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Tuesday, March 6, 2007
More WND Narcissism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily continues its self-centered attitude toward website blocking by the military in a March 6 article by Bob Unruh that quotes WND editor Joseph Farah as saying, "WND has proved its willingness to fight for freedom of speech in the past and we will uphold that tradition in the future no matter what the cost," while failing once again to note that WND is far from the first mainstream website that the military has blocked its troops from seeing.

If Farah is so willing to "fight for freedom of speech," why won't he and Unruh fight for military access to other websites that are in the same situation as WND?

Posted by Terry K. at 7:56 PM EST
CNS Headline Bias Watch

The headline of a March 6 article on Scooter Libby's conviction on perjury and obstruction of justice charges readds: "Dems Target Administration as Libby Found Guilty."

Somehow, we don't recall any CNS articles in December 1998 headlined "GOP Targets Administration as Clinton Impeached."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:05 PM EST
Bozell Weighs In on Maher -- But Not Coulter
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 6 New York Post article quoted Media Research Center president Brent Bozell thusly regarding Bill Maher's comments on Dick Cheney: "Bill Maher is a vile and repugnant human being. ... Anyone who wishes for the death of the vice president in a time of war is, at best, a very sick puppy."

But Bozell has thus far not found the time to weigh in on Ann Coulter's "faggot" remark and the status of her scheduled appearance at the MRC's 20th Anniversary Gala.

That may be because Bozell is buddy-buddy enough with Coulter to do joint appearances on Sean Hannity's radio show. 

C'mon, Brent. Is "faggot" not "vile and repugnant"? Is Coulter not "a very sick puppy"? Inquiring minds who genuinely care about media bias want to know.

UPDATE: A March 6 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock calls Coulter's remark a "slur" but refuses to pass judgment on it, complaining instead that "Good Morning America" focused on Coulter and not Maher. He concluded: "Regardless of what one thinks of conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter’s comments, shouldn’t Bill Maher, who is a well known liberal author and pundit, receive similar scrutiny for his 'mean spirited' comments about a failed assassination attempt on the Vice President?" Of course, the MRC has not given to Coulter similar scrutiny -- or much scrutiny at all for that matter -- to that it has given Maher.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:52 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2007 3:56 PM EST
The Silence Continues
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- which is planning to feature Ann Coulter at its 20th Anniversary Gala on March 29 -- has officially remained silent about Coulter's "faggot" slur. Will the MRC honor its invitation to Coulter, thus condoning her slur, or will it follow the lead of fellow watchdog group, Accuracy in Media, which is discontinuing the sale of her books at its online store?

Then again, silence appears to be the MRC's official policy on Coulter, who has played a role at MRC's annual banquet each of the past four years. A search of the MRC archives turns up no mention whatsoever, let alone criticism, of two of Coulter's most notorious statements -- that "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in [Supreme Court] Justice [John Paul] Stevens' creme brulee" and "My only regret with [Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

Can we assume by its silence that the MRC finds no offense whatsoever in Coulter's slurs and threats?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:28 AM EST
NewsMax Slants Global Warming Article
Topic: Newsmax

A March 5 NewsMax article repeats the claim reported in a National Geographic News article that melting of polar ice caps on Mars proves that "the current warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun."

But as with NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard, NewsMax failed to mention the massive holes in this theory that National Geographic documented -- namel, that not only does it apparently fail to take into account changes in Mar's orbit and tilt that would affect changes in Mars' climate, it dismisses the greenhouse effect.

NewsMax also repeats a report from the Danish National Space Center which claims that "the Earth’s climate is strongly influenced by cosmic rays from exploded stars." But previous reports on this claim also note, unlike NewsMax, that these findings may not transfer to natural conditions outside the controlled laboratory environment.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Blumer Repeats False Pelosi Claim
Topic: NewsBusters

A March 4 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer uncriticially quoted a statement by House Republican Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "demand[ed] to have regular use of a luxurious C-32 for flights to her San Francisco home and other official trips."

In fact, as has been amply documented, there is no evidence beyond anonymous claims that Pelosi "demanded" a "luxurious" plane. House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood has explained that it was he who requested Pelosi have access to military aircraft capable of flying nonstop between Washington, D.C., and California.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EST
Monday, March 5, 2007
CNS Reports Coulter Criticism, But ...

A March 5 article by Melanie Hunter reported conservative criticism of Ann Coulter's "faggot" remark. While it, unlike an earlier CNS article, actually reprinted the full remark, the article does not mention the reaction of CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, whose 20th Anniversary Gala on March 29 Coulter is scheduled to be featured at.

Hunter would have had to go, what, down the hall to get Brent Bozell's reaction? (CNS is located inside MRC headquarters in Alexandria, Va.)

The MRC's silence on hosting Coulter's next high-profile gig is interesting.

Meanwhile, another NewsBusters blogger plays the Coulter equivocacy game. This time, it's Justin McCarthy accusing John Edwards of hypocrisy for criticizing Coulter while initially standing by two bloggers for his campaign who had made inflammatory statements before he hired them. Hey, Justin, shouldn't you check into why your MRC bosses lambasted those bloggers but won't say a peep about Coulter?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:37 PM EST
Will MRC Yank Coulter From Banquet?
Topic: Media Research Center

Is the reason the Media Research Center will not denounce Ann Coulter's "faggot" slur because she will serve as one of the main attractions for its 20th Anniversary Gala on March 29?

Accuracy in Media has declared that it will stop selling Coulter's books. Will the MRC take a similar stand against offensive rhetoric by disinviting Coulter?

UPDATE: Forget whether Coulter will return to CPAC next year. Brent Bozell needs to weigh in on Coulter's appearance at his big soiree in 3 1/2 weeks.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:23 PM EST
Updated: Monday, March 5, 2007 4:48 PM EST
Non-MRC ConWeb Reaction Mixed on Coulter
Topic: The ConWeb

We know that the Media Research Center is having problems being critical of Ann Coulter's "faggot" remark. How's the rest of the ConWeb doing?

WorldNetDaily is retreating to the same equivocation mode as NewsBusters. The first original WND article on Coulter's remark is a March 5 column by Tom Flannery whose criticism of Coulter is mostly sarcastic and portrays her as a victim of political correctness:

There are some things you just can't say, not even in jest. And at the top of that list right now is anything derogatory about the "gay" lifestyle or, worse yet, anything that is considered a slur against homosexuals, a protected class of people with special rights which entitle them to live free from all offense.

Flannery claimed that there was a "larger cultural context in which she made her remarks regarding Edwards" and that "the media once more ignored the salient argument she was making to focus instead on the sensational aspect of the language she used." He added that "the same liberal elites who are calling for the public condemnation of Ann Coulter have been largely silent about John Edwards' anti-Christian bloggers."

NewsMax, meanwhile, has posted wire articles calling Coulter's remark a "slur," but its lead article right now is an article that regurgitates a NewsBusters item on Bill Maher's remarks about Dick Cheney. That item, by the way, falsely portrays Maher's 2001 remarks about the 9/11 hijackers: "Maher got in trouble once before with his televised comments. After the 9/11 attacks, Maher said on his ABC show "Politically Incorrect" that the hijackers were 'warriors' and not 'cowards.'"

In fact, as even the NewsBusters post got right, it was Dinesh D'Souza -- whose new blame-America book NewsMax has flacked -- who said the hijackers were "warriors," to which Maher responded: "We (the United States) have been cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."

At Accuracy in Media, however, the tone is much different. In a March 5 column, Cliff Kincaid tore into Coulter, calling her remark "[t]he political equivalent of Britney Spears shaving the hair off her head," adding that "Coulter must be a liberal infiltrator whose purpose is to give conservatism a bad name." He also announced that AIM's online store was discontinuing sales of Coulter's books.

UPDATE: Kincaid has added a second column denouncing the equivocation of Coulter's slur with Maher's statement on Cheney, though not entirely for the best reasons: "Such a comparison brings conservatives down to the liberal level. It says that conservatives are incapable of maintaining higher standards." He goes on to question whether Fox News "is serving the interests of the conservatives it claims to represent" for running "trash" as the new show "Red Eye," hosted by "a blogger for the liberal Huffington Post" and "a former college sex columnist whose blog is peppered with obscenities."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:31 PM EST
Updated: Monday, March 5, 2007 4:34 PM EST
CNS Also Downplaying Coulter Comment

NewsBusters isn't the only MRC division eager to downplay or equivocate Ann Coulter's calling John Edwards a"faggot." A March 5 article by Payton Hoegh on Coulter's CPAC speech leads with her attacks on Al Gore. It's not until the fourth paragraph that Hoegh alludes to "[h]er much-publicized 'faggot' comment in relation to former senator and 2008 Democratic Party presidential hopeful John Edwards," but not only does he not repeat the full comment in context, he writes only that it "drew a much cooler response" from the audience.

In fact, as the video shows, while Coulter's slur drew an initial gasp from the audience, it then drew a fairly hearty appaluse -- not exactly a "cool" response.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 PM EST
Coulter Equivocation Syndrome
Topic: NewsBusters

Can anyone at the Media Research Center criticize Ann Coulter unequivocally without bringing in anyone else for comparison purposes? It appears not.

A March 5 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston compares Coulter's "faggot" remark to Bill Maher's statement on his HBO show for noting that if Vice President Dick Cheney had died during a suicide bombing in Pakistan, "other people, more people would live. That’s a fact." According to Huston, "Coulter's comment is intemperate, childish, lowbrow, even frat house-like for its part, but it was just a derogatory name in the end. Maher wants people KILLED, for Heaven's sake."

Well, so does Coulter: Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens, employees of the New York Times. But Huston fails to mention that, nor does he offer any evidence that he condemned those statements to the extent he criticizes Maher. Indeed, a search of NewsBusters for the seven days after Coulter made her January 2006 remark that "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee" found only a single passing mention of the remark and absolutely no criticism of it.

To his credit, Huston does criticize Coulter's outrageous schtick:

Of course, I am sympathetic to her core message of conservative values, but in my opinion she is no longer an effective conservative columnist having long ago diluted her message by a career that has advanced to the stage of "personality" instead of pundit. She is the H.L. Mencken of our times... minus the intellect.

Sadly, she obviously feels she has to say increasingly outrageous things to stay at the top of the news. In fact, at this point she isn't much different than Whitney Houston, Paris Hilton, or Britney Spears all of whom seem to feel a need to continuously up the ante of crazy behavior to keep getting noticed.

In other words, Coulter no longer does much to aid the cause because her own fame -- or more properly her infamy -- has become her driving force, the cause having been eclipsed by her need to stay in the news. I feel, at this point, that she is hurting us on the right more than helping us.

However, Huston still feels the need to equivocate, suggesting that conservatives haven't criticized Maher to the extent they have criticized Coulter. Considering that the highest-ranking employee/writer at the MRC to publicly criticize Coulter to date is, uh, Huston, that's not exactly an accurate comparison.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 PM EST
Another NewsBusters Double Standard
Topic: NewsBusters

We've already noted the failure of NewsBusters to unequivocally condemn Ann Coulter's "faggot" slur against John Edwards, even though its writers (as well as those throughout the Media Research Center) were quick to condemn bloggers once employed by Edwards' campaign for using inflammatory language. Here's another double standard worth noting.

A March 4 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein heralded the arrival of Ainsley Earhardt as a host of "Fox & Friends Weekend." He notes media accounts that describe Earhardt as "a strong Christian with fairly conservative values" who loves Ronald Reagan and thinks that "some of the decisions he made as President were great."

Imagine how someone like Finkelstein would react if a new cable-news host had similar, but Democratic, leanings -- who described herself as having "failry lilberal values" and worshiped Bill Clinton. Why, she'd be denounced as a filthy MSMer who couldn't possibly be counted on to give the news straight. Indeed, Finkelstein has complained to newly hired NBC political director Chuck Todd: "Instead, we're asked to accept that neither Chris Matthews nor Tim Russert -- and now you --- have an agenda despite having all worked for liberal Democrats." 

So, you'd expect Finkelstein to crack down on Earhardt because her background suggests that she can't be fair, right?

Uh, no. Finkelstein asks us to accept that she doesn't have an agenda. In fact, he gives Earhardt the kid-glove treatment: He states the she "by all appearances has made a smooth landing" on the show and concludes: "In any case, welcome Ainsley -- we'll be watching!" 

But not for bias, we can assume.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EST
Unruh Doesn't Know His History (And He's Still Hurling the Nazi Smear)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh claimed that a German "consul general" defended "3rd Reich homeschooling prohibition being used now to justify the imprisonment of a 15-year-old student." But all it appears Unruh did is copy-and-paste from a pro-homeschooling website; there's no indication that he verified what was posted on the website with German officials. This continues Unruh's policy of not independently verifying that any of the things alleged to have occurred regarding the "imprisonment" of the student have, in fact, occurred.

(Indeed, a Feb. 25 article by Unruh alleging that the German government has asked the family involved to "give up custody of their other five children" (histrionic italics his) cites only a pro-homeschooling source for the claim and does not note any attempt to contact German governmental officials to corroborate.)

But assuming it is genuine, Unruh misportrayed it. While he portrayed it as a "3rd Reich homeschooling prohibition" -- thus once again suggesting that anyone who criticizes homeschoolers is a Nazi -- the letter states:

Mandatory school attendance was first introduced in Germany in 1919 under the constitution of the Weimar Republic to guarantee education for all, especially socially disadvantaged families.

The Weimar Republic is not the same thing as the Third Reich, coming several years before Hitler took power. Yet not only does Unruh offer any evidence to contradict this, he goes on to repeat a claim by a pro-homeschooling magazine that "one of the first acts by Hitler when he moved into power was to create the governmental Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools, and school-related issues." But if mandatory public education was instituted prior to Hitler's ascent, this is irrelevant, other than to, again, tar anyone who disagrees with Unruh and his pro-homeschooling ideologues as Nazis.

This is what happens when reporters like Unruh become advocates instead of journalists -- they become so dedicated to their cause that only one side of the story is told, and the truth gets left by the wayside.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EST
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Sheppard Misrepresents Anti-Global Warming Theory
Topic: NewsBusters

A March 1 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard misrepresented an anti-global warming theory as mainstream when, in fact, it's merely one man's idea.

In what he called an "absolutely startling report about climate change," Sheppard cited a National Geographic News report on a claim by Russian scientist Habibullo Abdussamatov that global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun, not by man. While Sheppard did excerpt a segment of the article calling it "one scientist's controversial theory," he went on to state, without offering evidence, that "To be sure, Abdussamatov is not the first scientist to make this claim."

However, Sheppard was vague in describing the criticism of the theory in the article:

Yet, in an article about a somewhat contrary concept as far as the mainstream media are concerned, National Geographic expressed great skepticism. In a piece that debunked what the supposed consensus believes on this issue, the magazine spent almost the bulk of the space alloted citing scientists that don’t buy Abdussamatov’s conclusions starting with, “Abdussamatov's work, however, has not been well received by other climate scientists.”

But Sheppard did not detail the specific criticisms of Abdussamatov's theory contained in the article. Chief among them: Not only does Abdussamatov apparently fail to take into account changes in Mar's orbit and tilt that would affect changes in Mars' climate, the article adds: "Perhaps the biggest stumbling block in Abdussamatov's theory is his dismissal of the greenhouse effect, in which atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide help keep heat trapped near the planet's surface."

Oops! This is the guy who "debunked" the scientific consensus on global warming, as far as Sheppard is concerned? Perhaps Sheppard needs to stop copying-and-pasting articles and start reading them.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:41 PM EST
Speaking of Threatening Commenters...
Topic: NewsBusters

From a March 2 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd:

CBS News "PublicEye" editor Brian Montopoli suggested in a recent blog post that conservatives are unfairly attacking liberal Web sites for comments posted by readers that lament that a terrorists attack in Afghanistan did not succeed in killing Vice President Cheney.

Montopoli says that both right and left-wing sites have their share of nutty commenters, which, to some degree is a fair point. There are fring loonies and flamers on the Internet on both sides of the aisle.

What Montopoli seems to miss then is that the objection conservatives like Sean Hannity have raised is not so much the sin of commission by nasty commenters but the sin of omission by Web site administrators and editors.

It's a legitimate question to ask why people wishing for the assassination of the Vice President of the United States are not banned from a politically-oriented site.

Of course, NewsBusters has its own history of tolerating those who wish for the deaths of those they hate.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 4, 2007 12:10 PM EST

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