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Sunday, April 15, 2007
WND Promotes Another Meaningless Poll
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 14 WorldNetDaily article promotes Fred Thompson as the winner of a "presidential poll conducted by the American Family Association." Nowhere does it state that the AFA poll is an opt-in, online poll that is meaningless as an accurate gauge of presidential preferences (or anything else). Still, WND felt the need to put a false patina of credibility on it, claiming that it "allowed people to cast only a single vote in one party for president." So does WND's own online poll, but that doesn't make it accurate either.

As we've documented, WND has a bad habit of treating meaningless online polls as legitimate news. 

Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 PM EDT
Graham: Change the Subject, Please
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 14 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham criticized the Washington Post's Colbert King for a column dedicated "to bashing Don Imus and anyone who would shift the subject to vicious rap lyrics. ... He didn't want anyone changing the subject to Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson either." Graham asks: "So the natural question is: has Colbert King ever criticized a rapper? Or Al Sharpton?"

The natural question we're thinking of is: Why is Graham so eager to change the subject away from Imus? As we've noted, the MRC has made no official statement on Imus' remarks, preferring to attack Sharpton and Jackson. The quiet emanating from the MRC is approaching deafening levels.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:18 PM EDT
Kincaid Flip-Flops on Imus
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In an April 9 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid pointed out that Don Imus made his remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team "only a few weeks" before the annual meeting of MSNBC parent General Electric. After noting that "Accuracy in Media will be there," Kincaid added:

Do you think GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt is going to want to answer questions in front of hundreds of shareholders about why his subsidiary puts Imus on the air? And why NBC News personalities like Tim Russert regularly appear on the show?

Sounds like Kincaid wants Imus gone and was raring to confront the suits about it, right? 

Wrong. Just three days later, after MSNBC (and CBS) fired Imus, Kincaid wrote another column calling NBC officials "cowardly" for firing Imus. He further declared that the "get-Imus campaign" because it was "designed to get [Jesse] Jackson and [Al] Sharpton more face time in the media." And, contradicting his attack on Russert for appearing on Imus' show, Kincaid now says "Tim Russert in particular ought to be ashamed of himself for not standing by his long-time friend."

So, Cliff, which is it? We're confused. 

Kincaid also calls Media Matters (disclosure: my employer) a "George Soros-funded group." It's not. Perhaps we can start calling AIM a "Richard Mellon Scaife-funded group."

Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EDT
Sheppard: Imus Firing 'Deplorable,' Endorses Revenge
Topic: NewsBusters

What's Noel Sheppard saying here in this April 14 NewsBusters post?

In a piece posted at his blog Wednesday – obviously before CBS radio decided to fire Imus – and deliciously titled “If the Left takes Imus, We’ll take Rosie,” DeLay described this deplorable event in a way that only he could whilst issuing a reciprocal call to arms: 

Looks to us like he's calling Don Imus' firing "deplorable." Sheppard makes no judgment in this post on what Imus said.

And yes, DeLay is calling for revenge for the firing of Imus by trying to get Rosie O'Donnell fired. And yes, Sheppard concurs, calling DeLay's idea "absolutely delicious," adding: "They didn’t call him 'The Hammer' for nothing, folks."

In another April 14 post, Sheppard declared it "fabulous" that a black sportswriter called Jesse Jackson and Al Sharprton "terrorists." Again, Sheppard does not criticize what Imus said; while he refers to "this disgraceful Don Imus affair," it appears that, again, he is complaining that Imus got fired.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:15 AM EDT
Saturday, April 14, 2007
NewsBusters Get Touchy About Labeling
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 14 NewsBusters post by Lynn Davidson the "media coverage" (though citing only TV Week and gossip website TMZ) on the new game show Tucker Carlson is hosting displays annoyance that Carlson was described as a "conservative MSNBC pundit and famed bow-tie aficionado." Davidson retorts: "TVWeek didn’t refer to Keith Olbermann as 'famed big-browed liberal.' " This would be relevant if Olbermann was using his apparently abnormally large brows as a way to get media attention, like Carlson did with his bow tie. And to back up her claim about labeling, Davidson dug up a TV Week blog entry from four months ago to support her claim about Olbermann not being labeled "liberal."

Similarly, Davidson also objects to Carlson being called a conservative: "If TMZ were familiar with Carlson and his views, they would know that Carlson thinks we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq and isn’t fond of the choices for 2008, but in any way indicating that those on the right can have diversity of political views would ruin the typical media portrayal of them." Davidson further objects: "TMZ doesn’t label Chris Matthews and Olbermann 'left wing' or 'liberal.' " But as we've pointed out, Matthews has done at least as many non-liberal things as Carlson has non-conservative things. Thus, Davidson failed to follow her own rule about being "familiar with Matthews and his views" before judging his political leanings. But that would ruin the typical conservative potrayal of him.

In a similar vein, an April 13 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein complained that ABC described Larry Elder as a "conservative radio host" even though, he writes, "on his own site Elder describes himself as a 'libertarian' and 'a blend of fiscal conservative and social liberal.' " Finkelstein then adds: "Of course we all know how many times the MSM has described Al Sharpton as a "liberal" in the course of his innumerable appearances over the last week or so: that would be precisely zero, at last count."

Since Finkelstein, per Larry Elder, has set website self-description as the standard by which the media should describe someone's political leanings, let's look at Sharpton's online bio. Hmmm ... nope, we don't see the word "liberal" anywhere.

While we're at it, let's look at Keith Olbermann's online bio. Nope, no "liberal" there either. Or "left-wing" for that matter. Sorry, Lynn.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 PM EDT
Speaking of Omitting Important Information ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 13 WorldNetDaily article was critical of the "press" -- actually, a Dallas TV station and the Associated Press -- for reporting on abuses in a high school program about the Holocaust that "purposely omitted from the reports" that "[t]he abuses took place last year" and "[t]here have been no reports of such abuses in the program this year."

This appears to be an attempt to plug Joseph Farah's new book by suggesting that WorldNetDaily doesn't do such things when, of course, it does.

In December 2005, for instance, WND reported -- or, to be more accurate, rewrote press releases from the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel -- on a case in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, where a school was accused of changing the lyrics to "Silent Night" for a holiday program. Nowhere in the original article, a follow-up article, a column by Joseph Farah or two columns by Jerry Falwell (who operates Liberty Counsel) could the truth about the situation be found: The revised lyrics sung to "Silent Night" were, in fact, part of the plot of a play the school was performing -- ironically, a play described as having been performed by churches across the country.

It can credibly be claimed that WND purposely omitted from its reports the full truth because it merely rewrote Liberty Counsel's press releases and made no effort to do any of its own reporting, which would have cleared the situation up. WND is being hypocritical in complaining about journalistic behavior WND itself has engaged in.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EDT
Friday, April 13, 2007
NewsMax Headline Bias Watch
Topic: Newsmax

The headline Reuters put on an April 13 article: "Rove in new controversy over e-mails."

The headline NewsMax put on the Reuters article: "Democrats On Karl Rove Witch Hunt." 

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 PM EDT
NewsMax Uses Blog Commenters to Attack Hillary
Topic: Newsmax

In an April 12 article claiming that Hillary Clinton "will try to make more political hay out of the Don Imus controversy by visiting Rutgers University," NewsMax heaped more scorn on Hillary by using anonymous blog commenters to attack her:

After Hillary’s planned trip to Rutgers was reported by the New York Daily News’ blog Mouth of the Potomac, one posted comment read: "The Queen of Pander strikes again.”

Another read: "Maybe she’ll go to Duke University next?”

Why are the anonymous comments on a blog so newsworthy? For the ConWeb, it appears to be a way to attack enemies is a tactic we're seeing the ConWeb more lately; for instance, a March 14 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs repeats the statements several pseudonymous online commenters bashing Katie Couric. The apparent purpose of doing so is to serve as a firewall plausible deniability, to permit the likes of WND and NewsMax to put such attacks and other such sentiments it agrees with into wider circulation while claiming they themselves weren't actually saying that, they were just reporting what was posted on a blog. 

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EDT
Salvato Defends Imus, Attacks Rutgers Players

In an April 13 column, Frank Salvato declared that Don Imus is a victim of "Progressive-Left and the one-world Socialists among us" because they have "have used bullying tactics to infringe upon the guaranteed right of free speech under the First Amendment" and are "attempting to establish a shadow rule of law based on the Marxist-Leninist Communist-Socialist principles of political correctness." Salvato called Imus' remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team "a completely unimportant statement made by a shock jock that could have been rectified with the turn of a radio dial."

Salvato then goes on to attack the Rutgers players because they might own music by rap artists who say offensive things:

If I could divine one truth from this "scandal" it would be to find out what CDs are in the personal music collections of each of the members of the Rutgers women's basketball team. Something tells me that in each, there are CDs from rap music artists that offer words and sentiments that eclipse the so-called offensive words of Don Imus. In the existence of these CDs within their collections lays the ultimate hypocrisy of political correctness. 

Well, no, it doesn't. Salvato misses the point of the outrage over Imus: He applied a derogatory term to a group of women who not only were not engaging in negative behavior but who played for a national championship in their sport. They did nothing to warrant being called "nappy-headed hos," yet Salvato is implying they deserve it because they might listen to offfensive rap lyrics, even though their musical tastes are irrelevant to the issue.

Much more relevant -- and illuminating -- is the fact that Salvato won't criticize Imus. But that's a problem other conservatives have as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 AM EDT
MRC Equivocates on Imus, Criticizes Sharpton Instead
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center would rather attack Al Sharpton than criticize Don Imus.

There's no official MRC statement about Imus, but its writers and bloggers have used the occasion of Sharpton's criticism of Imus to bash Sharpton:

  • Brent Bozell, in an April 12 column, called Sharpton "the usual cast of professional victims" and asked " But where were these people when the subject was gangsta rap?" 
  • An April 12 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock rehashed Sharpton's involvement in the Tawana Brawley case. 
  • An April 12 NewsBusters post by Justin McCarthy trumpeted how ABC's "The View" "discussed the lack of moral authority from Imus’ most visible critic, Reverend Al Sharpton."
  • Another April 12 post by Whitlock complained that "NBC reporter David Gregory spent almost 15 minutes of air time discussing the radio host's firing with the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson." 

While Sharpton is certainly deserving of criticism, particularly in the Tawana Brawley case, for MRC writers to change the subject and engage in that rather than any substantive criticism of Imus -- who made the remark that set all of this off in the first place -- looks like a decided unwillingness to take any definitive stand on Imus at all. Perhaps someone from the MRC would like to explain why it's tippy-toeing around Imus.

Sharpton isn't the only target getting bashed instead of Imus: In an April 12 NewsBusters post, Brent Baker bashed Keith Olbermann for "smeared conservative talk radio as 'racist,'" claiming that anyone who didn't find Rush Limbaugh's descripton of Barack Obama as "Halfrican" is "humor-challenged since Limbaugh's 'Halfrican-American' quip was obviously a play on 'African-American,' since Obama had a white mother and an African father, not a charge that he's only half American." But 1) Baker offers no evidence that Olbermann said that "halfrican-American" suggested Obama was "only half American"; and 2) conservative San Francisco radio station KSFO host Brian Sussman apologized for calling Obama "Halfrican," stating, "[A]gain, this is one that I've apologized for and I've mentioned that my comments were insensitive." Hey, Brent, could you explain one more time why this is funny?

In an April 12 post, Tim Graham -- perhaps channeling convicted felon and Clinton-hater Peter Paul -- tried to get a little conspiracy-mongering going, claiming that those calling for Imus' firing were doing the bidding, if not following the explicit instructions, of Hillary Clinton:

Who is happier today at Don Imus removed from MSNBC than Hillary Clinton? Who else at MSNBC would be as harshly critical of Hillary as Imus? Without Imus, Hillary's path to the White House will be smoother. This might explain why some of the Hillary-founded left-wing media-watchdogging clones were so fierce in taking Imus down. 

Dan Riehl promulgated his own conspiracy theories in an April 12 post, asserting that the "Get-Imus Movement" will be fuel for a movement to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. Of course, it wouldn't be a Riehl post if there weren't some false claims invovled; he noted "[a] liberal Congress already quick to hurl subpoenas at the AG for normal firings" though, in fact, they were anything but normal; and he repeated the claim that Nancy Pelosi was planning to visit Iran, something she has denied.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 13, 2007 1:56 AM EDT
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Reisman's Undisclosed Logrolling
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an April 12 WorldNetDaily column, anti-Kinsey crusader Judith Reisman reiterated her support of WND managing editor David Kupelian over the Scott Savage (manufactured) controversy, praising him for "nail[ing] Al Kinsey as the fraud who unleashed a catastrophic 'revolution,' leading Americans into 'wanton sexual anarchy disguised as freedom'" and because he "dared challenge 'academic' sex dogma!":

Why aren't the sex films of Kinsey, his Mrs. their friends and colleagues part of the tour? Why not screen the child rape images by Dr. Fritz von Balluseck, Kinsey's German Nazi pedophile, or the films provided by Rex King, one of Kinsey's many serial child rapists?

The OSM-U faculty would bury Kupelian's evidence that Kinsey is documented as a sexually harassing, sadomasochistic, bi/homosexual pornography and masturbatory addict who had 317-2,035 infants and children sexually tortured, often filmed, around the clock to prove infants have "orgasms" (see image below).

Reisman goes on to praise "The Marketing of Evil," "Kupelian's brave and brilliant book," adding, "Thanks to exposes like Kupelians, and Americans like Savage, that day of truth may forge another revolution altogether." 

But as we've pointed out -- but Reisman does not admit -- much of Kupelian's Kinsey-bashing evidence in "The Marketing of Evil" came from Reisman herself. The image Reisman noted above is "Table 34," which she has often cited as evidence that Kinsey "solicited and encouraged pedophiles, at home and abroad, to sexually violate from 317 to 2,035 infants and children for his alleged data on normal 'child sexuality.'" In fact, as Poppy Dixon has noted, there is no evidence that Kinsey encouraged or facilitated sexual experiments on children since Kinsey's institute conducted no experiements. Even Reisman herself she has no evidence to support her regular claim that Kinsey was a pedophile.

Reisman is being dishonest in portraying Kupelian's anti-Kinsey writing as separate from and additional to her own when, in fact, it's a carbon copy. Perhaps that's why even the consrvative-leaning Canadian newspaper the National Post wrote in a editorial: "There is little reason to take Dr. Reisman seriously."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 AM EDT
Slantie Bob, the One-Source Wonder
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 11 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh on a proposed gay-rights law in Oregon not only tells just one side of the story -- as did his previous article on the subject (not to mention many others) -- Unruh talks to only one person (an opponent, natch). Unruh offers no evidence that this person's point of view is so valuable that it warrants a standalone article, nor does he do any fact-checking to verify the person's claims.

Unruh is going to earn himself a Slantie before he knows it... 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
CNS Says There Are 70 Adult Stem Cell Treatments, But ...

An April 11 article by Patrick Goodenough -- after criticizing a claim by Sen. John Kerry that embryonic stem cells were used to "cure" a mouse (apparently, the mouse was not completely cured) -- claimed that "Adult stem cell supporters point to more than 70 treatments -- not cures -- already being carried out with the adult cells, including cancers, immunodeficiencies, blood disorders and injuries" Goodenough linked to a list derived from one promoted by anti-embryonic stem cell research activist David Prentice (the source of which Goodenough doesn't identify).

But as we noted the last time CNS made this claim, Prentice's list has been discredited by researchers who point out that FDA-approved adult stem cell treatments are available for only nine diseases, adding: "Prentice not only misrepresents existing adult stem cell treatments but also frequently distorts the nature and content of the references he cites."

P.S. In an April 10 WorldNetDaily column, Janet Folger similarly (and misleadingly) claimed that adult stem cells are responsible for "treating 72 conditions (and counting)."

Posted by Terry K. at 4:42 PM EDT
CNS Paints Mike Adams As Victim, Ignores His History

An April 11 article by Randy Hall repeats unsourced claims attacking an alleged critic of Mike Adams, the conservative writer who is suing the North Carolina university where he works for allegedly denying him full professorship. Hall writes of Kimberly Cook, Adams' department head: "An outspoken atheist said to have openly criticized Christianity, Cook described to a recruitment committee her ideal candidate for a teaching position as 'a lesbian with spiked hair and a dog collar.' " 

Hall cites no source or corroboration for this claim; that may be because it comes straight from a press release by the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing Adams. Hall apparently took the ADF's claims on faith despite its history of making misleading, slanted claims in its press releases.

Further, Hall portrays Adams as a victim of purported discrimination against conservatives in academia and as a criminologist who has "received awards for excellence and produced several peer-reviewed publications" without noting his controversial history as a pundit and a college instructor:

-- A 2004 Adams column falsely claimed that a lesbian North Carolina politican's baby was created by the sperm of the woman's brother, suggesting she was in an incestuous relationship.

-- A September 21, 2004, Wilmington Star-News article notes that "Dr. Adams is a divisive character of the first order" and that he has been accused of making "unsubstantiated sexual harassment complaints" against a fellow professor.

-- While Hall relates a incident involving a student named Rosa Fuller from Adams' point of view (that is, Adams was unjustly accused and did nothing wrong), Bartholomew tells a few things about the case that Hall didn't note:

A UNC student named Rosa Fuller sent out an email criticising US policy in the Middle East in fairly strident and breathless language, to which Adams sent a dismissive and critical response (this is all covered in his book, apparently). Some other recipients replied to Fuller’s email threatening violence, and these senders were investigated by the authorities. However, Fuller also alleged that Adams had defamed her, inciting these threats, and an investigation followed. At first I thought this claim against Adams was rather weak, but, as SZ at World O'Crap has dug up, one of the threat senders ("People like you deserve to be dragged down the street by your hair. . . . I hope you will have the good sense to keep you[r] liberal moth shut at a time like this. No one needs your shit.") was a UNC student named Krysten Scott, who married Adams eighteen months later.

There are some possible clues there as to why Adams was denied a full professorship (in addition to generally being a jerk). But because Hall made little effort to venture beyond the ADF press release (it's not until the 21st paragraph that he quotes a university spokesman denying Adam's claims), his readers won't know that Adams has apparently behaved in a way that warrants his treatment.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:16 PM EDT
Joseph Farah, Activist Journalist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's becoming a bit clearer now what Joseph Farah's new book "Stop the Presses!" is about.

"If you really want to understand how America's great and unique institution of a free press has been deliberately undermined by radical activists masquerading as journalists, backed by big business and encouraged by big government, you have to examine this phenomenon," says Farah in an April 10 WND book-promoting article alleging that "organized social and political activists ... have invaded America's newsrooms, subverting long-established guidelines and ethics codes calling for accuracy, fairness, balance and the avoidance of conflict of interest in journalism." Farah expands on this in his April 10 column, claiming that in his book he is "revealing, for the first time, the way the press was invaded and taken over by radical activists with a perverse and extreme agenda."

The effect of this is to suggest that Farah and WND have no "activist" agenda and follow those "long-established guidelines and ethics codes calling for accuracy, fairness, balance and the avoidance of conflict of interest in journalism." Nothing could be further from the truth.

The agenda Farah and WND have is even more pronounced than the one he accuses the "lamestream media" of having -- anti-liberal, pro-conservative, anti-Clinton, pro-Tancredo. We've repeatedly documented how WND has no concern for accuracy, fairness, and balance. From Jon Dougherty to Aaron Klein to Bob Unruh to Farah himself, WND's writers has shown a longtime disregard for those concepts. Numerous undisclosed conflicts of interest are also a hallmark of WND's reporting. And as for a "perverse and extreme agenda," condoning murder and blacklisting political opponents would arguably fall under that definition.

In other words, Farah is spouting concepts he has no history of following himself, which makes a book by him advocating such concepts close to worthless.

We'll be doing a full review of Farah's book once we get our hands on one. It appears that Farah has not seen fit to send us a review copy. We don't know why -- after all, we are WND's most incisive observer, and we'd like to see if he bothers to live up to his own purported policy of "accuracy, fairness, and balance" by addressing our criticisms in his book.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EDT

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