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Sunday, February 11, 2007
CNS Mum on Bad Stuff in Backgrounds of Morris, Bossie

A Feb. 9 article by Fred Lucas on the upcoming Hillary Clinton-bashing documentary by Dick Morris and David Bossie includes biographical information about Morris' and Bossie's backgrounds -- but not negative information.

"Morris was a long-time political advisor to Clinton and ran the former president's successful 1996 reelection campaign but has since become a vocal critic of both Clintons," Lucas writes. But he offers no information on how Morris left his position with the Clintons -- he resigned after it was disclosed that a $200-an-hour hooker had a long-term relationship with Morris.

Lucas writes of Bossie: "Bossie is familiar with Clinton controversies. He was a chief investigator for a U.S. Senate probe into the Whitewater affair and was later an investigator for a House probe into President Clinton's 1996 campaign finances." Similarly, Lucas did not note the reason Bossie was no longer employed as a congressional investigator: He heavily edited publicly released transcripts of phone conversations by convicted Clinton official Webb Hubbell, omitting exculpatory information. As we've noted, even WorldNetDaily suggested at the time that such behavior showed that Bossie was "either extremely incompetent or was intentionally trying to sabotage" the House GOP investigation into Clinton.

Such information, had Lucas reported it, might have clued CNS readers into the reckless, vendetta-driven nature of Bossie and Morris. 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 AM EST
Saturday, February 10, 2007
WND's Double Standard on Campus Ministries
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember a few months back when WorldNetDaily made a big to-do about Georgetown University kicking non-Catholic ministries off campus, even suggesting that by doing so the school was not "Christian"?

It turns out that in 2000, the Baylor University Board of Regents decided to make the Baptist Student Ministries the only chartered denominational organization on campus. And currently, Baylor is embroiled in a battle over whether to allow non-Baptist groups the same on-campus privileges as Baptist organizations. Last week, Baylor's student senate voted in favor of it.

Even though the Baylor situation is similar to that of Georgetown's, WND has never written about it, then or now. WND editor Joseph Farah did, however, lambaste Baylor in a July 2001 column for allegedly not being accomodating enough to homeschooled students.

Similarly, we have seen no evidence that the Alliance Defense Fund -- which, according to WND, wrote a letter to Georgetown officials asking the school to reconsider its decision removing non-Catholic ministries from campus -- taking any similar action against Baylor or taking a position on allowing non-Baptist groups on the Baylor campus.

Have WND and ADF simply overlooked this, or are they taking an unspoken position that evangelical Protestantism is the only true Christian religion and thus off limits for criticism? 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 10, 2007 12:42 AM EST
Friday, February 9, 2007
WND Press-Release Journalism Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 9 WorldNetDaily article headlined "Lesbian website retreats from threat" -- which misstates the issue at hand -- appears to have been cobbled together from articles posted on the website of anti-gay group Americans for Truth.

The article goes on to state that a commenter on the blog Pam's House Blend -- not the proprietor of the blog, as the headline falsely suggests -- was banned after making threats to Americans for Truth leader Peter LaBarbera. While twice describing blog proprietor Pam Spaulding as a "lesbian activist," the article described Americans for Truth as a "pro-family" group "which works to publish a message of hope for those caught in the homosexual lifestyle."

No apparent attempt was made by WND to contact Spaulding for a response to allow her to tell her side of the story.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:51 PM EST
Reagan Wrong on Troop Surge Level
Topic: Newsmax

In a Feb. 9 column, reprinted at NewsMax and, Michael Reagan wrote:

According to CNN News on Wednesday, top Senate Democrats called on Senate Republicans to "stop blocking a debate" on President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq.

"Before sending another 48,000 young Americans into battle, the Congress owes it to our troops, their families, and their communities to have an honest and open discussion about their mission," the Democrats said in a news release.

Ooops! The President is sending about 21,000 new troops, not 48,000; but then, as noted above, the Democrats never let the truth get in their way when playing the demagogue game.

After all, 48,000 sounds scarier than 21,000.

In fact, CNN is correct. According to the Congressional Budget Office, while 21,000 combat troops are being sent to Iraq, they will require as many as 28,000 additional support troops, for a total of more than 48,000. Reagan makes no mention of the CBO report.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:11 PM EST
Does NewsMax Know What A Journalist Is?
Topic: Newsmax

A Feb. 8 NewsMax article described military analyst William Arkin as a "rabid left-wing, antiwar writer," and claimed that a controversial post on his Washington Post blog "have ignited a firestorm among fellow journalists who fully support and admire the men and women serving in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan."

First, Arkin is not a "journalist." He has been a newspaper columnist and a military analyst for NBC, but none of that makes him a journalist, which generally includes some sort of history of straight-news reporting, which he appears not to have.

Second, the only "fellow journalists" NewsMax cites as criticizing Arkin are Michelle Malkin and Bill O'Reilly -- who could each be considered even less of a "journalist" than Arkin. And while NewsMax described Arkin as "left-wing," it does not describe Malkin and O'Reilly as "right-wing."

When one works for NewsMax -- not exactly known for its straight-news reporting -- apparently one tends to forget what a "journalist" is.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 PM EST
Updated: Friday, February 9, 2007 1:04 PM EST
ConWeb Repeats Dubious Pelosi Plane Allegations
Topic: Newsmax

The ConWeb is buying into the conservative spin -- much of it lacking any sort of solid documentation -- regarding Nancy Pelosi's quest for an airplane.

The biggest offender is NewsMax, whose Feb. 8 article on it is chock full of unsubstantiated claims. It cited "some sources" as "claiming that Pelosi demanded access to the C-32, which seats 45 and has a stateroom for the primary passenger, a conference facility, an entertainment system and three convertible beds."

NewsMax also played up Minority Whip Roy Blunt's statement that the plane Pelosi purportedly wants to use is a "Flying Lincoln bedroom,” citing the Washington Times and adding, "But most people do not fly cross-country with a bedroom." In fact, nowhere has anyone -- including NewsMax -- confirmed on the record that Pelosi is seeking that particular airplane.

Meanwhile, the folks at NewsBusters have embraced these same unsubstantiated allegations. A Feb. 8 post by Mark Finkelstein reported that a TV discussion of the issue noted that "Pelosi was seeking a plane that could fly her home to California non-stop. But as many readers have pointed out, that in no way justifies the need for the behemoth Pelosi has been seeking." But he doesn't note that there's no evidence to support the anonymous claim that Pelosi was seeking a "behemoth." Another Finkelstein post referenced Pelosi's "quest for a big plane."

Similarly, a Feb. 8 post by Scott Whitlock reported Pelosi's "request for access to an extravagant plane," and a post by Brad Wilmouth referenced "Pelosi's efforts to acquire access to a larger jet than what her predecessor used" -- both without noting the lack of evidence to back up that claim.

And in an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," the MRC's Tim Graham, a guest on the show, did nothing to contradict Sean Hannity when he described the large plane as "the plane she is asking for"; in fact, he snarkily added that Pelosi "maybe she needs those 42 seats for all the children adn grandchildren that always surround her." Graham went on to complain that "the media really doesn't deal in facts these days; they deal in mood music" -- again, not noting the claim that Pelosi is seeking a huge plane is hardly an established "fact."

UPDATE: A Feb. 9 column by Frank Salvato treats the "request" by "Pelosi's people" to "upgrade the aircraft" to something more "impressive" as fact, not as a unverified accusation.

UPDATE 2: A Feb. 8 MRC CyberAlert treated Pelosi's "efforts to acquire access to a larger military jet than what her predecessor used" as fact and not an anonymous accusation.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EST
Updated: Friday, February 9, 2007 1:22 PM EST
Thursday, February 8, 2007
WND Columnist Regurgitates Misinformation (CNS, Too)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Feb. 8 WorldNetDaily column criticizing alleged attacks on scientists who oppose the idea of global warming, Craige McMillan wrote:

Just ask George Taylor, a scientist at Oregon State University who believes that the temperature variations we see today are the result of entirely natural variations that have occurred throughout the earth's history and will continue to occur in the future.

Unfortunately for George Taylor, he holds a title that the global warming industry covets: State Climatologist. In fact, Oregon's governor, Democrat Ted Kulongoski, wants Taylor removed from that position. He furthermore wants the position made into one that the governor appoints. State Democratic Sen. Brad Avakian agrees. He is introducing legislation to accomplish this. His concern is that global warming is so important to state policy that the governor needs a climatologist to act as a consultant. Make that a climatologist who agrees with the governor.

In fact, according to Think Progress:

1) Taylor is not the “state climatologist.” Oregon abolished the position in 1989. He was bestowed the title by Oregon State University, not by Gov. Kulongoski or the state of Oregon.

2) Taylor is not a “climatologist.” Taylor is a meteorologist. He does not possess a PhD or have a background in climatology.

3) He will not be fired. Taylor will not lose his job or income, which comes from Oregon State University. He will merely be stripped of his title, which he never earned but claims to retain. Gov. Kulongoski has the right to appoint a climatologist who is an expert in the field and adheres to the state’s climate policies.

What are the chances we'll see McMillan issue a correction on this? We're guessing low.

UPDATE: In a Feb. 8 article, Fred Lucas similarly reported that "[a] dispute erupted this week in Oregon, where Gov. Ted Kulongoski is considering firing the state's climatologist George Taylor, who has said human activity isn't the chief cause of global climate change."

Posted by Terry K. at 7:08 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 8, 2007 8:17 PM EST
Pot, Kettle, Black
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Feb. 8 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham is upset that CNN portrayed allegations of "anti-Catholic" posts by two bloggers hired by John Edwards as "unproven."

This from a guy who can't quite admit that George Allen's calling S.R. Sidarth "macaca" could be interpreted as offensive and/or racist.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:22 PM EST
Waters Misleads on Iraq Vote
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Feb. 8 NewsBusters post (and TimesWatch item) asserting that a New York Times article "falsely claim[ed] that Senate Republicans "blocked the debate" over an Iraq war resolution, Clay Waters made a false claim of his own:

Republicans blocked the debate?

[Times reporter Jeff] Zeleny again ignored the fact that Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not allow votes on two Republican alternatives that would probably pass the Senate with the 60 votes required. In other words, it's Democrat Reid, not Republicans, who is "blocking" a fuller debate on Iraq.

In fact, Reid did offer to bring both Republican alternatives up for a vote -- just not on the terms Republicans want. Republicans offered to bring up all four proposed resolutions on a straight up-or-down vote, but Republicans want to preserve the right to filibuster the Democratic resolutions by holding them to a 60-vote standard.

While Democrats are, in the process of all this, arguably blocking a vote on one Republican resolution that might pass with 60 votes (as Waters notes later), it is false to say that Reid "will not allow votes" on the Republican resolutions; he just won't allow the kind of vote Republicans prefer.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:24 PM EST
Ron Kessler Fluff Update
Topic: Newsmax

NewsMax's Ronald Kessler has been continuing to engage in his favorite pastimes: fluffing conservatives and obsessing over John McCain's alleged anger management problems.

A Feb. 8 potpourri of items covers both ends: fluffing defeated Sen. George Allen for a possible run for Virginia governor, as well as promoting a "liberal activist" company's "grabby video" about McCain, adding that "McCain's opponents would love to capture McCain's out-of-control temper on video."

Kessler also sneaks in one more pastime: potshots at Democrats. Here, he quotes an anonymous "senior GOP aide" complaining about the alleged lack of bipartisanship the Democrats are offering Republicans: "No amendments allowed. No advance notice of changes to bill text. Little advance distribution of bill text. We Republicans may not have been angels to the Democrats, but we never did this — and certainly not on legislation as big as the 100-hour agenda."

In fact, in 1995, amendments were restricted or prohibited under the GOP-controlled Congress with several of the legislative proposals stemming from the GOP's Contract with America.

Meanwhile, a Feb. 6 Kessler article was a fluff piece on Jim Cramer, coming somewhat suspiciously soon after a Slate article bashing Cramer's stock-picking skills.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EST
WND Crops Snow's Ridicule of Kinsolving
Topic: The Daily Les

A Feb. 7 WorldNetDaily article on Les Kinsolving's daily questions to White House press secretary Tony Snow sticks to the straight answers Snow gave, ignoring Snow's ridicule of Kinsolving's questions.

Kinsolving recited WND's cause celebre, the case of the convicted Border Patrol agents, asking if the procedures President Bush claims he needs to follow in considering the pardon of the agents that conservatives have been agitating for were "followed when President Jerry Ford pardoned President Nixon even before he was tried; when President Carter pardoned all those draft resisters?" WND omitted the first part of Snow's response, as detailed in the official White House transcript: "You know, that is one of the most preposterous comparisons I've ever heard."

And on the question of whether "the president believe[s] that Texas Republican Poe, another Republican congressman, and hundreds of thousands of petition signers on this issue are all wrong" in their criticism of the case, WND printed only Snow's response that "I think what the president has done is spend more money on border security than any president in American history." In fact, there was a contentious exchange between Snow and Kinsolving. From the transcript:

SNOW: You have just conflated two entirely different stories, Les, and I want to congratulate you for it. I think what the President has done is spend more money on border security than any President in American history. And there have been more --

KINSOLVING: But the wall -- why isn't the wall in the budget? The wall was cut out.

SNOW: It's a fence, and it is in the budget. Sorry.

KINSOLVING: The report is that it's not.

SNOW: No, the report is about how much can be afforded, and that is a fiscal question.

Shouldn't WND readers be alerted to how little respect Snow apparently has for Kinsolving -- or Kinsolving's silly grandstanding?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EST
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
MRC Edits Out Matthews 'Fascism' Reference
Topic: Media Research Center

The MRC CyberAlert version of Rich Noyes' Feb. 7 NewsBusters post on Chris Matthews' F-bomb deletes Noyes' misleading citing of Matthews' reference to "fascism" and Rudy Giuliani. In fact, the word "fascism" is nowhere to be found, let alone a correct contextual quoting of it.

How can the MRC possibly defend its attempted deception? This flagrant instance of intellectual dishonesty?


UPDATE: On the other hand, this version also states the magic (factual) words much more clearly than the NewsBusters version: that Matthews was "praising the 'great job' Rudy Giuliani did in cleaning up New York City."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:42 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2007 11:19 PM EST
MRC, Just Admit It: Matthews Hearts Giuliani
Topic: NewsBusters

Why is the Media Research Center and its affiliated writers so unable to admit the simple truth that Chris Matthews likes Rudy Giuliani?

In a Feb. 7 NewsBusters post on Matthews' dropping the F-bomb on Don Imus' show, Rich Noyes noted that Matthews "prais[ed] the 'great job' Rudy Giuliani did in cleaning up New York City -- which Matthews again suggested was done with just 'a pinch' of fascism." But Noyes, like fellow NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein, fails to quote the full context in which Matthews made the comment -- delcaring that he likes that kind of "fascism." Here's the full quote of Matthews on Imus, as taken from the video Noyes supplied:

MATTHEWS: I think he [Giuliani] did a great job. I'm sorry. And I think the country wants a boss like that. You know, a little bit of fascism there. Just a little bit. Just a pinch of it.

See? Matthews loves Giuliani. Is it really so painful and damaging to the MRC's worldview (and its cherished Matthews-is-liberal meme) that it can't just come right out and say that? Must Finkelstein and Noyes hide behind their purported offense at his use of the word "fascist" to avoid admitting that fact to their readers?

UPDATE: Media Matters (disclosure: my employer) has noted Matthews' "fascism" comment. Finkelstein should be happy now.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:06 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2007 4:31 PM EST
NewsMax Scoops WND; WND Steals from NewsMax
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the late afternoon of Feb. 5 (though dated Feb. 6), NewsMax posted an "exclusive interview" by Phil Brennan with Michael Savage, who declared that he was thinking about running for president.

(The first four digits of the six-digit number before the ".shtml" at the end of a NewsMax URL indicates the time an article; before that are three file levels that indicate day, date and year. Hence, the "2007/2/5/161823" in this item's URL tells us NewsMax posted it at 4:18 p.m., or 16:18 on a 24-hour clock, on Feb. 5.)

At 7:53 p.m. on Feb. 5, WorldNetDailiy -- who published Savage's first three books under its WND Books imprint (Savage stayed at Thomas Nelson after WND's publishing deal with Nelson ended) -- posted a rewritten version of the NewsMax article -- only NewsMax isn't credited. The article states that Savage's comments came in "an online interview." The word "NewsMax" is nowhere to be found.

Doesn't that violate WND's own expressed standards for lifting material -- that it's "fair use" as long as the original author of the item is credited? It would appear so. WND was probably feeling a little miffed that its rival scooped WND on one of their boys.

Of course, as we've noted, WND is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of "fair use" when if suits them, while heaping indignation on those who don't credit WND to its satisfaction.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EST
Yep, It's Out of Context
Topic: NewsBusters

We've had a chance to examine the transcript of the "Hardball" episode in which Chris Matthews asked a guest about Rudy Giuliani: "Was he a little bit of a fascist?" And we've had our suspicions confirmed: NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein plucked the comment out of context. 

Here's the entire relevant segment:

MATTHEWS: How did he get the pee smell out of that subway?

FORMER REP. SUSAN MOLINARI (R-NY): He stopped -- they -- all of a sudden -- how did he stop the squeegee people from --

MATTHEWS: Well, he got the pee smell out of the phone booths up there. Even phone booths in New York that aren't booths, they're just a place to make a phone call, had that smell around them before -- I think -- having gone to New York enough times, he did clean up that atmosphere in New York.

MOLINARI:  You bet he did.  He stopped making excuses for people.

MATTHEWS:  Well, was he a little bit of a fascist of what?  What did he do?

MOLINARI:  By making people abide by the law.

MATTHEWS:  He made people fear the place.

MOLINARI:  He made people fear the law.

MATTHEWS:  OK, why do majorities feel that he‘s their enemy?

MOLINARI:  I don‘t know.  Because what he did was...

MATTHEWS:  Oh, yes, you do.

MOLINARI:  No, I don‘t.  Because what he did was restore order.  When he reduced crime, where did he reduce crime, in what neighborhoods, Chris?  Who was able to walk the streets...

MATTHEWS:  I know who suffers from bad crime, people who live in tough neighborhoods, I know that.

MOLINARI:  And that was the number one...

MATTHEWS:  But that‘s not the feeling you get...


MATTHEWS:  That‘s not the feeling you get from minority leaders.

MOLINARI:  Rudolph Giuliani was unequivocally a strong supporter of the New York City Police Department.  It was a police department that was badly battered in terms of their emotional support that they received from the previous mayor, David Dinkins, and I think that might have something to do with it.  But the truth is, that neighborhoods were cleaner, neighborhoods were safer, all of New York City.  Go to Times Square today. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know, as an out-of-towner, I‘ve got to tell you, it‘s better for me to go when there‘s a city that‘s safer. 

Matthews -- in his mode of saying every fool thing that pops into his head -- was defending Giuliani in his own bizarre way. He likes Giuliani's brand of "fascism." Too bad Finkelstein couldn't see fit to note that.

Finkelstein -- still ignoring the context -- follows that post up with a Feb. 6 post bashing Media Matters (full disclosure: my employer) for editing out the "fascist" comment in an item, huffily asking, "How can Media Matters possibly defend its attempted deception?"

Uh, because the item was about Matthews' obssession with "the pee smell"? If Finkelstein can explain how the two are related, he should explain it. We expect to see that about the time he admits that Matthews likes Giuliani.

P.S. We think what Finkelstein's trying to get at is that "fascist" is objectionable no matter the context. But it remains a fact that Matthews used that word in an overall positive context toward Giuliani.

P.P.S.: The MRC's Tim Graham adds in the first comment to Finkelstein's Media Matters post: "I would agree that it's wrong to omit completely an inconvenient truth that dilutes your argument. We hope at MRC to include qualifying comments or facts that make a story more balanced, even if we might not always please liberal critics." Yo, Tim: Ask Mark why he didn't do that with his Giuliani post.

And we'll be looking foward to the next MRC meta-hit piece on Matthews for the misleading statement "Matthews Called Giuliani a 'Fascist'!"

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2007 3:08 PM EST

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