signaling a thawing of his hatred of everything Clinton. Another sign: He actually deigns to come close to saying something nice about Hillary Clinton in his column:
Hillary comes out of 2006 strong because she increased her vote draw and did well in Republican areas of New York. She will set her sights directly on the White House. Her biggest obstacle? Fellow Democrats of the Howard Dean-MoveOn.org wing of the party don't like Hillary and don't like the fact she is a Johnny-come-lately to criticizing Bush's Iraq policy.
While Ruddy then goes on to say that she could take a lesson from Lieberman "on how to be authentic," that may be the nicest thing Ruddy -- and NewsMax -- has ever written about someone with the last name of Clinton. Don't expect such a detente to hold if Clinton runs for the presidency in 2008, though.
Bizarre Political/Music Connection of the Day Topic: Free Republic
We found it interesting that Chad Castagana, the person arrested for allegedly sending fake anthrax to several anti-war celebrities, journalists, and politicians, is suspected of being a poster at the conservative site Free Republic.
Here's something even more interesting: The Free Republic name under which he supposedly posted under, "Marc Costanzo," also happens to be the name of a member of the Canadian pop-punk-rap band Len, who had a hit several years back with the relentlessly happy "Steal My Sunshine" (and then promptly disappeared off the face of the earth).
Is there a connection? We have no idea. We hope not, because we like that song.
CNS Pushes Criticism of Plan Nobody Has Advanced Topic: CNSNews.com
A Nov. 13 CNSNews.com article by Mark Finkelstein -- the NewsBusters blogger who is on a junket of sorts to Iraq -- features an interview with Iraqi deputy prime minister Barham Salih. Finkelstein leads with Salih's claim that "[a]n abrupt withdrawal of American troops from Iraq would be a 'disaster for Iraqis and for the region.' " But no prominent politician has proposed an "abrupt withdrawal of American troops from Iraq."
Finkelstein tries to conflate calls by Democrats for "change direction in Iraq" to mean that, noting that "Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat in line to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Monday for a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq over a four to six month period." But that is not "abrupt withdrawal."
Finkelstein also notes that "Salih repeated that an abrupt U.S. troop withdrawal 'would be utterly disastrous,' but he also said he did not think that would happen." So what's the point? Why is a proposal nobody has made and the subject of his article doesn't believe will happen the focus of his article?