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Thursday, February 1, 2007
NewsBusters Doesn't Think 'Fag' Is A Slur?
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Feb. 1 NewsBusters post (and TimesWatch item), Clay Waters complained that a New York Times headline describes Joe Biden's remarks about Barack Obama as an "Oops!" while former Rep. Dick Armey "didn't get the benefit of the doubt from Times' headline writers" when he referred to Rep. Barney Frank as "Barney Fag," which the Times headline called a "slur."

Oh, gee, I dunno ... could it be that the term "fag" is, in fact, a slur? Is Waters trying to tell us that it's not?

Meanwhile, none of the words Biden used to describe Obama are, in and of themselves, slurs like "fag" is.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:03 PM EST
WND Misleads on Library Porn Filters
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Here's the lead of a Jan. 31 WorldNetDaily article:

While pornography itself doesn't "shoot the bullet" for sex crimes, it does "cock the trigger," and Sacramento officials who supervise their public library system have told porn addicts to go ahead and get loaded.

Despite presenting that first claim as fact, the article offers no evidence to back it up; in fact, it's merely a repeat of a quote from a conservative legal group -- who similarly offers no evidence for his assertion.

As for the paragraph's second assertion -- that the Sacramento library system has "told porn addicts to go ahead and get loaded" -- it's a wild, misleading overstatement of the facts the article presents (as is the headline: "Let the porn flow, says public library"). What appears to be happening is that, according to that conservative legal group, adult computer users at the library may request that the content filter be turned off. While offering lots of scary rhetoric, the article offers no evidence that Sacramento library computer users are, in fact, getting "loaded" on porn. Indeed, porn filters have a long history of filtering out legitimate non-porn websites, something the article doesn't mention.

Another thing the article doesn't include: the other side of the story. While the article states, "Sacramento library officials did not return messages left by WND asking for a response," certainly this was not so time-sensitive an article -- apparently based on a press release from the conservative legal group, the Pacific Justice Institute -- that WND couldn't have shown a little fairness and allowed library officals to respond.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EST
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Corsi Doesn't Let Prosecutor Respond
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Jan. 31 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi on memos that purportedly contradict prosecutors in the case of two Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, imprisoned for shooting at an unarmed illegal immigrant and covering up evidence of the shooting failed to give prosecutors an opportunity to respond.

While Corsi recycles previous statements on the case by prosecutor Johnny Sutton, he makes no apparent attempt to obtain a response from Sutton or his office to the new allegations.

As we've detailed, Corsi and WND have a shoddy record of telling both sides of this story. Since Corsi has interviewed Sutton before, we know he knows how to get a hold of the guy, so there's no excuse -- beyond bias -- for Corsi not to get a response.

UPDATE: In a Feb. 1 article, Corsi did obtain a response from Sutton's office, but that was relegated to only a single paragraph of the 27-paragraph article.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:59 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2007 1:22 AM EST
Still No Complete Morris Disclosure
Topic: Newsmax

While a Jan. 31 NewsMax column by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann attacking Hillary Clinton did mention "voters who don't like her and don't think she should be president (including us)," there is no mention of the extent to which Morris hates Hillary -- that he's soliciting donations for an anti-Hillary documentary.

How can Morris credibly opine about Hillary's presidential prospects when he's 1) actively working against her and 2) refuses to properly disclose that involvement in his columns? He can't.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 PM EST
Weyrich Rewrites Election History
Topic: Free Congress Foundation

From a Jan. 30 column by the Free Congress Foundation's Paul Weyrich (also appearing at and Accuracy in Media):

After the 1998 election, with its razor-thin victory for Republicans in the House of Representatives, a dozen conservatives informed the Republican Leadership that they would not vote for Gingrich as Speaker under any circumstance. That was when Tom DeLay and others in the GOP Leadership told Gingrich that the ball game was over.

In fact, Republicans lost five seats in the House in 1998 -- hardly a "razor-thin victory."

UPDATE: Added AIM link.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 1:52 PM EST
WND Falsely Accuses Clinton of Flip-Flop
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An unbylined Jan. 30 WorldNetDaily article accuses Hillary Clinton of flip-flopping on the Iraq war:

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton Hillary [sic] has told an Iowa audience that she was deceived on the congressional vote to take military action against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, contradicting an earlier video recording in which she testifies that her decision was made based on her own information and intelligence.

But the article makes no mention of evidence that the Bush administration did, in fact, offer misleading evidence to Congress on Iraq. According to a Nov. 19, 2005, article, noted that one main piece of evidence was a classified National Intelligence Estimate released to members of Congress shortly before its October 2002 vote to authorize action against Iraq:

This so-called National Intelligence Estimate was supposed to be the combined US intelligence community's "most authoritative written judgment concerning a specific national security issue," according to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The report was titled "Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction."

Though most of the document remains classified, the "Key Judgments" section and some other paragraphs were cleared and released publicly in July, 2003. The most recent and complete version available to the public can be read on the website of George Washington University's National Security Archive, which got it from the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act.

The NIE as declassified and released by the CIA says pretty much what Bush and his aides were saying publicly about Iraq's weapons - nearly all of which turned out to be wrong:


On one important point the National Intelligence Estimate offered little support for Bush's case for war, however. That was the likelihood that Saddam would give chemical or biological weapons to terrorists for use against the US.

Al Qaeda: The intelligence estimate said that – if attacked and "if sufficiently desperate" – Saddam might turn to al Qaeda to carry out an attack against the US with chemical or biological weapons. "He might decide that the extreme step of assisting the Islamist terrorist in conducting a CBW attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him," the NIE said.

The report assigned "low confidence" to this finding, however, while assigning "high confidence" to the findings that Iraq had active chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, and "moderate confidence" that Iraq could have a nuclear weapon as early as 2007 to 2009.

That was the intelligence available to Congress when the House passed the Iraq resolution Oct. 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133. The Senate passed it in the wee hours of Oct. 11, by a vote of  77-23. A total of 81 Democrats in the House and  29 Democrats in the Senate supported the resolution, including some who now are saying Bush misled them.

Further, a December 2005 Washington Post article noted that a congressional report had found that "President Bush and his inner circle had access to more intelligence and reviewed more sensitive material than what was shared with Congress when it gave Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq."

If WND does not point out evidence that Congress was "deceived" by the Bush administration about Iraq war intelligence, how can it claim that Clinton was "contradicting" herself by pointing that out?

Answer: She's a Clinton. The old journalistic rules about making factual claims don't apply to the Clintons, as far as WND is concerned.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EST
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Massie Defends One Controversial Remark, Ignores Another
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Jan. 30 column, Mychal Massie defends Virginia lawmaker Frank Hargrove's statement that those advocating a Virginia state resolution that would apologize for slavery should "get over it." But Massie doesn't mention the other, more controversial statement Hargrove is quoted as saying: "are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?" By not mentioning it, is Massie signaling that he approves of that statement?

Massie Word-of-the-Day bonus: "Barmecidal."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 PM EST
Speaking of Cable Business Show Content ...
Topic: NewsBusters

Headline of a Jan. 29 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd: "CNN's Idea of a Money Show: More Global Warming Hype, Less Global Business News."

No mention of Fox News' idea of a money show: less business news, more buxom babes.

MRC honcho Brent Bozell highly approves of Fox News but opposes sex on TV. We suspect if that show wasn't on Fox News, the MRC would be a tad more vocal about it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 PM EST
New Article: Underreported, Indeed
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why did it take so long for WorldNetDaily to tell the full story of two imprisoned Border Patrol agents? And, now that it has finally told the other side, why is WND trying to bury it? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EST
Monday, January 29, 2007
Clinton Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Newsmax

We wandered over to the right-wing Family Security Matters. And what was the first thing we saw? A column by former NewsMax columnist Joan Swirsky calling Hillary Clinton an "abused wom[a]n" who is not fit to be president. And thus we have an indicator of what we knew would be coming as the result of Hillary's presidential bid: a resurgence of 1990s-style Clinton-hating.

Nowhere, of course, does Swirsky actually support her suggestion that Bill Clinton physically abused her; instead, she drops a vague reference to "spousal abuse -- physical, mental or verbal." Swirsky goes on to claim that Hillary "couldn't stand up to her narcissistic husband" and thus will not "be able to stand up to the same kind of man in the world arena," adding:

It is in Hillary’s masochistic nature that once an abusive man apologizes or sweet-talks or threatens or charms or wields his real power, she will cave. When such a tyrant promises her even a smidgen, it is safe to say that she will stop representing the women and men and children of America and instead be in his thrall. Historically, she has been there, done that.

Just as overheated are Swirsky's descriptions of Bill Clinton, which include "Uriah Heepish," "malignant narcissist" and "petty tyrant."

Swirsky was also one of the contributors to a New Media Journal series on convicted felon Peter Paul's dubious accusations against the Clintons; as we detailed, she was all too eager to whitewash Paul's long criminal record for the sake of trying to make Paul into a credible anti-Clinton witness.

Swirsky claims, in her Family Security Matters bio, to be a "clinical psychotherapist." Sounds like she could use a little therapy of her own to deal with her case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

P.S. How far right is Family Security Matters? Its board of advisors includes not only disgraced, corrupt would-be homeland security secretary Bernard Kerik but also Clinton Derangement Syndrome sufferer and NewsMax columnist John LeBoutillier.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:31 PM EST
Updated: Monday, January 29, 2007 8:55 PM EST
Real, Actual Dialogue!
Topic: NewsBusters

Here's a novel idea -- and one we'd like to see more of.

NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard and activist Mike Stark have done something unprecedented (at least in the history of NewsBusters): had something of a dialogue on the Spocko/KSFO story. Sheppard and Stark asked five questions of the other about the story, then posted the answers on their respective websites -- Sheppard on NewsBusters, Stark on Daily Kos.

We've criticized Sheppard for his telling of the Spocko story, but we commend him and Stark for lowering the hostile-rhetoric level on the issue by engaging in a fairly well-rounded dialogue. Hopefully we'll see more of this from NewsBusters in the future.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 AM EST
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Finkelstein Cheers 'Cheap Shot'
Topic: NewsBusters

Mark Finkelstein has been in a serious liberal-bashing mood lately. This time, in a Jan. 28 NewsBusters post, he praises Fox News' Brit Hume for insulting John Kerry:

Hume wryly unloaded this haymaker on the Massachusetts senator of baleful Gallic mien: "Is it really fair to John Kerry to argue, Bill, that when he's in Switzerland he's away from home?"  Brit was alluding to the fact that Kerry had attended an elite Swiss boarding school.

Refereeing the bout, host Chris Wallace declared a "cheap shot," but that didn't stop the panel from dissolving in laughter.

Ironically, Finkelstein spent an earlier post acting aghast that Hillary Clinton "went Mike Tyson on us" by issuing the "threat" that "When you are attacked, you have to deck your opponent, and that is what I believe you do." Finkelstein appears not to have a sense of irony, for he has not noted that comments like Hume's are the kind of thing Clinton was talking about.

What does all this have to do with "exposing and combating liberal bias"? Nothing. But apparently, the folks at MRC seem content to let NewsBusters devolve into a very well-funded Little Green Footballs (or Protein Wisdom, perhaps a more appropriate comparison since Jeff Goldstein was a NewsBusters blogger until the MRC powers-that-be presuambly figured out how much Goldstein likes to talk about his penis).

Posted by Terry K. at 6:06 PM EST
Sheppard Embraces Convicted Felon
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 27 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard took up the cause of Peter Paul, the corrupt businessman who's suing Hillary Clinton over alleged "campaign finance fraud." But oops! Sheppard makes no mention of the fact that Paul is a convicted felon awaiting sentencing for stock fraud.

Or maybe not so oops! Sheppard used WorldNetDaily as a source for his post; as we've documented, WND has repeatedly whitewashed Paul's long criminal record.

Sheppard went on to add: "Those looking for some background regarding this issue should read a comprehensive analysis of the subject published by the New Media Journal last March." But that seven-part March 2006 series, like WND's reporting, whitewashes Paul's history of criminality. In part two, author and NewsMax columnist Joan Swirsky enables the whitewashing, claiming that it's unfair for Paul to be "solely distinguished by his ethical and legal lapses, specifically two convictions and confession of securities violations."

Swirsky quickly disposes of Paul's conviction on charges of cocaine posession this way: "Throughout the 1970s to the mid-‘80s, Mr. Paul was involved in various ventures, both legitimate and illegitimate – from working with undercover government operatives on an anti-Castro sting to getting indicted and serving prison time." And that allusion to "confession of securities violations" is the only mention of Paul's current troubles -- his guilty plea to $25 million stock fraud scheme (and related fleeing to Brazil to avoid charges, followed by a two-year extradition fight).

Yet, somehow, to Sheppard this is "comprehensive analysis."

An article in that series by Sheppard takes a similar whitewashing approach, then attacks the media for not mentioning Paul's criminality at the time of the 2000 fundraising event hosted by Paul that led to all of this: "[W]hy did its [New York Times] editors think that it wasn’t important to inform the public that it was hosted by a felon, or that the numbers being reported by the Clinton campaign to the FEC concerning its cost were suspect?" Wouldn't a better question be why Sheppard, Swirsky and WND are embracing a convicted felon for the sole purpose of slinging mud at the Clintons?

Another Sheppard-penned article in the series laments the "smears and attacks" on Paul and goes on to compare Paul to Jack Abramoff: "[C]onsider the fact that no member of Congress is believed to have received from Abramoff anywhere near the dollars Hillary took from Paul, and the disparity in press coverage becomes all the more preposterous."

In his NewsBusters post, Sheppard makes an even more preposterous comparison, this time to George Allen and Scooter Libby: 

To put this in some perspective, last year, a sitting senator from Virginia, who was considered to be a serious presidential candidate in the future, uttered the word “macaca” at a campaign stop. As a result, the media pounced, the videotape of the event and its transcript was splattered incessantly all over the print and airwaves, and the senator not only lost his re-election bid, but probably also saw his political career come to an end. Furthermore, the media in recent weeks have been giving almost non-stop coverage to the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the Vice President's former chief of staff.

By contrast, the media have totally ignored a serious lawsuit against a former president and his senator wife that was originally filed on February 25, 2004.


Think the media would be so mum if McCain, Guiliani, or any major Republican was involved in this action regardless of the merits of the case or this brief

Of course, the target of Allen's "macaca" slur, S.R. Sidarth, is not a convicted felon (though Dan Riehl tried to falsely make him into something akin to one). And given that Libby's trial did not start until this past week, the media could not have given "almost non-stop coverage" to it in "recent weeks."

Sheppard's emphasis in the final paragraph is curious. Is he tacitly admitting that Paul's allegations against the Clintons are without merit? Is he saying that it doesn't matter if Paul is telling the truth as long at it hurts the Clintons? It seems to show a certain lack of faith in his favorite convicted felon.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 PM EST
Saturday, January 27, 2007
More Political Attacks at NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 27 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein fires off another political attack that has nothing to do with NewsBusters' declared mission:

Did anyone really believe that Nancy Pelosi's recent whirlwind visit to Iraq was truly the "fact-finding" mission she billed it to be? I doubt it. But just in case there are some credulous folks out there, here's proof that rather than trying to find facts, Pelosi wanted to promote a political agenda.


Think about it. If Pelosi were truly interested in "finding facts," she might have asked this young analyst about the strides we are making with Sunnis and the cooperation we're receiving against al-Qaeda in Iraq, about new cooperation we're receiving from Shia government leaders in rooting out death-squad leaders -- and what might happen to those efforts if we followed Mr. Murtha's recommendation and "redeployed" our folks to Okinawa. 

In other words, if Pelosi really cared, she would have repeated Republican talking points.

The MRC folks do know that such partisan activism bumps up against what the MRC is allowed to do under its 501(c)3 status, right?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EST
Friday, January 26, 2007
Making D'Souza Look Sane
Topic: Horowitz

You know Dinesh D'Souza's new book "The Enemy at Home" is way out there when the David Horowitz crew is attcking it. Two columnists at Horowitz's have launched attacks on it thus far. D'Souza has also been the subject of an interview with FrontPageMag managing editor Jamie Glazov over the book.

Normally known for tossing softballs at his interview subjects -- i.e., David Limbaugh -- Glazov, after a first softball-laden segment, gets aggressive with D'Souza and attempts the feat of attacking him from the right. This leads to inevitable results, like making D'Souza look reasonable by comparison. At one point, Glazov essentially defends Abu Ghraib because we didn't treat the prisoners as bad as Saddam would have (and reveals a slight obsession with women's underwear):

The real significance of Abu Ghraib was that what happened there was a Sunday school class compared to what happened under Saddam Hussein -- and all Iraqis and Arab Muslims know it. What happened at Abu Ghraib was a frat party compared to a history of peoples’ live bodies being passed through human shredders, lowered into boiling baths of acid, people having their kids raped in front of them, and humans having their body parts mutilated while they are alive.

In terms of the torture that is perpetrated by ruthless regimes around the world, any sane human being would only dream of being a prisoner in an American Abu Ghraib.


Personally, I can say with full certainty that I would prefer a woman’s underwear to be placed over my head any day to having my eye sockets cut out, my head crushed in a vice and my limbs mutilated, or my body being torn apart in a meat shredder.


The key significance here is that the horror that exists in the Muslim world over a pair of woman’s underwear being placed on a man’s head is a reflection of that culture’s immorality, not ours. I am obviously not saying that a pair of woman’s underwear on a man’s head should represent a cultural norm. Obviously the guards were engaging in sadistic and juvenile behavior and they should be reprimanded or punished for their conduct accordingly. But there is a larger context here. And that is that the nightmarish dread with which the underwear scene was greeted in the Arab Muslim world reflected the hatred of women and of their sexuality in these societies. It exposed the terror that males experience when confronted with the notion of a woman having power over them, let alone even being an equal. That reality for a male is considered a virtual hell. This reveals the vile misogyny that exists in the Islamic world – and that should be the primary subject of our moral indignation.

After D'Souza calls Glazov on it, pointing out that You cannot defend one kind of wrong by pointing to another kind of wrong, Glazov gets more indignant:

I also don’t understand why you keep saying that I am “defending” Abu Ghraib. It’s easier arguing with straw men I guess. I clearly stated in my last comment that the American guards at Abu Ghraib were engaging in sadistic and juvenile behavior and that they should be punished accordingly.

You accuse me of having a “disgracefully cavalier attitude” about the underwear-on-the-head episode. It’s not the first time in my life I’ve been accused of being cavalier about something and it won’t be the last. But let me tell you something that I don’t have a “disgraceful” cavalier attitude about:

Glazov digresses into a long spiel about how he is "the child of Soviet dissidents" and how his family was terrorized by the Soviet NKVD, which purportedly shows his sensitivity to the issue of torture. Eventally he gets back on point:

The point is that we never stooped to Saddam's level and we don't stoop to Saddam’s level. And it’s hypocritical for Muslims, and anyone else, to suddenly cry foul about our disrespect for the Muslim “shame” culture when no comparable outrage was on display throughout Saddam's reign of terror. And if you can’t grasp that when a bestial and ferocious fury occurs in response to a woman’s pair of underwear being placed on a man’s head, it is connected to a society’s misogyny -- where a terrifying dread exists in the notion of a woman’s equality to a man -- I don’t know what to say.

Later, Glazov launches into an anti-liberal screed:

You stated in our interview, Mr. D’Souza, that the Left loves America in its own way. I would have to disagree. The Left wants to destroy America -- as well as its democratic-capitalist foundations. The America they love will be the one they yearn to build on the ashes of the one that exists, and the one they yearn to destroy. And the one they will build will have no resemblance to the one that exists and to the one whose freedoms they exploit in their effort to destroy it. It will resemble Mao’s China and Stalinist Russia and Castro’s Cuba, and that’s why the Left venerated those tyrannies throughout the 20th Century and offered them its own personal solidarity and affection.


I stand by my statement that the only America that the Left loves is the one that it yearns to build on the ashes on the existing America that is seeks to destroy.

Was making D'Souza look sane the point of Glazov's ranting?

(UPDATE: Edits made for clarity and formatting.) 

Posted by Terry K. at 4:40 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 26, 2007 10:17 PM EST

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